Build your BASE- it’s your powerhouse!
When I first got into rock climbing I assumed that you needed giant biceps of steel. Becoming a good climber in my naïve state equated to being able to perform hundreds upon hundreds of pull-ups. I guess this is a universal and rather logical assumption for non-climbers and beginners like I once was.
Oddly enough, if you have a decent, well-experienced mentor showing you the ropes (pun intended!), you’ll be relentlessly told to “climb with your legs! Push! Don’t pull!”. I remember thinking how dumb, counterintuitive and frustrating it was to hear those words when flailed up my first climbs.
Today, I’m the one shouting up at my partner, making them red-faced and annoyed. When you think about it, however, the size of our legs and the amount of power that they produce undeniably exceeds the amount of strength you can generate in your arms. After reading this you’ll understand why “skipping leg-day” is a NO-GO! MMA fighters, footballers, runners, rowers, climbers all require a powerful and stable “base”. How high someone can jump from a standing start or how many box-jumps someone can do are all universally accepted measurements in accessing someone’s strength, health and fitness
While box-jumps and squats will definitely be positive for building a better “base”, I think it’s always a little bit more fun to get outside. A steep rocky hike for an hour or so will activate this mighty and potent network of fibres, muscles and hungry ATP receptors and energy stores that will drive you to success.
All sports and disciplines require different twitch-fibres to be trained; for example, being a sprinter; you would want short twitch fibres so they can blast from the starting line. While, I’m not really talking about that, carrying loads into the hills is wonderfully beneficial for all these types of activities.
What backpacking and hiking do is lay the foundation and capacity to take on more difficult training routines and live a healthy and active life. Being able to haul yourself up and over rocky summits for hours on end means that you’ll be able to gain even more from whatever sport or activity tickles your fancy. Constantly hopping from one boulder to another, wading through rivers, skipping down a slope or just cruising up a beautiful path in nature. It can be tough, playful or calming, but hiking in the mountains will strengthen you while making you fixable, bouncy and indestructible.
A great inspiration of mine is a bloke named Ido Portal (check him out); he says that you want your base, your legs to be like bamboo. Flexible, strong and ready for anything.
Our legs are our “base”, our foundation; driving us and moving us to new and exciting places. What are you waiting for?
By Kai Fitchen