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48-Year Old Woman Climbs
Rope Better Than Any Man

Dear Friend,

I never get tired of reading letters from individuals who are real "doers"... individuals who do not make excuses ... individuals who are not afraid to work hard to get what they want... individuals who are incredibly motivated and want to be the best. Here is a letter from just such a person that we could ALL learn something from:

"Hello John,

I was surfing the internet looking for information about the benefits of rope climbing and what do you know, I happened, finally, on your web site.

I am a 48 year old female who was in a moderate state of health until 12 years ago when I started doing an adult gymnastics program. No, I never did gymnastics when I was a kid.

As a child I was the oldest of four children and I was given piano lessons. Pertinent? Yes.

My other sibs had more athletic opportunities offered to them. When my first daughter at the age of 4 expressed an interest in ballet, which I knew she had no patience for, I enrolled her in a gymnastics class. Two years later when they started an adult class, I was the first one to sign up, even though I was 36 and had never done any gymnastics.

Ann Elise Bennett climbs the rope in her personal gym better than you can.

I've always been active, but never involved in any organized type of physical training.

At the time I had a 6 year old and a 2 year old and was WOEFULLY out of shape so I was extremely nervous about the first class. Oh, back up, when I was in the 6th grade all my cousins had trampolines and I wanted one too so I asked my mom if I saved up the money could we get one. Sure, she said, haha, not knowing I already had saved up the money, including what my sibs could pitch in. So we got one, which we spent many, many, accident-free hours on.

When I grew up and got married, for our fourth anniversary (no kids yet) I got a trampoline for my husband and he got me a recliner. Guess who used what? Okay, so back to the story, I knew how to "jump" but not really do any tricks. So I went to the class anyway. After the first year I was ready for more than one hour a week.

Year two I found another gym to give me another hour and the beginning of year three, the first gym had some changes in personnel and decided they wanted me to teach the class which I did for the next 6 years.

In that period of time I learned how to do front flips and land on my feet, Baranis, back flips, barrel rolls, front hand springs, bounders, back hand springs, among other fancy party tricks and on the bars I learned front hip circles, back hip circles, stride circles, kips and giants among others. I can also do inverted hangs and shoulder stands on the mens rings and a few other things.

Unfortunately, I chose to quit because of liability issues, not from any physical limitations (damn those liability issues!)

In the meantime I married my neighbor, we built an airplane hangar and moved into it, along with my various gymnastics paraphernalia (trampoline, rope, rings, bars and I even built a balance beam--try walking, balanced, on a 4-inch wide piece of wood--that's even a workout).

I have a set of women's uneven bars that my husband has yet to put up for me but hopefully he will soon because my now 14 year old daughter had some medical problems (a benign bone tumor in her right tibia) and for the forseable future is not allowed to do any "impact" activities and had to quit fencing, so we will move to some upper body exercises.

For a living, I am a medical transcriptionist. I work out of the house, my kids never had to go to daycare (yea!) and being married to a pilot I started flying six years ago.

I am, even as I write, sitting under the horizontal stabilizer of my Cessna 182 that we are in the process of restoring.

My Cessna 172 is parked on the porch and last September we raced it, ending up all the way from our home outside of Dallas, in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. This year we will be racing the 182 through Colorado, S. Dakota, N. Dakota, Montana, Minnesota, and ending up near Osh Kosh, Wisconsin and doing the EAA fly in this summer (a big airplane gathering).

I also help my husband work on the airplanes, pretty much anything that needs to be done, from oil changes to engine overhauls to sheet metal work, all of which I enjoy and I play with wire--I make wire sculptures and jewelry, in my spare time.

To summarize, I'm very competitive, I love being physically active, I love being ABLE to be physically active and if you are looking for my exercise philosophy or advice I would say "slow and steady wins the race". Start where you are and work up.

Whether it's walking or climbing a rope, either take a few more steps than you would normally (pedometers are great to keep track!) or start by sitting on the knot on the end of your rope and swinging, which is actually fun, then work up to standing on the knot building up your hand strength, and go from there.

There's a place for everyone to start. When talking with people who were sitting on the bleachers during my gymnastics class they would say "Oh, I can't even do a cartwheel". Well, I can't do a very good one either, but there are so many other things you could be doing besides sitting here.

Give me 10 minutes and I'll show you some things even you could do, a place to start.


By the way, I've climbed the rope now 26 times this year(as of 1-25-2006) Did I mention I also love riding motorcycles and our four-wheeler out here on our 80 acres and that we have five Chihuahuas, two of which LOVE to ride the four wheeler with me?

And we won third place in the airplane race in September? YIPPEE.

Okay, I'll shut up about me...

Thanks again and I look foreward to learning all I can from you in the future,

Ann Elise Bennett

P.S. There is a very small number of people who have been able to climb the rope here in the last 7 years, and when people ask me what I do for exercise and I say I climb a rope they look at me like I have three heads..."

Ann Elise, we salute you. Your attitude and your actions are outstanding examples of what we should all aspire to (not to mention that your training set-up would make any serious student of physical culture green with envy.) As for those of you out there reading this, take a look at the article again...notice the many valuable life lessons and patterns of success that Ann Elise talks about in her letter - hard work, dedication, not giving up, taking action, being resourceful, incorporating training into an active lifestyle, the desire to "bounce back" after getting out of shape...

Way to go Ann Elise!

Train hard.

John Wood signature
John Wood

P.S. Want to be like Ann Elise? Get a high-quality manila climbing rope here.

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