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Muscle-Building Outdoor Activitiesby: Dane FletcherThis section is devoted to those activities that are mostly devoted to actual building of muscle and require more strength than the ones previously listed. Its fool-hearty to believe that none of these activities cross over, because they all do to some extent. However, there are some activities, such as rock climbing that, while the heights and danger might stimulate the heart more than actual repetitive muscle exhaustion, its a much more strength-based activity.ROCK CLIMBINGA challenge to your senses, all manner of adventure sports are a fresh approach to fitness and an excellent way to cross-train your body into ultimate fitness. But don't let the term "adventure" frighten you. Rock climbing may adventurous, but when calculatedly learned and practiced, it can be something that is far more beneficial to the whole musculoskeletal system than it is perilous. Its greatest benefit is the strengthening and conditioning of the entire body, with an emphasis on upper body power. Without a doubt, rock climbing emphasizes coordination and strength. The two, in fact, are highly interdependent. Upper body strength is key here, but having an overall balance of strength is a plus. Conditioning is something is that required in addition to performing and practicing movements on a regular basis. This, too, is interdependent for the actual ability to climb at all, let alone enjoy climbing or setting goals in the outdoors. So what does that mean? A rock climbing gym is really the only place to start in a sane and safe manner. This isnt a sport to be undertaken lightly. Unlike hopping onto a mountain bike or donning a pair of running shoes and hitting the local track,

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, rock climbing requires a ton of skill, and practice. It is a synergy of many different attributes and abilities put together topile a total picture of capability, strength, balance and calculated mental and physical agility. Have we scared you off yet? Dont be scared. A rock climbing gym is a great place to enjoy the sport, and acquire skills that, even if you never venture out on to an actual rock, youll be able to benefit from. Though, why wouldnt you want to test your skills under a blazing 80 degrees, and enjoy the elements and freedom of climbing against a backdrop of the great outdoors? Rock climbing works just about every muscle in the upper body (pectorals, deltoids, forearms, biceps, triceps, rectus abdominus, serratus, intercostals, latissimus dorsi, spinal erectors and teres major) as well as a few in the lower body (hip flexors, trocanter, quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves). It is probably the single most demanding total body engagement one can find in any strength-based activity. Indoor climbing gyms have popped up all over the countryeither as a part of a larger gym or as a separate entity that offers nothing but climbing to its members. Classes are necessary as its a skill that is impossible to pick up by osmosis! Cost of classes and/or gym membership:For a gym like Golds Gym in Portland,OR where rock climbinges as part of a total body package, (CALL 503-222-1210) you can get in on one of their specials and pay as little as $299 a year at certain times. Rock climbing isnt taken as seriously as in a climbers-only gym, but its affordable and is a great way to get your feet wet in the sport to see if you like it. For a rock climbing only gym like Dyno-Rock Indoor Climbing Gym in Arlington, TX you pay a monthly fee ($45) and then pay a class fee for instruction ($10) and a rental fee for equipment ($6 for harness, carabener, shoes, and chalk bag). Buying your own gear:For a simple gym kit (harness, belay, carabener), without shoes, you can pay between $75-$120 for your own gear. Shoes are about $60-$120. If youre going outside, expect to pay a lot more for all the gear you need because, lets face it, it has to be good!Advantages:You can rock climb indoors and out. You have the ability to bepletely safe indoors or take more chances outdoors, depending upon what you want. Youll feel more free as a human being than you ever have. You can choose this over standard strength training any day you are working upper body if you join abined gym. Greatest peril:Falling and overuse injuries to hands, fingers, wrists, shoulders and neckDisadvantages:It takes a long time to be proficient at this sport, and it isnt cheap!Benefits:Build unbelievable strength in your upper body and have a sense of agility unmatched by any other sport. Your mental acuity will soar. Your concept of fear as you currently know it, will be short-listed.Best places to Rock Climb:Ready to grip it and rip it like the big boys? Of Gateways Top10 Best Places to Rock Climb, the top nine are located in South Africa. Number one? The steep sandstone faces on Table Mountain in the Peninsula Mountain Chain in South Africa. Here in the U.S.? Californias Yosemite National Park or Tuolumne Meadows in Californias High Sierras. KAYAKINGThis is one of those cross-over sports that requires both strength and endurance. However, we put it into our strength category because of the amount of upper body muscle it requires in order to engage in it. Kayaking can be done on a lake, river, or in the ocean. If you dont have access to one of these, it likely isnt a good choice for you. However, with the diversity of land and many natural bodies of water found in the U.S., it would be hard to believe that there isnt a body of water someplace near your home to provide you with recreational and fitness opportunities. In fact, the sport of kayaking is growing in popularity so much that the price of kayaks have absolutely gone through the roof! An entry-level inflatable kayak starts in the neighborhood of about $250. You can find them at Costco in the late spring and early summer or at a sporting goods store. They only go up from there. $699-$999 buys you a single-man kayak built for recreational paddling of all skill levels, either an ocean or fresh water model. The greater the stability and lighter weight the materials, the more expensive it gets. $1000 and upward buys a