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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: 1,465

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: 2,745

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 · · Henderson, NV · 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.

Cheers,

Scott

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: 275

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.

Jeff Moon · · Rapid City, SD · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 25

I like Steve Bechtel’s material. Just keep it simple when training. Increase planning/complexity when you stop making gains. You should be able to make continuous progress from “just climbing”, at least initially.

Check out “Neil Gresham Masterclass” on Youtube for technique stuff.

djh860 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 110

Weightlifting.  Focus on your core ,the back of your arms and your back first.  Then work biceps and do pullups.  If its available use a campus board or a hang board 2-3 times a week.  Core is very important.  Its right up there with grip strength imo  work core every day.  I recommend dumbell exercises and many set with high reps.  You dont want to get big.

If you dont have a gym or weights do pushups and handstand pushups against a wall, situps crunches planks   and set up a pullup bar.

RER · · Southern California · Joined Sep 2011 · Points: 3,210

Ok first step in training for climbing is climbing. Practice makes perfect is wrong, perfect practice makes perfect, so aim to repeat climbs with consistency and flawless technique. Then you need to focus on adequate rest. You need to let not just your muscles recover completely, but more importantly your tendons, which if you are new to climb have not yet adapted to the intense strain climbing will put on them. This may be broscience but tendon recovery is twice the time of muscular recovery. 

As far as weight training, it's simple back and biceps everyday. But seriously stick to compound lifts to build strength. Deadlift, squat, pushup, pullup, and core stuff.

But the easiest way to pull harder is to just cut weight, like a lot of weight. For every pound lost is a pound harder you can pull. That's a fact.

David Kerkeslager · · Brooklyn, NY · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 55

I'm surprised nobody has brought up . For a beginner I'd say you should jump ahead to the 6th Video (Twistlock) and spend one session per video just practicing the moves in videos 6-9. I am recommending videos 6-9 because these are your bread and butter bouldering moves. You can go back through the earlier videos later and you'll get a lot more out of them, as well as the videos later in the series.

Franck Vee · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 30
David Kerkeslager wrote:

I'm surprised nobody has brought up . For a beginner I'd say you should jump ahead to the 6th Video (Twistlock) and spend one session per video just practicing the moves in videos 6-9. I am recommending videos 6-9 because these are your bread and butter bouldering moves. You can go back through the earlier videos later and you'll get a lot more out of them, as well as the videos later in the series.

Yeah, no one except Jeff Moon 3 posts above 6 months ago!

David Kerkeslager · · Brooklyn, NY · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 55
Franck Vee wrote:

Yeah, no one except Jeff Moon 3 posts above 6 months ago!

I deserve this.   

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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