Friday's 5 Fitness Tips — Meeting Your Climbing Goals
OK, so it’s actually 4p.m. Thursday as we publish this, but we wanted to give you some extra time to get excited about your active weekend with our Friday’s 5 Fitness Tips. This week’s tips come from Stonewear Ambassador Aimee Roseborrough. We hope you enjoy this regular addition to the Live Stonewear! Blog.
Depending on what your climbing goals are and what climbing level you’re at, your fitness goals will vary greatly. These fitness tips address general climbing goals and not that of the beginning climber. If you are a beginning climber the good news is that your climbing will improve just by climbing and improving your general fitness. Once you are climbing 5.11, the quickest gains will be achieved by focused training and the principles outlined below.
1. Sport Specific Training
In order to climb harder, you must climb more and constantly push yourself. You can do yoga, run miles, and/or ride your bike, but it’s not going to increase your climbing grade—it could even be detrimental to it. Too much cardio can decrease your strength. Too much stretching can hurt your shoulders, especially if you’re flexible to begin with. If you want to send your project, I would suggest adopting a program tailored to your climbing goals. When you train, go to the gym with a program focusing on endurance or power and stick with it. Try to limit social time at the gym and focus on your climbing.
2. Basic Training Principles
Adhere to the basics. Train power before endurance if you are going to work on both in a training session. Work on your weaknesses. Do routes/boulder problems in a regimented way. Aim for a ratio of a certain amount of time climbing to resting (for example an endurance program would have you climb 3 routes with 1 minute of rest in between routes, then rest 6-8 minutes and repeat 2-3 times). Progressive loading is a key principle that means you must continually challenge your body to see results. If you do laps on 5.10, then you’re only going to climb 5.10. If you want to push your grade, you must try routes of that grade and push yourself during each workout.
3. Avoid Injury
This seems obvious, but sometimes when you start a training program or start climbing harder, you start to feel nagging pains. Don’t ignore the pain! Maybe you need to rest more or back off of the intensity a bit. If you’re injured, you’re probably not going to send your project. It’s important for all climbers to do rotator cuff exercises like the ones I demonstrate in my video below.
A good core workout is also beneficial, but remember to think sport-specific when choosing exercises. Instead of lying on your back doing crunches, a more climbing specific exercise is necessary, like hanging leg lifts.
4. Examine your Technique
When you fall off a route or boulder problem, don’t assume you just need to get stronger (although you may). Analyze your technique and determine if you can find a better body position to make the move. On steep terrain you might need to focus on pulling in with your feet to keep your body from swinging off. On vertical or barely less than vertical terrain, focusing on pushing with your legs can help you to get to that next hold. When in doubt, ask a friend to watch you attempt the move and give you suggestions. My husband has often been the one to find the best beta for me on a route—just by watching me climb.
If you have a climbing trip planned and want to be in prime sending condition for your trip, try a round of periodization. This principle involves training phases that result in your body achieving its greatest strength at a specific time. An example schedule for weight lifting that can be adopted for climbing can be found here.
- The Making of a “Rockprodigy:” An extremely effective program used by many top climbers.
- Climb Strong
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