Insights and Distinctions

In Frontier Trainings there is a distinction that ‘Distinctions separate the masters from the masses’. This is based on the concept that the more you have done something the more you have understood the little things that make a difference.

On Tuesday I was training with coach and was doing horribly. My tumbling was just not strong enough and I fell on almost every beam skill I did. My balance was just no there and it was frustrating. I was dealing with some frustrating news as well.

Coach then asked how what do you want to do with the last 45 minutes. I asked if I can vault. I said I wanted to get some energy out. I sprinted and really got my feet up allowing me to get a much better position on the table. As a result I did one vault where I really felt the time off the table until I stuck the landing. The next vault I applied the new distinction. Bam. Brilliant Vault. Coach was like Wow!!. I shared the lesson and he said do it again. I then proceeded to do my best vaulting ever and cannot wait to do it again.

This morning I went down to LA Fitness to train and took my mini beam. I did my backbends and did my best set ever.

As you can see my hands are getting closer and closer towards my feet. Today I had my massage therapist work a lot on the thighs to lengthen this muscle so I can this without bending the legs. I will get to the point where I can grab my own ankles. I am determined and with careful incremental progress I will get there.

Coach has also got me running to improve my cardio so I am now running every training at LA Fitness. It will end up making a big difference but running is not my favorite activity. Now I listen to Laday Gaga, Ke$ha and Katy Perry when I run and I am actually starting to enjoy it.

I am training again tomorrow and looking forward to getting more exceptional results. Loving Life. Go Heroes!!

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!!!

Bending Over Backwards

Wow. I was speaking to coach the other day and he said do you realize Bobbie we have almost been working together now for three years. Three years. We started training on my birthday Aug 14, 2009 when I just turned 19. What a journey it has been. One of the biggest achievements of that has been the incredible back flexibility that I now have. It has been a long and gruelling process including breaking three ribs multiple times and separating ribs in two places.

I have difficulty fathoming NOT being able to lean backwards and place your hands on the ground effortlessly now. It is getting easier and wasier every day that I do it and I keep pushing the envelope of my flexibility as I invent new skills and drills to open it up even more.

A series of slinkies is not routine. This morning I did a pentaslinky as my warmup. Tomorrow will probably be an Octoslinky to warm up. That is definitely coming the way my back is opening up. I then did some Double Slinkies using my off leg. The first one was horrible but I did the next three well and the last was a Triple Slinky. First time I have done a Triple Slinky using my off leg. As I keep conditoning it I will be doing Quad slinkies with it. Yet only five weeks a single one was impossible. I love this sport!!! Miracles are a daily occurence.

I then did a new technique I call my Rockerbridge. This is where I backbend into a bridge and then rock back and forth between  kickover position and standup position. It is training my back to be used to the movement and allow my hands to get get closer to my feet. I will get to a point where I can grab my own feet. I still have a while to go but I am on the journey.

After that I did my beam slinkies followed by back walkovers. I did a perfect set of 5. It is amazing watching how this has progressed. I remember when even doing a Back Walkover was scary. Now I do the slinky in beam position and then an effortless Back Walkove after. This will eventually become Back Walkover-Back Handspring on beam. So cool.

I recently ordered a Mini-Beam and Floor Bar and will get more so I have one of each in each location. I need to be able to do the drills regardless of location. I took my mini-beam with me to LA Fitness and then started doing back bends onto the beam. This is to train my body to go back and get the hands into the position to land on the beam. This is going to require a lot of conditioning but the idea is turning the motion to instinctive where I see a beam I immediately prepare hands to grip it solidly. I did 10 solid bends onto the beam. I still have more work to go to be able to kickover on the beam but I will train more tomorrow and keep drilling it.

I had a frustrating last day with coach on Friday. I just was not clicking like I wanted to be and it was capped off by my bar routine in which I just plain sucked. I know that the more I train the better I get and there will be days where things just are not working. It is part of the process.

So after almost three years I see how far I have come and I am very excited to see where the next three year of intensive training and flexibility work will bring. 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!!

Returning to Peak Form

I made some great progress while I was in the UK on various stretches however my conditoning suffered severely. I was back at LA Fitness yesterday and today and am gradually getting back to series of Slinkies. Yesterday I could barely do a slinky, followed by a triple slinky and another triple slinky. Before I left I could do 4,6,9 from a cold start. Today I did 3,3,6. I can see within another three to five days of conditoning I will be back to the edge and pushing breakthroughs again. I am also working on my off slinkies. 20 days ago these were an impossibility. Today I am very frustrated when I only get 2/5. I will be back doing 5/5 and clean very shortly.

I also worked on Upslinkies. And did 5/5 up onto the 2 panel mat (L-2) and then got 2/5 onto the 3 panel mat (L-3). I can see this returning in the next five days as well. My back is doing great. I am still feeling some pressure around where the upper rib is healed where the calcium formed around the bone so I am taking it easy as I get back to full shape.

I then did two combos which were perfect but my body was pretty pired by them so I backed off and went to handstands. Just did not do as good as yesterday when I made 7/10. I did two nice 360 deg pirouettes and then did lots of Handstand walking. I am committed to getting much stronger at this as it is going to help in so many areas of balance on bars, beam and floor. I made 23 steps which was my second best. Yesterday I did 24 beating my previous best of 22. I can feel the difference in the hand posture, moving the feet and balance so I am constantly getting new distinctions which will lead to more breakthroughs this week. I can really see me getting 35-40 steps this week. It is on the near horizon.

I only spent three hours at LA Fitness today but my body just hasn’t got back to the conditioning level I need to go for 4-5 hours and not have injury. Tomorrow should be stronger and even more flexible and I can see some breakthroughs happening tomorrow and I am looking forward to seeing that.

Off to get more rest and then work on stretching on splits tonight and then plenty of sleep. I love it that my body is so strong and healthy. I just have muscle and bone crunching in my right shoulder from where the ribs healed leaving so much scar tissue. This too shall pass on my way to GOLD!!! Go Heroes!!!

P.S. Sending my blessings to Aliya Mustafina, the Russian champion gymnast and all around World Champion who blew her knee at the recent european championships and will miss Worlds and may miss the Olympics. I understand the challenges you face and send you all my love.