Tag Archives: Simone Biles

What’s your arms only rope climb equivalent?



Fitness is a funny thing. We might get injured or distracted. Things we’d previously worked up to and got to the point of doing with, if not ease, then less struggle, suddenly feel impossible again.

This might be lifting a particular weight, a speed you’ve not matched, a yoga pose you’ve not done for a while… Just as getting stronger, fitter, more flexible and powerful has a positive impact on our confidence and mood, getting out of the habit can have a detrimental effect.

I often wonder how Simone Biles is doing.

After her phenomenal performances at last year’s Olympics, the image that stayed with me was of her daily workout’s inclusion of climbing a rope ladder using only her arms.

She made it look – like her gymnastics – like FUN.

You can see her brief pre-Olympic interview with Ellen DeGeneres, including some gymnastics clips and the infamous rope climb HERE.

‘It’s very easy,’ she tells Ellen as if she means it. ‘I do one rope a day like that.’

Every so often, when psyching myself up to cycle to the pool, I wonder. Does she still do it? What would happen if she had a week off?

I’m not an athlete (although, when I had a whole lane to myself at the Olympic pool in Stratford when it opened to the public, I did imagine – for a few seconds – being an Olympic swimmer).

Even so, I notice that if I don’t cycle for a few days, I feel the effort more when I do again. My 3 or 4 swims each week (sometimes I only manage two) are almost always for an hour but I notice that when I’m more on top of things and going more often, I’ll swim faster. Some of them – many of them – are pretty leisurely. I’m no Olympian but I love being in the water.

Injury means that for almost a year, my yoga practice has been lighter on the upper body work. I crave certain poses but know I’d be foolish to try them again before I fully heal (I have delayed the healing by not being so patient in the past). I’m also aware that I might not be able to do them again and that saddens me.

And this is another key, when recovering after injury or getting back into any kind of training: Being friendly to our bodies and appreciating what they can do today. Not beating ourselves up remembering through rose tinted glasses how we could do more in the past.

What do you do quite effortlessly? How often do you test yourself to keep it going?

What’s your arms only rope climb equivalent?

How’s your self-talk when you’re in that zone?

What are you building up to?

What helps you be kinder to yourself when illness, injury or other obstacles mean you can’t reach your fitness goals?

I am regularly awed at how quickly I start to feel like an amoeba if I don’t swim enough and then, it’s like magic how much better it makes me feel when I get back into the pool and sea.

Do you notice an impact on your mood when you’re working out well and when, for whatever reason, you’re not?

Feel free to comment below.





Olympic inspiration

Alexandra Raisman (Silver), Simone Biles (Gold) and Amy Tinkler (Bronze)
Alexandra Raisman (Silver), Simone Biles (Gold) and Amy Tinkler (Bronze)

After yesterday’s phenomenal Floor final (above), one of the commentators talked about the huge improvements on Floor since 2012 when only a few (including the glorious Gabby Douglas) were capable of ‘such tumbling’ .

The commentator said the skills of the winning gymnasts made ‘people start thinking, “Yes, this is a possibility.’

I’m no Olympic gymnast (my underwater handstands, handstands against the wall and cartwheels are as close as I get and, fun as they are, I’m not delusional) but watching these athletes makes my spirit soar.

Watching 41 year old Uzbekistan’s Oksana Chusovitina compete in the Vault final against gymnasts her son’s age and younger is still making my head spin.

Oksana Chusovitina

Gabby Douglas made me cry happy tears in 2012 (click here for her routine). This year, she’s faced horrendous racism and unjustified weirdness for not arranging her face how anonymous judges think she should when not even performing.

Her mistake in the Bar final was a display of superb strength and skill – apparently, most gymnasts fall off at that point but she held on and continued.

This year, new champion Simone Biles did even better, earning four Gold medals. Aly Raison (whose parents made me cry in 2012 – click here for more) came back to take Silver.

Aly Raisman's parents
Alexandra Raisman’s parents

You can watch their Floor routines here.

And Britain’s Amy Tinkler! Asked how she felt after qualifyers, she said she loved it. And went on to win Bronze!

That love for what she’s doing comes across so clearly, it was a joy to watch (I can’t find a link to her routine but maybe by the time you read this, it’ll be available on YouTube).

Then there were the more worried tears. I fast-forwarded Indian’s first female Vault finalist’s after hearing she was attempting The Vault of Death and then went back to watch it with my heart where it belonged instead of in my mouth. If I’d known I’d already seen Oksana do it, I wouldn’t have been as afraid for Dipa Karmakar from the comfort of my sofa.

Dipa Karmakar
Dipa Karmakar

Britain’s Ellie Downie fell in her Floor routine (‘I heard my neck crunch’) during the qualifyers but somehow got herself out of the wheelchair they put her in and went on to continue and do her Vault.

Seeing Ellie and her teammates fly the flag for Britain helped me feel happy to see this flag for the first time since the Brexit vote.

Ellie Downie
Ellie Downie

The resilience of these women is a wonder to behold.

I especially loved the mixed teams where they supported and console and celebrated for each other. Canada’s coach made me cry at one point comforting another country’s gymnast.

And the gymnasts who fell off bars and beam but who paused to gather their resolve and continue on. Magic. I loved the crowd support in these cases. In some ways, the moments of vulnerability make what they do even more impressive.

And the international (and within teams in some cases) hugging and pictures and celebrations as competitors went back to being friends, wishing each other well.

Whatever we’re doing, seeing athletes put everything they’ve got into what they’re doing encourages us to go that extra mile in our own work or towards our own dreams and goals.

Just as athletes pushing the boundaries of what’s possible inspires even more greatness, progress in all fields helps us see what might be.

What has Rio 2016 inspired you to work harder at?

Feel free to comment below.


Eve x