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jrosto

Jrosto - Learning to be an Assassin, A Barbarian's Tale.

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It takes a long time to get through 3 good sets of prying squats, I have to admit I don't always do it. 

 

 

A warmup is a warmup so if you're good to go aka warm, then go! Seems to me. Unless you're doing the warmup for another reason?

 

Nice to see you rocking all those swings with the 20kg.. quite some progress you made sir :)

 

The main reason to do 3 sets is that is what the book says to do :)  I do a couple of exercises to loosen up my hips, knees and ankles before I even start the warm up exercises, so I really think I am good to go with just the one set.

 

I didn't even pick up the 25 lb 'bell today.  Everything was done with the 16 and 20 kg KB's.  Moving on up :)

 

My 2-handed swings were really good, but my 1-handed felt like my form left a bit to be desired.  One of these days I'm going to be able to get them all feeling great :)

 

My granddaughter is learning a pull up with me.  Really enjoy working out with her.

 

Speaking of my granddaughter.  Where do you think is the scariest place in the world (other than a hospital or med clinic) for someone with no immune system?  Lunchtime at a grade school.  it was Grandparents day at her school today and she really wanted me to go, so we went and had lunch with her.  Then there was the Book Fair.  Enjoyed myself, but it was stressful.  I don't usually go to her school functions, but figured it would be ok this time as it is still pre-flu season.

 

Oh... almost forgot.  Had a big sneeze today that ended with a muscle spasm in my upper right abs.  Is that a thing for people who have abs?

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It sounds like your challenge is going well. I'm also hanging with the hobbits, though I probably am a hobbit. A little short, a little chubby and I like to eat!

 

Not sure about the ab muscle spasm from sneezing, but it isn't unusual for me to sneeze so hard my neck muscles seem to spasm.

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Week: The First - Day 4.  Hobbit Assassins, Who'd a Thunk it?


 


Hobbit.  Assassin.  Two words I may never have put together until I joined the Guild.  I've always considered them a friendly folk, quick with a smile and the offer of a pipe, farmers more than adventurers.  I would never suspect a Hobbit an Assassin, that's what is so interesting about this particular adventure.  Some of these Hobbits actually run, and even jump over things.  We'll be walking along and a couple of them will see something interesting about a pile of rocks and run right up the face of them, something they call "Par-Koor".  I thought it was kind of silly until that skill came in handy this afternoon.


 


A short while after "Afternoon Tea" we came upon a couple Southron mounted, thankfully, on horses instead of their more ferocious mûmakil.  Soon as we heard them coming down the trail the Hobbits dissipated into the surrounding rocks.  I mean that vanished.  I quickly made ready to meet these men of Harad and prove my worth to the Guild.  My preparations were for naught.  As soon at the Southrons came around the bend and noticed me standing in their path, two Hobbits sprinted out of cover, ran up the side of the boulders next to the horses, flipped around in mid-air and came down on the men's backs.  They were dead without even knowing what killed them.


 


I guess the Guild didn't send me along to protect these Hobbits after all...  maybe I'm supposed to be learning something here.


 


As an aside, it is nice having a couple pack horses join our little group.


 


1.  Carry my own Weight:


 


1/3


 


2.  Keep Calm and Carry On: An Assassin must be able to control his thoughts and breath. 


 


3/5


 


3.  Learn a New Skill:


 


0/3


 


4.  A Barbarian’s Got to do What a Barbarian’s Got to do:


 


I awoke earlier than all but the last watch so that I could swing my iron and get my blood flowing.  It is a great way to great the dawn. 


 


Prying Goblet Squat - 1 set of 5 with a 16 kg kettlebell.


 


StrongFirst Hip Bridge - One set of 5, 3 seconds each.


 


Halo - One set of 5 in each direction with a 16 kg kettlebell.


 


Kettlebell Swings - Three sets of 10, two handed, with a 20 kg kettlebell. One set of 10, for each arm one handed, with a 20 kg kettlebell. 


 


Turkish Get Ups - Five sets from each side with a 16 kg KB.


 


 


The Adventure continues, Simply Walking to Mordor.


 


Extra walking for the Mordor Mini = 2.06 mi.


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Yes that's a thing for people with abs ;)

 

I'm really enjoying your description of the hobbit adventure ^^

 

Thanks.  I was wondering about that spasm. It is on the side where my diaphragm was pulled in the furthest when I was sick.  

