CrunchRock – Get Your Shoulders Into It

The exercise benefit of HoopRock benefit derives primarily from keeping your bodyweight under control when turning and landing.

This was really brought home to me as late as 30 minutes ago when I was working on hooping with my forearms grasped behind my back while using my shoulders to rotate my upper body. It’s really not that hard once you get used to it; the benefit comes when you really put some force behind it and have to absorb the effect in your obliques, abs and hips.

Then I started thinking about why it was better to do the shoulder rotation with my hands behind my back. A little experimentation quickly confirmed that the more my arms were extended the more their weight worked against focusing the effect of the rotation on the midsection; my shoulders were having to drag my arms along, reducing the amount of force I was able to put into the rotation.

The downside is that having your hands behind your back also limits the amount of force you can use because control is more difficult. Which is actually great in the overall scheme of things. Everything I can do in HoopRock comes from control being difficult; the body reacts by developing the reflexes and muscles to make it easy. As you try new things the cycle just keeps repeating.

So I started experimenting by holding my arms and hands in various positions and not just behind my back. I’m happy to say I came up with quite a few combinations that are all effective in different ways. Which is exciting because my midsection is where most of the remaining fat is. I know you supposedly can’t spot reduce, but it can’t hurt, and hopefully they will tighten everything up.

Forearms Clasped Behind Back

This lets you get the whole weight of your chest and shoulders into the twist because your arms are tight to your sides and your forearms locked behind your back so each side of your torso is a monolithic block. The rotation can tend to twist downward as one shoulder is dragged lower by the grip behind your back which is fine; but another combination is to focus on keeping the rotation level. You can alter your hand on forearm position or clasp hands instead of forearms to make control a little easier – you can move your arms up a little higher on your back to give the hoop a little more room. Less monolithic, but it’s all good. Your body has to adapt to every combination, hitting every muscle and combination of muscles a slightly different way each time.

Hands Behind Neck

This is fairly similar to clasping your forearms or hands in the small of your back, but you can’t get that monolithic force behind it. The payoff is you don’t run the hoop into your hands or elbows, so you can put a lot of force into it and still control the hoop. Maybe an even better pay off is that with your forearms locked instead of waving in the breeze the whole side of your body from your hip up to your elbow becomes one long structure that you can rotate around your central axis while either emphasizing the shoulder or not – again, it’s all good.

Tucked Boxer Stance

This turned out to be a really good approach. You can rotate your whole torso, particularly from the base of the ribs up, again with or without emphasis on the shoulders. With the hands close in your arms don’t really hold you back and you have the option of putting your shoulder into it in a straight ahead slight punching motion or by more actively rotating the shoulder itself.

Variations

Rocking Horses

On your toes alternate a forward crouch with a backwards arch. Try to emphasize your midsection to pull your chest and shoulders forward out of the arch.

Jumping

As it turns out, the best way to force the abdominals into participating is to keep your feet in one position. If you jump you lose some of the force on your midsection that comes about because it has to cope with the shift in your upper body. If you jump the anchor is gone and the effort is mostly absorbed by your hips and legs.

Crunches (Kind of)

If you do rocking horses without jumping, just staying on your toes in one position you’ll find you can more easily focus on getting your abdominals to pull your upper body forward. It’s hard to do it consecutively past two or three cycles. It’s crunch-like when you get it right, but doesn’t truly use the abdominals exclusively.

Twisting Crunches

Every rotating movement can become a crunch if you stay on your toes and don’t move your feet. The abdominals become active participants in pulling your body around. You have to experiment to find the right position, but when you do you’ll feel it. Your hips are kind of locked in one position so you have to absorb all the rotation in your midsection, which is kind of floating above your hips in a natural rotation except you can feel your stomach muscles kicking in as a natural part of keeping everything going. Once they do I can only continue for a very short time. My stomach muscles get too tired and I lose my breath. Feels a lot like doing crunches. I’m hoping I can get that same kind of thing going while doing rocking horses, which for a now are a lot less stable making it harder to put the abs in control.

Feet Together

A narrow stance means your hips provide a less stable platform for your midsection so your hips and midsection have to work harder to maintain your balance within a narrow range of motion. If you tuck your hands behind your back they have to work that much harder.

Did I Mention It’s All Good?

