I’ve had this post in draft for a long time however I’ve been given a nudge by a great post on this blog (well worth checking out):
Although my post might seem a reaction to their post it’s not at all, I think they make some great great points especially about plateaus (the 6b + one did my head in before injury, the 6b one is even worse now) I also loved how much they talk about what your climbing time is actually like not what you think it is like, once a week is actually very little, it won’t build muscle and you are likely to learn very little and if in this one session you spend half of it spotting others, giving out beta, having a catch up and a good coffee break it whittles down to almost nothing.
Their conclusion is climb more, and I cannot disagree with that…..however….
Of the people I climb with many are busy, have families, none climbing partners or jobs with anti- climbing hours. For these people it’s difficult to hit a wall or rock more than twice a week. Others don’t have the money to buy the gear for outdoors or to pay for indoor walls more than once a week.
Therefore is training a viable option to improve climbing? This doesn’t have to be in a gym, plenty of parks have usable equipment and there are classes everywhere these days.
Starting with the basics, any exercise is going to be good for us, just walking more will improve our health, being healthy improves our stamina, fitness and mental wellbeing all good for climbing.
Where I see a lot of people going wrong (in my opinion) is that they don’t think about how their training could be applied to climbing moves. For instance….pull ups, great idea, working the right muscle groups for climbing but when do we ever find a climb where both our hands are directly above us on great holds, shoulders width apart….? Try varying hand width, find different things to pull up on if you don’t have a fingerboard, if your gym has bars of varying height have one hand at each level, make sure you fully extend to improve your crank ability, try locking off and moving on a horizontal plane at the top.
Think about how we move, we rarely push up on both legs at the same time so train them individually. For cardio the treadmill is fine but the rower is much more applicable to climbing muscle groups and movement
Yoga and pilates work your core, improve mental balance and anxiety control and improve range of muscles. This is likely to show more gains than going and benching twice your weight.
Furthermore when building muscle it has to be useful….no point carrying extra weight up climbs that isn’t useful!!!
Make training count!