 

I'm having fun writing them.  Towards the end of our last challenge I started thinking that a Barbarian Assassin would have some interesting challenges to overcome in my D&D world (from way back in the day).  Since I'm not going to roll up a new character, I thought I'd see how I could make this work :)

 

Very cool seeing your KB log. You've made a lot of progress in just a couple of months!

 

Thanks Athena, you have also made some great progress.

 

I really enjoy it when I do a perfect swing.  The last 20 - 25% of the upswing the KB is carrying its own weight and I can plank at the top of the swing.  They are not all like that yet, but it is getting more and more common.

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Ah yes, the sneezing spasm. Threw my back out with one of those.

Curious about the box breathing. I know Elastigirl practices it too and I'm wondering what kind of benefits you get from it. Keep telling myself to try it but then I realize I don't know what box breathing is for.

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Week: The First - Day 5.  Walking Along, Singing a Song...


 


We made good time today, the pack horses helped us to pick up the pace.  That's a good thing as we've had to hide and allow larger groups of the Southron to pass.  Seems they are looking for a couple missing scouts.  


 


As an aside, it is nice having a couple pack horses join our little group.


 


1.  Carry my own Weight:


 


During one of the morning stops I found a quiet place and did a few push ups.  My chest is still sore and bruised from my 'test' last Monday, but I still attempted a reverse pull up.  I did well, very controlled and slow decent.  My chest was aflame after so I did leave it at one attempt for the day, we will see what tomorrow brings.


 


2.  Keep Calm and Carry On: An Assassin must be able to control his thoughts and breath. 


 


3/5


 


3.  Learn a New Skill:


 


0/3


 


4.  A Barbarian’s Got to do What a Barbarian’s Got to do:


 


3/5


 


 


The Adventure continues, Simply Walking to Mordor.


 


Extra walking for the Mordor Mini = 2.41 mi.


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Ah yes, the sneezing spasm. Threw my back out with one of those.

Curious about the box breathing. I know Elastigirl practices it too and I'm wondering what kind of benefits you get from it. Keep telling myself to try it but then I realize I don't know what box breathing is for.

 

Box breathing is supposed to help clear the mind and physically reduce the effects of stress on the body.  It is also supposed to help your body better utilize oxygen.

 

Long, more personal, version answer under Spoiler

 

When I was sick my lungs kept shrinking and getting thicker.  They way I usually explain it is that they were turning into raisins.  By the time I got my transplant they were pretty small and did not transfer oxygen very well.  My breathing was very shallow and very rapid.  This progressed over several years and my body pretty much forgot how to breathe normally.  Every breath was a conscious effort.   I went to Pulmonary Rehab last summer and the PT's there really pushed pursed lip breathing.  That works for obstructive lung diseases like COPD and Emphysema, but not restrictive diseases like IPF.  I tried, but it did not work.  My Dad had this same disease and when he was in the hospital the nurses and PT's all told him the same, and he tried like heck for my Mom.  I could see the fear in his eyes, but did not understand it then.  I wish the rank and file medical community understood Pulmonary Fibrosis more.  Hece more of us die per year that breast cancer patients.  You would think they would be more knowledgeable.  

 

Well anyway, after my transplant I had to relearn how to breath.  I'm still working on that.  There are times when I find myself getting Dyspnea (short of breath) for no reason and find that I have reverted to shallow breathing.

 

For me physically, the box breathing is helping to stretch my diaphragm which had pulled up in my chest as my lungs shrank.  My lung capacity continues to improve and I'm thinking that KB Swings may be the largest reason for that improvement, followed closely by the box breathing.  

 

Mentally it does help me to relax and even though I have not yet been able to re=find my center or clear my mind, I have had some quality thoughts while box breathing :)

 

It also feels pretty awesome during the pauses between breaths when you are still open as if breathing, but not.  It has been years since I've been able to do something like that.

 

My Sweetie and I went to the Southwest RV Supershow today.  Boy, if you have an extra half million dollars hanging around you can live in luxury on the road.  We found a small towable that we really, really like.  The R-Pod RP-179.  That would be perfect for us to scoot around the country and visit kids and grandkids.  Too bad we have an empty bank account :)

 

It was fun to look around and think of possibilities.

 

Hope you guys are all heading for an awesome weekend.

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I really love your descriptions this challenge! Since I feel a bit like a hobbit, I really enjoyed imagining that I was taking out the Southrons! 

 

My husband and I saw one of those really awesome RV's on the road when we were driving to Alabama (or it might have been on the trip back) and he said we should get one to tool around in. That way it would be easier for us to take the dog since he would always have a place to stay. Of course we can't afford one of the awesome ones either, but it's a nice dream!

