20/20 Vision

I have been working on building series of Back Walkovers over the last 6 weeks to assist me in doing it on beam. I need to improve the speed at which my hands get to the ground after starting to leave back. It takes a lot of confidence to be able to do this. For a loong time I was focusing on Slinkies where you start on both feet and lean back and then kick over. It was my dream early on to do be able to an Octoslinky. 8 in a row. Surely enough over time I broke through this and then Decaslinkies.

When I move to Poway in January I had a much larger area to do a series and it is then I started focsuing on 12. Done. 14. Done and then did 16. I then began focusing on Back Walkover series rather than Slinky series. Next day 6 Back Walkovers in a row. I was stunned. That was 10 days ago. Today my back felt REALLY good and I thought me let me see if I can go for 20. Just let’s see.

I did my first pass of 12 which is the most ever for an initial pass. Then I did 20. I sat stunned. I rested. I drank and I thought let me go for another 20 in a row. Done. Wow. To give you an idea up until then the maximum done in three series was 33 (8,9,16) I just did 12,20,20. My back is opening up to such an incredible level.

What is the key you ask? It is definitly conditioning and doing it repeatedly. I am do back bends onto my beam. Holding the beam in back walkover hand position is MUCH tougher than doing it normal style. It has a much bigger impact on the upper back as well. I do ten back bends onto the beam and then count to 60. While upside down on the beam in bridge position it feels like you are about to break in two. Every part of you is at full stretch. It does not feel like you make much progress each day but what it is doing is building the conditioning and that happens slowly allowing such massive breakthroughs. A breakthrough is a reflection of the work done the previous day that allows it to happen.

When I was in Australia and training with Georgia I was close to doing Beam Slinkies by myself with just a little spot. When I get back to training with coach I am going to be VERY interested to see what progress I have made since I have been away.

My goal now is to go for 30 in a row and then once I know 20 is a given start time trials to see how fast I can them and time it. It is amazing watching the bodyh change and grow and keep getting better. I know it is jus a matter of time before I am doing Back Walkovers on the beam by myself and that will be a huge day of celebration when I do my first one without coach spotting. It will happen. Go Heroes!!!

At Full Stretch

I am back training in San Diego and got to train for four hours today. Feels so good to be back putting in the hours again. Now I have declared for Rio I have five more years to train so rather than overtrain to make London and risk injury I have adjusted my schedule.

After competing at the SingTel Invitational in Singapore last weekend which was at the same time as the Visa Championshps (US National Titles since I did not qualify for them) I was able to get a reality check. I came Bronze on beam, Bronze on bars, 6th on Floor and Silver on Vault. Overall I came fourth in All Around. Just not at the level I need to be and this proved it to me. New focus. New goals.

I am still working hard on opening up my back up. Two weeks ago there was a significant change in my back structure. As a result doing 8-10 Back Walkovers in a row is normal now. I can clearly see it will not be long before I do 20 Back Walkovers in a row and then timed 20 Back Walkovers and then start doing series with my other leg. In fact I am going to focus on working on my off leg tomorrow.

I am working hard on backbends onto the beam and when I bend back and grab that beam and then arch into maximum back stretch it is an amazing feeling. Feeling the entire body at full stretch. You can feel it from the very lower as/hips right through the core, ribs and shoulders, almost like a elastic band at full stretch.

I feel like I am getting closer and closer to be able to kickover from that position and I think it is likely to happen in the next week if I stretch it every day. There is a risk of twisting if I do it incorrectly which is what happened when I used to do it on the floor so I am hesitant. I will probably push the stretch to the point that when I do finally do it, it will be easy, maybe not effortless but easy.

I am doing Level 3 Upslinkies which is great and will probably do 5/5 in the morning when I train. This is all assisting in opening up the back. I can definitely see the day when I will be able to grab my own ankles. My good friend Marina Pearson took 7 years for her to be able to do it. It will be a huge accomplishment for me when I can do it.

I am also working a lot on a variety of handstands, my jumps and my cartwheels. So many techniques are getting cleaner and while I was not getting personal bests I am moving back into the breakthrough zone so it will not be long before I am getting breakthroughs on everything I am doing.

I get to train with coach in five days which I am so looking forward to and also get a lot more training with him in September and October so I am going to make the most of it and make some serious progress. I should be able to complete Level 5 during this Sep/Oct and move fully into prep optionals.

Loving life, loving my champion Kenny. Go Heroes!!!

Birthday Breakthroughs

Wow it has been so long since I blogged. I was busy travelling and have not trained with coach for over 6 weeks and it is really exasperating. I cannot wait to get int the gym and train with him. We will be in the new Elite Gymnastics gym as well which is over 2 times the size and will not have pits. Yay. I have certainly not been slacking off. Today I had lots of great breakthroughs to support all lots the previous couple of days.

My personal best is now 16 slinkies in a row and today I did 16 Back Walkover in a row as well. I did a lot of beam slinkies (spotted) while I was in Australia and my back continues to open up.It is amazing. I am getting closer and closer to being able to grab my own ankles. The arch in my back just gets improving. A lot of that has to do with the opening up of my chest and the front of my hips. I love it.

I have also been working a lot on stag handstands because coach wants me doing it on the beam. I now go into handstand, stag, handstand, stag other leg, handstand. I have just started making them but I will keep doing it and master these as well. Handstands are getting stronger and stronger and will be one of my greatest strengths going forward.

