Brandi’s Workshop

Brandi’s workshop started at 10am on a Saturday morning.  It was quite a task to wake up so early as I had to follow the hubby to work first before he could drop me off at Camp5.  We were house sitting for my in laws and I didn’t want the long drive home after our movie that night.

The session started with some warm up exercises just to get the joints moving and to minimise injuries.  We followed these with some stretches by hanging on jugs on the walls.  I was starting to get pumped by this stage, and I was sweating from the heat of the sun blasting through the full glass panels at the lead wall.

We went down into the boulder cave and Brandi took her through a series of exercises to gauge the level of our abilities. 

The first exercise was on a slab requiring us to traverse from left to right using only our feet and our left hand.  The right hand as allowed to palm the wall, but not use any features or holds. 

The second exercise was a repeat of the first but using our right hand instead.  The third exercise – yup, you guessed it – hands free.

I had to thank Coverboy for his extensive lessons on the importance of foot-work and balance, for I made it through this section fairly easily.

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The next exercise took us to the “high ball” wall – my least favourite area in the entire gym because I’m scared of heights.  I tend to freeze when I get to three quarters of the way up, unless the holds are just bomber. 

Brandi wanted to test our ability to handle slopers so she gave us the problem in the picture above that SN is working on.

I bombed at the orange hold because I got scared.  I was pretty sure I could hold it, but fear got the better of me and I refused to let go of my right hand until my hands were so pumped I couldn’t hold on any longer.  Even though I knew I could fall safely from that height (as I did when I jumped off the first time), I still couldn’t overcome that stupid thought that I would rather jump down deliberately rather than allow myself to fall making a move.

Move that orange boulder one meter closer to the ground and I am almost certain I would have committed the move.  Whether I would have succeeded or not, was a different question altogether.

The fifth exercise required us to do a relatively simple boulder problem and find as many “hands free” resting points as possible.  The trick was in finding the “hands free” resting points – which is obviously a handy skill to have up your sleeve.  I think the most anyone managed to find was about 13.

Core strengthening exercises dominated the rest of the morning up until lunch.  The first of these required us to hold onto two jugs at the base of a roof.  We had to lock our arms and swing our legs up to kick two spots on the roof – first with the left leg, then with the right leg and then crossing over with each leg.  We had to repeat this twice.

Needless to say, only AR, a.k.a. the man, managed to do repeat the example that Brandi had demonstrated.  And since she succeeded quite easily, her next task was to hold her foot on each hold for a moment before letting it drop.

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The rest of us were given a slightly easier task where we had to hold two jugs and extend our legs out towards a vertical wall.  For twenty seconds, we had to walk our feet around the wall.

In the picture above, S was working the second exercise, but I think you get the idea.

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The group watched Brandi attentively as she demonstrated how to make the exercise harder and easier according to our body lengths.

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Then we each had to take turns practicing the exercises.

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After this, we broke off for lunch, where I pigged out heartily on a hotdog and waffles with ice cream.  I was a little embarassed that everyone kept noticing how much I was eating.  Perhaps I ought to have guessed by then that something in my system was up…

We came back to Camp5 feeling rather sleepy with full stomachs and digested our food as we watched a few hardcore climbing videos.

In the next session, Brandi demonstrated how to make dynamic moves and dynos.  By this time, my left arm was starting to feel a pull and I had to sit out for the rest of the session. 

SKT was nearby watching and after describing the problem with my arm, he recognised it instantly as muscle fatigue.  Much to my chagrin, rest was the only cure. 

I talked to Brandi a little after that about strain injuries, especially the elbow problems I had been getting.  It appeared to be a muscle imbalance issue and all I needed to do was work the opposing muscles on my forearms by doing wrist curls in the opposite direction.

There were more discussions at the end of the class, but I missed out because J had bought tickets for the Da Vinci Code at 6:15pm instead of 7pm.  Apparently, they went through the basics on circuit training, among other things.  I’ll have to get the details from AR.

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This was the group that took part in the class, with Brandi in the middle and three of us missing.

Photos are by courtesy of Anna Rinna – and once again I didn’t ask for permission before stealing them.  Sorry for the abuse of friendship, Anna.

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