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Week: The First - Day 6.  


 


The closer to Mordor, the darker and more desolate the land surrounding us.


 


mordor2.jpg


 


The usually jovial Hobbits have grown somber and watchful.  Meals have been skipped to make up for time missed as we take care to avoid detection.  We have found evidence of Orcs in the area.  We have discovered Orc scat along the trail and their stench is occasionally carried to us on the breeze.  Breaking Orc skulls would be fun, but not very stealthy, so not on the agenda for the day.


 


1.  Carry my own Weight:


 


I did find a moment during one of our brief stops to hang from ledge and work on my pull up.  This adventure will end, and the guild will be wanting to see improvement in that skill soon I am sure.


 


Hollow Body Dead Hangs - Three sets of one, 15 seconds each.


 


2.  Keep Calm and Carry On: An Assassin must be able to control his thoughts and breath. 


 


My bells have been muffled. The sound of a bell would carry far and attract all kinds of danger to our party.  I did quietly perform my breathing this afternoon.  I am no closer to enlightenment, but do enjoy the time inside my own head.


 


Box Breathing - 8.2 minutes of six second box breathing


 


3.  Learn a New Skill:


 


0/3


 


4.  A Barbarian’s Got to do What a Barbarian’s Got to do:


 


Maybe, for a Barbarian, enlightenment is not to be found in breathing, but in swinging iron.  I did not work out with the iron yesterday, so made sure to find time for it today.  Practicing with the iron leaves me feeling ready to take on whatever this adventure may bring.


 


Prying Goblet Squat - 1 set of 5 with a 16 kg kettlebell.


 


StrongFirst Hip Bridge - One set of 5, 3 seconds each.


 


Halo - One set of 5 in each direction with a 16 kg kettlebell.


 


Kettlebell Swings - Three sets of 10, two handed, with a 20 kg kettlebell. Two sest of 10, for each arm one handed, with a 20 kg kettlebell. 


 


Turkish Get Ups - Five sets from each side with a 16 kg KB.


 


StrongFirst stretching exercises. 


 


The Adventure continues, Simply Walking to Mordor.


 


Extra walking for the Mordor Mini = 1.5 mi.


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I must be becoming a real kettlebeller, I'm getting calluses :)  I think I did a full set of great, hard style, 2-handed swings today.  Each one felt spot on and I was able keep my shoulders packed, glutes tight, and knee caps pulled up (plank) at the top of each swing.  The 1-hand swings felt pretty good also.  The 3 on/1 off/2 on/1 off schedule seems to be working very well.  We will see how well next week when I increase the number of swings sets in preparation for increasing the weight to 24 kg.  

 

Went swimming at a friends house last night and had a great time.  They have a salt water pool that feels really good on the skin. Not a lot of people there, just the 4 of us so I could actually swim.  It has been a very long time since I could swim with good breaths and any endurance.  Heck, It's been a long time since I could swim at all :)  Felt good

 

Hope all you rebels are having a wonderful weekend.

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Your story really puts the attention to breathing in perspective. I've heard it said that kettlebell lifting is actually a lot like yoga since you also have to be very mindful of moving with your breathing. Glda the combo is working for you :)

 

ps. I don't have callusses and always show the lack at workshops as a sign of my prowess x)

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Week: The First - Day 7.  


 


The darkness is becoming so oppressive that the sun can barely penetrate.  We encounter the results of Sauron's handiwork in abandoned villages and razed homesteads.  The desecration of this land  weights heavily upon our mood.  


 


b0050805_54d4475b07f54.jpg


 


We've noticed a group of Human Assassins on a parallel trail.  It is important that we beat them to Mordor, the Guild Masters have a special reward to the group that arrives there first.  We appear to be slowly pulling ahead.  The Hobbits may be short of leg, but long on determination.


 


1.  Carry my own Weight:


 


3/3


 


2.  Keep Calm and Carry On: An Assassin must be able to control his thoughts and breath. 


 


I was able to find a moment to clear my thoughts and concentrate on my breathing.  


 


Box Breathing - 7.6 minutes of six second box breathing


 


3.  Learn a New Skill:


 


0/3


 


4.  A Barbarian’s Got to do What a Barbarian’s Got to do:


 


Dwarves have a saying; "The Iron never lies...". I have found this saying to be very true.  You may be able to convince yourself that you are strong, the Iron will show the truth of that thought.  With Iron you either do, or you don't, you must respect the Iron.  If you want to "do", you have to approach the iron with the respect and focus it demands, you have to use your focus to move properly, and you have to "..repeat until strong."


