The end of the month is rolling around once again, which can only mean one thing, its time for TAMRU!
This month's TAMRU is going to be extra special, and, dare I say it, a touch nostalgic, as this month The Arch has been celebrating its 10th Birthday. We've come a long way from inhabiting our namesake arch at London Bridge. We've grown from one 3,000 square-foot railway arch to three centres (soon to be four) spread across London. Back in 2008 when we first opened our doors we were incredibly proud to be opening London's first bouldering-only gym. Fast-froward ten years and the Arch has grown while the London climbing scene has exploded in popularity with awesome new walls sprouting up left, right and centre.
Friday night has always been comp night at The Arch. TAMRU, better (or worse?) known as The Arch Monthly Round-Up has run for the last four years at the Biscuit Factory on the last Friday of each month. And before TAMRU we ran The Last Friday of the Month Boulder Comp, it seems names have never been our strong suit. We used to give out £50 for first place, £25 for 2nd and a free t-shirt for 3rd. After Matt Cousins had burned everyone off for the umpteenth time and taken home the prize money we decided something had to change so TAMRU was born.
We've never been the biggest fans of competitive climbing, and charity and competition don't tend to mix too well. So TAMRU has always been geared towards being as inclusive and supportive as possible. Instead of competing for prizes we think everyone working together for a collective charity pot makes much more sense. After all, the only thing that comes close to the feeling of sending your own project is seeing that joy in someone else's face when they tick theirs.
This month you will be helping raise money for Pecan, a community development charity based just down the road in Peckham. Pecan has helped 27.000 clients, ranging from ex-offenders and their families to refugees, asylum seekers and the long-term unemployed over the last 25 years. By challenging injustice and inequality at a local and national level they aim to provide hope and belief in a better future for the Peckham community.
As always, for each route you tick we will put 50p into the charity pot. So come on down to The Biscuit Factory next Friday 23rd, climb for a good cause, eat some pizza (its on us!) and help us celebrate the last 10 years and hopefully the next 10 to come!
Coming March 25th we are running another Ninja Warrior Competition set by our resident Ninja Warrior/Parkour Instructor Jacob Peregrine-Wheller. The competition will run from 11am-5pm in the training area at Building One.
Each competitor will be able to attempt every single obstacle, ranging from balance, strength, speed, coordination, mental confidence and problem-solving ability. Each obstacle is worth 1 point. 3 rounds, 8 obstacles, 24 points available. Points are added together to create the final leader board. In the event of a draw on points, the winner will be decided on time.
There will be prizes for the top 3 ninjas on the day.
You can book at the bottom of the page!
Ninja Warrior + Parkour Class is restarting Monday 29th January at Building One.
We are very excited to be restarting Jacob's Ninja Warrior + Parkour Class at Building One! Parkour teaches you to overcome and interact with any terrain including walls, trees and buildings through combinations of running, jumping and climbing. Mix this with Ninja Warrior and you've got a class full of puzzles, challenges, games, playfulness and a new sense of what the human body can achieve.
Led by Jacob Peregrine-Wheller, Ninja Warrior UK series 3 competitor and one of a very small amount of qualified level 2 parkour/freerunning coaches. As Head Coach and Creative Director of his company West Coast Parkour, we're very excited for the new collaboration!
Classes will restart on Monday 29th January (1800-1930) and take place every Monday evening at Building One thereafter. Priced at £15 per person and limited to 10 persons per class. First come, drop-in class. No booking required.
"Hello everyone! I am delighted to be running my handstand workshop at The Arch and to share with you my love for handstanding. All levels are welcome as I'll be covering the basics (physical, mental and theoretical) on a regular basis. The general goal is to understand and learn all about the handstand so you can perform your handstand as efficiently and as safely as possible."
- Guillermo Justel
The Arch is incredibly excited to welcome back Guillermo Justel with his latest set of Handstand workshops!
Guillermo has been developing a committed handbalancing practice for over six years and has spent the past three years passing on his knowledge and passion to others. He has learned and trained with international handbalancing artists such as Yuval Ayalon, Mikael Kristiansen, Valerie Doucet, Nicolas Montes de Oca, Imogen Huzel and more. He is currently developing his new solo show under the guidance of Tom Weksler.