Because of the music HoopRock is actually fun. The exercise benefits are what I’m using to get you interested, but they’re just a fortunate side effect. If you like music and give it a chance I think you’ll feel the same.

The moves you can come up with while hooping are effectively limitless, which seems to me to be the best kind of exercise there is, whatever reason you do it for.

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Workouts Oct 17-18, 2014

I post these videos so people can judge whether I’m in better shape than they expect to be at 67, and whether I’m having fun. The question I’m asking myself is, Am I gaining on getting rid of the remaining fat and loose skin or is it gaining on me? After three weeks on a semi-diet I can tell for sure that I’m gaining but I could be doing better.

In the past I’ve seen miniscule improvements in both fat loss and less visible loose skin almost every week, and I’ve been doing this so long it’s made a real difference. But even though relatively speaking there’s not much left it’s still more than I want to see. It feel so great not having to carry so much around, so I’m thinking it’s going to be fantastic to not carry any and I’m getting really impatient.

So I went on a diet about three weeks ago and I thought I was seeing results the last couple of weekends, but this week I’m fairly certain that I’m losing the fat faster than I was. But I still need to be more strict; not just to lose weight, but because I feel better when I eat clean – especially when I wake up the next morning. I’m pretty good during the week, I’ve really learned to appreciate how much better it is to get to work feeling fairly empty. It makes the whole day better. On the weekend I can work out if I’m not feeling tip-top in the morning – at work I can’t do that. As usual, how I feel motivates me to cut the junk food more than losing weight.

And maybe I’m not losing any faster. Maybe I just hit one of those points where the fat bottoms out over a strategic area giving the illusion I lost a lot. Either way I’m happy to see the difference. I’m so looking forward to the day when for all practical purposes the fat is gone. I’m pretty happy with my condition overall, although I would always be happy to have more muscle, but I really want the fat to be gone so I can see what’s there clearly.

I added a new “move” this weekend, which is hooping with your hands clasped behind your back. I think I’ll call it “Hidden Hula Hands”, but I’m open to suggestions. I thought it would just be a new challenge to agility, but I think even more than that it’s going to be a good way to work the core with more emphasis. I discovered if you try to direct your body by moving your shoulders it requires a lot of effort coordinated between the obliques and hips to maintain control over both the hoop and keeping your balance, so I’m pretty excited.

I intend post a blog article on the subject, but you can see “Hidden Hula Hands” now in the post of all the songs from the most recent weekend which can be viewed here. I get into it more after about the sixth song on the 18th when I realized I could grasp my forearms behind my back instead of must clasping hands.

These are some of the songs I hooped to this weekend (Oct 17-18), demonstrating “Heavy Hula Hands”, Multiple Hoops, and Arm Hoops. Playlists in each category can be accessed from the videos below by clicking on the Playlist icon or Next and Previous buttons, depending on your browser.

These are products I use in my workouts.

I don’t have the personality to be a great HoopRock and JumpRock evangelist.

All I can do is to try and offer myself as an example. So I publish videos of all the songs I hoop or jump to each weekend, allowing people to judge for themselves and see how much fun jumping and hooping can be.

Judge for yourself the kind of shape I’m in, my stamina, and whether I’m having fun or not. If I’m in better shape than you expect to be at 67, or if you don’t enjoy your workouts now, you should give hooping and jumping to music a try. I started exercising every day to feel good, but the real payoff might be the kind of shape I’m in going into old age. Either way, it’s the best possible way I know to get all your cardio and some of your resistance training.

Just hooping without any “add-ons”, such as Heavy Hula Hands, is actually plenty of exercise and more fun actually. But I’d like to burn off the remaining fat, and these offer an additional challenge and conquering them makes “just hooping” that much more fun because it seems effortless by comparison and you have so much more control.

Here are some questions I ask myself to keep going when I used to ride the stationary bike and still today on some nights when I do weights

When you don’t want to work out after work because you feel exhausted but it’s really just lethargy and angst, ask yourself “Do I want to keep on feeling like this? How much worse could working out actually be?”

And during the first few minutes when you’re tempted to quit and just go flop down on the couch “If I stop now, am I going to feel any better than I did before?”

