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some thoughts on training
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Aug 9, 2016
mountainstrongdenver.com/speed...


what are your thoughts ?
mlloyd
From denver
Joined Jul 8, 2007
1,181 points
Aug 9, 2016
Yeah, well that's just like, uh, your opinion man. Brendan N. (grayhghost)
From Salt Lake City, Utah
Joined Oct 26, 2006
408 points
Aug 9, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: Belaying 2nd (or was it 3rd? 4th?) on Turk's Head ...
Well, no...actually, it's not just his opinion, it's supported by actual evidence. That would make it a claim. I would wonder how well you controlled for on sighting vs projecting; obviously, you're not going to adjust grips when you've got a route dialed, but how much fiddling and adjusting led to that precise certainty? I would say that pros are definitely better than the lay population at reading a route from the ground, thus eliminating the need to adjust grips, but I've definitely seen (particularly boulderers) try different spots on a hold in different attempts.

That being said, the main claim is supported anecdotally by some of the super strong climbers I know, but I also know some who deliberately climb incredibly slow and static.
Ted Pinson
From Chicago, IL
Joined Jul 11, 2014
178 points
Aug 10, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: Estes Park Yart
Better climbers simply waste less time screwing around when climbing. They're not up there being anxious, second guessing their decision... etc.

But ultimately the demands of the route and your specific skill set/abilities are going to dictate the tempo at which you climb a particular route.
Brent Apgar
From Out of the Loop
Joined Oct 20, 2007
176 points
Aug 10, 2016
Absolutely agree - In particular with grabbing a hold and using it immediately without adjusting. This alone will greatly increase efficiency and thus speed.

I love climbing slowly, but also appreciate when to haul ass through a crux or pumpy sequence.

Also, faster you climb = more routes = faster improvement.

Definitely a worthwhile skill set to practice.
DevinLane
Joined Mar 9, 2012
265 points
Aug 10, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: Belaying 2nd (or was it 3rd? 4th?) on Turk's Head ...
I think route angle makes an obvious difference as well. These data sound like they're skewed towards pumpy, overhanging sport climbing, in which case the claim is always true - faster is better, as you're racing the pump clock. I don't know if the same would hold true for technical slabs, though, as these types of climbs often require very careful body positions and adjustments and the quality of the holds (or lack thereof) necessitates careful, controlled static movements. Ted Pinson
From Chicago, IL
Joined Jul 11, 2014
178 points
Aug 10, 2016
DevinLane wrote:
Also, faster you climb = more routes = faster improvement. Definitely a worthwhile skill set to practice.


Thanks for stoking a good discussion, Matt.

My take on Devin's quote is a little different. How about this: The faster you climb (beyond a certain point), the sloppier you get with footwork, reinforcing bad technique habits, and being able to do it on more routes just helps engrain those bad habits.

For high end climbers, who tend to be on generally steeper and more sustained routes, the OP probably has a point. All the way back in the early 90s when Performance Rock Climbing was published, they looked at a World Cup finals comparison between Big Frank LeGrand and another that I forget at the moment. It was a time-on-route breakdown, reinforcing how important pace is.

But for me, this idea falls apart on routes that are not power endurance struggles. My general advice to the team kids is to assess where the crux is likely to be, where the next hold big enough to rest/recover on is, and climb continuously through that section without hesitating.

Tell someone to climb "fast" and I usually get them climbing sloppy and not using their core as much as they could. Tell them to climb with precision without stopping to chalk, shake, or worry, until reaching a recovery or clipping hold, and I see better footwork, less wasting of power by trying to pull too fast/hard for the sake of speed.
Will S
From Joshua Tree
Joined Nov 15, 2006
1,377 points
Aug 10, 2016
Will S wrote:
My general advice to the team kids is to assess where the crux is likely to be, where the next hold big enough to rest/recover on is, and climb continuously through that section without hesitating. Tell someone to climb "fast" and I usually get them climbing sloppy and not using their core as much as they could. Tell them to climb with precision without stopping to chalk, shake, or worry, until reaching a recovery or clipping hold, and I see better footwork, less wasting of power by trying to pull too fast/hard for the sake of speed.



This was my takeaway from the article, actually. He's not arguing for speed and sloppy footwork, but is pointing out that the majority of moderate climbers are hesitating when they are climbing, and are taking rests mid-crux or whatever. In fact, the author points out that the difference in the good climbers and the less-good climbers comes down to speed, but that the speed tends to be because of hesitating and trying a tons of different beta trying to find something easier than the obvious. I thought it was pretty good advice.
Jace Mullen
From Oceanside, Ca
Joined Jan 11, 2011
7 points
Aug 13, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: El Classico V0
5.14 climbers probably climb faster than 5.9 climbers because they are better climbers.

The thing that jumps out at me is that internet videos of people climbing 5.13 and higher are probably videos of a redpoint. They have the route dialed - so less hesitation and less adjusting their hands. Have you ever met anyone truly projecting 5.9?

The data collection by watching internet videos is obviously flawed. He could have cut out the whole first section on his justification of why you should climb faster - and end up with a good article. Being more efficient and resting when it makes sense are good tips. But doing this because someone timed internet videos? He is just discrediting his otherwise good advice.
Brandon.Phillips
From Alabama
Joined May 13, 2011
67 points
Aug 16, 2016
Thanks for expanding on my original reaction Brandon, the "evidence" citing does a disservice to actual rigorous study.
The tips are good, but have been well understood for a while now.
Climb confidently and pace yourself correctly in relation to the route.
Brendan N. (grayhghost)
From Salt Lake City, Utah
Joined Oct 26, 2006
408 points
Aug 16, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: At the BRC
For what it's worth, an average of 15 hand movements per minute is equivalent to a work rest cycle of 7 seconds on/ 0.5 seconds off per hand. This is basically what was observed in a time motion study of elite competition boulderers. I believe the time motion study published about comp route climbers was similar, but don't recall exactly.
If Matt's nonelite athletes were climbing much slower than this, they definitely need to improve their efficiency.
I'm not convinced simply climbing faster is the most effective drill. Might be better to focus on eliminating wasted efforts and allow speed to increase organically.
Mark E Dixon
From Sprezzatura, Someday
Joined Nov 29, 2007
517 points
Aug 20, 2016
Cool analysis, and although i like the structured approach, without more details on your data acquisition and processing, this result seems rather uncertain.
as mentioned, people who have been redpointing a 5.14 for months will have the sequence dialed, whereas 5.9 climbers were probably onsighing.
Secondly, the terrain of most 5.14 climbs is more overhanging than that of the average 5.9, so speed becomes more urgent there. Moreover, the technique of the average 5.14 climber isbetter developed than someone on a 5.9, so it will be hard to distinguish the effect of speed from that of technique.
Did you correct/account for these factors?

There is of course a very easy way to test your hypothesis: Take the semifinal route of an IFSC lead world cup and do your analysis there (preferably several routes, all freely available on youtube).

(Do make me second author when you publish ;)
bertjebertje
Joined Aug 17, 2013
0 points
Aug 26, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: At the BRC
bertjebertje wrote:
There is of course a very easy way to test your hypothesis: Take the semifinal route of an IFSC lead world cup and do your analysis there (preferably several routes, all freely available on youtube).


It's been done, but for a world championship final.

A time motion analysis of lead climbing in the 2012 men's and women's world championship finals
ingentaconnect.com/content/uwi...

Not the clearest paper, but looks like men climbed at a pace of 17 moves/minute and women at 14 moves/minute. Pretty similar to what Matt recommends, IIRC.
Mark E Dixon
From Sprezzatura, Someday
Joined Nov 29, 2007
517 points


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