Is this course for beginner? My (ongoing) progess

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Perdurado
Posts: 3
Joined: 28 Oct 2020, 00:28

A month ago, on 29th of september to be exact, I started my handstand journey with Episode 1 of this promising, well made, and motivating handstand course. With my fitness level, it'll take me much longer than 7 weeks to work through the whole course. Heck, I'll be happy if I can follow all of Episode 1 in a row by then! :lol:

To be upfront: I think it's a great program for beginner, even though it might feel way to 'advanced' at the first try. You're getting a big bang for your buck. You'll learn a lot and you'll be able to spend a lot of virtual time with natalie. Winwin, I'd say.

With this progress report I'm going to show you my way of customizing Episode 1 to fit my fitness level, energy, and work schedule.

Since your definiton of 'beginner' most probably gonna differ from mine anyway, I don't want you to read this as a "one sice fits all" solution to deal with this program as a beginner. Instead I want you to look at this as more of a guidance, just as one possible way, on how to create a training plan for yourself, that fits all of your needs and helps you to progress in your personal handstand journey.

Alrighty. With that being said, let's begin.

On my first session with the video, let's call it "The Assessment", I wanted to try to follow the whole video. I wanted to check where I am at and what I got to work with.

Some exercises I was able to follow in whole, some I had to divide in smaller potions, and in general I had to take way longer rest periods than the ones offered. With those changes all together "The Assessment" took me two hours. 8-)
How did those changes look like?
Par example:
-Instead of doing the suggested 2 sets of 20, I did 6 sets of 7. It still ads up to ~40ish repetitions! ;)
-I took as much rest as needed, whenever needed, to assure good form, but tried to keep it as short as possible.
Obviously this was not a training session I could easily repeat several times a week. It was just a fun experiment I played around with.

After that my first big goal towards "The Handstand" was set:
Being able to follow Episode 1 from start to end.
With all the suggested sets, reps, and rest times!

To reach that goal I created a vague plan for me to test on my next session.
That's what it looked like:
  • Train one hour.
  • Follow the suggested sets.
  • Take rest as much as necessary to maintain good form, but keep it as short as possible.
  • Find something measurable to track progess in.
With that in mind I started in my first 'real' training session:
In 70mins I managed to work through 43mins of the video, then my form started to crumble.
I felt challenged, but not too tired afterwards.
I (only) wrote down the exercises that I couldn't follow for all the suggested repetitions.

And with this new informations I could make some changes to my previous 'vage plan' and turn it into a 'real plan'.
A plan with a name!

Phase One:
  • Train until minute 43.
  • Train as often as possible, but at least 2x/week.
  • Follow the suggested sets.
  • Take rest as much as necessary to keep good form, while also keeping it as short as possible.
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  • Track your progress.
First Milestone: ->Increase reps to (nearly) match the suggested ones.

I choose that milestone to build up some strength first.
After the 4th session the numbers in my log had increased in such a way, that I felt confident enough to say: I reached my very first milestone! (Yay me!)
It was time to take it up a notch.
On the 5th sesh I wanted to try something new. My goals for this session were to match the suggested rest time.
How did that go?
Well, it was by far the most sweaty training I had and I was way more out of breath, but I managed to finish those 43 minutes in time.
Of course with a bit less repetitions than in session 4, but that was something I expected and that didn't bother me.
It was time for a second milstone. Well basically it's the same like the first one, just under different conditions.
Second milesteone: ->Fill up those reps again, while keeping the rest periodes as short as suggested.

Three days ago I did session 7 and felt weak as pho. Even though in the end I figuerd, that my numbers weren't even that far off.
Today I had the 8th session and felt pretty awesome-saucy strong.
Overall my numbers are rising, some are already even higher then before changing the rest time, some not quite back there, yet.
It fluctuates a bit from session to session, because progress is not liniear.
Everybody has good days, awesome days and days, where just the pure act of doing your workout counts as progess on it-self. :)
Amother thing I want to mention:
Since the very begining "Scapula Pushups" are the most challenging exercise with the slowest progess for me.
But you always have to keep in mind: Slow progess is still progress. Don't focus too much on your numbers. See it more as a marathon, then as a sprint.

