And just thinking about it takes me back to one of my childhood nightmares–being forced to do it over and over and over again until I either got it right, or collapsed in a puddle of tears.
I’m talking about rope climbing.
Yes, simply putting one hand on top of the other in a rhythmic cadence with your legs until you reach the top, then bounding down.
I dreaded the day during YMCA summer camp when the counselor would line us up and make us climb. I was a chubby kid, but I could swim and play baseball pretty well. But I could not climb that damn rope.
It hurt my hands and even more so my adolescent pride. I was just too heavy, too scared, too everything–and failing that task remains one of my life’s challenges left undone.
Today, the rope climb has largely been replaced by rock- and wall-climbing–both excellent “sports” that test your fitness and daring. If you haven’t tried them, put at least one of them on your gotta-do list for ’12.
There are machines in the gym that replicate the rope climb. Not!
They replicate the arm motion (and they’re a good arm/cardio move) but not the climbing! These days about the only people you see actually climbing a rope are in the military–boot camp hell.
That’s why my friends at The Art of Manliness created a post called How to Climb a Rope Like a Navy Seal.
I coulda used this sucker years ago!
Try the rope machine in the gym as a part of your warmup, especially if it’s an upper-body day. It’ll give you a good stretch, both before and after lifting. Be sure to reach as high as you can on each rotation, and vary the resistance to work the muscles more.