Brian Appiah Obeng on turning practice into performance.
Author: Brian Appiah Obeng is a photographer, Parkour performer, iPhoneographer and human node based in London.
I knew A hundred muscle-ups wouldn’t be a problem as I’d been training every day for the previous 8 weeks on similar techniques. Also, I’d been training Muscle-Up ladders/pyramids during the last few weeks, starting with a pattern up to a simple 5 and back, then incrementing by one whenever it felt right and progressing to a painful 9 two weeks before. That basically meant that I was on course for 100 soon enough.
The only thing that was against me was time as the last few weeks have been packed with a good few courses, workshops and a touch of travel.
Still, I woke up that morning and thought today’s the day. The meetings I had scheduled were just more motivation to move a little swifter.
After a thorough warmup, and some chin-ups to begin, I could tell it might take a couple reps to get into my stride, but after the first few, I decided to do the hundred in groups of 3.
Funny thing is, by the time I reached about the 50 mark, I’d fallen into an easy rhythm, and knew that a hundred wouldn’t be a problem… so I thought, how about 400 instead??
(In case you’re wondering, that number popped into my head because I’d just hit 400 Followers on Instagram).
So once I’d hit three figures, I decided to keep it up.
The other thing I should mention is, that apart from time, there were two other enemies: The first was hunger, the challenge was on the spur of the moment, I’d only had a light breakfast (but then, I usually do this to avoid any feeling of nausea during my morning training sessions). The other… well, even though the sun was shining, it was a chilly day. It was just warm enough to maintain warmth on the bar from where my hands had been gripping during each rep, but just cold enough that if I were to break for too long, I’d need an entire new warm-up before continuing…
…and I’d hit around the 150, when my belly exclaimed that it was time to eat!
I took a little feast on some rice and fish, followed with some bananas for dessert (This was refueling at the pitstop).
I returned to the bars after around an hour, but iIrealised that time was tight and that I’d have to be off sooner than later. I thought that I may as well fit in as many as I could within the time that I had, then call it a day.
I still felt good, but the combination of the time out and the digestion meant that I was moving slower… I had to drop to reps of two for a few, but it was a temporary lapse.
Before I knew it, I had to call time.
So I was at 195 in total, but it was a number that was nagging at me. Nothing special about it.
Seriously, for the rest of the day, seeing any piece of scaffolding or bolted bar on my travels, I’d be longing to just do 5 more to at least round off the set, but by that time darkness had fallen, and the temperature had dropped to freezing.
Still, I returned home late that night with only one thought on my mind.
So I popped in, grabbed a light, and headed back to the park.
It was MUCH colder… almost unforgivably so, but I was already there and only had five to do.
The thing is, just jumping up to grab the chilly bar was a surprise in itself… but you know the phrase…
“I’ve started, so I’ll finish”.
They’re the last 5 you see in the video.
The days afterwards I rested, waiting for the familiar aches and pains to set in, but apart from a little cramp in my neck two days later (which was more likely due to a bad sleeping position than anything else), I felt pretty good.
One thing I did notice though: I rested for the next 3 says, just doing some stretching here and there. When I returned to the bars to train again, I felt like I had less energy at first, even though I believed I was stronger. Some part of me needs to recover, but my mind’s definitely raring to go!