ClimbFlow Movement Series #2 -Strong & Flexy Legs: Workout & Stretch

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ClimbFlow Movement Series #2 -Strong & Flexy Legs: Workout & Stretch

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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 hello@tiffanysoi.com 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!

A ClimbFlow session at the Biscuit Factory

A ClimbFlow session at the Biscuit Factory

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.

Tiffany displaying her lower body flexibility.

Tiffany displaying her lower body flexibility.

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

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Arch North 2nd Birthday Party!

Arch North 2nd Birthday Party!

The Arch North is turning two! We would like to invite you all down on Friday 20th October to celebrate with us.  

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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!

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The festivities will begin at 6pm Friday October 20th at Arch North, 5 Burnt Oak Broadway, HA8 5LD.

 

Join the Facebook event - Here

Guillermo Justel Monthly Handstand Workshop

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Guillermo Justel Monthly Handstand Workshop

"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 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 (Dates Below) at Building One from 7:30 pm. 

 

Drop-in or reserve your spot by emailing guillejusjus@gmail.com!

Stay up to date and see more from Guillermo, here on his Facebook page

 

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Why do I solo?

Why do I solo?

I decided to write this article, as more and more frequently, I seem to be being asked the question ‘Why soloing?’

Guillermo Justel Handstand Class - Friday evenings

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Guillermo Justel Handstand Class - Friday evenings

"Hello everyone! I am delighted to be teaching my handstand class 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 safe as possible."
- Guillermo Justel

In this weekly class, Guillermo teaches the basic foundations of a solid handstand. You'll learn alignment drills, cues, theory and ways to put into practice your handstanding abilities.

The class runs every Friday night at Building One from 7pm-8pm, and is suitable for all levels including absolute beginners. The class is 1 hour long, and is limited to just 7 spaces per class. £12 per person.

Drop-in or reserve your spot by booking at guillejusjus@gmail.com

Stay up to date and see more from Guillermo, here on his facebook page

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Ninja Warrior Obstacle competition!

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Ninja Warrior Obstacle competition!

When: July 29th, 12-4pm with time afterwards to play/train.
Where: Arch Climbing Wall Building One.
Ages: 16 and above.

Jacob, swinging through a UK Ninja Warrior course.

Jacob, swinging through a UK Ninja Warrior course.

Set by our resident Parkour/Ninja Warrior Instructor Jacob Peregrine-Wheller, expect famous Ninja Warrior style obstacles such as the pipe slider, ring toss, peg board and cliffhanger, alongside new obstacles that you may never have seen before!

There will be prizes for the top 3 ninjas on the day.

The aim of the event is to create a positive environment where people can meet, train and learn with others from the UK's fantastic ninja community. challenge and safely push themselves while developing their skills.


HOW TO BOOK:
Email: Jacobparkour@hotmail.co.uk with the subject: Ninja competition
Bank details will be sent and you can book your place. You'll receive confirmation via email.
Price: £30pp. 50% of each booking will be donated to the parkour & mental health charity: Free Your Instinct.

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#Tamru 2017 - Friday 30th June Results

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#Tamru 2017 - Friday 30th June Results

#TAMRU Results – Friday 30th June in support of Labour behind the label

 

Thank you to everyone who participated in last months #tamru event, together we managed to raise £512.00 in support of the Labour Behind the Label. Special thanks to Sean Dobbyn for DJing and Piccolina London for providing food. All money raised will be donated to the Labour Behind the Label. The 30 set Comp Wall problems will remain until Thursday 29th June.

 

Competitor Results here

Labour Behind the Label campaigns for garment workers' rights worldwide. They support garment workers' efforts to improve their working conditions and change the fashion industry for the better. They raise awareness, provide information and promote international solidarity between workers and consumers.

They represent the Clean Clothes Campaign in the UK.

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1:1 Sport Massage Sessions

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1:1 Sport Massage Sessions

The amazing Ed Hamer is offering sports massage sessions on Monday 10th and 17th July, between 12-6pm. 

Ed qualified in Sports Massage Level 4 at The University of Bath, and is a very experienced climber who has climbed over 300 grade 8 routes outdoors, with his high points being 8c/+, on-sight 8a+ and 8b+ flash. He's trad climbed up to E8, and bouldered V13. He's also a 3 times British Climbing Champion, so he knows all your about climbing aches and pains and how to sort them out!

If you'd like a sports massage with Ed, please email zimbabwawian_ed@hotmail.com to book your place.


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Gaining the Edge

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Gaining the Edge

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Red Széll is a rock climber, wild-water swimmer, the back half of a mountain bike tandem team, and published author. He refuses to let his blindness stand in the way of an adventure. In 2013 the 46 year-old Londoner became the first blind person to climb the Old Man of Hoy.


"There’s something about coastal climbing that really does it for me."

There’s something about coastal climbing that really does it for me.

Maybe it’s because I grew up near the sea, in Sussex.  Or maybe it’s the association with childhood holidays that often began with a ferry trip from Portsmouth or Dover.

