This will be a 12 part look into the 12 basics of movement. To summarize the 12 movements are;
Walking – part I
Running – part II
Jumping – part III
Moving on all fours – part IV
Balancing – part V
This week we will look into the sixth of the essential movements.
I have always loved climbing. From a very young age I enjoyed climbing nearly everything I could get my hands and feet onto.
I shouldn’t have to explain what there is to climb as a child. Everything is climbable as a child. From tree’s, houses, cliffs to couches and walls.
As I got older, I started to find new things to climb. I began to get interested in rock climbing and belayed climbing. I bought a crap load of equipment and started training on the indoors, living in the Midwest, you are not gifted with cliffs or rock faces around every turn. To this day, there is still no better fun than finding something to climb, whether it’s a cliff or an indoor rock fireplace.
Like the last five fundamentals, I want to highlight a few approaches to this fundamental movement. I am not going to teach you how to climb or how to scale your local rock face. I will illustrate a few examples from my own as well as others that follow the same guidelines as I.
I use climbing in a very simple way now. I will climb anything and everything I can. Being in the northern Midwest, there are a lot of glacial deposits and wonderful cliffs to climb. Even closer to home I tend to climb anything I can. I tend to climb onto my roof to check things out every once in a while. I enjoy the benefit of wonderful trees in my yard as well.
I often speak of the rock quarry I have close to home. We are not talking about a strip mine pit; this was once a hill that has been leveled for development. Roughly 75% is left now as rock clutter and wooded area. It is no Everest but it is still nice to get out and get my hands on rock. Of my three quarters acre yard, I have a good compliment of trees, nothing special. I have a lot of lower branches I climb up and over. None of my trees are great for climbing up.
As far as the MOVNAT portion of this,
These are pictures of Strengthbox founder Greg Carver, during a MOVNAT retreat I believe in Brazil. In just these pictures you can see more than just climbing is being utilized. You have strength, balance and a whole lot of fun. I love the looks of these “jungle gym’ type pull up bars. The double or even triple tiered format would make a perfect climbing device. What you are looking at here is the attempt at the most functional and economical approach to vaulting onto and then over a branch. Most people can do it while exerting the absolute max amount of force and energy. MOVNAT teaches you to use more conservative natural movement to get to, up and over objects. In the example above, imagine Mr. Carver being chased by a bear, having to vault over or up an obstacle. Exerting the max amount of force and energy leaves you strapped for anything needed further. Imagine it’s not the last object needing to be vaulted! Maybe it’s one of three, four, five or ten! If you can barely get over the first how can you expect to get over the tenth?
Rock climbers are ingrained with this teaching as well. Never climb with your arms. Support with your arms but climb with your legs. Now we are not monkeys but the legs, like our, hearts are very solidly packed with muscles. They are far and beyond more powerful than our arms. Next time you are out and about, find a tree branch, swing set or other low lying branch. Try and jump up and pull yourself up and over. In-between these movements take the time and hang by an arm on the branch. Try placing the tree branch into your armpit, with your forearm on the top of the branch. Alternate arms, or try both arms up this way, all the while never touching down from the branch. These are phenomenal workouts for your entire torso. They must touch a good deal on the core, my abs and sides feel shredded, not just from the bark either!
Granted, like all forms of exercise either touted here or elsewhere. There is an inherent risk to everything. You will obviously not want to hang from a branch 30 feet in the air. But, you also don’t want to hang from a branch three feet off the ground (unless you are two feet tall). In my case, the branch I use is roughly at the point that after a hanging stretch, my feet barely graze the dirt. This is key for no CHEATING! Climbing in rock piles or on cliffs is also very dangerous and is not recommended without proper safety equipment. Take precaution, you are trying to fine tune your body for everyday life not take it out of everyday life.
So get out and get moving.