A Breath Away

Wow. Wow. Wow. I went down to LA Fitness today and had 7 hours sleep so I knew my body was going to be feeling strong. I warmed up and then decided to go for the record of 12 slinkies. The best until now was 11 and that was after doing a warmup set before it. It felt right and off I went. I got to the 6th slinky and turned around to do the second set. I got to 9 and could really feel I was going to make it. I got to 10 then 11 and finally came up after 12 and o my god. Amazing. What blew me away was how effortless it really was and how much my back continues to get better and stronger.

I then did my beam combos where I do a beam slinky (on floor) followed by 2 BWO then handstand, pirouette and then front limber standup. I did 5 sets and they were the best, fastest and strongest ever. It was an incredible feeling having those Back Walkovers going back so fast and strong.  Next I went for off slinkies using my weak side. I did 5 triple slinkies which showed me how good my back really is considering I had not done any using my off leg for ten days. I need to work on foot placements and kick strength off this leg and then I can start doing slinkies using alternating legs which will be awesome because Back Walkovers using the off leg comes next. In fact I will make sure I drill those in Australia until they become natural as well.

Next came Beam Backbends. My back felt great by this point and I almost contemplated going for the kickover. This technique when I did it on the floor was brutal if you did not have the strength to kick over and I almost hurt myself a number of times. So I thought rather than go over I would just keep pushing hard and squeezaing so when i do go over I am solid at it. As I went along I got better and more flexible and actually bent back into position on top of my hands which is critical to do it in one smooth motion. I can feel it. It will not be long before I am ready to go over.

I then went to do handstands. I count in my head and I decided to raise the bar to 5Z from 4Z. THe first two were mediocre but then I did one and another and another and another. I ended up with 4/10 a huge breakthrough. My strength in this position keeps getting better and better and tighter.  After this I went for bar handstands using my grips. Feels very different and needs to be done in correct handgrip. I got used to it and held my longest handstand up to ‘T’ which is great. I look forward to getting to the point where I am doing 5 or more to Z. It is coming I can feel it.

Press Handstands were the onyl thing I did not have a breakthrough on today. They just were not as strong today. I forgave myself for all the other breakthroughs. I then did jumps, dips and pull ups and keep improving in all areas. I finished with Leg Extensions. I put it up to 90 lbs and then did my first set of 16 then realized I had increased it to 100 lbs my mistake. I finished it off at 100 Lbs. My goal is to get it up to 150 lbs and doing 24 of 5 sets. My legs have always been one of my greatest assets and now it is to reactivate the spring and leap ability I had when I was younger. I could grab a basketball ring when I was a Junior Elite even though I was 5’3″ back then. Would be great to get back there.

So much success and so much more to come. Loving Life. Go Heroes!!!

Pushing The Envelope

As I keep training I am amazed about the incredible progress I continue to make on a daily basis. I was down at L.A. Fitness training for four hours today and my warmup was an Octoslinky. Part of me was a little disappointed I only got 8 but I get to realize that alone is a phenomenal success. I then went onto my new beam combo which includes Beam Slinky, Back Walkover (BWO), a 2nd BWO then handstand pirouette 1/4 turn into front limber standup. I was able to do all five of these and they are getting stronger and stronger each time I do them.

I then worked on front walkover off the two panel mat. It was frustrating because I just cannot get the forward energy yet and keep stepping back. But progress is it and the more I focus on it, the faster I will be able to do it. It may seem like a while but in a blink of an eye I will have this technique as well. I am going to be doing a lot of these spotted in the mornings in Australia with Georgia so it is going to be fun.

One of the most important techniques I am working on is the Back Bend on the beam. This is where I lean back and grab the beam and squeeze for a count of 30 and then raise the leg for a count of 10. This takes me an hour to so 10 of thee because the pressure on the body is brutal, however it is getting the conditioning happening so I will be able to do back walkovers on the beam and eventually back handsprings.  I need to be able to get my hands much closer to my feet on the back walkover on the beam so it is easier to go over. It is coming along but much more to do.

I then got four handstands to 4Z. It is amazing as I get closer and closer to being able to hit THE handstand position eveyr time and hold in. Another three months or so and I should be able to get my first to 10Z. (Best to date is 7G). The handstands are getting stronger and stronger every day. I have a long way to go with these with stag position, splits and moving on my hands etc but the foundation of all of this is a solid base handstand.

