Taking A Spill

Jacobs ladder has been a piece of exercise equipment used for cardio work. The ladder also helps with coordination and balance. Jacobs ladder is exactly what you are thinking. It is a never-ending ladder. Climbing onto the ladder causes the rungs to move under your feet. Set at an approximate forty-five-degree angle. The concept involves climbing upwards as if climbing a ladder. You have a great deal of control over the pace at which the ladder rotates. The faster you climb, the quicker the wooden steps will appear. The exercise requires some coordination as well. With the body required to move in a climbing motion. Reaching for each step as the opposite leg steps onto the wooden rung. As the round pieces of wood move down toward me, my job is to grasp them. First with my right hand, then with my left hand, while my feet move in the same motion. As the left-hand reaches for the circular rung, the right foot steps onto a rung. All the while attempting to balance the body. Using my core to support my body in positions as the ladder gets climbed. Jacobs ladder has been one of the best forms of working on coordination for my disability. As cerebral palsy makes it challenging to perform coordinated movement. While also causing balance to be difficult in many situations.  

My first experience working with Jacobs ladder was years ago. Under the guidance of my first trainer. Whom had helped me remain in good shape for over seven years. Not long after venturing out to open his own gym. This piece of equipment called the Jacobs ladder was found and brought to the gym. He was excited to have found one, as not many gyms had one to offer. In my small sample size of being inside a few gyms to that point, I had never seen one of these ladders. It looked pretty scary to be standing next to a Jacobs ladder for the first moment. Questioning my trainer over whether it was even safe for me to attempt. He reminded me to take my time and everything should work out well. The process of climbing onto the ladder for the first time left me in shock. I could hardly believe it was something that could be executed. The coordination was found to work on this exciting piece of fitness equipment. Jacobs ladder felt great for working on my coordination from the first try. Requiring me to concentrate on hand and foot placement. The machine was going to help strengthen some major challenges to cerebral palsy improvement. But, it didn’t just help with my disability, the ladder was challenging for most anyone who worked with Jacob. 

In the gym during those early days, Jacobs ladder was something we all loved to hate. Many people choosing to stay clear of the ladder. Which felt positive, as the equipment was mostly always available. Remaining on the ladder for a mere five minutes was challenging for most. I found it an incredible tool for keeping me in good condition. Jacobs ladder, beyond the challenging impact on cerebral palsy, was quick to elevate my heart rate. Causing me to start reaching for air before the first minute had expired. Back when we trained in the gym, the ladder wasn’t something done of my own volition. During the workout sessions, which usually occurred twice per week, working on Jacobs ladder would be intermingled. Usually, used in about two minute intervals. We would be assigned to the ladder once or twice during the hour-long sessions. No matter the exercise leading into the two-minute ladder burst, it was guaranteed to get me breathing deeply. Since those early days of the gym, I chose to go in a new direction. Sometimes coming back periodically through the years. But, never to continuing working out for long. Like many things in life changing during the last year. The last couple months found me back inside the gym. Spending time training with my first ever trainer, again. On a journey to get my weight under control and back into shape. The good old Jacobs ladder was there for my return. 

During my first stint of working out with Frank, I didn’t work out alone much. Only spending time at the gym for training sessions. Making it easy to refrain from pushing myself past comfort. Frank would always provide the time to be completed on Jacobs ladder. It was often in two minute intervals. The work on the ladder being imputed in the middle of the session. Providing intrigue, as it was impossible to know when the ladder would come calling. Frank had a good idea of what could be handled on Jacobs ladder. Having observed my performance through other exercises throughout the session. He knew to provide the challenge that pushed me to the brink of my capacity. Causing me to work a little extra as the seconds ticked up to the goal. The process kept me inside the moment. Providing hyper focus on the goal Frank had put forth. Another factor was having someone watching me complete the task. All of the circumstance had me remaining engaged and composed to complete my time on the ladder. Even while being pushed beyond what seemed achievable. While attempting to accomplish all of these durations on the ladder, I never took a tumble. The record of pushing myself on Jacobs ladder without a fall ended a few weeks ago. I pushed myself beyond my limits and the left side of my body gave out. 

