“I’m here because I need more playtime,” another student in the class said, in response to the teacher’s query about why we were standing there, on a Saturday morning, using stretchy bands to warm up our shoulders and feet. Really, I thought, that sums it up well for all of us. Silks looks gorgeous when seen on the screen and, while the performers certainly make it look easy, you know there’s a lot more going on.
We start climbing the silks and I can tell that even the work I’ve been doing on the pull-up bar is not enough, the silks are different. They use different muscles, require more core and side stability. Once we learn to put on foot locks, it’s a little easier, we can climb up and then rest just a little, flipping around, stretching out, or my favorite, going into a cocoon.
The next week we learn a new way to climb – a little easier – but then you’re much further up trying to put on a foot lock while your arms get tired. Still, it’s starting to look impressive – still effortful, but silks appears within reach.
Grip strength was the other element that has built over the last few weeks. While the rosin helps make your palms sticky, you still have to hold onto the silks and support the weight of your body as you climb. My friend who joined me, who does a lot of rock climbing, had no problem with this element. But for the rest of us, this was something that we had to improve.
Even playing on the silks once a week, though, leads to improvement. You build skills, muscle memory, strength, and experience. All of which adds up. So while my silks don’t yet look effortless, and there are certainly plenty of things I can’t do, I’m pretty thrilled with the start and will continue doing silks, enjoying the beginner-level classes and, quite frankly, enjoying playtime.