I assume I'll stick around in Phase One for 1 to 3 sessions more, before I start to bring in new input.
Even though I'm pretty motivated to step into Phase Two, after todays great Work out. :) .
Since it worked so far, I'll simply adapt and repeat the previos plan structure for Phase Two.
So here is my future plan.

Phase Two:
  • Train the whole video.
  • Train as often as possible, but at least 2x/week.
  • Follow the suggested sets.
  • Take rest as much as necessary to keep good form, while also keeping it as short as possible.
  • Track your progress.
First Milestone: ->Increase reps to (nearly) match the suggested ones.
  • Try training with suggested rest times.
Second milesteone: ->Fill up those reps again, while keeping those rest times as short as suggested.

I'll keep you updated.

I guess customizing a plan comes down to two conepts:
  • 'learning by doing' or 'trail and error' and
  • trying to prevent 'paralysis through analysis'
You got to find out what works for you and you simply can't expect that some stranger from the internet you can give you all the answers.
If 2x1h/week doesn't work for you, try 4x30min/week. Or maybe two shortes sessions during the week and one longer session on the week end.
Maybe you're more motivated in the mornings, maybe more so in the evening. Or you're like me and you have to take you energy as it comes and goes.
For me a set date like "ever mon+thu at 8p.m." just doesn't work, neither with my changing work schedule, nor with my fluctuating energy.

It is your handstand journey. It just simply makes sense to personalise it to your needs.
And in the end there's only one perfect plan, and that's the one you can integrate in your life.
The one that you are able to adjust to your needs.

English is not my first language. If you find any wrong spellings, feel free to write me a private message with the correction. :)
Last edited by Perdurado on 29 Oct 2020, 17:31, edited 2 times in total.
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Natalie Reckert
Posts: 32
Joined: 17 Sep 2019, 21:14

OMG, this is totally amazing.

I'll have to read through this properly and then respond.

thank you for this great report!

Star *****
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Natalie Reckert
Posts: 32
Joined: 17 Sep 2019, 21:14

Hello,

I now had a proper read through your report.

Thank you very much for posting this.

It is great how proactive you were in tailoring this program to your nees and your level of fitness and difficulty while at the same time ensuring that you keep the fun and your motivation up.

The strategies that you found sound really great. In terms of starting with lower repetitions, that is exactly what I had in mind.
I really like that you added the time component to it, first taking brakes for as long as you need and then trying to fit the repetitions into the suggested time span.

Key to progress is making friends with a challenge, with the repetitivness of practice and fitting a daily practice into your everyday activities.

I also love that you have taken the first session as the "assessment" session, using it as a tool to playfully assess your level without judging yourself too much and basically being more analytical than ambitious. I think this pays off as a mental attitude in the long run. It puts the focus on the method and allows the result to surface over time. There will be results anyway, if you put in the time and the practice. So it is better to put in the time and the practice rather than fret over slow progress or the challenge.

I love that you try to identify milestones and track your progress, that's very valuable!
progress is not liniear.
Everybody has good days, awesome days and days, where just the pure act of doing your workout counts as progess on it-self.
That is so valuable to understand! and very true in my experience as well.
I guess customizing a plan comes down to two concepts:

'learning by doing' or 'trail and error' and

trying to prevent 'paralysis through analysis'
Especially "paralysis through analysis" is common. We are used to learning "techniques" and clear "methods" that will take us from a to b to c in measurable, visible and clear steps. This is an attempt to control the learning curve, which is certainly an upward moving one but at which speed or rate is difficult to predict. Learning is a personal process and while structure is important there is no universal formula. That is the exciting thing about it, it is YOUR process and only yours.
Sensory motor processes are beyong conscious understanding, the thinking mind can only partially grasp the complexity of movement. That is why you have to simply practice and let the body figure out the movement. Guidance in terms of technique and exercises is very useful, but the practice is 50% of the work and it is the work that you yourself have to do.
That is a hard thing to accept for us brain heavy modern humans.

Thank you for writing this long and wonderful progress repot, I am looking forward to hearing more.

I have also noted that for you and others the "scapula push-ups" are challenging.
I will have a think about a prep exercise for these.

Best wishes,
Natalie
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