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Workouts Oct 10-11, 2014

I post these videos so people can judge whether I’m in better shape than they expect to be at 67, and whether I’m having fun, last week I added another question. Am I gaining on getting rid of the remaining fat and loose skin or is it gaining on me? This week I’m pretty sure I can say I’m gaining

In the past I’ve seen miniscule improvements in both fat loss and less visible loose skin almost every week, and I’ve been doing this so long it’s made a real difference. But the closer I get the slower the improvements; at the rate I’m going I could be 75 or 80 by the time I can truly say I’m lean, so I need to step up the pace.

So I went on a diet a couple of weeks ago and I thought I could see some results last weekend, but I need to be more strict. I can resist cookies, candy and pastry pretty well, but after supper I just can’t resist peaches or strawberries that have been cut up and covered with sugar to draw out the juices. Plus maybe a little more to get a nice glaze just as you eat them. I do pretty well during the week, eating a salad and drinking a V-8 for lunch instead of a sandwich and Coke.

Now even with the miniscule week to week changes ever so often you hit a point where you can see a real difference. It’s like snow melting off the mountains. Detail sort of shows through in the lower elevations as the snow becomes thinner; then one day the details are clear as the last thin cover melts away. This week I can see more detail over my ribs and lower back.

These are some of the songs I hooped to this weekend (Oct 10-11), demonstrating “Heavy Hula Hands”, Multiple Hoops, and Arm Hoops. Playlists in each category can be accessed from the videos below by clicking on the Playlist icon or Next and Previous buttons, depending on your browser. All the songs from the most recent weekend can be viewed here.

These are products I use in my workouts.

I don’t have the personality to be a great HoopRock and JumpRock evangelist.

All I can do is to try and offer myself as an example. So I publish videos of all the songs I hoop or jump to each weekend, allowing people to judge for themselves and see how much fun jumping and hooping can be.

Judge for yourself the kind of shape I’m in, my stamina, and whether I’m having fun or not. If I’m in better shape than you expect to be at 67, or if you don’t enjoy your workouts now, you should give hooping and jumping to music a try. I started exercising every day to feel good, but the real payoff might be the kind of shape I’m in going into old age. Either way, it’s the best possible way I know to get all your cardio and some of your resistance training.

Just hooping without any “add-ons”, such as Heavy Hula Hands, is actually plenty of exercise and more fun actually. But I’d like to burn off the remaining fat, and these offer an additional challenge and conquering them makes “just hooping” that much more fun because it seems effortless by comparison and you have so much more control.

Here are some questions I ask myself to keep going when I used to ride the stationary bike and still today on some nights when I do weights

When you don’t want to work out after work because you feel exhausted but it’s really just lethargy and angst, ask yourself “Do I want to keep on feeling like this? How much worse could working out actually be?”

And during the first few minutes when you’re tempted to quit and just go flop down on the couch “If I stop now, am I going to feel any better than I did before?”

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A Voice From The Future

Youth may be wasted on the young, but wisdom is wasted on the old when it’s too late to do anything with it.

We all probably sometimes wish, knowing what we know now, that we could communicate with ourselves in the past and advise changing some crucial decision to get a better result. The result which was then in the future and now in the past when knowing what it was is no help at all.

I unwittingly made such a decision at 31. It directly lead to my physical condition now at 67. As luck would have it, and I do mean luck, I made the right decision so now I’m in much better shape than I expected to be, the best shape of my life actually. So the only difference in knowing how it turned out is that I know I dodged a bullet. I could be in the normal shape of a 67 year old man who rarely or never exercises.

Truly try to think about that as if you were 36 years older than you are now, or at least into early or full-on old age. Less energy, less strength, less stamina, more health problems, visits to the doctor, hospital stays. A horror show relatively speaking. I mean what if all those symptoms of a running-down body were thrust on you now? That would be very, very bad. But it’s also very, very bad to live with them in the future, it just seems very far off to you now. A bullet that will in time find its mark. And then it won’t be abstract, it will be your life.

That’s what I avoided, so I don’t have to send back a message in time to myself. Instead I’d like to send it to all those people who don’t even know they have a decision to make, or haven’t wanted to think about it.

You can dodge that bullet. I’m sitting here right now in my own personal reality of being 67 years old and I’m telling you old age is coming for you. Old age will be here and then it will be now and you’ll have to live with it. There’s no going back and fixing it. But if you listen to me now when there’s still time you can start fixing things before they ever go wrong. All you have to do is exercise almost every day between now and the day you die.

It’s really that easy and it’s really that hard.

