When Working Out is Just Another Day at the Beach: Rope Climb
Now that SoCal’s infamous June gloom is behind us and festive 4th of July celebrations around the corner, I’m finding it extremely difficult to resist the lure of my favorite summer pastime: beach play! Whether I’m shopping, meeting clients or having drinks with friends, during this time of year, I seem to find any excuse to be near the water. The same goes for my exercise routine. I much rather be out on the beach breaking a sweat than cooped up inside a gym.
One of the best places to enjoy the beach and get a really great workout is the Original Muscle Beach, less than a mile away from the Santa Monica Pier. The ropes, rings, monkey bars and metal beams are all available for the public to use. The most optimal time to go is early in the morning when hardly anyone is there and the sun is still hiding behind the clouds. The temperature is fairly cool and the equipment is relatively under utilized, so the chance of maximizing your workout minus an audience is pretty high.
Using sand as resistance; the sounds of the ocean as music; and the hardcore exercising eye candy in the general vicinity (putting me to shame) as inspiration all make for one productively exhilarating day at the beach! Below are couple of exercises designed to give you a full body beach workout. After you’ve huffed and puffed, I suggest you go for a nice sea dip as a rewarding cool-down, so don’t forget your swimsuit!
Jogging & Sprints
I always like to warm up my body with a nice jog along the beach. There is a great biking and running path that winds throughout Venice and Santa Monica for miles. After 10 to 15 minutes of taking in the scenery and feeling the ocean breeze, I like to get my heart rate up with a few sprints. I typically choose two points (like two garbage cans, or two poles) to visually measure the distance I’ve traveled. I run as fast as I can between those two points. I do this 3 to 4 times.
If you’re a real old school geek (rock on with your bad self) you could bring a tape measure and mark out 50 yards along with two marker-board erasers. You could challenge yourself by having to pick up and drop off the erasers at each point—the same way you probably did it in gym class when you were a kid. But honestly, you might want to save your energy for what’s to come.
After I’ve warmed up, I like to mosey on over to the hardest exercise in the series: rope climbing. Here at the Original Muscle Beach there are metal structures that have thick ropes attached to the top that are meant for climbing. They are securely attached and can hold a significant amount of weight. I don’t know exactly how much weight they can hold, but I’ve seen large male bodybuilders that easily weigh over 200lbs pull themselves up those ropes.
Although it primarily targets the upper body, rope climbing is a full body workout in itself. You’ll feel your stabilizing muscles working, which can often be neglected in regular gym workouts. You’ll be targeting your shoulders, biceps, triceps, back, forearms and abdominals. You’ll also feel it in your thighs, buttocks and calves due to clinching your feet around the rope at the bottom of the position.
I initially start the exercise by placing both hands on the rope, one positioned higher than the other, and from that point I pull my body up and wrap my feet around the bottom of the rope. You’ll definitely want workout gloves for this exercise so that you protect your hands from rope burn. Alternating hands, I pull my body weight up the rope with my feet sliding upward in the same position. My legs form a semi diamond shape. Once I reach the top (or whenever my muscles begin to fail) I reverse the hand alternation and allow myself to slide down the rope until I land on my feet. I do this exercise 3 to 4 times.
THIS IS ADVANCED AND HARD!!! Be careful and remember, it’s important to challenge oneself, but like Tina sang: “we don’t need another hero!” Ain’t nobody there to impress. If you try it and it’s too intense, move on to the next exercise while you still have all your bones intact!
Things You’ll Need
1. A lovely beach
3. A towel (maybe one small for exercising and one large for after workout swim)
4. Workout gloves (remember no rope burns)
5. Water (you’ve got to stay hydrated)
And remember, like all Get Me Body posts, these workout routines are suggested exercises that have worked for me. I am not a trainer or a physician, so please consult either of those two professionals before attempting to do any vigorous workout regiment, especially if you are new to exercising. Stay active and stay inspired.