Tree Climbing

We are, essentially, apes. Apes with cars and keyboards, but apes none the less. Our opposable thumbs evolved to grasp branches (among other things) and our shoulder joints evolved to brachiate — to swing from one branch to another.

If we don’t meet this evolutionary need for movement, our hands, our shoulders and everything else degenerate slowly over time. We lose muscle mass, joint mobility, and bone density.

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing.”

– George Bernard Shaw

Of course, we can get a lot of these “movement nutrients” from pull-up bars, jungle gyms and TRX straps. I highly recommend these training methods, and you will find many workouts and training tips on this website using these tools. But we shouldn’t lose sight of the context that we are training these movements for.

Trees provide other benefits, too:

  • Spending time under a canopy has proven relaxation effects. In Japan the practice is called shinrin-yoku or “forest bathing”
  • Tree branches have a rough texture and uneven branches, making for endless variation in training.
  • There is an undeniable boost in motivation when your training goal is to climb a tree. It’s play, it’s fun, it’s effective.

You don’t have to climb tree to benefit from the movement

If you aren’t ready to climb or don’t feel confident then there are still many things you can do. Check out this article about the tree climbing moves you can do without leaving the ground:

Eight Tree-Climbing Exercises You Can Do Without Leaving the Ground

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The information on this site is not intended as medical advice, nor should it be used in place of proper instruction and common sense. Tree climbing is a potentially dangerous activity which can result in injury or death. Anyone choosing to act on the information on this site should be aware of the risks and accept responsibility for their actions.