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Rock climbing, First Avenue Rocks, climbing gym in Birmingham, cross training, strength training

Oh hey, remember when I used to cross train and blog about it? Yea, that stopped. I’ve been majorly slacking. So just like last year around the holiday season, I’m bringing sexy back.

Rock climbing, First Avenue Rocks, climbing gym in Birmingham, cross training, strength training

Working those stick arms

A few of my BUTS buddies belong to First Avenue Rocks, a climbing gym in the ‘Ham. I grew up occasionally climbing because my middle school and high school had rock walls and a high ropes course, so this seemed like the perfect way to get back into it.

Rock climbing, First Avenue Rocks, climbing gym in Birmingham, cross training, strength training

Jenny watching Greg solve a problem

First Ave Rocks feels like a cozy cave inside (do all climbing gyms? I wouldn’t know)—you want to climb until your arms fall off, then curl up on the couch at the top of one of the walls and take a nap.

Rock climbing, First Avenue Rocks, climbing gym in Birmingham, cross training, strength training

Lots of rocks

I totally forgot how much upper body strength it takes to climb. I was always belayed while climbing, so that takes a lot of the effort out. Tired? Swing in the air for a moment. Free-climbing is totally different—I’d start a problem (route) and could easily reach the next handhold or foothold, if not for my arms turning to jello. So then I’d have to jump down. But I loved it! There’s a feeling of exhilaration being high in the air, not attached to anyone or anything. I was worried initially that I’d fall and break a bone, but there’s a way to plummet gracefully and the pads are soft. Not that I speak from experience or anything.

Rock climbing, First Avenue Rocks, climbing gym in Birmingham, cross training, strength training

I fell. Like a rock.

I’ve gone twice so far now and am starting to get the hang of some tricks—lean your hips into the wall, use plenty of chalk, and decide on your moves before you go up.

Rock climbing, First Avenue Rocks, climbing gym in Birmingham, cross training, strength training

Monkey see, monkey do – just like when we trail run

Climbing is great cross training for running, because it’s using different muscle groups and your body gets a break from the constant pounding. But it’s like trail running in that it’s totally mental—you need to think through every move so that you don’t bust your ass. Too much.

I’m hooked!

Rock climbing, First Avenue Rocks, climbing gym in Birmingham, cross training, strength training

These babies burned like a mother for days

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