serious kayak for higher ability level and morepetitive conditions. When we say upwards, we were shocked to find that kayaks can actually sell for $10Gs! Yeah, the price of a pretty flashy speed boat,plete with motor and leather seats. (Drool). But the truth is, while kayaking can be expensive, it doesnt have to be. Nor does it have to happen in Class IV rapids to be beneficial to your strength and endurance levels. Its a great upper body workout for anyone. For fitness purposes, kayaking is actually better suited to still water, such as is found on lakes. Rivers provide their own challenges, and certainly, it requires strength, endurance and calculated choices in order to navigate successfully and safely. However, if youre purely into the enjoyment of being out on the water and getting your strength needs met, kayaking is a great way to do it!Equipment needed:A kayak of some kind, a cart with wheels to get it from car to water, plus an oar, swim gear and a change of clothes, as well as a floatation device/ life preserverMuscles worked: Latissimus dorsi, lower pecs, deltoids, serratus, intercostals, obliques, biceps and tricepsAdvantages:Can be a great way to get out of the gym and burn calories along with building upper body strength. Calms the mind, and is a great way to fish and view wildlife. Disadvantages:Kayaks are bulky and require roof racks. They can be quite heavy, depending upon the model, and require two people to lift and carry them. You can only kayak year round if you live in a place where the water doesnt freeze over in winter.Benefits:A great fitness tool, they can develop the back and shoulders like nothing else. There are no limitations to when you can kayakits a great summer activity in the early morning, heat of the day or at twilightBest places to see the world from a Kayak:Alaska, Hawaii and the South Pacific. //alaskaseakayakers/, OR //kayakkauai/EXTREME OUTDOOR WORKOUTSObstacle Course Racing & Fitness Boot CampsIf you live near an army base, you may have seen the obstacle courses that armed forces must train on to prove that they can sufficiently persevere inbat out in the field. Cargos, body hurdles, tire tracks, rope grids, walls, beams and bars, etc. are all a part of these courses. In fact, if you follow womens fitness, you probably know thatpetitions such as the Galaxy or Tri-Fitnesspetitions, require that a womanpete on a course just like that in order to test her physical fitness in addition to her aesthetic appeal. Trust us, these arent your average T&A shows! While these girls may look like cute little Hooters honeys, theyre actually fitness gorillas capable of serious ass-kicking. This interest in military type training emerged several years ago and its be a full-blown industry unto itself. The only problem is, there arent a lot of obstacle courses available and open to the civilian public. So serious course runners have begun to build their own courses in their own back yards. Lets face it, climbing a wall with just your own two feet and a hemp rope isnt exactly for the mild mannered. To quench the appetites of those interested in learning how to pursue this kind of serious fitness, many camps have sprung up to give weekend warriors their fix on hardcore fitness. These camps include work on an actual obstacle course, along with personalized Youre scum soldier kind of ear-barking that would leave even the most Semper-Fied individual shaking in his mothers army boots. The great thing thates out of this is a kind of physical culture and training regime is a work ethic that most people can take back into the gym with them, and get much better results. At these camps, such as outdoor fitness boot camp Camp Technique in Los Angeles, weekend inductees (maggots?) engage in everything from super circuit training, to advanced stretching techniques, to weighted ball training, toweak point training in order to realize that what they originally thought was a hard training session was more like wetting the bed in their sleep! Obstacle Coursing canpliment any training routine and satisfy a number of training goals, if notpliment what youre currently doing. Its an excellent all around type of strength, endurance and agility training tool. It also has the power to transform the body into a sleek, fit machine in under 6 months, provided you follow a good diet in addition. But its not for the weak of heart. Its best that you use obstacle course work, or super-circuit type training for apliment to an already strong physical fitness program. Attending a camp is just a great way to get started.Cost of camp:$150 per person/ per day or packages of $500 for a weekCost of Use of Course:If youre lucky enough to have one in the area that you can run. Use of it can be as cheap as $5 a time. (Kissimmee, FL, Orlando, FL, Venice, CA, and locations in Ohio and Texas, as well as several others springing up in a town near you).Cost of Building own course:$500 for a simple set of old tires, a cargo and a few over-under hurdles, to $5000 for aplete course on acreage,plete with wall, bars sunk into a permanent foundation and rope grids. Muscles worked:ALL!Equipment needed:Clothing you can move in, water, gloves with tacky grip, good athletic shoes with cushion for concussion, ball cap, visor or sunglassesAdvantages:Can get you into shape like nothing else. A truebination of strength and cardio in one. Can really cut down time in the gym once youre fit enough to goDisadvantages:Not a lot of obstacle courses are available to civilians; youll have to build your own unless you live in a few select places where obstacle courses and civilian fitness go hand in hand.Benefits:You can transform your body in a short time, your strength will increase by 20%, on average, within the first 1-2 months. You can count it as a full body workout, or upper body workout, and skip the gym that day. It will push you past any result you could get in the gym within the same time frame.Best Fitness Camp:Platoon Fitness (platoonfitness) with classes and camps in Philadelphia, NYC, Boston, Jersey, and now in Europe, in the U.K.Cant Attend a Camp?:Pick up Andrew Flechs book The Official Five Star Fitness Boot Camp Workout

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