From an injury standpoint, the last 6 months haven’t been very good for me. I developed a pretty bad case of climber’s elbow (basically the same thing as the more commonly known “tennis elbow”) last November. Prior to the injury, I had already committed to going on a climbing trip to Joshua Tree, and although I tried to take it easy on that trip, I’m pretty sure I ended up aggravating my condition.
You know things aren’t good when you can’t even lift an empty glass mug without feeling a shooting pain. With climbing injuries, I’ve learned the hard way that the best course of action is to entirely cease all climbing and to just let things heal. So I did the right thing and put my climbing gym membership on hold which meant no climbing for at least a month. Much to my dismay, the nature of the injury also meant no volleyball either since the act of passing or bumping the ball would hurt my arm (although strangely enough, it didn’t really hurt when hitting).
Despite depriving myself of climbing and volleyball, the healing process was aggravatingly slow. I ended up having to extend the hold on my climbing membership to two months. By mid-January, however, my arm was finally feeling better and I was optimistic that I would be back in action soon.
January marks the beginning of snowboarding season and I was happy that my climber’s elbow wouldn’t affect my ability to snowboard. Well, as (bad) luck would have it, I ended up spraining the MCL on my left knee during my very first snowboarding trip of the year. So just as my arm was almost healed, I screw up another part of my body.
A knee injury is actually much more annoying than an arm injury because it really limits your activity. In addition to not being able to climb or play volleyball, now I couldn’t snowboard, bike, or do almost any kind of cardio. @#$%’in A, dude! The only exercise that I could really do now was to lift weights.
Many people find lifting weights to be quite boring, but when healthy, I actually enjoy it, probably because I only do it once or twice a week amidst other activities. However, as I soon learned, when weight lifting is the only activity that I am doing, I quickly grow tired of it.
I soon began dreading going to the gym, and as a result began looking into alternative types of workouts. At Planet Granite, they have gymnastics rings set up. The rings are on adjustable length straps so you can vary how high or low the rings are to the ground. I started doing some basic exercises on the rings and was amazed at how much better of a workout it was.
Doing push-ups on rings is quite a bit harder than doing push-ups on the ground. It engages a whole bunch of stabilizing muscles including, much to my surprise, your abs. In fact, my abs were quite sore the day after doing ring push-ups. And dips? They’re way harder on rings.
One ring exercise that I was particularly attracted to was the “muscle-up” – yes, I know, I’m finally getting to the subject of this post. While it’s a very basic move for ring gymnasts, it’s something that most people, even athletes, have a hard time performing.
The first few times I tried it, it felt quite difficult – I couldn’t even come close to doing one! I became determined to do a muscle-up and decided to set a goal for myself to do one before summer (which in my mind was June). As it turns out, it didn’t take nearly that long as less than two weeks later I was able to do my first muscle-up. Proper technique is key, particularly the “false grip”, and it definitely helps to have the plethora of instructional vids on the web to refer to.
While I am now able to do a single muscle-up, I’m still not able to do multiple ones in a row. That’s my next goal. Eventually, I hope to work up to what these bad-ass chicks can do.