Conquering higher grades
#1
Hey. I'm not really doing any bodybuilding or loosing weight so for long time it didn't cross my mind to create any thread here. However lately I do have a pretty specific fitness goal that I want to accomplish.

About nine months ago I started attending regular classes for rock climbing in the nearby climbing gym. I got totally hooked and since the first week there was drastic change in my overall technique, strength and endurance. However lately I reached another plateau in my progress. Right now I can climb grade VI and I want to advance to climbing harder routes. More precisely those with VI.1 grade. (which is 6b according to the more universal French grading system). 
I'm slowly approaching that level. However there are things that are holding me back and that is getting on my nerves a little. I want to get there in at least next four months.

Body strength-wise I may even be able to climb harder routes than that. What I need to work on is mental aspect (focus & technique), endurance and finger strength. Outside of classes I'm planning to reserve some time to do basic exercising stuff at home. I will also go to another climbing gym once a week to do some of my own climbing without instructor.

Here's me training on the wall by the way :D.




The weekly plan is:

Finger strength day
- Warm up
- 4 finger Dead Hang - hanging for 7 seconds, rest for 3 seconds. Repeating total of 6 times. Then rest for 3 minutes and repeating that for 2 or 3 times. All with slightly bent arms in the elbow to reduce the risk of injury.
- Wrist roller - 3 sets with 8 reps, 8,8 lbs - for stronger forearms and boosting vascularity in arms that would help me stick longer to the wall.

Core exercising day
- Warm up
- Hanging L-raises - while body strength is not really my actual focus, improving the AB strength will help me with more efficient footwork especially on strong deadhangs. The plan is to do 3 sets of 8-10 L-raises.
- Full body stretching

Climbing gym day
- Warm up
- Silent feet drill for at least 20 minutes
- Circuit training for endurance (I still need to figure out the number of reps)
- Trying few harder problems to expand my technique.
- 2 sets of 20 push ups to reduce the muscle imbalances from climbing.
- Full body stretching

Every day
- 15 minutes of sitting meditation either in the morning or in the evening - this would actually improve many other things where focus is needed. Not only climbing but drawing too.

Something optional I also have in plans is bunch of core exercises with the balance disc to improve my balance. 

I think that's it for now. The whole plan might be modified as I go because I don't know my limit for sets and reps.

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#2
Nice! I love climbing and used to climb twice a week. Although I never came futher than 5b/5c, partial because I'm not that tall so things automatically become harder.

Going to the a different gym with different routes is a good exercise. New things to explore and develop techniques.

Good luck!

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#3
Thanks!

I'm not really sure if height is really that big issue. Of course tall climbers have some advantage with longer reach but as short person you also have advantage of being able to do higher step. Also you could focus on more dynamic movements if the hold is too far. And by the way... My favourite climbers are actually on the shorter side :D. Jain Kim is 153 cm tall. Ramón Julián Puigblanque is 159 cm tall.

On the other hand I'm aware that certain level of grades would probably require huge commitment to training that's not possible to regular working person.

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#4
Seems like a good plan. I've tried some climbing but it put a lot of strain on my forearms (probably something wrong with the technique). Good luck anyway, it's a nice hobby to have.

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#5
Oh. As far as I know there is always some kind of strain on the forearms when climbing. After longer while you feel the pump in your arms and fingers become weak. The only way to go through this is to climb more and the body adapts. There is no shortcut for getting endurance.

But maybe it's some other kind of strain I don't know about. In my case I'm still capable of drawing when I come back from the climbing gym so it's not a problem.

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#6
I'm sure it can be done, but you need more strength and more creative solutions to do so. And I didn't have the strength. The gym I was climbing was quite small, so there were only a few routes I was able to climb. And with a lot of routes it was more like; 'How did you get up there?'
Other climber 'Well I just reached to the next one', and all that became too repetitive and I didn't like the community there, so I quit.

I guess it also depends a bit on the quality of the routes and the wall itself. If the wall itself has more relief in there or some things, it is easier to work around the obstacle of not being able to reach the next step.