I then did my  best set of bar handstands as well. I reached my longest hold of 1P and can definitely see dramatic improvement coming shortly. It will not be long before we start hitting Z. My press handstands were then the best I have ever done with more and more getting into the handstand and just coming short of holding it to Z.

I was doing Cartwheels with coach at the end and they were not that good and coach said ‘Bobbie, we need to focus more on handstands. In futue levels this is going to lead into other techniques including roundoff and tumbling off the beam. ‘ I decided to get back doing cartwheels every session. And they only count of they are in a perfect line and no wobbles. I need to raise my game in that area.

I also did my complete beam routine three times as well and am counting the wobbles. I need to increase the speed of it as well. I am also working on dips and chinups to assist me with the bars. At the moment I can do 5 dips and 8 chinups but I know this will change dramatically as I now focus on it as well.

Finally I finished off with the Leg Extension to build the muscle around the knee. Prior to the injuries I had it up to 110 lbs. I am currently back at 80 lbs and doing five sets of 20. My goal is to get it to 150 lbs or more over the coming six months and also focusing on calfs to get more vertical leap.

Overall I am sitting at breakthroughs right on the edge at almost everything and it is a great feeling knowing that tomorrow I will be better than today. Go Heroes!!!

One Short

I went to train with coach this morning and we had planned to do my Level 5 Floor Routine with coach spotting the Front Handspring and the Back Extension Roll. I first started working on Back Walkovers for the beam. I did a couple on the floor and then did some being spotted by coach but was just not at the same level as Wednesday when I was doing them on the beam. My back is opening up but it is not always consistent.

We then started the work on the floor routine. I did five front handsprings spotted by coach and then five back extension rolls spotted by coach. I kept working through all the different parts of the routine and then finally it was time. I started preparing to do the entire routine. I began and got to the front handspring and coach spotted me and I was up and able to continue. I kept going and got through the back extension roll and then came the back walkover. By this time in the routine was very tired and barely made it over. I then went for the final tumbling pass of Round Off-2 Back Handsprings and I completed the Round Off before I ran out of energy. I was so close.

I then did the routine a second time and was able to complete the roundoff and one back handspring before running out of energy. Coach insisted that I do more cardio so that I can maintain it over the entire routine. I have so much to train already and now I get to add more cardio into my routine.

I am so proud of all the work I have done so far and I can see that it will not be long before I get to complete this routine and then get to work on my prep optional routine using Lady Gaga’s Born This Way as my floor music. Sometimes you fall short of your goals. Even though I did not complete the routine today I made massive progress. I am so looking forward to keep getting better. Go Heroes!!



Channeling Energy

I was feeling fantastic this morning and could not wait to get into gym to train with coach. We had discussed yesterday that we were going to be doing vault and bars and so I visualized doing the routine I had been doing with coach including the somersault dismount. I arrived early and as soon as I got in I mentioned to him and he denied it. I was so hooked up on it  and even though he wanted me to do it at the new gyms with the right equipment I felt devastated.

For my vault rotation I ran faster than I think I have run before. I am getting stronger and stronger and I landed every vault cleanly, solidly and consistently. I was very efficient and focused but coach read that as unpassionate. When I went to the front handsprings and back tumbling passes on floor they were Ok and coach was expecting more from me. I was methodical, efficient but again showing no passion.

What makes gymnastics so special for me is the love of gymnastics. The love of the sport. The love of competition. I love to laugh, play and enjoy my gymnastics and when I get purely focused on the execution I often lose the love.

I then went to bars and I did the first routine. It was a little loose but I completed the whole thing the first time which is the first time that has even happened. I then failed the second and third attempts when coach asked what was up. I explained that I was disappointed I was not allowed to flip the dismount. He said that I had not been showing up at all in the training. I said I poured everything into every technique. He said. I disagree. I was so angry. I pour my heart into gymnastics. I have changed my entire life to become a serious contender for the olympics and for my coach to tell me I was not pouring everything just hurt deep.

