I made this video on 14th of September to progress my squats. In fact I would squat a set and check immediately on my phone whether my squat is actually worth it or whether I am just fooling myself.
I was glad to find that atleast I was squatting till parallel and slightly below parallel. I definitely need to improve some hip flexor strength to stop the wobbling when getting up. Some more core and glutes squeezing would help me a lot more. 

The squat routine was

  • 45x5
  • 45x5 (not shown)
  • 75x3
  • 105x3
  • 135x5
  • 135x5
  • 135x5
  • 135x3
  • 135x5

I have been trying to improve my overall health by controlling the food intake and working out well. No, I am not starving myself, but keeping track of my food intake to make sure I am in a calorie deficit and eat enough to remain energetic throughout the day.

As I make progress in lifting weights, it came across me that documenting them would be a great idea for two reasons. One, I can ask feedback on my form and second to document my progression to higher weights.

The video linked above is Overhead Press - a compound exercise but primarily works out the  shoulder muscles and triceps, though it needs abs and legs for stability.

So reddit pointed out some issues with this form:

  1. Grip is too wide
  2. Elbows should be in front of the bar
  3. Squeeze the glutes harder
  4. Keep the core tighter

Leg stretches for better flexibility

One of the various problems faced by people having a desk job is decreased flexibility along with back pain. While back pain problems can be reduced by improving the sitting posture, it does not improve the flexibility.

To compensate for my reduced flexibility, I have been stretching out lately 4-5 times a week. For best results, I should stretch out daily, which is still a work in progress.  At the moment, the lower body flexibility can be better described as shameful even though I made significant improvement in last few months. 

Here is a list of lower body stretches which are my favorite:

These are primarily leg stretches and I spend most of the time on hamstring stretches due to the fact that they remain stiff most of the time and don’t provide me with enough strength I need during the lower body workouts like squat.

Cosmos: How did we escape the prison of ignorance?

It took five simple rules:

  1. Question authority: no idea is true because someone says so, including me.
  2. Think for yourself
  3. Question yourself: Don’t believe anything just because you want to. Believing something doesn’t make it so.
  4. Test ideas by the evidence gained from observation and experiment:  If a favorite idea fails a well-designed test, it’s wrong! Follow the evidence wherever it leads. If you have no evidence, reserve judgement. 
  5. You could be wrong: Even the best scientists have been wrong about something. Newton, Einstein and every other great scientist in history, they all made mistakes. Science is a way to keep from fooling ourselves and each other.

From  Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Cosmos episode: Unafraid of the Dark

Moved to Boston. Home is in order. Books are well arranged. Two most important items for a software engineer are also assembled - table and chair. Moved to Boston. Home is in order. Books are well arranged. Two most important items for a software engineer are also assembled - table and chair. Moved to Boston. Home is in order. Books are well arranged. Two most important items for a software engineer are also assembled - table and chair. Moved to Boston. Home is in order. Books are well arranged. Two most important items for a software engineer are also assembled - table and chair.

Moved to Boston. Home is in order. Books are well arranged. Two most important items for a software engineer are also assembled - table and chair.

In the picture taken, I have marked the location of a section of Bright Angel Fault line, one of the most famous fault lines running through Grand Canyon. This fault line is visible from the North Rim which is slightly less accessible than it’s counterpart - South Rim. The US National Park Service has a good overview of Faults in general and this specific fault line.

I visited North Rim on 22nd of June, 2014 and this photo was taken from Bright Angel Point Trail which is 0.8 miles from the Visitor Center. There is a small map located just beneath the viewing area which shows the fault line. I matched the location with the map and snapped a pic with my phone. So that’s the secret of this crappy quality photo, plus did I mention I used optical zoom? Yes, I admit to it, you can hold back your pitchforks.

These are called phosophenes. This happens when you touch or rub your closed eyes, or even squeeze them tightly closed, because the pressure stimulates your retina and makes your brain perceive light. Your retina has tiny cells in it that are used to collect light. When it takes in a light stimulus, the sensation crosses over to the other side of the eyeball which is why you see the light form opposite of the side of the eye that pressure was added. Phosophenes are different from hallucinations because they are caused by a physical pressure to the eyeball that creates the sensation of “seeing light” whereas hallucinations are generated solely in the occipital lobe.

Sitting near the Horseshoe bend. The Colorado river flows from Colorado to Utah and enters Arizona at Page where it forms a narrow Canyon called Glen Canyon. Just upstream a mile or two, is the Glen Canyon Dam which stops the water and forms Lake Powell. The canyon is made up for Navajo sandstone which stretches across a lot of states in Western United States. 

The Horseshoe Bend is near the city of Page at the northern border of Arizona and is not part of any National park or National preserve or monument. The place is unmanned and has no entry gate or fee. There is a parking lot, from where one needs to walk a 3/4 mile to reach the corner of the canyon.

If you are driving from Utah, take 89S and drive a mile or two after crossing the city of Page. Keep looking on the right for a board mentioning Horseshoe Bend.

If driving from Flagstaff, take 89N and check with local traffic whether 89N is open till Horseshoe Bend. In case the road is closed, you need to take a detour at 89T after a few miles after the turn at Yuba City. Keep driving till you meet US 98 and take West on 98W till you meet US 89 where you need to go South on 89S.

Taken at Upper Antelope Canyon on 20th June, 2014. The canyon is formed by erosion of sandstone rocks. The sandstone rocks are called Navajo sandstone and they stretch from Wyoming to Northern Arizona and gets its red color due to high concentration of Iron Oxide.

The Upper Antelope Canyon is just a quarter mile and is pretty narrow at a few places, opens downstream at a small sand basin which flows all the way down towards Colorado River. Most of the year the basin is dried up but there are occasional flash floods.

If you plan to travel here, check for weather conditions at Page, AZ to make sure there is no chances of rain. The nearest city is Page, though the lodging can become quite expensive. For food, only McD is open 24 hours. From the entrance of the tribal park, register for tours which leaves every hour. The last tour is at 4PM and it takes an hour and a half to complete the trip.

If arriving from Utah, take 89S and after crossing Glen Canyon Dam, drive a mile down and take a left turn on 98E. Keep driving for 5-10 mins and the parking lot is on the right.

If arriving from from Phoenix, take I-17, switch to 89N at Flagstaff and keep driving till you need to take a detour at 89T (89N till Page is closed as of writing due to road closure). Keep driving on 89T till it meets 98E, take a right and keep driving till you find Antelope Canyon on the right.

Levelled up on Fitocracy. Some improvements in 6 months. Nothing magical, but every effort counts.