Trapeze Training, Michele Gilbert


Hey Will,

Congrats on the award for your book :)! My copy is currently out on loan to a friend of mine that will be
trying ice climbing for the first time in mid-December down here (ice allowing). I think that she was also
skeptical about my "trapeze for training" program and wanted to see what "normal" people actually do to
train :). Anyway, this is where we get to the new chapter for the second edition of your book -

"Mixed training for those plagued by geographic undesirability, short attention spans so no weights, gyms that refuse to have weaponry around, and no real desire to 'train' anyway" (okay, maybe the chapter title would need to be shortened :))

So you are probably wondering exactly what circus
skills and mixed/ice climbing have in common. I have
been going to trapeze lessons for about a year now,
off and on, and I really do think it has helped. My
abs are getting stronger from having to pull into
position for catches (have done about 7 different
catch positions at this point) and my shoulders get
worked from having to hang on to the bar and then do
the catch. And I -finally- am learning how to swing.
It is a suprisingly complicated process so I have only
learned the first three moves of swinging (out of a
total of about 10) but this includes the figure 7
(which looks like it sounds) so now I have done a
figure 4, figure 9 (for mixed climbing) and yes
indeedy a figure 7.

Really though, I do trapeze because it is pretty darn
fun :). I have absolutely no attention span so every
time I try and go to the gym to work out, about 15
minutes in, I am completely bored and tend to wander
off and get into trouble elsewhere. About the only way
I manage to get a weight session in is when my friend
Rain is there and we do our "Hans and Franz"
impressions and egg each other on. This doesn't occur
that frequently though, only after a plastic pulling
session when we are wasted anyway.

As for gym drytooling, let's just say that the staff
at my gym usually just say "no" to me now when I walk
in the door with a hopeful smile on and before I even
have a chance to ask -again-. Too many people around
so no way are they going to allow me to drytool. And
I checked with Mountain Hardwear that sponsored a very
fun gym drytooling event for us (with Rob Owens and
Karen McNeill) last fall and they are using their
event money for ski stuff this year so we don't even
get a single drytool day :(. Sigh...

For trapeze, I just started launching from a riser so
once I get my swing timing a bit better, I get to try
a layout flip to a catch! Trust me, swinging and
launching while holding plank (called planche for
trapeze complete with a snooty French accent)
positions is really, really hard. Especially for those
of us that are, shall we say, flexibility and
muscularly challenged :). And it is not like I was
ever a gymnast or diver. In fact, I was kicked out of
tumbling class when I was four since I sucked.

I do have photos of my "training regime" but I don't
want to embarass myself that much so they will remain
at an undisclosed location :). Anyway, now it's time
to focus since it appears I have to teach the
undergrads again. I suppose I should verify with my
boss what the topic is. Always nice to figure out
what you are teaching -before- teaching it. Hmmm...I
just really hate preparing lectures...that short
attention span issue again :).

Hope all is good.


Michele Gilbert