Thursday, June 13, 2013

Essential Skill: Pull Yourself to Safety

Swim to shore or climb back into the boat.  Being fit gives you options
I have a number of modern physical skills in mind that are guiding these Essential Skill posts. So far I've written about carrying your own bag and swimming to shore. Both of these skills require total body movements that task more than a single energy system (i.e. aerobic & anaerobic). Pulling yourself away from harm is a skill in the same vein. Where might this skill come in handy?
  • Climbing a tree, wall or fence to avoid an animal
  • Lowering yourself down a rope to get out of a burning building
  • Pulling yourself out of a river from a hanging branch
  • Getting back into a boat or canoe from the water
I love rope climbing workouts because it's both practical and difficult
Upper body pulling strength will factor in being able to accomplish tasks like these, but they also involve core strength to pull your legs up and the agility to harness assistance from your feet. Women often make better rock climbers than men because they don't rely on upper body strength as much and scramble up a rock face more efficiently using a combination of arms & legs. Same principle applies for the 4 examples I listed above.

This isn't to avoid focusing your training on developing grip and pulling strength. Both women and men should be able to perform a dozen pullups or so. Climbing and lowering yourself down a rope will be much easier with upper body strength to draw on. Merely hanging from a bar, rope, edge of boat, etc. is challenging enough if you don't focus on body weight pulling exercises.
Moving your own body is all the gym you need (
Here are a few excellent moves to practice in your training program to both develop and maintain the ability to pull yourself out of harms way:
  • Pullups
  • Dips
  • Hanging leg lifts
  • Rope climbing
  • Rolling over a high bar
  • Muscle ups
We tend to live up or down to expectations so set high physical standards for yourself.

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