In his new series of monthly workshops, you will visit the theory and practice of achieving a handstand; using conditioning drills, balance fine-tuning exercises and pair-work to get you upside-down as efficiently as possible.
As a pushing bodyweight class, these are a highly enjoyable accompaniment to your pulling climbing practise.
Each workshop is one and a half hours long and will be run once a month at Building One from 7:30 pm. Book at the bottom of the page.
Stay up to date and see more from Guillermo, here on his Facebook page
Coming in the New Year is a new class for those looking to progress through the V2-4 grade-range.
Bump Your Grade will be a six-week course with sessions taking place across all three of the Arch centres. Sacha, one of our in-house setters and private instructors will help you to master a series of techniques vital to breaking through this grade boundary.
Covering everything from rockovers and heel-hooks to moving across volumes, this technique-focused course will help you move beyond our Blue and Salmon circuits into the Yellows, Hendrxies and Purple & Yellows.
Costing £30 in total, or £5 a session, each weekly class will focus on one or two techniques and help you develop your movement patterns on a variety of wall-angles and climbing styles.
Class size will be limited to 6 so make sure you head over to the Lessons page on our website to book your spot soon!
Bump Your Grade will begin on Sunday 28th January with the first session taking place at the newly refurbed Building One.
Over the last year our setting team has built a monumental 4,426 blocs for you all to tackle, a truly impressive feat. A climbing wall is nothing without good routes, so we thought we’d take a look back at our setting team’s highlights from the last year.
Each of our in-house setters has chosen one of their blocs from the last year. And I've thrown in my favourite just for good measure.
Wishing you all a merry christmas and a happy new year!
- The Arch Team
Since the Women's Climbing Symposium, the female staff at the Arch have developed an unhealthy obsession with Lynn Hill and all the awesomeness that she stands for. I remind myself of her words everyday -
We can all do the best with what we’ve got.
(not exact quote but she said something similar that day…)
I hear myself passing on her wise words on lessons and to any unfortunate friends that have spent time with me since.
The theme this year was ‘Inspire’ and there is no doubt that we left feeling a deep sense of psyche and gratitude for this amazing climbing world we live and work in. The talks and workshops were excellent as always - insights not only for us as climbers but a rare opportunity to experience and learn from the coaching, setting and lectures from established women in our field.
This little trip has brought the team closer and from psyche spawns more psyche. Boxes have been jumped on, walls were run at, fingerboards have been hung on, crag warm ups have been revised, and I definitely only grasp mugs with back 3 now (Thanks Nina!).
Until the next one, we look forward to our weekly Women's Improvers classes that run every Wednesday at Arch North and Building One. The WCS is an annual event, but it’s mission of ‘Connect, Develop, Inspire’ can be an everyday affair :)
New 2018 Prices
From January 2nd we will be increasing the price of our memberships and Peak and Off-Peak single entries. We have held off increasing our prices for a long time now - our £10 single entry has remained unchanged since the Arch first opened in 2008 and combined rent increases across all sites mean we have to raise all our prices by a small amount. Any 10 entry packs (even in multiples) or monthlies purchased between now and then at the current prices will, of course, remain valid.
Here's a full list of our new prices:
Single Peak - £11
Single Off-peak - £8.50
10 Entry - £85
1 Month - £55
3 Month - £140
6 Month - £250
12 Month - £450
U-18's - £6.50 anytime / £30 Monthly Membership (Unchanged)
Rental Shoes - £3 (Unchanged)
Peak - £10
Off-Peak - £7.50
10 Entry - £75
1 Month - £50
3 Month - £125
6 Month - £220
12 Month - £400
We will no longer offer BMC members our concession rate.
£5 Student Fridays will still run but only at Arch North
From the 2nd of January, we will also be changing our lockers at Building One and The Biscuit to a padlock system to help speed of the signing in process. We will be selling padlocks at reception or you can bring your own.
All the best,
The Arch Team
Thank you to everyone who braved the bitter cold to come down to the last #TAMRU of the year. The extra friction helped you all to tick off a combined 803 blocs and raise £401.50 for The Manna Society which brings us to an absolutely brilliant £4,873 raised for the year. Over the course of the year, you have all spent your Friday nights helping raise money for a whole swathe of amazing charities, from Special Effect to Bede House to The Tree Council. You can find the results for the final TAMRU of the year here.
