We sat down with Belmont Professor & Climb Nashville Staff Dr. Nick Bacon to ask him what the Monday night Mobility class has to offer a climber, how he became a competitive athlete, earned his PhD., and how he maintains an active lifestyle.
What is the Mobility Class for someone who has never been before?
The Mobility class is designed to increase mobility, improve position, and amplify body awareness to reduce potential injury and optimize performance. During the class we use lacrosse balls and barbells to enhance soft tissue function, and resistance bands to focus on neuromuscular release of short and tight muscles and joint capsule restrictions.
How does the Mobility Class benefit climbing?
Full Range of Motion, Injury Prevention and Appropriate Muscle Mass Activated.
One of the most important things for a climber to have is full mobility in the shoulders, hips, and ankles As we age, we wear through our joints at a rapid rate when we do not have full range or mobility in our body. Climbing is a series of not only one arm pull-ups, but also one legged squats, which we often forget. Therefore getting our hips closer to the wall is important. Women seem to have an advantage with hip mobility. More often women tend to utilize their lower body more when muscling up is counterproductive or difficult. Some muscles turn off as a result of reduced mobility or action in neighboring muscles. More specifically, your body in an effort to protect certain muscles or joints will shut down particular areas. When this happens, we often overload the active muscles creating imbalance and overuse. With mobility, you can activate the appropriate muscle mass needed to climb.
What workout routines have benefited you best for your climbing?
My personal ‘FITlosophy’ is quality over quantity. I really enjoy bouldering because the intensity is there and I like to focus on quality of movement.
If you could pick 3 exercises that everyone should do on a regular basis, what would those be?
- Deadlift. It’s a great way to protect the spine. Focus on form.
- Squat. It doesn’t have to be a weighted squat, but working your squat mechanics is key. Remember hips before the knees.
- Third is more of a lifestyle approach spending more time on the floor as an adult, and being able to get up off the floor are important. So practicing the kneeling or squat position, sitting indian style without a rounded back, and paleo/hunter gatherer squat are great starts.
What would be your recommendation to someone who wants to train and take their climbing to the next level.
The principle is specificity. Train the way you want to adapt. Power is a good example of something that most climbers want to improve on. If someone wants more power, do powerful moves that load muscles appropriately. Weight training is also nice, especially when you focus on the power side. Just keep in mind it doesn’t have to be a lot of weight. If you’re lifting 60% of your max, you’ll be able to get that weight from point A to point B a lot faster than you would ever be able to if it was 90% of your max. You want to train slow and steady at times, but other times we want to be more powerful. Being well rounded is a good goal.
What do you do on a regular basis to keep an active lifestyle?
I try to do a variety of things:
- Bike to work.
- Climb 4-5 hours/week at Climb Nashville.
- Weightlift about 4 hours/week.
- Walk as much as possible and take the stairs.
- Run. I’ve tried to take running out of the equation, but keep coming back to it because it’s such a graceful movement pattern that I enjoy.
Being an elite and competitive athlete, what is your motivation now, at 31 years old?
I’ve always valued “practice what you preach”. So as an assistant professor at Belmont, telling students how to move well and to be consistent, I must have that intrinsic motivation as well. I do focus my day around my training, that way I know it will happen.
What are some of your greatest athletic accomplishments?
- Competing in college athletics running the 800m and gaining points for my team at conference championships
- Also, being a well-rounded athlete. As a kid in Jr. High, I wanted to be OK at all sports, but I didn’t want to excel in any of them. I still feel like specialization in some aspects has limitations. I’m watching the Olympics right now and there are amazing athletes, no doubt about it, but they are amazing in that limited plane of motion So, if we start training our weakest links, we’ll become stronger all around.
What would you say are your greatest Personal Accomplishments?
- When I switched fields from marketing into exercise science I was blessed to have become a certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and receive a graduate assistantship to the University of Alabama for a PhD, that was a huge highlight from a career standpoint.
- For my personal life, it’s my family. Having a beautiful wife who is a wonderful Christian woman and is always there for me. And not only seeing that love between us, but also in our son. He’s going to be an awesome little climber soon. It’s an ongoing journey that keeps things in perspective.
The Mobility Class is Monday Night from 6-7pm @ West in the campus workout area . For more information concerning mobility techniques please visit www.MobilityWOD.com