Hitting the Wall: Obstacles as a Metaphor, Part 6


With the spring equinox only a few weeks away, I thought I would post this final video in my Obstacles as a Metaphor series.  My hope in creating this series has been to inspire you to create some innovative training sessions at home this coming season.

Obstacle courses are easy to improvise!  In fact, I do it all the time when visiting the homes of friends.  One of those sneaky little tricks that helps me to stay consistent with my training sessions is enlisting my friends when they visit — or when I visit them — into my sessions. Even people who don’t train often (or ever) love to get involved in something that looks like an adult play session.  Just avoid calling it a “work out” and they are usually intrigued and want to get involved!

When visiting with people I often look through their yards for things that can be made into improvised obstacles, or training courses. Sometimes something as simple as a trash can tipped on its side can be great for practicing jumps and rolls, or something more specialized, like a sturdy clothes drying rack and a ladder can be made into a set of monkey bars. A kids swing-set can be a jackpot!

When my partner Alexandra and I were visiting her father last summer we would head over to the local playground in the mornings to train on the jungle gym. Many parks now have sophisticated training equipment that looks like it was designed for a Homo sapiens zoo habitat!

Of course, if you own your home or have some land to play with, building something more permanent is a creatively exciting project. In this video I feature a 7 foot climbing wall that I had built at my home last summer. I painted it camouflage — a favorite hobby of mine — so that it blends into my local environment a bit more than the naked, exposed  wood did.

Here I am practicing the simple art of surmounting  — climbing up and over — the wall.  This is a great way to train the entire body and imprints a wonderfully functional movement into your nervous system. There are, of course, many more interesting movements that you can practice with a wall like this one.

Recently in a training session I was doing — or more accurately, being subjected to — my trainer had me throwing a medicine ball over the wall, climbing over, picking it back up, throwing it back over the other side, and then repeating this sequence for maximum repetitions in 1 minute.  I started with a surplus of focus and vigor...  toward the end of the minute... not so much.

I’d like to conclude with some words about why I made this series...  "You (and me too) are an animal — albeit a domesticated one — and to be (and feel) healthy you need exercise. Training sessions are like taking the ‘dog-of-your-body’ out for a walk. Every training session is an opportunity to learn something new at the somatic level, to teach our nervous system to be more functional, to adapt your musculo-skeletal-fascial system to new and ever changing environments. It's a chance to improve who we are and how we move through this world. It's your body, this is your habitat...  ReWild Yourself!"

Do you plan on doing some obstacle course training this season?  Are you considering training for — and participating in — a Tough Mudder or other obstacle course challenge?  Do you have some tips or tricks for some simple make-shift obstacles at home?  Share your thoughts below, we’d all love to hear from you!