Congratulations to The Arch Ninjas & Team Fantastic who were randomly selected to take part in a Matt Cousins masterclass which ran last night at the Biscuit Factory. We hope you all enjoyed the class and have all mastered Matt's ability to turn off gravity at will.
It’s been an exciting year for TAMRU and we’ve had some pretty amazing sets on the comp wall. We’ve had a load of super talented guest setters put up blocs in the last 12 months including Mile End head-setter Alex Lemel, team GB climber Nathan Phillips and all-around crusher Liam Halsey. We’ve also had the pleasure of welcoming Niklas Wiechmann to the setting team for the last few months. Sadly this will be Nikki's last TAMRU set with us for a while as he's moving off to warmer climes.
As usual, there will be no TAMRU this December, giving everyone a chance to rest up over the festive season before #TAMRU kicks off again in January.
The Arch is psyched to announce that Pilates classes with our very own resident crusher Xian are going to be starting this December at the Biscuit Factory! Classes will run in the mezzanine from 6:30 pm and will last for an hour. Classes will run on Thursday December, 7th, 14th and 21st and will then restart after Christmas on January 11th and run weekly. The class will cost £12 with a maximum class size of 8. To reserve a place scroll to the bottom of the page!
Rather than waffle on about her, we thought we'd let her introduce herself to you all:
Hi I’m Xian! I like climbing, Pilates and buying socks. I manage the Arch shop by day, and teach climbing and now Pilates by night! In my spare time I mostly go climbing…
Occasionally I surprise myself and climb something pretty hard. Last year I managed a life goal of climbing Caroline V10. A few years ago I was very focused on competitions and finished 5th at the 2014 British Bouldering Championships. I also made this short film Girlie and Burly - it’s in the name!
Please join me for a Pilates matwork class at the Biscuit Mezzanine every Thursday at 6.30pm.
This will be a functional strength building class that will focus on the main muscle groups and antagonists heavily represented in climbing. Through Pilates, we can improve core and joint stability, strengthen antagonist muscles and improve our posture. This will enable us to maintain good body mechanics whilst climbing, thus allowing for longer, more productive sessions.
Pilates is an exercise system developed by Joseph Pilates in the early 20th century. He was born with many ailments - his body was twisted and stunted from rickets, rheumatic fever and asthma. Refusing to accept a life limited by his body, he developed a system of exercise that transformed him into a professional boxer, circus performer and self-defence instructor. As Pilates' reputation grew it was used to help rehabilitate soldiers on WW1 and later aided professional dancers to develop strong and flexible bodies.
I started practicing Pilates after a disc injury in my lower back. For weeks, I could not bend my spine which turns out to be surprisingly important for everyday things like putting on shoes! Walking was laborious and pain was constant. Through regular Pilates classes, I was able to rehabilitate incredibly well and 6 months from the point of injury I was back to full strength and climbing the hardest grades I had ever managed!
Pilates has since been my go-to for injury prevention and strength building. I trained with Alan Herdman, who himself was trained by Ron Fletcher and Carola Trier, both direct students of Joseph Pilates. Now I hope to spread the good word of Pilates to all climbers!
*This group class is only for individuals with no existing injuries. For rehab from injury, please get in touch separately for 1:1 lessons*
As many people have heard, there have been big redevelopment plans afoot for parts of the Biscuit Factory site in Bermondsey. Until now, we have not made any statements to customers as deadlines were getting pushed back all the time.
The original lease was due to finish at the same time as when Building One opened. We have had a full 3 years of extra climbing space, which has been a huge bonus and for which we are very thankful.
Grosvenor Properties have now fixed a timescale, meaning that unfortunately, The Biscuit Factory site in Bermondsey will be closing sometime around May 2018.
Building One will remain open. To help climbers continue to enjoy the space, we will be making some major internal changes which involve closing the centre from 4th December until January. These include remodelling many of the walls, opening out crowding points in certain areas, and bringing across some features from the Biscuit (such as the 50 board). We will also be making some changes to how we operate - for example, lessons will only take place at Arch North & Arch West (Acton) during peak times. Some activities like Jacob’s Ninja Warrior sessions which have been really popular will sadly no longer run at Building One.