 


Hmmpf...maybe I'm spending too much time thinking while performing my breathing exercises, I'm starting to sound like one of the Mystics.


 


Prying Goblet Squat - 1 set of 5 with a 16 kg kettlebell.


 


StrongFirst Hip Bridge - One set of 5, 3 seconds each.


 


Halo - One set of 5 in each direction with a 16 kg kettlebell.


 


Kettlebell Swings - Three sets of 10, two handed, with a 20 kg kettlebell. Two sest of 10, for each arm one handed, with a 20 kg kettlebell. 


 


Turkish Get Ups - Five sets from each side with a 16 kg KB.


 


StrongFirst stretching exercises. 


 


The Adventure continues, Simply Walking to Mordor.


 


Extra walking for the Mordor Mini = 2.07 mi.


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Your story really puts the attention to breathing in perspective. I've heard it said that kettlebell lifting is actually a lot like yoga since you also have to be very mindful of moving with your breathing. Glda the combo is working for you :)

 

ps. I don't have callusses and always show the lack at workshops as a sign of my prowess x)

 

Thanks KB Girl, breathing during the swings and the get ups is a large part of the rhythm.

 

I've been thinking a lot about the way you teach breathing when swinging.  When I am doing box breathing it makes sense, I do swings to my breathing in my mind and it works well.  Just does not translate well to the hard style swings, and I'm liking the HS swings :)

 

I feel like kind of an idjit after today's get ups.  I've been wondering how people do so many snatches and get ups and presses without having permanent bruises on their arms from where the 'bell sits.  I have sore spots on my radius of each arm just from the little that I do.  Well, today I moved the KB just a little so it was resting in between my radius and ulna.  Well duh...that was much more comfortable.  The iron is a good teacher, just have to be able to listen :)

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Week 1 Week in Review:

 

MART Quests:
 

1.  Carry my own Weight: 

 

...I will do a bodyweight workout that focuses on pull-ups, pushups and planks three times a week..(+1 Str, +1 Con)

 

I did one workout to failure on Monday to see how I performed in each exercise.  I did another small workout that incorporated push ups and a reverse pull up.  I also did dead hangs.  So not three workouts, but not totally slacking either.  I'll call this week a C+

 

2.  Keep Calm and Carry On: An Assassin must be able to control his thoughts and breath. Continue working on box breathing, working up to 10 second boxes to improve breathing and focus. (+1 Sta, +1 Wis)

 

I performed 6 second box breathing 5 times this week.  A.

 

3.  Learn a New Skill:

...To  begin this new learning adventure I will visit the local Indoor Climbing Center at least three times during this Challenge. (+1 Sta, +1 Wis)

 

Did not accomplish this week.  Not required each week so no score.

 

4.  A Barbarian’s Got to do What a Barbarian’s Got to do:

 

...Perform the Simple and Sinister workout 5 times a week  Complete the Program Minimum training session and progress towards owning the Simple portion of the program..  This includes three at least one sets of the warm up exercises, 5 reps of 10 kettlebell swings with a 24kg kettlebell and 5 sets of 1 (per arm) Turkish Get Ups with a 16kg kettlebell, and the final streatching exercises. (+1 Str, +1 Dex, +1 Sta, +1 Cha)

 

I performed the S&S 5 times this week as scheduled.  I am swinging with 20 kg (both 1 and 2 handed) and doing the get ups with 16 kg.  I am resting between sets of swings until my hear rate drops to ≈ 90 BPM, this has really helped me end the program without being wiped out and be ready to do it again the next day.  

 

5. Team Hobbit Mini Quest: Walking to Mordor -

 

I walked 11.43 extra miles to assist Team Hobbit with this challenge.

 

A mostly successful week 1.  I did not do as much body weight exercises as I had hoped.  I gave myself a mental pass early in the week, and that was probably a mistake.  

 

I decided to only do the one set of warm up exercises for the S&S routine, but today I changed my mind again.  I'm going back to three sets.  That will make up for some of the missed body weight exercises and should do me some good.

 

A very enjoyable Week 1.  Thanks all of you who stop in and offer advice and encouragement.  I appreciate it very much :)

 

Have an awesome and successful Week 2.

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Just for the heck of it I went over my logs and calculated my average evening blood pressure for the week prior to starting with kettlebells, and for this past week. My little N-1 experiment is kicking right along.

