My first memory of engaging in physical activity for any reason other than "play" occurred in high school gym class. Up to that point, the only exercise I did surrounded a sport or game.
There I was, outfitted in a standard-issue pair of gym shorts that really needed about 3 more inches of length to be comfortable. My $4 T-shirt proudly displayed our high school mascot, the Wildcat, across my adolescent chest.
I was already decidedly chaffed with the whole experience and then our gym teacher said, "Run."
I'm standing on the baseline of our basketball court wondering, "Run where?"
Although physical education has evolved significantly since 1990, my experience is not uncommon. Many kids are baptized by fire without much explanation or education as to why physical activity is important. We experience real soreness after we lift weights for the first time, but we learn something about our strengths and limitations after only a few short weeks.
The thing is, my gym class experience really helped me understand that improvement was not only possible but was earned in direct proportion to how hard I worked. This concept appealed to me, because it was one instance where the universe seemed fair.
Regardless of height, personality or economic status, fitness was achieved by those who worked for it.
Wouldn't it be nice if life, in general, worked that way?
I learned some cool exercises and activities along the way, as well. Scooter hockey, whiffle ball and other unique games held my interest, but there was one activity that became my nemesis -- the rope climb.
We had this dingy, frayed, thick brown rope that hung from the rafters of the metal roof of the weight room. It was surrounded by exercise mats, to break the fall of those who failed to descend gracefully.
No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't reach the top of the rope to ring the bell -- until late in my sophomore year.
Once I finally got there and rang that bell, I wanted to practice it every day. Eventually, I became one of the fastest in my class and the feeling of satisfaction was fantastic.
This week's exercise is a more modern version of the rope climb -- without the danger of falling to one's death. The Kettlebell Rope Climb is a fun movement that challenges the upper body while reminding all of us that we were once young.
1. Tie a heavy kettlebell to one end of a battle rope. Use a sturdy knot.
2. Fish the open end of the rope through the inside of a pullup bar and over the top.
3. Even out the rope handles so the kettlebell rests on the floor.
4. Stand in front of the side of the rope that's not attached to the kettlebell and grasp the rope with both hands, one on top of the other.
5. Pull on the rope hand over hand until the kettlebell rises almost all the way to the pullup bar.
6. Just before it reaches the bar, lower it hand over hand. Don't let the kettlebell touch the floor.
7. Raise it again, working hand over hand. Do 10 lifts without resting.
This is a great exercise when performed as part of a group circuit. It's fun to see people enjoying themselves with this movement, and I have to believe that's because it takes them back to childhood.
The older I get the more I appreciate exercises that infuse a little playfulness. I hope you will too. Enjoy!
Matt Parrott has a doctorate in education (sport studies) and a master's in kinesiology and is certified by the American College of Sports Medicine.
Fitness instructor Lindsay Petruk does step 2 of the Kettlebell Rope Pull exercise
Fitness instructor Lindsay Petruk does step 3 of the Kettlebell Rope Pull exercise
Fitness instructor Lindsay Petruk does step 4 of the Kettlebell Rope Pull exercise
Fitness instructor Lindsay Petruk does step 5 of the Kettlebell Rope Pull exercise
Fitness instructor Lindsay Petruk does step 6 of the Kettlebell Rope Pull exercise
ActiveStyle on 04/02/2018
Print Headline: Kettlebell Rope Climb both playful and effective