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Gripped - - TECHNIQUE -

Go­ing to the gym and hav­ing a sesh with your friends is al­ways fun but that’s not re­ally go­ing to take your climb­ing up a notch. If you want to im­prove you must train, mean­ing that ev­ery climb­ing ses­sion needs to have a pur­pose. No mat­ter which dis­ci­pline you plan to com­pete in, sep­a­rat­ing your train­ing into cy­cles or phases is al­ways a good idea. The four phases are strength, power, power en­durance and en­durance. If you are just start­ing out, try do­ing three to four weeks of each cy­cle. Here’s a de­scrip­tion of each stage and ex­am­ples of ex­er­cises to go with it. Re­mem­ber you can al­ways change the amount of time you spend on each stage de­pend­ing on what you think your body needs.

This first stage will build your pulling power and abil­ity to recruit large mus­cle groups. This is an im­per­a­tive first stage. Mov­ing into the next phase, which is power, you will be able to trans­late your pure strength into phys­i­cal lit­er­acy of move­ment. Try work­ing on big mus­cle strength and fin­ger strength. Try to to do eight sets of three pullups in two min­utes and in­crease the num­ber of sets if this gets too easy. For fin­ger strength try to hang on a crimp open hand for five sec­onds on five sec­onds rest and re­peat for 20 to 30 sec­onds.

The third stage com­bines power and en­durance train­ing. This phase is equally im­por­tant for train­ing in both boul­der­ing and lead. Af­ter the power phase you may find that you are run­ning out of juice to­wards the top of longer boul­der prob­lems or you may be hav­ing trou­ble with that crux se­quence af­ter many moves on a route. The power en­durance phase will al­low you to em­brace that pump and fa­tigue at the end of your fi­nals route and power through for a send. Try work­ing on threeby-threes – choose three prob­lems on the boul­der­ing wall that you can climb three times in a row with­out fall­ing; then do each prob­lem three times with­out stop­ping then take a three-minute rest and do this three more times. If you find you are fall­ing off low on the sec­ond round ei­ther in­crease the rest time or choose eas­ier prob­lems.

Last but not least is en­durance train­ing. This re­ally ap­plies to train­ing for rope com­pe­ti­tions. De­pend­ing on the gym you will train or com­pete at, you may find en­durance to be the key fac­tor be­tween suc­cess and fail­ure. Of­ten, qual­i­fy­ing routes in com­pe­ti­tions show­case a more sus­tained style of climb­ing. Al­though there are cruxes, the moves are not at your limit, but as you move through the route, you feel lac­tic acid build in your fore­arms. The fol­low­ing ex­er­cise will al­low you build up that base en­durance to mit­i­gate the pump all climbers have come to know far too well in com­pe­ti­tion. Choose a route well be­low your f lash level. If you can f lash 5.11a try this ex­er­cise on a 5.8 or 5.9 and work up from there if it gets too easy. Try to do three laps of the cho­sen route up and down and back up (one lap be­ing just up). This will in­crease your abil­ity to climb longer with­out get­ting as tired and pumped.

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