Indoor rock climbing actually. Central Rock Gym here in Hadley, Ma is an incredible place for anyone who wants to learn how to boulder, top rope(belay), or lead climb. The place is huge!
The bouldering area is along the side wall of the building and a few hundred feet long. It has some very very challenging holds, and some rather easy ones. I’m by no means good at indoor rock climbing. I have a lot of fun doing it on the area mountains but this was totally different. I used muscles I didn’t even know I had. And with indoor rock climbing not only does it give your body the work out of a life time, it gives your mind a work out as well. You have to plan out each step and each movement of your hand, and if you make one wrong move you will likely fall down and have to start over. At CRG they use a rating system for each planned out climb. For bouldering they all begin with V followed by a number 0-10 for degree of difficulty. I was doing mostly v0-v3 yesterday but did complete one v6 and was very proud of myself. I didn’t get to check out the top roping or lead climbing because you need to go to a short class on how to do it which I missed. I’m hoping to get out and do that this week though. I think the coolest part about CRG is how willing to help everyone is. I was having some trouble on a few of the routes so a guy came over and showed me how he would do it. After watching him I got it pretty quick. The hardest part is having the strength in your fingers to hold on. All in all it was super fun and I will be going back very frequently!
As far as preparing your hands and fingers for this, just try this workout for hands of steel! For this work out all you need is a bucket and at least 20 pounds of rice. You may need more rice or two buckets depending on the size. First thing you do is throw on a short sleeve shirt and pants that you can flex a little bit in for one of the exercises. Each one of these excercises you should do 5-10 repetitions followed by as short a break as you feel comfortable with before moving to the next. And now on to the workouts!
1.) Stab your hands into the rice, make a fist, pull your hands out and repeat.
2.) Stab your hands into the rice, spread your fingers as far as possible and pull your hands out palms facing down.
3.) Push fists into the rice, rotate in one direction for 15-20 seconds, then switch directions.
4.) Push fists into the rice, move them side to side keeping your arms stationary sort of like making a “U” side to side. Do this for 15-20 seconds.
5.) Push fists into the rice, move them forward and backward keeping your arms stationary sort of like making a “U” front to back. Do this for 15-20 seconds.
6.) Place open hands on top of rice, take large pinches of rice quickly for 15-20 seconds.
7.) Touch your fingers to your thumb, dig into the rice, spread your fingers and thumbs out wide, and repeat.
8.) Dig your thumbs as deep into the rice as you can and repeat.
9.) Stab your hands into the rice, grab a handful of rice and squeeze as hard as you can then repeat.
10.) Follow number 9 only this time stand in an athletic stance and stop after one time. This to me is more to show you the difference in power when you’re standing rather than kneeling. And the first couple times I did it I felt it in my back, probably from the stance.
That’s it, how’d you do? Most people say this was super easy and it’s a pointless workout, but try it after you’ve rock climbed for a few hours. And trust me the soreness does not set in instantly, you’ll feel it the next morning. Good luck and maybe I’ll see you out at CRG.