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Warming up mentally?
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Nov 26, 2015
Lately I've been noticing more and more how important a warmup pitch is to setting a good tone for the day and climbing well. I feel like the main value of it for me is mental, getting me relaxed and in balance on my feet.

I'm curious to hear if people have particular routines that they feel help them to make the warmup as effective as possible...or is it as simple as finding an easy (how easy?) pitch and climbing it?
Optimistic
From New Paltz
Joined Aug 29, 2007
328 points
Administrator
Nov 26, 2015
Rock Climbing Photo: Pulling the lip on Angle of the Dangle. Photo by S...
I can't just climb any warmup. I typically need something similar in style. If I can't find something that is similar movement, but easier, I'll work the project bolt to bolt as a warmup, skipping the hardest moves. Micah Klesick
From Vancouver, WA
Joined Aug 18, 2013
4,237 points
Nov 27, 2015
Micah Klesick wrote:
I can't just climb any warmup. I typically need something similar in style. If I can't find something that is similar movement, but easier, I'll work the project bolt to bolt as a warmup, skipping the hardest moves.

Do you feel like the warmup is mainly a physical thing for you, or more about getting your head into the right place, or both?
Optimistic
From New Paltz
Joined Aug 29, 2007
328 points
Nov 27, 2015
Optimistic wrote:
Do you feel like the warmup is mainly a physical thing for you, or more about getting your head into the right place, or both?

Both.
S. Neoh
Joined Oct 4, 2009
570 points
Nov 27, 2015
I guess what I'm driving at is that I think most of us have had days that seemed effortless and flowing, and then other days soon after that seemed, despite the same level of fitness and ability, to be struggle-filled "high gravity" days. I'm wondering if in some cases the difference might be the warmup, and trying to figure out how to get a little more systematic about it so as to have more LOW gravity days... Optimistic
From New Paltz
Joined Aug 29, 2007
328 points
Nov 27, 2015
Rock Climbing Photo: El Potrero Chico
I onsighted an intimidating route today. The start was driving me insane, as the sand on the beach sinks beneath your feet, and the starting jug on the route is high. I could jump up and capture the hold with one hand, before, when I was less experienced and afraid to commit any further. Today, the sand was lower than before, so I couldn't just jump up this time to grab it. There are smaller holds below the jug that are terrible, with NOTHING for feet. I was failing on starting the route. I was extremely angry and literally in shock at how easily I could get the big jug before, and now that I was READY to DO this route today, as I've been sending 7a/+ like tomorrow will never come, I was afraid I wouldn't even be able to even start it. I got some aid from a wooden pallet that had been chucked onto the beach to use as a ladder to reach the first jug. Go ahead and scoff that this took away my onsight, go ahead.

Warming up for the body and mind is a very real thing. It's like being a crocodile on land. They look so awkward walking around, but look so much better and natural once they reach the water.

To make my $.02 more relevant, I climbed a 6b before this harder route to get the feeling of accomplishment in my head, and to warm up the soft tissues.
Paul Hutton
From Boise, ID
Joined Mar 26, 2012
848 points
Nov 27, 2015
With ailing elbows and fingers, I definitely need a physical warmup. I have found that it also serves as a mental warmup that I refer to as "getting the jitters out." I usually have several weeks between outdoor climbs and the "jitters" are things like state of mind, rock feel, trusting foot placements, gear, etc. Gene S
Joined Sep 17, 2015
0 points
Administrator
Nov 27, 2015
Rock Climbing Photo: Pulling the lip on Angle of the Dangle. Photo by S...
Optimistic wrote:
Do you feel like the warmup is mainly a physical thing for you, or more about getting your head into the right place, or both?

Both for sure. However, for me, the mental aspect is weird. On days where I feel shit, and don't think I'll climb well, are often the days I do the best...
Micah Klesick
From Vancouver, WA
Joined Aug 18, 2013
4,237 points
Nov 27, 2015
Warming up physically/mentally is a question I've been battling with lately, too. I tried the warming up on a few easy pitches approach, but found varying results. While it does undoubtedly get me warmed up physically, psychologically I found myself still in the same place if I warmed up on a pitch with which I was already familiar.

The key I found for me is warming up by trying onsight/flash easier pitches before I go for a redpoint or onsight of a climb at my threshold. I generally want to onsight/flash climbs that are 1-3 grades below my limit, but won't waste me before I go for the onsight/RP I have in mind. I do revisit warmup climbs I've already climbed, but really enjoy. If there are no other climbs near a project, it still benefits me to warmup on a familiar climb.

Even if the climbing is below my limit by a few grades, I find the exposure to the novel to be psychologically empowering. If I fall or hang, which I usually don't (or else I'd need to notch down the grades a bit), I look at it as "fuckit, i was trying to onsight. I'm just glad I got on it".

Another thing I've noticed with my psychological state is not to be in an angry/agitated state when I climb. I used to listen to music on the way to the crag to get all pumped up and found it put me in a state where I really wasn't open minded in my climbing. I was overgripping, my breathing wasn't efficient, and my climbing was super lurchy and uncontrolled. I find I need to be in a motivated, but silly/playful state of mind to climb my best. I need to be joking around and in an open state of mind. My current pre-climb playlist could easily be confused with a junior high school girl's playlist.
fluff head
Joined Sep 19, 2011
70 points
Nov 27, 2015
fluff head wrote:
If I fall or hang, which I usually don't (or else I'd need to notch down the grades a bit), I look at it as "fuckit, i was trying to onsight. I'm just glad I got on it".

I've been thinking about a related thing recently as well, which is to not react too much to my performance on the warmup climb.

More and more I've noticed that people I climb with who climb much harder than I do are also a little stiff and shaky on that first outing of the day, even on routes multiple number grades below their limit. So I'm trying to look at the jitters and missteps as the whole point of the warmup, and keep my expectations really low for that first route, and not blow them out of proportion to where they get me psyched out about the rest of the day.
Optimistic
From New Paltz
Joined Aug 29, 2007
328 points


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