 Certainly, those trips led to a fascination with coastal rock formations.  I’d stand on deck goggling as the White Cliffs receded behind us or as we slid past The Needles.  Even as a little boy I wanted to climb them.

 Fortunately for my parents, most of our seaside holidays were spent at the foot of sand dunes so my juvenile climbing exploits always had soft landings.  But my desire to try something harder didn’t leave me.  So when, in the early 1980s, I watched a documentary about Chris Bonington and saw footage of him climbing The Old Man of Hoy, the seed of my desire began to germinate. 

Pan di Zucchero guidebook

Pan di Zucchero guidebook

 Like thousands of other kids I’d followed Bonington’s adventures on Blue Peter.  But the snow-capped peaks of The Himalayas were an alien world to a boy who’d never even been skiing.  But here, with this giant sea-stack in The British Isles, was something I could aspire to. 

 As soon as I was old enough I joined the Army Cadets at school, suffering a year’s square-bashing for the promise of a week’s climbing instruction in the Welsh Mountains the following summer.  That week convinced me that I had found my sport.  Soon I was heading off to Harrison’s Rocks in Kent and testing myself on sandstone.  I was hooked.t

Unfortunately back in the 1980s I didn’t have access to indoor climbing like The Arch; so the season was short and subject to the fickle British weather.  Somehow it always felt like I’d only just got into peak condition when the summer holiday’s ended and autumn began. Still I bagged some decent routes on the sea-cliffs of Swanage, Portland and Pembrokeshire...but never made it up to Hoy.

 Then, aged 19 I was told I was going blind and my life went into free-fall.  After a brief and hair-raising flirtation with night-time buildering at university I hung up my harness and for two decades put away my dreams of climbing anything ever again... 

 …until eight years ago when my daughter decided to have her birthday party at a climbing wall.  I saw my way back in and began making up for lost time.  I bagged the Old Man of Hoy in 2013.  At 137m (449ft) it’s Europe’s tallest sea-stack. 

 Having bagged a few other routes on my bucket list my climbing partner Matthew and I now spend the indoor climbing season preparing for the next coastal challenge…that way we can make the most of the outdoor season.  We do most of our training at Arch North in Colindale (with a bit of high-wall practice thrown in elsewhere to maintain our rope skills),  After a couple of hours bouldering we’ll head to the pub next door to plan our routes for the next climbing trip.

 This winter we were getting in shape for an attempt on Europe’s second tallest sea-stack, Pan di Zucchero in Sardinia.  At 133m it’s only a little shorter than The Old Man of Hoy.  But lying 2km offshore in the middle of Masua Bay it forms a beautiful island of white limestone that is just as dramatic. 

Masua Bay showing Pan di Zucchero

Masua Bay showing Pan di Zucchero

Like many routes in the area it’s bolted, which is good for me as my trad skills are definitely something that departed forever with my blindness.  It means I can do a bit of lead climbing, although realistically for my own safety and Matthew’s nerves we’ve found that attempting anything more than an F5c is inadvisable.

The hardest pitch on Pan di Zucchero is graded F6a+.  With neither Matthew nor I getting any younger and both of us having family and work commitments, that meant packing a lot of practice and planning into the evening each week we meet to climb. 

 Luckily The Arch North is close by and has enough wall-space that we don’t waste time queuing.  It’s also a hub for climbers who are always happy to pass on tips and advice.  We knew that the hard white limestone in Sardinia is dotted with sharp little pockets and tiny nubbins so worked on finger strength and footwork, especially rockovers.  We also made time for some thuggy overhangs in preparation for a couple of meaty crux moves.

 So we felt in pretty good shape by the first week in May when we flew out to Cagliari with our ropes and quickdraws.  Unfortunately our arrival coincided with that of the maestrale - a strong, cold north-westerly wind that was gusting up to 50mph and creating 1.5m waves making the sea crossing to Pan di Zucchero, let alone any attempt on it, impossible.

 Fortunately there’s loads of climbing out there and it was easy to find some cliffs in the lee of the wind.  We bagged some excellent single-pitch routes at Castello dell Iride and a clutch of truly stunning multi-pitch climbs further round Masua Bay.

 There’s a wide range of grades from beginner to full-on ‘in-my-dreams’ stuff.  And all the sport routes are really well maintained.  Without being as busy as, say, Swanage there were plenty of other climbers out there, from all over Europe.  Some dirt-bagging; others staying in B&Bs or, like us, in one of the lovely villas that dot the hills overlooking the coast.  If you can get a group together I’d recommend where we were www.casafigus.com - it was a great place to chill after a hard day’s climbing and it also had sea kayaks we could use to explore the amazing rock formations that line the coast.  The food, the people and the scenery (according to the others in the group) were wonderful.  And as for the rock…that hard, white limestone is a dream to climb on.  Just remember to check your shoes beforehand, you’ll need all the smearing you can get!

"And as for the rock…that hard, white limestone is a dream to climb on."

