I don’t know what got into me, but one winter my buddy, Matt, and I became rock climbing fanatics.
We joined a local indoor climbing gym and used our membership like it was our job.
It’s funny because I’m pretty nervous when it comes to heights. So what possessed me to scale a wall while holding onto holds the size of golf balls I’ll never know.
Lucky for me, I didn’t do much of the climbing up, but more of the climbing across. This method is also called bouldering and the idea is to travel laterally rather than vertically.
Even though we had no routine, plan or schedule we both became pretty strong that winter. My grip strength improved and my back looked like the bumpy textures I gripped. I never experienced such high levels of improvement at such a fast rate.
I didn’t know it then but we were using one of the most effective exercise strategies ever developed. It wasn’t a set or rep scheme nor was it some special per iodization technique.
We simply made our climbing one big game.
The game came about when we got the idea that we could theoretically climb from one end of the gym to the other without ever touching the floor. The bird’s eye view of the place had the climbing walls in a big W with a separate island just off the middle point. We had the idea to start at one point, climb our way around, jump to the island, climb around the island, jump back on the W and then finish on the other far point.
Each time we hit the gym we made it our mission to climb further and faster before we had to drop off from fatigue. It was a simple game but a game none the less.
Through this process we experienced all of the results most people strive for. We improved our technique, our stamina, strength and power. We even had a lot of fun while doing it! What could possibly be any more rewarding?
There is no reason to make exercise a complicated affair unless you’re looking for that last .0001% of performance. Simply keeping track of what you and do and challenging yourself to go further is really all it takes.