Do I need to get stronger to improve from here?


Original Post
marylynneza · · Bloomington · Joined Aug 2016 · Points: 0

I've been climbing for about a year sticking to mostly indoor climbing and only top rope so far. I can climb almost all 5.11's I have tried but not always very clean, and any 5.12 is really just a mess. I feel as though I have been stuck at this level for like 5 months and I'm not improving even though I have been climbing much more. I'm a girl, and not very big, everyone I climb with has just been saying Im at a plateau because I am just not strong enough. I know climbing is the best way to get stronger for climbing but I feel like I need more, I never work out or lift weights or anything and never really have. If anyone could suggest a few exercises to do or any good way to train to get stronger that would help me or any other tips that would be greatly appreciated!

Climbinghorst · · Pergine · Joined Aug 2016 · Points: 70

Hi there,

in my opinion it's hard to give a proper answer, because there are different variables coming together besides sheer strength, endurance and flexibility, e.g. your tactics in approaching a route/your skills in reading a route, your movement skills, ability to place your hands and more important your feet, your mental constitution e.g. ability to deal with fear a.s.o.
Maybe you could elaborate on a couple of these aspects a bit more, or even better ask some one more experienced to analyse these fields together with you.

To my mind "getting stronger" as a goal is a bit too imprecise. It might make things easier if you ask yourself what do you want to train for: do you want to climb bouldery routes better, do you prefer to climb long routes which need more endurance, are they overhanging, are there a lot of roofs...

Cheers

Horst

Pavel Burov · · Russia · Joined May 2013 · Points: 50

This is an infamous "6c/6c+ on my best days" plateau. The point where lack of either technique or fit, or mindset virtually can not be compensated.

It is almost impossible to give an advise over the Internet. The only good advise is to seek for qualified help (hire a coach or take a class from good instructor).

mbk · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2013 · Points: 0

Perhaps you should read "How To Climb 5.12".

Glass Tupperware · · Freiburg im Breisgau · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 50

I'd recommend bouldering more. That'll help you work on both raw power and technique

Sandbagger Vance · · Cincinnati, Ohio · Joined May 2016 · Points: 0

I was where you are about 6 months into climbing. Then I started bouldering more.Learning proper footwork and hip flow was key. I also bought a stopwatch started hang boarding. 10 second hangs with 5 second rests for 130 seconds total. I bought a better fitting, aggressive shoe and started focusing on technical traverse problems and slopers. I have started to break into v5-v6's. and can cruise through most 5.11's now.

Brendan N · · Salt Lake City, Utah · Joined Oct 2006 · Points: 378
Glass Tupperware wrote:bouldering more
Dylan 11111 wrote:bouldering more
Yes and yes.
TaylorP · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 0

I just read The Rock Prodigy Training Program by the Anderson brothers. It's awesome. It really breaks down everything that you need to improve. And its not as simple as, oh I need more strength. They really push finger strength as the most important aspect that most climbers need to improve.

Wilburn · · Cheyenne, WY · Joined Jul 2011 · Points: 350

I would suggest picking up The Rock Prodigy training book or Eric Horst's Training for Climbing. In order to improve in a holistic fashion and stave off injury you need structure and guidance that cannot come from the MP forums alone. Adding one or two exercises will yield gains, but the limited exposure you have to climbing suggests that there is more to be had from learning more, rather than simply doing more.

SethG · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 217

I would beware of training programs like Rock Prodigy at your stage. You've been climbing for just a year. You have FAR more to gain from experience and refining your technique than from strength training, which may lead to injuries.

Unless you are extraordinarily gifted, your footwork still stinks. Work on that.

Rob Warden...Space Lizard · · Between Zion, Vegas, LA, an... · Joined Dec 2011 · Points: 115

there is a big difference between climbing more and training more.

Identify your weaknesses and go after them. if you lack power, Boulder more, do 4x4s.

Run footwork drills and restful movement training (finding rests on route so you don't need to take)

Lead every route you climb. Top roping will hold you back.

Read about common injuries that occur when training intensifies.

but you are right in essence. if you don't change you approach you have effectively stopped improving.

kenr · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 10,599
Wilburn wrote:I would suggest picking up The Rock Prodigy training book or Eric Horst's Training for Climbing.
As long as you're disciplined to keep records and make only careful small increases in the intensity of each exercise - (and you sort of enjoy systematic training) - then ideas from those books will be helpful already.
. . (If you prefer to make your own choices from multiple options, start with Horst. If you prefer focus on just one (multi-faceted) approach, start with Rock Prodigy).

Likely you have opportunities for big gains both from Technique and from Strength.

indoor Bouldering is a great way to learn the Technique tricks you will need for (well-designed) indoor 5.12 routes on TR.
Provided you do it together with other climbers who will give you suggestions.

indoor Bouldering also great for building the specific Strength you need for TR indoor 5.12 routes.

