You can teach an old dog new tricks
Over the past 4 weeks I competed in an online competition for Masters Crossfit athletes. I am in the group for intermediate women aged 40 to 49. Every week the workout would be published and competitors would have one week to do the workout and submit their scores. I was not very happy when the third workout came out as it seemed to include a lot of “rope climbs” – 24 in fact and each one had to be 3.5 metres high. My first thought was “I can’t even do one rope climb so this will not be possible for me”. I texted my coach who told me that rope climbs are easy (for him maybe!) and that he would teach me so not to worry.
I asked my friend Ruth to join me for a rope climbing lesson on Monday morning. Our coach showed us what to do (it involved twisting the rope under your shoe and then treading on it so that you could lever your way up using your legs not your upper body). Ruth thought for a few minutes and then scampered up the rope. I jumped on to give it a try and I just could not seem to get it. The foot twisting movement completely eluded me and I was gripping onto the rope for grim death placing enormous strain on my upper body. After trying for 45 minutes or so I headed home feeling dejected – how was I to do a workout on Thursday – 24 rope climbs and I could not even do one!
Not being one to give up that easily I sat down at the computer on my kitchen bench and googled “Rope climbing tutorials”. I watched about 20 different methods and finally I came across one that seemed to make sense to me. I reached into the cupboard and grabbed about 5 or 6 tea towels and knotted them together and then I hung up my makeshift “rope” so I could practise the foot movement.
That night on the way home from my youngest boys’ footy training I dropped in at the gym and ran up to the rope. Using my new found method I climbed the rope!!! Yay I could do it.
The day of the workout arrived and I felt rested and ready after a day off rope climbing drills. I knew it would be gruelling as my technique was still not the best and there were a lot of rope climbs to get through. As I ticked off each of the 24 climbs throughout the workout (which also included a 1 km run, 60 push ups, some heavy deadlifts and some kettlebell swings) I got more and more tired and at times I felt like giving up. In particular when I made it almost up to the top on climb number 17 but then failed to touch the top (which meant I would have to re-do that repetition) I almost burst into tears. But at the end of the day I did it. And thank goodness I did not cry!
At 48 years of age I learned a new skill and I was able to complete a workout using a movement which was new to me. I learned many lessons that week – 1. Don’t write yourself off before giving it a really good try 2. If at first you don’t succeed keep trying – see if there is something you can do differently to make it work 3. Just do one repetition at a time – don’t think of it as “24 rope climbs” just do each one and then the next.
I think everyone is capable of a lot more that they think. I know a lot of people are nervous about starting on a training program – they are worried that they are not fit enough or that they won’t be able to do it. If only they would give it a try – they would surprise themselves and get a big thrill out of it – a body that is fit and strong and can do all that you ask of it is the ultimate prize and it can be yours with a little hard work and persistence.