Now that I’m over my general pissiness about my sore knee, I’m kind of getting excited about what I can do and setting aside that which I can’t.

I spent a fair bit of time Tuesday exploring, and That has provided some new ideas for personal programming with a much more gymnastic focus to keep me occupied while I tend to my knee.

Wednesday is typically a rest day for me, but I was excited to experiment. So I hung my rings in the back yard and attempted the following: accumulate 5 minutes of a bridge hold. Do 3 skin the cats every time you break. As Erin said, “You keep using this word rest. I don’t think it means what you think it means.” I pointed out that we won’t call it a rest day. We’ll call it a play day.

I didn’t warm up adequately for the bridge holds, but it wouldn’t have made a difference. My knee didn’t like the strain of trying to force my way up into a good position. So I modified to 5 minutes of plank holds, with 3 skin the cats at every break. My goal was to do bookend holds of 1:30 around a 2:00 hold. That would have lead to two rounds of skin the cats.

During the second hold it became apparent very early that I was never going to last for two minutes, so I improvised. I did 1:30 for the first round, 2 rounds of 1:00 and a final round of 1:30. That resulted in 3 sets of skin the cats and I finished in 9:00. I was having such a good time on the rings that I threw in a fourth set of STK just for the fun of it.

The plank holds illustrated something that I’ve always known, but have tried to ignore or work around and that is my core still needs a LOT of work to truly get strong. That’s going to be important too if I want to improve my gymnastic work significantly. So that’s going to be a primary focus going forward. MOAR CORE!

One thing about that though, I’m going to have to develop more concrete plans in advance of my workout sessions. I kind of improvised today’s WOD and probably should have done a bit more.

When I arrived at the gym I discovered that I had the pull up rig to myself. When I saw that I made the spontaneous decision to add some MovNat rig work to my work out. I started with some shoulder warm up, mobility and such. Then, to get to work I strung the rings about as high as I could across three segments of the rig running down the center of the rig. I attempted some monkey bar style traverses through those rings, but never did successfully negotiate all three sets of rings. At some point each attempt, I set my feet down. I suspect that with some practice and about 15 less pounds around my middle, I can do it.

After that I experimented with some bar-hopping. If you travel down the center of the CFD rig, in one spot there’s a 4 foot gap from one segment to the next and there’s about a 6 inch change in elevation from one cross bar to the next. When we did the MovNat training in November, I discovered I was able to swing out, release the higher bar, traverse the gap and catch myself on the lower bar without touching the ground. I find this to be great fun! But I’ve only been able to do a single hop. On occasion since the cert, I’ve even been able hop up from the lower to the higher bar. But I’ve missed that jump just as often as I’ve made it.

Today, I was able to swing, hop from the high bar to the low bar, turn myself around, then swing and hop back up to the high bar! I accomplished this three times over the course of the morning. So I’m very pleased with that. I tried to video it, but for reasons I don’t understand my phone camera is not working. Fortunately, I had a few witnesses. My next goal for this is to hop across the rig, which is roughly a 6 foot gap. I’ve attempted that before. I have enough swing and strength to bridge the gap, but when I catch the bar, I’m already at the very end of my reach. I don’t have any ‘cushion’ in my arms to control and soften the descent. As a result, I’m jerking to a stop, my grip fails and I fall. Just need more practice.

I have mixed feelings about this bar hopping. On a purely selfish level I’m pretty proud of the ability. It’s just a neat little skill. Is it functional fitness? That’s debatable. It’s sure as hell never going to show up in a Crossfit WOD. However, I suppose if I got caught hanging from a tree over a canyon and needed to make that hop to traverse that space, then perhaps you could call it functional. At the same time, I find it tough to imagine a scenario where I’d end up hanging in free space that way. If it’s merely a four foot gap, that’s far easier to traverse via a broad jump. So who knows? It’s still a lot of fun and very satisfying.  However, I wouldn’t argue that hard if someone said it’s merely a silly human trick.

After playing around on the rig awhile, I settled into some core work. I did 4 rounds alternating Superman holds and Hollow Rock holds on the floor with 30 seconds of rest between each hold. I intended for each hold to last a full minute. I was able to do that for the Superman holds, but after the first round had to modify the Hollow Rocks to 30 second holds.

That was a bit discouraging, but at makes it evident that this is a specific area where I need to concentrate. That’s good to know. Racking up lots of time on the floor practicing hollow rocks is not going to be glamorous. It’s not the kind of thing that you’re going to share videos of on social media. But it is definitely necessary and I look forward to addressing it.

Beyond the core work, I’m now looking at setting my sight on some additional gymnastics skills like L-seats. If I feel like I’m making significant progress on my core work, then I’ll probably increase my focus on handstands as well.

At the moment, I’m feeling good about the future. I’m taking steps to get my legs right. And I’m liking the chance to work on some other aspects of my fitness to which I’ve been paying some lip service. Now’s the time to refocus and recommit. Hopefully, it will lead to a stronger core, a more stable foundation upon which I can then build.