The weight room is like a second home for athletes. While that training time is necessary, let’s face it – it can also get a little stale.
Let us help you mix up your routine with unique and fun (but not easy) workouts that build strength, speed, power and improve balance and flexibility.
The ninth video of our Training Remix series unleashes rock climbing, guided by Alexi Thomakos, instructor and route setter at Brooklyn Boulders in Brooklyn, N.Y.
What it is and how it helps: Rock climbing involves pulling and balancing your bodyweight to move from one point to the next.
The activity builds full-body strength and exercises small and often neglected training areas, such the bottom of the forearms, wrists and ankles.
“Being able to handle your bodyweight means that you have control,” Thomakos says. “In all forms of athletics, that’s ultimately what you’re aiming for — the ability to make your body do certain things when you want it to.”
Body awareness is one of the greatest benefits an athlete can gain from the activity.
“Rock climbing is a lot like yoga. It’s meditative and about being in tune,” Thomakos says.
Since rock climbing requires extending your body in unusual positions, Thomakos adds it’s also great for increasing flexibility.
Additionally, rock climbing exercises the mind. After all, when you’re 60 feet high, you have no choice but to trust yourself and your body.
“Overcoming that stress and fear is a huge part of being a good athlete,” Thomakos says.
The test: Penn State recruit Nia Reed targets the Olympics in her future.
Last season the 6-foot-2 middle blocker helped lead Immaculate Heart (Washington Township, N.J.) to a 32-1 record, the Big North Conference title and the Non-Public state title.
Reed, the 2011 Gatorade New Jersey Volleyball Player of the Year, recorded 233 kills, 29 digs, 59 blocks and had a .544 hitting percentage along the way. And she still has two seasons left to dominate.
Some of Reed’s athleticism is genetic (her grandmother was a track Olympian, and her parents were collegiate athletes). An intense and dedicated work ethic is the other reason for her success.
Reed approaches training with a go-all-out mentality. No wonder she was up to challenge her body with rock climbing. Easy or not so much? Check out the video to find out.