I'm 1,51 by the way :P. Some day I hope to get back to it..

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#7
Eyliana - Yes. When you're short you have to compensate a lot with strength. I think Sean McColl said that he focuses on strength when training because of his height. Maybe you got bad luck with the climbing gym. The one I go to has decent amount of routes and people are really nice there :).

---

Just a small update. I was attending classes yesterday and they became more focused on individual problems. Unfortunately too much bouldering made me forget some of the basic climbing techniques which are essential on vertical wall. Especially making sure I always keep my arms straight and legs bent. I'll be focusing on that in the next weeks.

Something I would add to the plan now is doing daily hips stretching so that I could get full advantage of being close to the wall. My range of motion for legs leaves a lot to be desired right now.

http://www.nicros.com/training/articles/...ip-turnout - those two stretches are probably the most important for what I want to achieve.

Also I discussed endurance training (for Climbing gym day) with the instructor and he sugested doing single bouldering problems with focus on technique for now.

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#8
Some update on the progress and some the changes to my workout.

So far there is some progress though small one. It took several climbing gym visits to adjust my climbing technique and I still once in a while make mistakes but in general I use legs more which is plus. The increased focus on how to position my body made me climb less dynamically in parts where I should use more power but hopefully it will improve with time.

Other thing that improved a little bit is my finger endurance. I could definitely hold longer time on straight arms.

Now when it comes to exercises I feel like I'm not doing leg raises with proper form (also don't like this exercise) so I'm going to change it to something else. 

Core exercising day 
- Warm up
- Plank - 3 x 1 minute
- Side plank - 3 x 40 seconds
- AbRoller - 3 sets of 15 reps
- Russian twist (with weight) - 3 sets of 8 reps
- Full body stretching

Doing stretching every day was a little bit too much for me. I couldn't force myself to do it. I do stretching after every climbing though so that could be enough. With meditation I used to do this every day but lately I just can't. I'll have to give it some time.

Yesterday I got new climbing shoes (Ocun Pearl) that are way better than my old ones. Tested them today and now I can make more precise footwork. Looking forward to using them more :D. 



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#9
It took a little bit longer than I expected but I did it!!! Goal accomplished!!

I had few falls so it wasn't a clean complete of the route but today I finished VI.1 (6b) for the first time. Now that I know it's within my skill level it will be matter of weeks before I learn to do it without any mistakes.

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#10
Yes! Well done man :)

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#11
Awesome man! How's your workout routine going these days?

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#12
Amit Dutta - Thanks!
neopatogen - I had short period of rest beacause I overtrained myself a bit but now I'm slowly moving back to climbing. 
The instructor started with us  this week the "4-3-2-1 Training Cycle" by Eric Horst. In short it's like this:

4 weeks - tactics & endurance 
3 weeks - strength & power 
2 weeks - anaerobic endurance 
1 weeks - rest 

I could do some workout but I don't want to do anything that would be against that plan. The additional exercises suggested for the endurance period would be mostly cardio. I consider going to swimming pool once in a while. 

Apart from that I might continue with stretching though I have problem with keeping it consistent.

---

On the other news. 

I made a homemade upgrade of my wristroller (which is for training forearm strength). With much thicker bar made out of PVC pipe I can now train finger strength and forearm strength at the same time. There was a problem of holding the whole thing comfortably so with the help of ladder I turned into rack-mounted wrist roller. Not perfect but good enough :D.



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#13
Hey. I haven't written here for a while but there's another small success.

For the route I mentioned before (6b one) it was hard for me to reach the top at all as I got exhausted and pumped in arms half way. It was achievement for me when I finally did that.

On this Saturday I finally did clean complete of the route from the ground to the top without any mistakes or falls. I could call it redpointing in climbing terms but it was still top rope climb.

My next goal is going to be doing other routes on 6b level but also getting more accustomed to lead climbing as it is still mentally hard for me to do.
Also I plan to do some rotator cuff strengthening exercises with rubber band, core exercises and more stretching to improve my overall performance.

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