Wednesday, 16 September 2015

In Praise of Climbing

If training could be distilled down to a single word it would be 'specificity'.  Practice makes perfect - or rather, perfect practice makes perfect.

But certain sports have excellent carryover to other athletic endeavour and all-round 'hustle', and perhaps with some modest tweaking, over the long term, will ideally confer favourable health and longevity outcomes.

The stop/start of team ball sports is a good example - short sprints with short recovery time are a feature of rugby, football and basketball whilst bursts of intense multi-dimensional exertion are evident in several combat sports from striking arts like kickboxing and Muay Thai through to the ground and pound of BJJ and/or Judo.

Now in some of the cases above there is impact (rugby) and intentional destruction of joint integrity (Judo and Muay Thai) - which do not auger well for long term health (nor perhaps longevity), but you can certainly 'go light' in these pursuits and they often have less destructive forms (Rugby 7s).

Gymnastics and climbing are two other sports that, in the Venn diagram of sport, provide great carryover in to other fields (the former having been used in MMA and now extensively by rock climbers). Pulling all this together, few places is this cross-border more evident than in Ninja Warrior.

I've mentioned this program on here a few times before - not least for the legend that is Makoto Nagano, but also for the number of gymnasts and climbers that feature on it - and do very well.

The latest climber to make his mark is Isaac Caldiero who has just pocketed a tasty $1,000,000 in the US version of the game.  Here he gives a little insight in to his training:
  • "The first year I was working in Zion as a climbing guide and canyoneering guide, and I didn’t really have a place to train. I was out hiking and climbing and trail running every day. But after that first year [in which he fell and was disqualified] I realized I needed to step it up, so I built all the hardest obstacles in my parent’s backyard. All last year that’s all I did leading up to the 2014 competition. And then I fell again. It was heartbreaking when you’ve put in that kind of time and dedication and it ends in a matter of seconds.

    This year Laura and I were working a bunch so we’d climb, do some pull-ups, push-ups, and some cardio. I had these atomic climbing holds that you can dangle from a tree limb or a bar—they build your grip strength well.

    Then also trying to stay light and eating healthy: Morning time is oat bran with cinnamon, molasses, and honey. For lunch we do a basic power smoothie with fruits and vegetables. Nighttime is the big meal of the day where we try to get protein in. We’ll do salmon and quinoa and spinach-kale salad with goat cheese, lemon, and olive oil."
 Hustle indeed!

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