Grandma's Ninja Warrior Diary: Surprises from a Rock Climbing Class

Pacific Edge Gym Teaching Room

In accordance with my planned approach to developing ninja capabilities, two weeks ago I enrolled in a rock climbing class. One of the things I had learned from watching the stories of competitors on American Ninja Warriors included seeing how many of them were either rock climbers or spent time at rock-climbing gyms.

  • Good climbing depends on feet, not arms. In fact, with feet properly placed, one can hang by one arm for a very long time and feel little strain.
  • Shoes should fit snugly and have bottoms that create friction in order to use feet more effectively.
  • The "climber's triange" -- toes and ball of foot -- indicates where a climber should place his ore her weight when climbing. (After scaling the wall in the gym three times, my toes were really sore! I gave them a nice bubbling session in my foot massager afterward.) I thought I would have to build arm and shoulder strength. I never thought I would have to build toe strength!
  • It is safe to lean away from the wall if done right, and it helps with the climb.
  • Sometimes you need to go down in order to go up.
  • If you cannot find a toe hold, you can sometimes just use the rock itself as if there were a toe hold; that felt like magic (Spiderman!) the first time I liked that. Being short, I think I am going to have to use that a lot.
  • Even though you have done the safety check before climbing a wall and nothing has changed before you are ready to leap onto the next, do the safety check again. Safety is #1 -- one fall can end rock climbing forever (or even a life). So, again, Safety is #1.
  • You can trust belay ropes. Really.
Ah, the perfect way to build greater upper body strength, I thought. Then, I started training, and I learned that mucj of what I thought was not exactly accurate. So, here are some observations from the first few days:

I am looking forward to the rest of the four weeks in this training program. Who konws what other myths are waiting to be broken?


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