“I don’t have time to train.”
“I don’t need to get better.”
“I climb for fun, not for difficulty.”
Ever heard those responses to training for climbing before? Maybe it was you saying them?
“This route is too powerful.”
“I’m too short.”
“I’m too tall.”
“I’m too heavy.”
“I’m too weak.”
“My shoes aren’t right.”
What about these excuses? Was it you or a friend? Maybe you began to wonder if there was a way to fix this?
And then maybe you:
Tried a climbing competition and was totally pummeled by the other competitors. Or,
You busted a tendon or pulley in your finger. Or,
You spotted a route that inspired you, but couldn’t do the moves.
Whatever your reason for questioning your current strategy to climbing, perhaps now you are wondering if you should train. I went through this last year after placing nearly dead last (in my mind) at a local bouldering competition. A few months prior I had tweaked pulleys in my both of my ring fingers. Simply “trying harder” had yielded no results.
There are a number of training programs available for climbers. There is also considerable debate between devout followers of each of them. Add in the banter from those who believe there is no reason to train and you end up with a soup of mismatched and contradictory flavors, often leaving the observer confused and disenchanted with the entire idea.
I will tell you that I used the Anderson’s Rock Climbers Training Manual, and to much success. But beyond that, there have been numerous other benefits to training. Perhaps this can serve as a spoonful of sugar to the aforementioned soup of training discussion. But first ask yourself the question: do you want to improve?
A year’s worth of training exhibited the following results for me:
1: An increase in climbing ability by 2 number grades (5.10 to 5.12).
2: Learning how to listen to my body, as far as what helps and what hurts progression.
3: Learning how to warm up properly and prepare for a day of hard climbing.
4: Developed a vision for both near and long-term goals.
5: A changed mindset from “this move is too hard,” to “what can I do to make this move possible?”
6: Ability to visit more locations.
7: Relinquishing fear of the unknown.
And quite possibly the best result:
8: Being able to jump on climbs with no lines!
For what it’s worth, I still can’t compete well. But if you look at “pullin’-on-plastic” as a catalyst to climb those inspiring lines outside, the results will manifest themselves. Further, you have to be smart with it and regimented. Simply “doing what you feel like” will only strengthen your strengths and totally neglect your weaknesses.
Are you ready to improve? If you want to change, then something needs to change.