Today marks the final day in my eight-week work on GMB’s Elements training programme. I’ve made allusions to GMB on this blog in the past, but the short story is that they’re an amazing community of trainers who put together fun, sensible and rewarding programmes that increase your ability to move your body. I’ve been working — one way or another — with them and their programmes for the past three years, and they’re consistently supportive and constructive in their approach.
My previous training with their methods was working with a one-on-one trainer to get a handstand. I was starting to get close to the point where I was able to do that when I got ill. I’ve been working my way back from that since then (the past year or so).
Elements is sort of the baseline entry point into GMB’s world. It teaches you three basic movements (and a number of variations on each) and then encourages you to find ways to self-express in a ‘flow’ in which you combine the different movements. The programme takes seven weeks to work your way through. I took an extra week since I had some shoulder pain caused by an adventurous climbing move at some point half-way through.
Elements is really perfect for working through alongside weekly climbing sessions. Climbing at the wall is much more about pulling movements, and Elements does a lot of pushing. Both work to strengthen the upper body and shoulders, but as mutually reinforcing sides of the coin. If you just do one and not the other, those imbalances will start working against you before long.
I am pleased to have made it to the end of the programme. I’m still at the beginning of what I consider to be a 2–3 year long programme of rehabilitation and reconditioning of my body. I now have a useful baseline which supports my climbing during the week, and from which I can now start doing more interesting training. I’m excited to get back to handstand work and I’m thinking I’ll start one of the other GMB programmes next up on the slate: either Vitamins or Integral Strength. Flexibility work is another pretty important part of the work with my body that I really ought to do every day. I’m getting better with this, but the more it’s integrated as part of a programme, the more likely I will be to follow through.