There will continue to be a limit to customer numbers for everyone’s safety and enjoyment. Please visit our twitter account @IsTheArchBusy if you are planning to visit during peak weekday times, to check if there is a waiting time.
We have held off increasing our prices for a long time now - our £10 single entry has remained unchanged since 2008. Combined rent increases across all sites mean we have to raise all our prices by a small amount. The new prices will come into effect on January 2nd 2018. Any 10 entry packs (even in multiples) or monthlies purchased between now and then at the current prices will, of course, remain valid. You can find a list of our updated prices here.
In the meantime, we are busy building a huge 20,000 square feet centre in Acton, West London, which we hope to open in Spring 2018. It is really daunting working with such a huge space, but we think that the end result will be very special and a standout addition to the London climbing world.
2018 is due to be a big year in London climbing generally, with many new centres opening across town, including a new Vauxwall site in Kennington. This is really fantastic news. Our goal since 2008 has always been to see as many people as possible enjoying climbing in London, so we look forward to 2018, and as always - wish you all many happy and safe climbs.
- The Arch Team
Our Christmas Opening Hours:
From the 27th of November Building One will be opening from 12 - 10:30 pm and open from 9 am - 9 pm on the 2nd and 3rd.
Building One will be closed from the 4th of December until the 2nd of January.
The Biscuit Factory will be opening at 6:30 am - 10:30 pm Monday - Friday from the 27th onwards and at 9 am - 9 pm on weekends after the 4th of December.
On Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve The Biscuit and The Arch North will be open from 10 am - 6 pm.
On December 27th, 28th & 29th The Biscuit will be open from 10 am - 10:30 pm and The Arch north will be open from 10 am - 10 pm. December 30th we will be running normal weekend hours (9 am - 9 pm.)
All three centres will be open as usual from the 2nd of January.
#TAMRU for Be a Friend Today - 29th September 2017
Established outdoors & competition climber, Tiffany Soi is the creator of ClimbFlow, the original dynamic yoga + functional fitness method for climbers. In this exclusive series of articles for The Arch Magazine, Tiffany shares routines & insights into the Climbflow approach to cross training & movement. Follow Tiffany on Instagram @climbflow / @tiffany_soi or get in contact firstname.lastname@example.org with your feedback, questions, and ClimbFlow requests.
This comes long overdue, but finally another video for you! It’s undeniable how strong we need to be in our upper body for climbing. As discussed in the previous write up, we also know how fundamental our core is to a strong and healthy body overall. With those aspects in mind, the key area that often get overlooked in our training are the mighty legs! By legs I am referring to our limbs, our hips and our glutes which - as a half South East Asian - I affectionately call the Bao! (an Asian word for “bun”). Your lower half is comprised of huge muscle groups: all the gluteals, the quadriceps & hamstrings as well as the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles that make up the calves. When actively recruited, you can up the ante of your climbing capability through not only strength & power, but better range of motion and technique.
This ClimbFlow Strong & Flexy Legs yoga + fitness sequence for climbers looks at developing strength, power and stability alongside flexibility and mobility.
/// Youtube Link https://youtu.be/v4I5Jbs4tA4 ///
Leg manoeuvres come in handy in a variety of climbing actions: Think of dynos and jumps, foot-to-hand and high foot steps or heel-hook rock overs. Think of pressing up from deep lunge positions or, reaching your foot out for a split-like stretch and then engaging through that leg to move. Think of heavy-duty slab teetering. All these actions are lower body oriented! The stronger and more capable your legs and hips are, the easier these sorts of movements are to perform.
It is interesting to compare men and women in very general terms (we all know there are exceptions across the board!): Men naturally hold more muscle mass in their upper body, and tend to learn to climb based on upper body strength. They also tend to be stiffer in the lower body and are more likely to find a way to muscle their way up rather than, say, placing a foot high up to do the same movement. Women, who tend to be less strong in their upper body to begin with, actually make up for this by using their legs and footwork to get themselves to places they can’t initially burl their way up to, which is really useful for technique development and efficient climbing. Climbers across the board benefit by developing stronger legs.
