If there’s any place in Dubai to see how you measure up in the fitness world (or simply to join it), it’s InnerFight. The multi floored, multi-purpose training facility in Al Quoz is a breeding ground for strength, speed and endurance athletes and dedicated fitness enthusiasts in the country, thanks to the hard work and dedication of founder and performance coach Marcus Smith.
Tackling everything from ultramarathons and triathlons to Cross- Fit championships in other parts of the world; as well as organising their own in-house challenges, tricky WODs and intensive workshops for members, the InnerFight gang are not ones to shy away from a little competitive action.
This month’s challenge in particular is Dubai-inspired, and the public is welcome to come and “get to grips” with it too.
On Friday, April 1, teams are invited to try their hand at a unique rope climbing challenge with and against InnerFight. Within 60 minutes, the objective is to have climbed a distance of 830 metres – the height at which our own Burj Khalifa stands.
No, this is not an April Fools’ Day joke. You really will climb the equivalent of the landmark’s 160 stories, but if you’re afraid of heights you needn’t worry because you won’t be anywhere near the building for the feat.
Two lengths of rope will be available at the gym for the challenge, and it will take challengers 181 summits of the long rope to achieve the full height of the iconic skyscraper, the equivalent of 212 climbs on the shorter rope.
Thankfully, teams can have up to 10 people on them to save your arms some punishment. That said, it’s a timed challenge so make sure everyone walks with their upper body strength and endurance.
Smith, one of the fittest men in the region, says: “We use rope climbs quite a bit in our programme so we thought why not do an event where you climb a rope the equivalent distance of the world’s tallest building?
“We thought that would be pretty cool. I guess we are always trying to figure out something that is a challenge but also linked to what people can connect with.
“This is for fun – fitness should be fun – but of course there is a competitive part. The six teams doing the climb at InnerFight will be trying to get it done as fast as possible, as will other teams around the world. We already have people from Europe and America gathering teams and they will perform the challenge in their gyms.”
If you’re choosing to tackle the relay climb at your own facility, just be sure have a plan of action, says Smith. “The total height in feet of Burj Khalifa is 2,722ft so divide the length of your rope by that and you have the number of times you need to climb it, simple.
“Start the clock when your first person climbs the rope and make sure someone is on hand to stop it when you have covered the distance. Go in any order you want, and do as many or as few ascents as your team needs you to do. We suggest one rope climb per person on rotation with fast transitions.”
Rope Climbing may seem like child’s play and not the most useful addition to a serious workout routine, but it’s actually pretty tough going pulling your own body weight against gravity, and the activity does come with its benefits.
In fact, pretty much all the major muscle groups can be utilised in a climb, with special focus on the arms, shoulders and back. Not to mention, the higher the climb, the harder you’ll need to work to hang on – needless to say, psychological toughness is also a great thing to walk into this challenge with.
“In essence, this is a major pulling movement, not far off of a pullup but way more intense on your grip,” says Smith. “Do a lot in quick succession and you will feel your lungs for sure. So in traditional terms, rope climbing works your strength as well as cardio, too.”
And there are other ways to prepare for this challenge than just, well, climbing ropes all afternoon, says Smith. “For sure, work on your grip strength by putting some farmer’s walks in your programme, or even some static dumbbell holds, and add in some more pulling movements like straight pullups, bent-over rows, or even some deadlifts.”
If you put your name down for any fitness challenge in Dubai this year, this would rank as one of the most unique. Not only will you be able to brag to your friends that you were once part of a team that climbed the height of the Burj Khalifa, you’ll get a full body workout at the same time that will leave you feeling great early on your Friday.
What: ‘Climb The Burj Khalifa’ Rope Climb Challenge
Where: InnerFight HQ, Al Quoz, Dubai (for the first six teams signed up); meanwhile, other teams can choose to compete at their own facilities
When: Friday, April 1; 10:00-11:00
Contact & info: To secure your place as one of five teams taking on the challenge at InnerFight HQ, write to [email protected] or call 04 321 2899. More information, including video tutorials, leading up to the big day will also be posted on www.innerfight.com/climbingburjkhalifa