Last Saturday we had lots of guests in the house. An opening meeting for the book club. Because our friends didn’t see each other for the entire summer, everyone wanted to tell many stories. Some were less concise than others. To make a long story short and including lots of wonderful potluck food, our guests left the house only around 9 PM. And we started the meeting at 2 PM. Entire Saturday spent discussing books… Yummy…
So it’s no surprise that the guests voices whirled in my head already from 2 AM tonight. Luckily even they went to sleep around 6 AM so I did get some sweet sleep afterwards.
When the time came in the morning to pick up apples in the garden and do my pull-up routine, I decided I’m gonna go for a ladder: 1-2-3-2-1.
If you’re not familiar with the concept of the ladder, it’s very nice for warming up and avoiding muscle strain because you start small, say with just 1 pull-up. Then you rest and do 2 pull-ups. Then rest and do 3. And you continue this way until you reach the maximum number of reps you can do. Then you climb down the ladder. For example, 2 pull-ups, rest and 1 pull-up.
I kind of enjoyed doing it this morning. Of course, the middle 3 reps were extremely difficult to complete. That’s OK, tomorrow I can repeat the same ladder again until it’s not that hard and I’m ready to add one more pull-up to the ladder.
I guess the concept of the ladder could be applied to many activities that you do, even the creative ones. Let’s say you want to write for a certain period of time or you look for a certain number of words. So your ladder with words might look like this: 100-200-300-200-100. If you are a beginner, you can start even with a smaller amount of words: 50-100-150-100-50. Or if you want to draw, you can aim for time in minutes: 5-10-15-10-5. Or it could be longer - 5-10-15-20-25-30-25-20-15-10-5. Or if you’re playing an instrument, you can gradually speed up the tempo and slow down again.
Right of the top of my head I would say that for organists this could obviously mean increasing and reducing practice time or playing increasingly difficult combinations of voices. If you find other uses for this ladder method, let me know.
The point is to have some initial sets to warm up, then reach your maximum and then cool down again while taking regular breaks to rest. This should work for people who don’t like to work or practice or exercise without interruption for a long period of time.
Choose your own ladder, try it yourself and share your experience with me.
Now I’m ready to draw a Pinky and Spiky comic strip and have some breakfast…
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Drs. Vidas Pinkevicius and Ausra Motuzaite-Pinkeviciene
Organists of Vilnius University , creators of Secrets of Organ Playing.
Don't have an organ at home?
Download paper manuals and pedals, print them out, cut the white spaces, tape the sheets together and you'll be ready to practice anywhere where is a desk and floor. Make sure you have a higher chair.