Many women and men are actually very flexible and open in their hips and legs: For some people this is natural, for others its the result of other sports training, or joint degradation from a life of intensive activity etc. Being flexible, however, doesn't always mean being strong. Flexibility or hyper-mobility without strength can be problematic: it can either lead to injury or exacerbate current strains and pains. Flexible ladies and gents also need to have strong muscles that actively engage through range of motion to support joints.
This ClimbFlow video comprises both a “workout” and “stretch section”:
The workout section combines dynamic stretching segments with active strengthening postures and sequences. Dynamic stretching is an excellent way to switch on muscles for more intensive movement, combining both elongation and contraction of the muscle fibres. It develops the elasticity and resiliency that we need to develop bodies that are more likely to bend than break. The additional strength and power builders come from lunges, jumps, squats as well as static (isometric) holds that provide excellent muscle conditioning. There are some twists that will work on your balance and control, and challenging moves to improve your overall stability - the workout is all about making full use of your muscles!
I call this a “leg workout”, but core engagement is the intrinsic element of ALL your movements - make sure you switch on your core belt to support your body. I cannot think of a movement or posture where tucking the tailbone to protect the lower spine, or engaging and lifting through your core muscles, does not apply - that’s on the mat, on the wall, or going for a walk. The tailbone tuck also causes you to engage your bao - your glutes - which is exactly what you want to do to drive your movement and stabilise your hips.
The stretch segment is great to do after you complete all of your workout activities: This section starts with some initial dynamic movement to ease off the muscles before moving into deeper, slow and static stretches to embed long term flexibility benefits. Importantly, you want to be warm before you go into any deep stretching. Attempting deep stretching on cold muscles can lead to strain and injury.
For both the workout and stretch, your breath is pivotal (hence the constant reminders on screen!) Breath gives you the fuel you need to engage the body with strength as well as focus. It’s also hugely important for helping your body release into stretches. When things are starting to feel tough, breathing makes the difference! Do your best to maintain a breathing rhythm that goes all the way into your belly space.
There are lots of postural notes in the video to help you get the most out of each movement. But it is really important to listen to your body. We are all in different states and we want to work to strengthen and progress in our bodies, not hinder ourselves. Work to your limits of strength and range of motion such that you can still actively engage your muscles in the workout. In the stretches, pay attention to your body’ signals so you understand the difference between healthy challenge and explicit pain - never push through pain.
Throughout the video you have the option to take less intense movements - whether that is step lunging instead of jumping, softening the knees instead of having straight legs, or less deep lunges/squats ( less than 90 degree knee bend) that means you stay engaged and don’t strain through your joints. You can also use props like blocks for extra elevation and to provide more suitable support. I always say, do what is right for your body on any given day as this constantly changes. Drop the ego of trying to push into something you aren’t ready for yet or doesn’t feel right on that day.
I hope you find this video both challenging as well as fun. Ideally, make time to practice this 2 - 3 times a week, though the stretching is great after any form of intense activity or being stuck in a chair all working day (just warm up first!). Even with a little bit of regular practice, your can vastly improve the condition and capability of your lower body: The goal is to build a body that is more more resilient, injury resistant, mobile and strong (a perkier bao and leaner legs are only secondary benefits!)
Onwards and upwards everyone!
Head to the website to learn more about ClimbFlow, the yoga and fitness movement method for climbers, subscribe to Tiffany’s YouTube channel so you don’t miss any upcoming videos, and follow her adventures on Instagram
Photo credits Nick Menniss & Lisa Bennett
#TAMRU for Love Burnt Oak - 27th October 2017
The Arch North is turning two! We would like to invite you all down on Friday 20th October to celebrate with us.
It wouldn’t be an Arch party without our inimitable DJ Dobbyn on the decks. We will also be putting up 10 brand new boulder problems in a series of unique styles for you to test yourselves against. If that wasn’t enough there will also be free food and drink!
The festivities will begin at 6pm Friday October 20th at Arch North, 5 Burnt Oak Broadway, HA8 5LD.
Join the Facebook event - Here
#TAMRU for Be a Friend Today - 29th September 2017
7 things to know before your climbing lesson