Wednesday Workout: Strong From Home with Carolyn Parker of the Ripple Effect Training Center

Rachel PerkinsApril 29, 2020
The small mountain town of Carbondale, CO is home to the Ripple Effect Training Center.

Like many mountain towns, Carbondale, Colorado is a magnet for athletes. The definition of that word is used broadly — though there are plenty, it is not just home to the uber endurance junkie. Within 30 miles, you can find world-class rivers for whitewater kayaking or fly fishing, five ski resorts, a variety of rock climbing and bouldering objectives, and miles of single track to be run, hiked, or ridden. With this unbelievable backyard, we are a town full of people who like to play outside. 

Another common thread that links many of us is our belief in and gratitude for “the Injury Unicorn”, Carolyn Parker, who is the owner and lead trainer at the Ripple Effect Training Center. We flock to Carolyn to help us identify the source of our problems and to guide us to a solution through functional strength and mobility. In her words, it’s “outcome based training.”

Carolyn Parker, founder and lead trainer at the Ripple Effect Gym in Carbondale, CO, shares a workout to develop functional strength and mobility from home without any equipment. Parker has been training athletes since obtaining her certification through Gym Jones in 2010. (Photo:

Carolyn and her team have helped athletes correct muscle imbalances, increase power and strength, and recover from surgeries or pregnancy. She has helped athletes chase a Grand Canyon speed record in a raft, keep their body healthy for 100 mile running races, and even relearn to walk after spinal cord injuries. Her training supports the longevity and progress of athletes of all levels so we can stay healthy and continue to adventure in the mountains for years to come.

The Ripple Effect dogma is this:

“Our goals are to train the mind of the individual alongside the body, for the mind compels the body to endure and to achieve. To injury proof the body all the while encouraging the athlete to excel. We have created an environment of support, where honesty, character and integrity are paramount; and where motivation, instruction, and guidance are given to those with the desire to change.

“These practices do not apply to just the ‘elite’ of the athletic world. They apply to each and every one of us. We are all athletes! We all desire health, strength, happiness, and the capacity to excel in whatever we choose to do, at any level.”

When the gym was forced to close due to public health orders in mid March, the Ripple Effect crew hopped to and created a set of workouts athletes could complete from home without any equipment. The workout below is from that list and shared with permission. 

The team at Ripple Effect is also leading small group and private instruction via Zoom. Parker also offers virtual or in person coaching to develop a periodized training program using the equipment available to you to help you reach your goals in the mountains. You can find out more by contacting Ripple Effect through their website or by following along on Instagram.  


Warm up with 10 minutes of walking, light jogging, heavy house work like vacuuming, wrestling with kids, or a Zumba video. You get the idea — get your heart rate up a bit and get your body warm.


  • 2 x 8 shoulder opener with belt, ski pole, or towel
  • 2 x 5 push-up, knees or toes.
  • 3 x 5 air squats


  • 4 x 30 sec push-ups/30 sec plank – 4 min total
  • 1:00 rest
  • 4 x 30 sec air squat/30 sec hold in the bottom of the squat – 4 min total
  • 1:00 rest
  • 4 x 30 sec sit up/30 sec with straight leg elevate 6” off the floor – 4 min total
  • 1:00 rest
  • 4 x 30 sec windshield wiper/30 sec flutter kick – 4 min total
  • 1:00 rest
  • 4 x 30 sec lunges in place/30 sec “rest” jog in place – 4 min total
  • 1:00 rest
  • 4 x 30 sec bicycles on back/ 30 sec mountain climbers – 4 min total

Cool down with some light mobility exercises. 


Celebrating her 50th birthday with a dream trip ski mountaineering in Antarctica. (Photo: Instagram @blitzkriegbarbie)

Carolyn Parker is the founder and lead instructor at the Ripple Effect Gym in Carbondale, Colorado. She has been training athletes since obtaining her certification through Mark Twight / Gym Jones in 2010. Outside the gym, Parker is a life-long climber and AMGA certified mountain guide who has made the successful transition into full time coaching work. She has lead 5.12 rock, A3+, M8 mixed, and skis 50 degree couloirs. Parker has ski guided Mont Blanc, the famous Chamonix-Zermatt Haute Route, and the Italian Ortler Traverse multiple times. In 2001 she attempted to climb Makalu by a new route on the South Face with a small 4-person team. Most recently she has been competitive in mountain races and adventures, such as the Imogene Pass run, R2R2R in the Grand Canyon, the Sandia Crossing, the Four Pass Loop Elk Mountains, and the Power of Four Skimo Race. In 2019, she celebrated her 50th birthday by guiding a group of friends on a ski mountaineering trip to Antarctica, among other burly and spectacular mountain adventures. 

Disclosure: The author is a paying member of the Ripple Effect Gym. Her goal is to be as badass, strong, and kind of a human being as Parker at 50. 


Rachel Perkins

Rachel is an endurance sport enthusiast based in the Roaring Fork Valley of Colorado. You can find her cruising around on skinny skis, running in the mountains with her pup, or chasing her toddler (born Oct. 2018). Instagram: @bachrunner4646

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