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  1. My main quest - getting healthy and strong - has not changed, but since I have found a basic workout routine that works for me, and my eating habits have improved a lot during those last couple of weeks, I will have a different focus this time. Since this challenge will end one week before my 20th high school reunion, this is the perfect time to look back at where I was 20 years ago, in terms of health and fitness. Would I like to be there again? Yes and no, actually... Which brings me to the goals for this challenge: 1. Flexibility - 20 years ago, I was better "flexible like a mutant" material than I am now. I would like to get at least some of that back, so after this challenge I want to be able to do a front split "at will" again. I managed once (right front split) by accident during my last challenge, but that was just one side and after 30 mins of prep work. I plan on using this program, and see if it works for me. 2. Strength - I would love to be able to do a correct pullup at some point in the future, but... My arms are not my strongest parts. At the end of high school, I had struggled for three years with chronic tendonitis in both wrists and elbows, I had no strength left in my hands (dropped stuff all the time, couldn't hold a pen anymore - try to do your exams when you're not able to write...). So, I'm going to get my hands, arms and upper body used to the idea of doing things with a pullup bar. I know I will definitely not be able to do a pullup after these 6 weeks. I will have to take it extremely slow, because I don't want to make my wrists and elbows unhappy. Been there, done that, can definitely do without that crap... (And I will continue doing my usual bodyweight routine 3x / week which has pulling exercises as well, so...) Weeks 1 - 6: "Hangin' in there": Improve my "hanging" time from (very uncomfortable) 20 seconds to comfortable 25 seconds. That doesn't sound like a lot, but this is not only about quantity, but quality. Also, I will not be able to work on that more than 3x / week, so that's what it's going to be. Current idea (might have to be updated, depending on state of wrists + elbows): Wk 1: 13 - 11 - 12 Wk 2: 15 - 12 - 14 Wk 3: 17 - 14 - 16 Wk 4: 19 - 16 - 18 Wk 5: 21 - 18 - 20 Wk 6: 23 - 20 - 22 Final test: planging* hanging "comfortably" for 25 seconds, not feeling like my hands are going to die after second 2... Weeks 3 - 6: "Shrug it off": From hanging, pull my shoulders down to the correct position and hold. Since I have no idea how my arms are going to handle weeks 1 + 2, I'll have to wait with the actual program for that until the end of week 2. If my arms think that hanging is all they are able to do, then I will just leave it at that and recheck after week 3. Or 4. Or 5. 3. More Strength - On the "off" days I'll work on the RKC plank 3x / week. Should also work nicely towards overall strength, so that chin ups (and at some point pull ups) will be easier (read: feasible at all). I'll start with 3 x 10 seconds (if possible ) and would like to end up with 3 x 20 after the challenge. 4. Then there's that life goal: I used to write fun stuff together with my sister. I haven't done any of that for some years now. So I will write for at least five minutes every day. Doesn't have to be much, but at least one sentence per day. Doesn't have to be a consecutive paragraph when I'm finished, either, the important part is to make time for writing consistently, and to make it a habit again. It sure as hell won't be pretty, but it doesn't have to be. Grading system: 1. Flexibility (+3 DEX, +1 STR): A: front splits right and left, "at will" B: front split right, "at will", left after some prep work C: front split right, "almost" front split left, both after considerable prep work D: "almost" splits right + left, after considerable prep work F: no improvement at all 2. Building strength for my first pullup in the far future (+3 STR, +1 STA) A: hanging comfortably for 25 seconds or more, hanging with "tucked in" shoulders for at least 5 seconds B: hanging comfortably for 20 seconds, no tucked in shoulders C: hanging comfortably for 15 seconds, no tucked in shoulders D: hanging comfortably for 10 seconds, no tucked in shoulders F: anything less 3: RKC plank (+2 STR, +2 STA) A: holding correct plank for 3 x 20 seconds or longer B: holding correct plank for 3 x 17 seconds C: holding correct plank for 3 x 14 seconds D: holding correct plank for 3 x 12 seconds F: anything less 4: Writing (+2 WIS, +1 CHA) A: writing every day for at least 5 minutes, having at least 42 sentences to show for it. B: writing at least 35 days C: writing at least 28 days D: writing at least 21 days F: anything less EDIT: added stat points to goals EDIT (9/22/2013): Since I already started "planging"* during week 1, I'll just keep that up and extend planging time over the six weeks. Goal is still 25 secs. *Planging: For my purposes, a "plang" will be a "hanging plank", meaning: I hang from the pull up bar and contract all the muscles I can muster. Meaning the shoulders must be pulled down, arms strong, hands crushing the bar, abs, back, glutes, legs tight, kneecaps pulled up, flexed feet, toes pointing up.
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