I looked at the bars as I began the next routine and I took that energy, that frustration and channeled directly into the techniques. I kipped hard, pulled myself up and did the squat on. I jumped to the high bar and did the Long Hang Kip and pulled so hard that I did the highest cast I have ever done. I finished off the routine and coach was like ‘Wow. Bobbie. Great way to channel that anger at me. ‘. I almost broke down in tears. I was not angry at coach. I was angry at me for not being stronger on bars so I do not need to wait to move to the new gym.

As the pressure climbs I have to remember that I compete and have put myself through thousands of hours of training and made so many sacrifices so I can smile and love the sport. Gymnastics is the best sprt in the world. Off to train tomorrow with coach and laugh, and dance and sing and complete my Level 5 Floor Routine for the first time. Go Heroes!!

The Journey

Over the last couple of days I have been pushing really hard on Front Handsprings. Now this technique of itself is not a very hard technique to master. The challenge is I have torn my knee up 7 times doing this technique in the past and the emotion is incredible every time I go and do it. Coach has been incredibly supportive during my process of overcoming my fear and moving towards doing this technique without a spotter.

I recently have been watching the series ‘Make It Or Break It’ about four teenage girls with Golden Dreams for Olympic Gold. There is a LOT of drama and the gymnastics is very solid but I have cried a lot watching the heartbreak the #1 Champion Payson Keilor do a bar routine come off the bars and break her back. For a number of episodes, she went to doctor after doctor and each one telling her her career is over. It was heartbreaking seeing her dreams shattered. She finally found a doctor who could do the surgery however there was a 1% chance of serious injury or even death.

She had to decide to go after her dreams or play the safe road. After an agonizing period of time she finally made the decision and had the operation and after a challenging period was able to make a remarkable comeback.

I look at my journey and there would have been so many opportunities to quit. When I started back in serious gymnastics training just short of three years I could have quit with the three broken ribs, the torn calf muscle where I could not run for six months, the paralyzed shoulder or the twisted knee. There were days when it was hard to choose an apparatus because I was so limited in what I could do. At one point I was one eight to ten advil every day to numb out the stabbing pain of the ribs. There was the constant icing of body parts, the constant ripping of the hands because my callouses from being a Junior had totally gone for when I was doing bars. So many reasons to quit. Only one reason to keep going. I committed to my dream.

Every step forward in this journey is a privilege and an honor. Every step in this journey is worthy of celebration. Every technique or skill I acquire is one more tool in my arsenal. I knew when I started this journey that the chance of me getting onto the National Team and then the Olympic Team for London was so slim to begin with. My progress has been too slow, the injuries slowed me down. I am proud of what I have accomplished and although I may need to go to Rio to compete for the Olympics I am not stopping this journey. Another five years of training will make eight solid years of training for the Olympics. I look at what I have done so far and know I will accomplish so much more.

Sometimes I have the eyes on the prize so much I forget the honor and gift of the journey. I could not imagine my life without gymnastics. I could not imagine not training. It is moments like those that I suddenly reflect and look back at my journey and love every step. Every single Step. Breathing. Loving. Training. Go Heroes!!

When Bronze is Gold

A while ago I went and bought six new leotards. one of those was a bronze colored leotard. The moment I arrived it my heart sank because the idea of wearing bronze just doesn’t feel right when I am on a quest for GOLD!!. Therefore I have only worn in once in pracice and never to train with coach. I recently wore it for the photo shoot as the photographer insisted I use it. I was reluctant and that was when coach saw it and commented how awesome it looked.

I then went to train this morning and decided to wear it. I have only worn it once before to LA Fitness and had a mediocre workout so it already was not making me endeared to it. I started this morning and went to do an Octo or Decaslinky and did one before losing power. Hmm I was concerned. Well after that every technique I did I broke my personal best. I did awesome work on Front Handsprings, Bar Handstands, Press Handstands, Leg Extensions. Overall it was a fantastic morning. I am so looking forward to training again tomorrow and then twelve more times with coach before I go overseas.

I feel so blessed to be so healthy right now. My knee is getting strengthened at the gym and has not had any problems. My ribs are all healing nicely and the only real challenge is the crunching still in my right shoulder. It too will get stronger and stronger with the amazing team I have around me. I have a long journey to go now that I am looking at RIO as a realistic possibility as I am highly unlikely to make London. I am still going to train hard every day but the pressure mounts daily.

I love training with coach and learning all the new skills. So many more to come as I progress. I am committed, dedicated and focused and will continue to give it my all. Go Heroes!!!

