On a recent business trip to Los Angeles for the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference I had the pleasure of visiting the original Muscle Beach in Santa Monica (not to be confused with the current Muscle Beach in Venice). I couldn’t believe the setup of rings, ropes, parallel bars, and other equipment, in 3 sizes from adult to toddler, that was installed right on the beach. There were people swinging like orangutans on these rows of rings, trying to make it from one side to the other. There were nice grassy lawns set up where people were doing WODs and yoga. I took advantage of the equipment to get a few workouts in the sun. I tried the rings thing but it my shoulder girdles were not quite strong enough to swing free on a single hand. I don’t recall this stuff being there when I lived in LA 10+ years ago. Way to go Santa Monica!
The two key stretches I’ve added to my warmup over the past year are the deep, wide squat and the simple hang, or “orangutan hang”. Today I did the latter on rings outside (each hang lasting about 20 seconds), and realized that this could be a wonderful pre-race stretch for rowing. Why? I was cold and tight, and started out with my toes just grazing the ground on my first hang, having to hop slightly to get my hands fully on the rings. By the fourth hang , the entire chain from my fingers to the base of my spine was tingly and warm, and my body had gained about 3 inches of length, to the point where I could put my feet flat on the ground (in minimalist shoes, so really flat!). I got to thinking about the possible effect of an extra 3 inches of mobility between the base of the spine and the fingertips on the arc of a sculling stroke over the course of a 1000-meter race, and I felt silly that I had never considered this before. I think I might be taking my rings with me to the next race and hanging them from the nearest tree!
Anybody else try this?