The results are interesting.

Week prior to KB's average = 123/80. Last week = 115/75. Now that's a pretty nice improvement over a couple of months :)

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Thanks KB Girl, breathing during the swings and the get ups is a large part of the rhythm.

 

I've been thinking a lot about the way you teach breathing when swinging.  When I am doing box breathing it makes sense, I do swings to my breathing in my mind and it works well.  Just does not translate well to the hard style swings, and I'm liking the HS swings :)

 

I feel like kind of an idjit after today's get ups.  I've been wondering how people do so many snatches and get ups and presses without having permanent bruises on their arms from where the 'bell sits.  I have sore spots on my radius of each arm just from the little that I do.  Well, today I moved the KB just a little so it was resting in between my radius and ulna.  Well duh...that was much more comfortable.  The iron is a good teacher, just have to be able to listen :)

Oh yea I forgot about hardstyle breathing patterns... they are a bit silly ;) It's completely opposite of what is natural (to breath out when body collapses and breath in when freeing up chest area by going up). It's not possible to do HS swings with a normal breathing pattern?

 

I do have a kind of thicker/harder patch of flesh on my forearms where the kb sits... but it really depends on the shape of the kettlebell aswell, some are more comfy than others. (which is ofcourse why competition kb's are all the same shape and size).

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A great start to your challenge! And that is a nice improvement in your blood pressure! Way to go!

 

 

Congrats on the blood pressure win! 

 

And it was a nice steady week.   Keep up the great work!

 

Thanks, the blood pressure drop is a nice surprise :)  I noted last week that my evening temperature was up by about 1 °F on days I did the S&S routine.  That has normalized so I guess my body is getting used to the extra work.  My evening heart rate is also down.  Several of my meds increase my heart rate and blood pressure, other meds counteract that effect.  It is nice that my body is also working to properly regulate HR and BP.

 

Oh yea I forgot about hardstyle breathing patterns... they are a bit silly  ;) It's completely opposite of what is natural (to breath out when body collapses and breath in when freeing up chest area by going up). It's not possible to do HS swings with a normal breathing pattern?

 

I do have a kind of thicker/harder patch of flesh on my forearms where the kb sits... but it really depends on the shape of the kettlebell aswell, some are more comfy than others. (which is ofcourse why competition kb's are all the same shape and size).

 

 

My 20 kg is a competition KB, it will be very interesting to get up with that larger piece of iron :)

 

Box jumps and squats breathe out with the effort, and the up motion of hard style swings is the effort portion of the movement.  We aren't trying to swing all day like you sporting types, just a few sets of 10 :) 

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Week: The Second- Day 1.  A New Week, Anticipating a New Challenge


 


The Gates of Mordor, we have arrived.


 


Black_gate.png


 


It appears that we are the first to reach Mordor, our task is complete and we can head home.  The journey back is made more hazardous by my actions a few days back.  If I had not confronted the Southron Scouts, the Hobbits would not have had to kill them and the Men of Haradim would not be sending out search parties for their missing men.  But then again we wouldn't have had the pack horses and I would have had to carry my iron the whole way there and back.  Confrontation is not the Assassins friend, a lesson I need to be quick to learn.  I've also learned to take nothing at face value.  Who would have ever thought of a Hobbit Assassin?  These may be the only Hobbit Assassins in Middle Earth, but Assassins they truly are.


 


 


1.  Carry my own Weight:


 


0/3


 


2.  Keep Calm and Carry On: An Assassin must be able to control his thoughts and breath. 


 


0/5


 


3.  Learn a New Skill:


 


0/3


 


4.  A Barbarian’s Got to do What a Barbarian’s Got to do:


 


0/5 

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Today was a rest day, busy, but restful :)

 

Worked on engraving in the morning, mowed the front yard in the early afternoon, then walked to school to pick up my granddaughter later. Now time to cook dinner.  

 

I'm really looking forward to the next Mini Challenge, these mini's really help with my overall goals and I find them a lot of fun.

 

 

Ah you did amazing again! 

 

Hope week 2 will go just as well for you. (And I sort of hope I will find something I love as much as you seem to love those kettlebells. :D

 

Thanks NK.  I really do enjoy KB's and that is what has really helped me stay on track.  

 

We are going to San Francisco at the end of the week so I can be a part of a panel presenting the results of a research study at a medical conference at Stanford.  Hopefully I'll be able to keep up with this week's mini while traveling.

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