March 11, 2009


At 9:30 - 10:30pm every Monday, Andrew McBurney is coaching Monster Monday Body Blast at Boulderz Climbing Centre. He describes it as "a gymnastic-style conditioning circuit focused on increasing core strength and power." It's more than that. It's the reason I had to roll over, rather than sit up, to get out of bed this morning.

Andrew started Body Blast on Feb 23, but I wasn't able to take part until the day before yesterday. I was very interested in training like this, because Andrew is looking sick fit, because I've always had a gymnast fetish (doesn't everyone?), and because I want to climb harder.

What this looked like on Monday:

There were four people in each group running through the circuit, so there is some rest between each of the three sets while the other three people complete the activity. Otherwise I would have died. These were the exercises on the circuit:

1. Rings, and it's all about the threes. Three iron crosses (in my case this looks much more like a very acute arrow than a cross, but we all start somewhere), three 90º leg lifts (holding one for 10 seconds) while holding upright in the rings (like at the top of a dip rather than hanging), six inverted levers, alternating between front and back (so three of each).

Skip 200 times (this number increases by 25 every week).

2. Rope. Using only hands, ascend the rope, starting from sitting on the ground. Descend slowly and with control. Climb the rope only as far as you can go and still safely descend. I did not go to the top of the rope, because the rings had already broken me somewhat.

Skip 200 times (this is really hard if you haven't skipped before, and are a lump even though you maybe didn't think you were a lump)

3. Handstands. With support as required, as long as possible up to one minute. I lasted all of 23 seconds each time before collapsing on my head. "Doesn't that hurt?" asked Julie. "Well, the floor is padded, and it's not exactly like I have any choice when my arms collapse like that."

Skip 200 times (okay, I only got to 160 this time before I thought I would maybe hurl. I decided stopping at 160 was the prudent choice)

4. Dead-hang leg lifts. Hanging loosely from a beam, without bending your knees or moving your upper body at all lift your legs to 90º. Ten lifts per set. I know this sounds easy. Try it. Julie rocked this so hard! My angles past rep number 3 in each set were perhaps somewhat larger than 90º. Also, not so much with the straight legs. We'll see how next week goes.

Skip 200 times (okay, not so bad this time)

5. Push ups. Five hand positions per set. I did three of each (so 15 per set). Hopefully next week I'll get all the way through this.

Skip 200 times

6. Boat. Start in yoga boat. Without moving your upper body, do 10 leg extensions, then without moving your lower body do 10 torso extensions (dropping back so your lower back touches and then lifting back to boat), then to 10 combined extensions. I don't know how to describe how far from being able to complete this activity I was. Are there three sets? I have no idea. I skipped to #7 after five torso extensions.

7. Shavasna or equivalent laying-down pose, for as long as necessary to stop crying.

I can't wait for next week! Everyone should come share the pain out to play! No additional cost for the Body Blast beyond a regular day pass. Come on down!

Posted by Ken Allen at March 11, 2009 9:44 AM