The keys for long-term success are:
  • keep it fun and motivating.
  • don't get injured.

Trying for 5.12 definitely increases your risk of injury.

By far the best book so far on preventing and managing climbing injuries is
Make or Break, by Dave MacLeod.
Purchase (and careful thoughtful digestion) is well worth it.

Ken
Tristan Mayfield · · SLC, UT · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 45

Yeah, with a year of climbing under the belt, I'd probably just recommend throwing in days of bouldering. If you're climbing four days a week, just do two days of bouldering and two days of TR or lead or whatever you want to. For me, the key is not, "how can I get strong and crush routes really fast?" but, "how can I get consistent improvement while avoiding injury?" Doing specific strength training at your stage could easily lead to overuse injuries.

Glass Tupperware · · Freiburg im Breisgau · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 50

Also, something from a recent account of Alex Megos' training:

"When he trains, he sticks to a few simple rules: no drop-knees, no heel hooks, and no matching hands. And never, under any circumstance, would he use a kneebar, hand jam, or fingerlock. Training is for training and not for sending."

Morgan Patterson · · CT · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 8,752

yes

Muscrat · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2011 · Points: 3,610

Bouldering yes. With caveats
Read "how to climb 5.12", "training for climbing", both by Eric Horst
Read Anderson Bros book if you want to start a training regimen.
But what sticks out most to me is you need to get on the sharp end. I find, and a lot of people i climb with find, we are more focused, more inspired and climb harder and waymobetta when we are on the sharp end.

Jon Nelson · · Bellingham, WA · Joined Sep 2011 · Points: 4,695
marylynneza wrote:I've been climbing for about a year sticking to mostly indoor climbing and only top rope so far. I can climb almost all 5.11's I have tried but not always very clean, and any 5.12 is really just a mess. I feel as though I have been stuck at this level for like 5 months and I'm not improving even though I have been climbing much more. I'm a girl, and not very big, everyone I climb with has just been saying Im at a plateau because I am just not strong enough. I know climbing is the best way to get stronger for climbing but I feel like I need more, I never work out or lift weights or anything and never really have. If anyone could suggest a few exercises to do or any good way to train to get stronger that would help me or any other tips that would be greatly appreciated!
When one first starts out, one quickly ascend the grades. Then, advancement comes much more slowly.

Holy cow, you've only climbed a year and already am doing 5.11. Advanced techniques take time, give it some. Most climbers would be very happy to be at your level even after 10 years.

Keep climbing, keep watching other good climbers, and have fun. But beware of advice from others. None of us knows what the hell we're talking about.
aikibujin · · Castle Rock, CO · Joined Oct 2014 · Points: 290
SethG wrote:I would beware of training programs like Rock Prodigy at your stage. You've been climbing for just a year. You have FAR more to gain from experience and refining your technique than from strength training, which may lead to injuries. Unless you are extraordinarily gifted, your footwork still stinks. Work on that.
For some reason, you think the Rock Prodigy program is just strength training? Although it is not a book dedicated to climbing technique (there are other books out there for this), there is an entire chapter (about 25 pages) in the Rock Climber's Training Manual on skill development (i.e. technique), with many suggested drills that can easily be incorporated into base endurance/ARC training.
will ar · · San Antonio, TX · Joined Jan 2010 · Points: 250

One of Horst's earlier books had a self assessment questionnaire in it that I thought was pretty good, but I haven't seen his newest book/edition yet. I'd recommend picking up any of the great books already recommended in this thread AND finding someone with coaching experience to watch you climb in person and give feedback.

Glass Tupperware wrote: "When he trains, he sticks to a few simple rules: no drop-knees, no heel hooks, and no matching hands. And never, under any circumstance, would he use a kneebar, hand jam, or fingerlock. Training is for training and not for sending."
Maybe not intended for someone with the OPs current level of experience, but good advice when taken in context. Do you have a link to the article?
Sandbagger Vance · · Cincinnati, Ohio · Joined May 2016 · Points: 0
Tristan Mayfield wrote:Doing specific strength training at your stage could easily lead to overuse injuries.
I don't think I have ever hear a firsthand account of someone injuring themselves while hang-boarding. I don't know if this is because less people hang-board in general but all the injuries I have seen have been caused by aggressively projecting routes. Usually hang-board training guides bill the exercise as preventative training for the kind of aggressive climbing needed for higher grades. Even though many people think the opposite.
kenr · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 10,599
Tristan Mayfield wrote:Doing specific strength training at your stage could easily lead to overuse injuries.
while Bouldering is "only" going to result in traumatic injuries.

Which kind, overuse or traumatic, is more likely to result in a longer break from climbing and training?

Which kind of injury is more likely to cause a permanent limitation on long-term progress?
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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