The Russian Ratchet

I was reading a couple of months ago about the Russian nmethods of training and they have a term called the ‘Russian Ratchet’. Which is how to track progress across so many different skills. The goal is to get progression in some form in everything that gets worked on. If you are getting 10-15 different small distinctions and improvements per day of training then it adds up very quickly. A lesson may be

  • Completing a new skill
  • Adding on to a new skill
  • Completing a skill faster
  • Completing a skill with better quality
  • Doing more of the same skill than before
  • Doing the skill longer than before

I notice that when I look at all my progresses I focus on the same improvements every day. Today was an amazing day down at L.A. Fitness. I made I sure I had five hours sleep so I had the strength. I went down there with my mini beam and began to warm up. It did not take very long before I was ready for my first technique. I decided to go for an OctoSlinky as my goal. Well I got to eight and felt great and kept going. I ended up getting to a Decaslinky. As my first technique of the morning this is incredible and a testament of how open my back is and shoulders. I had been talking about this with Doc and said sometime soon I am going to do a Decaslinky to start. Well been there done that.

Next I did my Rockerbridges and I can feel how much closer my feet are getting to me hands. It might be another couple of months but I am sure I am going to be able to get my grab my own feet at some point. That will be a huge step forward and how me flexible my back has truly become. All the work with Heather Meglasson poking between my ribs with her little device is incredible in allowing me to open the ribs.

I then did my other techniques and kept adding on, tweaking, improving them all. I got breakthroughs on all but one technique today and I can see how much more I am going to be able to get over the next couple of days. It is great having my back in such excellent shape. My handstands are getting stronger and longers and I can now do pirotettes into bridges which is great. I almost had a record of handwalking as well and know I will break my best soon.

Also my split machine has arrived and I love it. It assists with the sideways splits. I have already sat in it for a while and as I do that every day I am finally going to be able to do my sidesplits. I look forward to posting pictures of my progress.

Life is amazing. Go Heroes!!

Born This Way

I am so excited. I went into train with coach this morning and my back was feeling great before I even started with him it was wide open at home. When I arrived Coach said he had chosen some floor music for me. He put it on and it was the instrumental (of course) version of Born This Way by Lady Gaga. I LOVE Lady Gaga and we often train to her music. It sounds great and he has already started mapping the floor routine to it. Paula then came in. She is the co owner of Elite Gymnastics and then Coach put it on for her. Within three seconds she was smiling and she gave it her endorsement. Fantastic. I am so excited to be training to this music. It will entirely change my perspective of floor now.

I recently ordered a Split Machine which assists you to do the splits. It should arrive the beginning of next week. The side splits has been a challenge for me and this is going to allow me to sit in the splits and read books and even type on the computer while the body is gradually stretching. It should be awesome so I will let you know.



I also have new covers coming out. I have already seen the cover of Coach Magazine and there are five more covers still to come. I will dispaly them very shortly and put them in the Media section as well.

I had an awesome session with coach. We did great work on the front handsprings as well as the tumbling. Made some great distinctions and tomorrow we will be doing more on the floor so we can move to doing Layouts shortly. Good progress on Front Tucks and Back Extension Rolls.

I then went to bars and made fantastic progress there as well. An important distinction around pulling on the bars allowed me to make great progress in conecting the Kip, Cast, Squat On and Long Hand Kip. Easily my best set so far. I was then working on Kip, Cast and Kip and was able to get close to connecting this. This will lead shortly to Kip, Cast, Clear Hip Circle, Kip, Squat On which is the first part of the Level 6 Bar Routine. On Level 7 I will be doing it Kip to Handstands so I need to get a stronger pull to be able to get up into the handstands.

Afterwards I went and saw Doc and she was dewp into my shoulder with her elbow and grinding deep into the muscles so as the break up scar tissue and glueiness in that area. She then had one look at me do a cat yoga posture and immediately started going deep in the gluteus tissue and boy was it tender. I had not even noticed. She has found a new critical area to work on. As she was adjusting my upper back there was an awesome triple click and I immediately felt the extra freedom in it. Even as I type now the back feels so much more open. I love Doc. She is such a miracle worker.

Looking forward to another great day. Only twelve more with coach this block and then off to competitions again. Go Heroes!!