Returning to work out with my first trainer has been inspiring. He moved to a bigger space in the span of us returning. Making for a great area to attempt finding my way back into shape. The past year has brought about many heartbreaking events in our lives. One positive has been the events steering me back into working with Frank. This has been able to occur without the loss of training with Bernard. It provided the opportunity to continue training in the gym environment. Bring equipment back into my life, like the Jacobs ladder. For a couple months working on the ladder was going really well. The first-time experiencing using the ladder outside of a training session. It was being worked into my cardio routine. Finding myself getting more motivated to use Jacobs ladder. The machine was drawing me into the gym more frequently. Helping me along a new commitment to shed some pounds that have been hanging around unwelcomely. The effort on the ladder was leading me to longer duration on the machine. Instead of the two minute intervals of work while training. On my own, the time was moving up to three minutes and creeping beyond. It was becoming exciting until I mixed up the pattern of my workout. Getting onto the ladder with a little too much fatigue in my body. I failed to recognize how tired my body had become following the previous exercises. The result was slightly embarrassing and a little scary.

I simply pushed things a little too far. After the excitement of spending more time in Frank’s gym. Things were beginning to quickly improve when thinking about my health. Adopting a new routine of going to the gym on most mornings. Past experience told me about the amount of time it can take to improve health. But, I wanted to make things move along more quickly. Our vacation was moving in fast and I wanted to be ready. So, following time spent on the stair climber. It felt like a good idea to test myself by pushing forward. Deciding to work on Jacobs ladder for the second time during my work out. With no one else around, I climbed on the machine. Things were going well. Leading me to continue extending the goal of time to complete. Just after completing three and a quarter minutes of climbing. The left side of my body gave way, causing my left hand to miss the following rung. I collapsed to the right side against the guard rail of Jacobs ladder. The ladder stopped moving after impact and I was okay. Startled and embarrassed I lowered myself from the ladder. Moving on with my workout, I walked over to the assault bike. While peddling, and moving my arms forward and back. My mind told me not to completely quit and walk away. So, after spending some time on the assault bike, I went back over to Jacobs ladder. It was shaky climbing back onto the ladder, with anxious nerves floating through my body.

My goal was to limit the time on Jacob after taking the spill. Not wanting to walk out of the gym with that fearful feeling of falling. If I could make it longer than one minute, but no more than two minutes, I would be happy. The ladder was stable under my limbs. While, the feeling of security was regained with relative ease. I crossed the mark of one minute feeling safe enough to continue the work. As the time went past a minute in a half, my body began feeling unsteady, questioning of my ability to make it two minutes began to whisper. The moment caused me to draw in my focus. Which, had left before resulting in my spill. I concentrated on tightening the core to remain balanced. Thinking about the motion of reaching for each wooden rung and maintaining composer. Before I knew it, the two-minute goal had been achieved. Jacobs ladder slowed to a halt, allowing me to calmly climb off the machine. I had taken the opportunity not to quit after something went wrong. Getting back on the proverbial horse after taking a nerve rattling spill. Saving myself from giving the fear room to breathe. Had I walked out of the gym before reclaiming confidence in the ability to work on Jacobs ladder. It always seems important to get right back onto something that has quickly caused uncertainty.

The search for ways to help cerebral palsy improve doesn’t stop. Trying one thing for a few years. Then, through unforeseen circumstance we might circle back. The Jacobs ladder seems an ideal example of something lost and found again. Since being away from Frank’s training and the ladder, much has been learned. Many lessons about the impact of cerebral palsy on my body. Along with an understanding of exercises best used for cerebral palsy improvement. Throughout the gaining of all the new knowledge. Jacobs ladder wondered around my thoughts. I often felt while working on the ladder in those early days, it felt very helpful to my disability. Though at that time, the knowledge to understand how it was helping eluded my thinking. Now, there has been acquired understanding around Jacobs ladder. The ability of the equipment to require all four of my limbs to work independently. Placing pressure on their timing and coordination to succeed on the ladder. Finding my way back into Frank’s gym hasn’t helped solely because of Jacobs ladder. The time has improved my motivation to get back into shape. Putting into motion a new exercise habit, which could drastically improve my challenges. It will be up to me to remain disciplined.


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