When we did our first public demonstration back in July 2019 at Cliff Hanger Festival in Sheffield, we had several people ask us “So, what’s the challenge?”. There was an expectation for us to run a competition of “How long can you dead hang?” or “How many pull ups can you do?”. At that time, we didn’t have anything - but it got us thinking.
The Seeing Stars Training System is quickly gaining a reputation as a total upper body training tool. The ability to alter the position, rotation, and type of Module fitted allows you to work a wide range of muscle groups and means the difficulty level can be adjusted to meet the needs of any climber, from beginners right through to the climbing elite. Therefore, we didn’t want to develop a challenge that was just limited to finger strength or forearm conditioning, and we wanted everyone to be able to have a go!
When Olivia Ratcliffe joined our team, we set her the task of developing a suitable challenge. It didn’t take her long to come up with an awesome concept - something which demands a whole load of core strength in addition to shoulder stability, arm and finger strength. Throwing in a need for some coordination made it even more difficult.
And so the ‘Tap Brian’ Challenge was born.
We insert a Jug n’ Sloper Module into a standard position in the Base Station and have the competitor hang with shoulders engaged. Then “all” they need to do is tap with their toes the engraved Brian faces in numerical order – all the uneven numbers need to be tapped with the right toe and all the even numbers with the left, which causes a crossing over action of the legs. The numbered Brian's start at the bottom and increase up to 36 at the top. By the time the competitor gets to number 36 their feet are at the same level as their hands.
We have made a simple assembly which can be attached to our Gym Portal (our portable replica door frame). The tapping board is in a fixed position, but we can vary the Module’s position, rotation and type to suit the ability level of the climber having a go.
In October, we debuted the ‘Tap Brian’ Challenge at the IFSC European Speed and Lead Championships at Edinburgh International Climbing Arena in Ratho. What a reaction it received! Everyone from spectators to competitors were having a go. We soon found ourselves introducing a few more phrases to our usual demonstration repertoire, including “It’s tap Brian, not kick Brian in the face!”
After a few tweaks, we are proud to introduce the ‘Tap Brian’ Challenge, which will be available at each of our demonstrations.
So, if you want to test your trunk musculature fitness against your family or friends, or to get to the top of our leader board, check out the locations of our upcoming demonstrations and we will be pleased to let you have a go