 The sea was like a mill-pond as we drove back to the airport past Masua Bay; wind-speed 2kmh.  Typical!  Was I disappointed not to bag Pan di Zucchero?  Yeah…but I had a great climbing trip, and it’s still waiting for me. And like Arnie…’I’ll be back!’


Red’s account of the adventure, The Blind Man of Hoy, was published in April 2015. He is currently undertaking a lecture tour of the UK to promote his message that sight charities should concentrate less on fundraising and more on raising expectations among the visually impaired people they represent. To find out more about Red, and other adventures and projects, please visit here.

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Join the team at Archclimbing

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Join the team at Archclimbing

Are you the right person to join our team?

We're looking for motivated people to work directly with our customers in busy climbing centres across London.

The Front of House role covers a broad range of responsibilities, from offering excellent customer service on reception, to providing inspiring Introduction and Improver Sessions to new and beginner boulderers.

We offer a number of benefits along with all full-time roles, including free climbing & hot drinks at all of our centres, a cycle to work scheme, ongoing free training courses related to climbing & customer service, and a great working atmosphere including regular social events.

Some useful info

  • We need you to be climbing at least V3.
  • No previous experience of working at a climbing wall is necessary. 
  • You must be willing to work at all our London locations.
  • The roles we’re recruiting for are full-time positions only: 40 hours a week.
  • Shifts will include at least one early morning shift, one weekend shift and evenings.
  • Pay is locked to the London Living Wage.
The Arch North, Burnt Oak

The Arch North, Burnt Oak

To apply, please email thebiscuit@archclimbingwall.com with a CV and short cover letter.

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#Tamru 2017 - Friday June 30th

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#Tamru 2017 - Friday June 30th

It's that time of the month again, as #Tamru will be hitting the Biscuit next week Friday. This month We will be raising money for the Labour Behind the Label campaign.

Labour Behind the Label is a campaign that works to improve conditions and empower workers in the global garment industry.

"We raise public awareness and promote collective action from consumers to push for change in the industry. We pressure companies to take responsibility for worker’s rights throughout the entirety of their supply chains. We work with trade unions worldwide to amplify garment worker’s demands. We lobby governments and policy makers to legislate and protect garment workers human rights. The focus of our work comes from garment workers themselves, and we provide a platform to amplify their voice and demands and to promote international solidarity.

Labour Behind the Label believes that no-one should live in poverty for the price of a cheap t-shirt. That a living wage is a basic human right, as is working without fear for your life. We are committed to making these ideals a reality in the garment industry."

- Labour Behind the Label

This month our Comp Wall at the Biscuit will not only feature 30 new problems to solve but the food and music courtesy of our resident Dj, are both coming back! All climbs achieved on the night will be worth 50p. Each and every penny raised by you will be donated to Labour Behind the Label. If you'd like to get in touch or simply find out more about the camaign, please visit Labour Behind the Label.

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#Tamru 2017 - Friday 26th May Results

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#Tamru 2017 - Friday 26th May Results

#TAMRU Results – Friday 26th May in support of Target Ovarian Cancer

Thank you to everyone who participated in this months #tamru event, together we managed to raise £594.50 in support of the Target Ovarian Cancer. Special thanks to Corsica Studios for helping with the promotion and DJ's. All money raised will be donated to the Target Ovarian Cancer. The 30 set Comp Wall problems will remain until Thursday 29th June. 

Competitor Results here

Target Ovarian Cancer is the UK's leading ovarian cancer charity. They work to:

They're the only charity fighting ovarian cancer on all three of these fronts, across all four nations of the UK. They work with women, family members and health professionals to ensure we target the areas that matter most for those living with ovarian cancer.

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#Tamru - Friday 26th May - In memory of Amanda Moss

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#Tamru - Friday 26th May - In memory of Amanda Moss

#Tamru is back on Friday 26th of May and this month we are raising money for Target Ovarian Cancer in memory Amanda Moss. She was an artist and one of the founders of Corsica Studios in London. Amanda was courageous, dignified and beautiful to the end and wanted everyone to know how much your support and generosity meant to her during her illness. Sadly she lost her battle with ovarian cancer. 

Target Ovarian Cancer is the UK's leading ovarian cancer charity. They work to:

They're the only charity fighting ovarian cancer on all three of these fronts, across all four nations of the UK. They work with women, family members and health professionals to ensure we target the areas that matter most for those living with ovarian cancer.

Their campaigns cover a number of areas, including early diagnosisclinical trials and familial ovarian cancer. They use major events such as Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month and World Ovarian Cancer Day to raise awareness and they also work in parliament with politicians and policy makers.

 

On the 26th of May, our Comp Wall at the Biscuit will not only feature 30 new problems to solve, but we will also have food and a DJ! All climbs achieved on the night will be worth 50p. Each and every penny raised by you will be donated to Target Ovarian Cancer. If you'd like to get in touch or simply make a pledge, visit Target Ovarian Cancer.

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