First Step Training

Original Post
Brian Hazell · · Stony Brook, NY · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 0

I am a beginner climber in college with a close group of friends who have been climbing for much longer than me. I enjoy climbing with them but I hate not being able to climb their routes and lagging behind. I understand that technique will come with time on the wall but, does anyone have or know of a good workout regime which will help me develop my climbing muscles so I have the proper base to build technique on.

Jake Jones · · Richmond, VA · Joined Jul 2011 · Points: 1,420

There isn't any better activity than climbing to train for climbing. It's such a specific usage for a specific group of muscles and movement, that no other activity can mimic it. It takes a while to develop those skills and likewise the muscles and tendons that are used to employ those skills. Aim for 2 to 3 days a week focusing on precise, deliberate movement on whatever you're climbing. Watch other climbers- better climbers. Try to figure out why they're making movements in a certain way, and then try to mimic that in your own movement. Don't do too much too fast or you'll risk injury and a significant setback.

Brian L. · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 90

Climb to strengthen upper body climbing muscles - nothing works better.

Core exercises help also.

Also, specifically workout antagonistic muscle groups to prevent injury.

Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,740

Don't try to keep up with your friends. Your finger tendons aren't yet up to the demands of small holds.

Eplumer400 · · Cleveland, OH · Joined May 2016 · Points: 100

In the same boat as you, minus the friends lol. I've been climbing after work 3-4 times a week, but unfortunately I can only get in 45 minutes of climbing time as I get off work at 9 and they close at 10.

Having a good group of friends and the time to climb already puts you ahead of the game. If you talk to your friends about your current limitations, I'm sure they'll understand and be accommodating to you. Making the most of your gym time I think is super important. You don't really get better if you go to the gym for 3 hours yet only climb for 15 minutes. When I go into the gym I know I don't have a lot of time so I plow through routes with little or no break in between.

I'm not sure how your gym is set up, but stick to routes that are challenging for you but you're still able to make them up. My gym does the easy/mod/hard with +/- route classifications, and so I do easy+ or mod -. These will help you build technique, the strength, and positive mindset you need to tackle harder routes.

Watch videos on climbing techniques, and try to use what you watched on the wall. Getting the fluidity and smoothness down is tough, but it's worth it. And try to make it to a regular gym occasionally for antagonistic muscle training, like mentioned above. Apart from preventing injury, you're going to look weird with a super strong back but no chest to match.

Scott Kleeman · · Decorah, IA · Joined Aug 2016 · Points: 5

Okay, we're in a similar place I suspect, and having lost most of my fitness base to beer and a cessation of legit training in college, I'm on my own with no more coaches telling me how to train efficiently. I just got Training for the New Alpinism by Steve House and Scott Johnson (killer name Mr. Johnson) for X-mas and after 2 chapters I realize exercise science is a legit subject that is worth understanding if you want to be a capable mountain athlete. I'd already suggest this book on the basis of my brief reading so far. We'll see if I actually implement anything, beer is pretty tasty after all... If you are talking about not being able to climb at the same technical level as your friends, you're on your own; for me the internet, videos, blogs, and people I've met are good resources, though your more experienced friends are probably the most useful thing. Good luck.



Tyler Metheney · · St Louis · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 0

Great question. Easy answer. Climb multiple routes you are comfortable with that pose a slight challenge. We all want to start out nabbing 5.12s but that's not reality. If you have good friends they should push you and encourage you to progress. If they don't then you may want to get new partners. We all start somewhere. I guess it depends on your goal an what work your willing to dedicate to this sport.

Brian Hazell · · Stony Brook, NY · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 0

Thank you all for the advice! I'm going to keep climbing focusing on pushing and progress but doing it smart and gradual to help mitigate injury risk.

John Silbar · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 0

I also kike this advices!

Old lady H · · Boise, Idaho · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 265

It looks like you are a boulderer, from your page, so be especially careful with your hands, go slow, and don't push those tendons! Like several said, work those big leg muscles as often as you can, and grab the holds as lightly as you can. Death grips on holds=pumped way too fast.

Style, you are you. No matter how anyone else does the moves, make it your climb. Climb when your regular crowd isn't there, and see what other people do on those problems, especially people who are really fluid on the rock. Try out loads of solutions, you might just raise your bro's eyebrows when you pull out something clever!

Best, Helen

Oh, and have fun!

Edit to add: Straight arms, whenever you can, too. Hang relaxed, while you scope out the next feet, or whatever, and be sure you aren't making your arms do anything they don't have to.

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

Brian, most likely the best option is to complete some basic climbing technique class (e.g., "Climbing technique 101", "Balance and technique", etc).

Aleks Zebastian · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 175

climbing friend,

do no waste the time with the "technique." It is a waste, and a way of a person of more experience to sandbag you so you will not get better or stronger.

your best opportunity it is angry campusing on hard boulder problem or the campus board. do not waste valuable time climbing if you can do the training footless. perhaps you will have your trainer friend slap you in face with frozen fish of considerable size to toughen up your mental.

or perhaps they twist your nips while you work the campus board for you practice resisting pain, or perhaps adding hot coals to your chalk bag.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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