So how do you get past the hard part?

Let’s take it one step at a time. Easy or hard, I’m sitting here in my personal reality of right now experiencing the benefits. Looking back, it would be worth any amount of effort to avoid what it would ordinarily be like to be this old. But that’s easy to say now. It’s the same as planning an exercise program without thinking about the reality of having to actually exercise every day. When that reality actually rolls around day after day so things become hard in real-time the idea of old-age consequences as motivator becomes just too abstract.

Even though from the perspective of being 67 years old I can say it would be worth any amount of effort to be in this kind of shape going into old age, as a practical matter that’s not sufficient motivation to keep up an exercise program day after day.

So my message from your future is that it’s worth it to find that motivation. I can tell you absolutely that motivation for me is how exercise makes me feel afterwards, re-energized and with a renewed sense of well-being. I wrote in Exercise and Depression and other places on how to systematically expose yourself to those feelings so that exercise becomes and essential part of your daily life that you wouldn’t consider doing without.

At the simplest level you find some exercise you can tolerate well enough to make the effort to get the reward. For me it was twenty-four years of stationary bikes. I sometimes also did weights and aerobics classes, but the stationary bike I did every day after work was an essential part of my routine and my day. Even when I had long commutes my evening did not start until after I rode the bike.

Hopefully you can find some exercise or exercises that are fun. Then everything is completely different because there’s no real effort involved anymore and you start to become really fit. For me HoopRock and JumpRock are those exercises. I think anyone who likes music would enjoy them as much as I.

So think about it. I lucked into a decision long ago that made all the difference in my life now. I can’t think of how I could be in a better spot now.

It may have happened to me by accident, but you can deliberately make the same decision I did on purpose. Health in old age may be your initial motivation, but like me you can stay motivated by the day-to-day immediate rewards.

 

 

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Workouts Oct 3-5, 2014

I post these videos so people can judge whether I’m in better shape than they expect to be at 67, and whether I’m having fun, but now I’m adding another question. Am I gaining on getting rid of the remaining fat and loose skin or is it gaining on me?

Overall, I’d say I’m gaining, because I can see miniscule improvements every weekend when I review the videos. I don’t diet other than to try and not get out of control, so any improvements are from jumping and hooping. I’ve been happy with that, but the loss is so miniscule I’m afraid I’ll be 90 at least before it’s all gone.

I went on a diet a couple of weeks ago and I thought I could see some results last weekend, but I need to be more strict. I can resist cookies, candy and pastry pretty well, but after supper I just can’t resist peaches or strawberries that have been cut up and covered with sugar to draw out the juices. Plus maybe a little more to get a nice glaze just as you eat them.

These are some of the songs I hooped to this weekend (Oct 3-5), demonstrating “Heavy Hula Hands”, Multiple Hoops, and Arm Hoops. Playlists in each category can be accessed from the videos below by clicking on the Playlist icon or Next and Previous buttons, depending on your browser. All the songs from the most recent weekend can be viewed here.

These are products I use in my workouts.

I don’t have the personality to be a great HoopRock and JumpRock evangelist.

All I can do is to try and offer myself as an example. So I publish videos of all the songs I hoop or jump to each weekend, allowing people to judge for themselves and see how much fun jumping and hooping can be.

Judge for yourself the kind of shape I’m in, my stamina, and whether I’m having fun or not. If I’m in better shape than you expect to be at 67, or if you don’t enjoy your workouts now, you should give hooping and jumping to music a try. I started exercising every day to feel good, but the real payoff might be the kind of shape I’m in going into old age. Either way, it’s the best possible way I know to get all your cardio and some of your resistance training.

Just hooping without any “add-ons”, such as Heavy Hula Hands, is actually plenty of exercise and more fun actually. But I’d like to burn off the remaining fat, and these offer an additional challenge and conquering them makes “just hooping” that much more fun because it seems effortless by comparison and you have so much more control.

Here are some questions I ask myself to keep going when I used to ride the stationary bike and still today on some nights when I do weights

When you don’t want to work out after work because you feel exhausted but it’s really just lethargy and angst, ask yourself “Do I want to keep on feeling like this? How much worse could working out actually be?”

And during the first few minutes when you’re tempted to quit and just go flop down on the couch “If I stop now, am I going to feel any better than I did before?”

Posted in Other Things, Workout | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments