Thursday, 19 September 2013

#Braindump; Training, Climbing & Common Sense Tips

This is a bit of a project which will progress over time, the intention is to make a list of common sense approach tips for people who train to climb, whether it to get fitter, better, compete or push it to your maximum!

Feel free to send suggestions through;
  1. Stages. Gradually increase your training volume and load in small stages. Pushing too hard too soon could lead to injuries. 
  2. Consistency. Progression comes from lots of small steps. Normally this is training followed by rest and recovery. Too much training and not enough recovery can lead to over training and a greater chance of becoming injured. 
  3. Your inner voice. If you have negative thoughts in your head you’ll waste your climbing session, be positive. 
  4. Practice with purpose. Make sure your sessions count and every session somehow benefits your performance, if it’s not, look at the end goal and change it. 
  5. Reflection. All your training and sessions should reflect what you aim to achieve. If your end goal is to onsite 6c then make sure your doing lots of ground work on 6b+ endurance, for example one & ones on 6b+ and four by fours on 6b could help with this. 
  6. Have a Routine or a Mantra. Often some form of ‘word with yourself’ can help through the stressful moments to help regroup and refocus. 
  7. Targeted training. To improve at any discipline of climbing it is essential to be specific. If you intend to enter the British Lead Climbing Championships you need to be able to lead climb and lead climb well at a specific grade so target your training specifically to what you want to get out of it. 
  8. Comfort. To progress in climbing you have to push yourself hard, that means pushing yourself out of the comfort zone, that means falling off, sometimes lots, but to progress you must push through it!
  9. Progress. Focus on your progress, knowing what you need to do and break down how you’re going to get there. 
  10. Weaknesses. Work them! If you are rubbish at slopers and you know the route you want to do is full of them, then train on slopers, set problems for yourself in the boulder wall or on lead routes to help you work your weaknesses.
  11. Back up plan. Whether it’s a route, redpoint, boulder problem, onsight, competition, etc, think about what could happen on route and where it could happen. Write them down and next to each one write down a backup plan. This way you have mentally rehearsed problems and though about them before they happen.
  12. Swat up. If you are visiting a new crag to do a specific route, climbing at a competition in another country or off bouldering in the Peak, swat up on the venue, location, logistics, how your going to get there, the walkthrough, what the wall is like, angles, how many quickdraws you need, etc. Familiarity with the place your visiting will help take some of the nerves out of what your going to do and will be one less stress to think about.
  13. Partners. Train and climb with people who you can trust and who motivate and bring the best out of you. It’s pointless having people around you who are negative and drag the sessions down.
  14. Goals. By setting goals you know what you want to achieve and when. By using the SMART (ER) system (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely (Evaluate and Revisit)) you can break your long term goal into manageable targets meaning your end goal is more achievable.
  15. Route Reading. Route reading properly can mean the difference between moving smoothly through a section and wasting energy matching hands, searching for feet or down climbing to fix sequences and should be practiced. Things to consider when route reading include finding the rests, clipping positions, cruxes, alternate sequences, pacing and when you’ll need to move fast or slow and the distances between holds. Route reading can be the difference between success or failure.
  16. Visualisation. Think about the your best ever climb, take some time to relax and go through how you felt, your emotions, how you moved on the rock, if you were leading how was your gear, what sounds could you hear, now picture the route or problem you want to do and go through the process but visualise yourself on it, climbing the same way you did before. By visualising you can take a lot of the pre climb nerves away as you are mentally rehersing and going through the process.
  17. Guidance. Don’t be afraid to ask for some guidance if needed, from peers, coaches or on the internet, although the latter should not be belived all the time!, there are so many tweaks and things that wok differently in climbing for different people so have a good range of tools to draw from.
  18. Planning. Plan when and what your going to eat, how your going to get to the venue/crag, go through how you will warm up well in advance and practice. if your in a competition make sure you know your start time, you could have travelled a long way to find your disqualified for being late.
  19. Warm Up. A good dynamic warm up before you climb will get you both mentally and physically prepared. Remember, when you get on the wall whether it’s a qualifier in an international competition or a boulder problem in the peak that your wanting to flash, you should be properly warmed up and ready to pull as hard as you can.
  20. Know the start. Take time to look at the start of the route, there is nothing more disheartening than spending loads of time looking at the route, finding the crux and all the rests, thinking you know exactly what to do and where and then you pull onto the wall and fall off the second move, take time over the start.
  21. Relax. Nervous tension will naturally cause tightness in your muscles, tight muscles do not preform as well as loose properly warmed up relaxed muscles. Practice drills in your training sessions to get you in a relaxed state of mind. 
  22. Pacing. Knowing when to climb fast and when to take your time is important and different for everyone, some people will climb fast through the easy sections and slow through the tricky cruxy section and vice versa, try different speeds and work out what suits you best but always make sure whatever style you choose you keep enough in the tank to top the route!
  23. Chalk. Chalk can more often than not be a placebo, you do not need to be dipping your hand in your chalk bag every 2 moves, hanging around dipping could time you out in a competition or cause you to burn out on a route. Make sure you have enough on your hands to get a good way up the route before having to re chalk up, and if you do it as a habit, try to break the habit, practice in training session with out chalk or with chalk on only at the start of the route and no chalk bag, you'll save time and energy.
  24. Mental notes. Make a note of the holds that you plan to rest and chalk up from and stick to them, this will give you a focus on route and stop you taking unplanned breaks.
  25. Shoes. There are shoes for pretty much every style of climbing make sure you are wearing the right ones but most importantly make sure they fit you properly, don't be tricked into thinking that because 'X' wears 'XX' type of shoes 3 sizes too small you have to do the same to be able to climb as hard.
  26. Laces/Velcro. While we're on shoes, make sure your shoes are properly done up before you climb, no further explanation needed!
  27. Distance. If the route your planning to do is a 35 meter 7b make sure you have done the distance in your training and endurance work to get you up it! 
  28. Drills. Drills are as important to practice as doing routes and boulder problems. They not only create muscle memory but they create move memory and in turn give you the confidence to do that move you were dreading doing 2 meters above that dodgy bit of gear, or like me, 1 foot above the last bolt!
  29. Clipping. Practice clipping from all different angles, positions and with different hands, you never know in a competition or on a route the position you might have to clip from. The clip can in some instances be the crux, in a competition if you don't clip in sequence you will be disqualified.
  30. Fit for purpose. Make sure the kit you are using is well maintained and fit for purpose, if your looking at a big fall the last thing you want to be questioning is how old and trashed your rope is!
  31. P.P.P.P.P.P. - Purposeful Practice Prevents Piss Poor Performance 
  32. Listen to your body - especially if your injured! (Tom Bond)
  33. Spice it Up. Variety is good - its not good to train one area specifically for too long! mixing it up is good for you. (Tom Bond)
  34. Food and Drink. It is important to ensure you are properly fuelled and hydrated before you climb, in a competition it is often overlooked or nerves gets the better, work it into your pre climb/competition routine how much you need to have and that way it becomes second nature.
  35. Muscle Memory. Your body will naturally preform better at tasks it has already practised, if you are training for routes, do routes similar to what your goal is.
  36. Redpionting. If your goal is to redpoint a route you will have had an opportunity to study the route in great detail, you should ensure you know the moves, style, crux, pacing, clipping positions rest positions and every intimate detail about the route to ensure a good clean ascent.
  37. Onsighting. If your plan is to onsight a route you need to work as much as possible before hand to ensure you will be able to deal with all the on route problems you may encounter from not knowing the route. Spending time shaking out, reading moves on route, matching hands, swapping feet, awkward clipping positions and stress can all be worked in the comfort of the climbing wall.
  38. Good Intentions. Train as you intend to climb. If you want to climb well and get the route done you want to then you are going to have to work at it. Pick your route goals well, find similar routes and styles of climbing and work them, these will all add to your toolbox of knowledge.
  39. Relax. To preform at your best make sure you are staying as relaxed as possible on route, that way you wont be over gripping and burning out or getting pumped.
  40. Use your legs. By using your legs wisely you can push, pull and generate momentum through sequences to take the pressure of your arms.