My body is Ok. I have one rib causing some pressure. I have a pinched nerve in my right arm that is very painful in certain positions especially when straight up next to the ear. As I keep working on my Back Slinkies for the beam I am moving closer and closer to beig able to do it on the beam. With all the massive progress I have made I look forward to doing it with coach and getting his feedback.

My new beam Clinton bought me for my birthday arrives in ten days and then I get to focus on doing cartwheels and handstands on the beam and eventually back handsprings as well. Love it.

Time to go and celebrate. I am flying over to Phoenix for the night with Kenny and then I fly back early in time to train in the morning. I will also make sure I get some footage up of the latest episodes. It has been way too long. Love you. 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!!!

Another Day Closer

I rested a lot last night and so ending up having about nine hours sleep. As a result my body was feeling strong and healthy. I got down to LA Fitness at 9am and took my minibeam and floor bar along with me as well. I started stretching and my back felt good. Very good. I started doing my first slinky and thought maybe I could do 8. At least six. I started and back I went and again and again and again……eventually nine or an Ninoslinky. First time I have even gone for nine slinkies in a row as my first technique of the morning. I can clearly see that I will be doing Decaslinkies soon as my starting technique.

I then moved on to my new technique which I am calling my Rockerbridge where I do a back bend in to bridge and then rock back and forth between kickover position and standup position. It is amazing feeling the bodyweight shift while in the bridge. The importance of this is getting the body used to weight shifts while at full extension. This is going to assist greatly with the ability of the body to brace itself in doing back tumbling on the beam. My hands are also getting closer and closer to my feet. I think within a year I should be able to reach back and touch my own feet. This will be an awesome accomplishment. I am not there yet but it feels if this Rockerbridge is going to assist with opening up flexibility even more.

After that I did left slinkies which were great. I was able to do another triple slinky and will not before long before I am doing Quadslinkies using my off leg. It is a never ending source of amazement to me just how the breakthroughs keep growing and expanding and truly reflecting the statement to me ‘Once Impossible, Now Easy’. Six weeks ago that was the case with these Off Slinkies and now doing them and getting stronger.

I then went onto what was one of my previously hardest accomplishments which was Beam Slinkies. I then got to a point where I do Beam Slinky followed by Back Walkover. Recently I have been doing 5/5 in perfect form so today I added a Beam Slinky-Beack Walkover-Front Limber Standup. I was able to 4/5 in great form and getting stronger. It is amazing the pressure the back is under doing this technique.

Next I went onto BackBends onto the beam. The purpose of this technique is to condition my arms to grab that beam and provide a solid foundation for the tumbling that is to follow. This makes a massive difference because I am confident in the hand position then there are only two other keys. 1) Having the baack open enough to be able to go over 2) the strength to be able to kick over while the body is under immense pressure. On the floor I am at the point where I go over about 90% of the time. Not as clean as I like but I am getting there.

At the moment I lean back from the steps (which raise me to floor level) and see the beam and place my hands in beam position. I then push hard against the shoulders in preparation to condition them to go over in the next couple of weeks. It is incredible feeling the body under so much pressure however it is critical to do it so I can get those back walkovers going forward. I can see lots more breakthroughs in this area going forward.

Lastly I did some handstands and did 4/10 which was one less than by best counting up to 3z. I then did 30 beam handstands and making great progress. Still in the very early stages but it is very important stages that I am going through to get used to do handstands on the bars. This a critical part of the Level 7 Bar Routine.

Overall progress in almost every area. They are all just improvements towards getting the results I am really after but I love these days when I keep moving foward. Go Heroes!!!

Into the Breakthrough Zone

As an elite athlete, there is a certain level of conditioning that you need to get to to have breakthroughs. For the last couple of days I have been rebuilding my conditioning to move myself into that zone. Today I moved into that zone meaning that I am going to be having many more breakthroughs over the coming four weeks of working with coach.

Originally I  used to do 3 bridges to warm up and then move into kickovers. Then in time I got to the point where I could just do three kickovers because my back was open enough. About two months ago I moved to the next level where I started off doing Slinkies as my first major technique. Before long I was up to doing three double slinkies as my first three techniques. Well today I broke my record with a 3, 6 and a 10. Now I have only ever done four Decaslinkies in my life so it is a good indication of how open my back is.

I also got 5/5 on Off leg slinkies which were impossible a month ago. Just need to clean up form. Also did 5/5 perfect Upslinkies on Level 2 and went for Level 3 and got 2/5 with the last one very strong so I am looking forward to tomorrow. I then did work on Front Walkovers where I do a back bend onto the Level 3 Panel Mat and then lift one leg and then block off into the standing position going forward like the seocn part of the FWO. Well I did my best ever there as well.

After  a number of other techniques I worked on handstands and upped the ante and made the bar 2z meaning I have to count through the alphabet twice for them to count. I did 5/10 which was easily best ever. Home Run!!

Finally I did 5 Roundoffs. I need to improve the blocking and so doing this off the concrete will help with the block.

Overall incredible day. Huge progress and I am looking forward to training tomorrow and making another huge step forward when as I stay in the ‘Breakthough Zone’! Go Heroes!!