I constantly look for things that I am weak at in climbing in order to improve, but as my weaknesses became more subtle It became much harder to fix them.
I analysed climbers and made this list of common climbing weaknesses for you to asses yourself with:
- You can improve your pacing
- Try climbing with more dynamic movement
- You can improve your Confidence / Belief
- Your awareness can always be improved
- Flexibility can always be developed
- Your route reading can be improved
- Your steady breathing can be worked on
- You can become more deadicated
Your route reading can be improved
This was probably my major issue when I began climbing and it takes a long time to develop so you should start now!
- Do you read a route before you set off?
- Do you know exactly how your going to do the climb?
- Have you envisioned yourself doing it?
Route reading at a surface level helps you understand where your going to go before you set off.
But its so much more than that for your climbing.
It ties in with visualisation… once you can read the route and remember it you can SEE yourself doing it.
Remember how I said seeing was believing…
Once your good at route reading you will be able to anticipate how it feels and prepare yourself as best as possible for the climb.
There are the main nine things I see that can be improved in almost every climber.
I am a climbing coach and have reached pretty respectful grades so I’ll share my experience on each and give you a way to improve in them.
You can improve your pacing in climbing
When I began climbing and especially when I was learning to lead climb the emphasis was always on control.
This meant I Developed a really slow pace when I climbed because I was focused on moving as statcally as possible for balance and precision.
When your a beginner climber and when your learning to lead it is a sensible idea to climb in control because you want to be confident your not going to slip off whilst clipping or getting above your last piece.
But even once I was climbing 7b+ I still climbed really slowly because thats just how I learned.
The problem with climbing slowly comes when you want to push your personal max grade higher.
You spend so much time holding onto each hold, completing the route takes a lot of endurance.
Once the holds get smaller the energy its going to take will increase and you will pump off pretty quickly if you try climb it in your slow fashion.
Around 50% effort holding onto holds you will cross into the anerobic phase and lactic acid will begin building in your forearms.
This takes the limit of how long you can hold on from 10+ minutes down to maximum 5…
To improve your pacing you must begin conciously focusing on climbing faster as you warmup where you have some attention spare.
Do this for 2 months and you will begin climbing faster as second nature!
Dynamic movement will improve your climbing
If you climb slowly like me you probably also don’t use that much dynamicism when you climb.
For the longest time I thought climbing ‘Dnynamically’ just meant jumping between holds and that isnt really the case youll be pleased to hear 🙂
You can incorperate elements of momentum into everyone of your climbing moves, and its helpful in a big way!
Instead of just rocking over a high foot with a right hand doing nothing, you can swing it in the direction you wish to travel and it will make you lighter for the move!
Thats climbing with dynamic movement and it can save you energy and time on moves you would be doing anyway.
You can improve your confidence and self belief
While strength and technique play a big role in your climbing ability, your whole performance is governed by how you think and feel.
If you dont believe your going to be successful you have pretty much already decided the outcome before you leave the ground!
Henry ford knows whats up.
You must improve your confidence and belief if you ever want to be successful at something great.
By definition, any great achievement will take determination and failiure.
You will need confidence and belief to be succesfull, in climbing and in life.
Thats one of th reasons I love climbing… its like training your mind.
Okay, so how do I go about improving my condifence and self belief?
You must become aware of your self talk.
Meditation helps you notice, but you want to stay aware of how your talking about yourself and your goals.
Instead of being like ”oh yeah in my dreams” or any other self depriciating chat,
Try say ‘Yeah i can” or ”yeah its hard work but I got it”
Basically just fake it till you make it.
Once you have enough small wins you will genuinely start beliving in yourself.
”Seeing is believing”
Your awareness can always be improved in climbing
I would actually say awareness is the launch pad for all your improvements.
With enough awareness you can just find all your own issues, in life as well as climbing.
And it doesn’t just help you find your mistakes…
As mentioned in the previous chapter, awareness will help you improve your self talk, Which means you can improve your self confidence, self belief and you will just live a much more ‘Rich’ life.
You will also be able to feel whats wrong on your climbs and get a pretty good idea of how you should move to be able to complete whatever move your on intuitively.
Its a highly underated skill, and it can be your superpower!
To improve your awarness you could try awareness meditation.
I have spend even a couple minutes a night meditating since college and the improvements it made in my life were huge.
I even had comments from people saying how they noticed improvements in different aspects of my character and skills.
It will certainly do the same for you.
Try sitting upright in bed and counting to ten with your breaths.
inhale and say one to yourself, two and exhale ect…
You will probably be distracted by 4.
When you notice you have lost focus just calmly begin again, one, two…
This is the ‘pullup’ of the whole excercise, refocusing on your counting.
Flexibility gains can improve your climbing
I wrote a post earlier today illustrating how women are more efficient climbers, You can check it here.
Essentially, we can all benefit from improved flexibility…. in the hips especially.
I know Theres definetly times I can be closer to the wall and it would help take more weight off my arms.
Theres whole moves where I had to cutloose, but if my flexibility was better I would be able to get a high foot and climb the move with much more efficiency.
Your steady breathing can be worked on
Steady breathing, as mentioned in this article of mine, has a massive influence on your climbing efficiency.
Firstly it ensures your fueling your muscles as best as you can for the climb.
keepng pump at bay and relying on your aerobic system as much as possible, steady breathing helps you climb for longer.
But it also has a strong psychological effect on us.
Deep relaxed breathing is almost essential for accessing flow and climbing your best.
It also is the most powerful feedback loop for controling your nerves as you climb.
I think we can all improve our steady breathing as we ascend.
You can become more deadicated
Growth requires sacrafice, we need to shed our old bark to keep growing.
I am sure you already know of a couple things you could sacrafice or at least moderate to improve your climbing.
If you really want to, there is a lot of lifestyle changes you can make that will improve your health, mental state and therfore your climbing too!
One of the most important ones is: Sleep
Are you getting 8 hours of sleep a night?
Because thats where your actually getting stronger and not to mention refreshing your mind for the next day.
If your willing to sacrafice some late night youtube binges or just moderate them by being a bit more conscientious you will certainly see your quality of life improve.
Forget the climbing gains haha – what about just waking up feeling refreshed?!
I hope this article gave you some inspiration for improving your climbing.
I enjoyed making it and hope it provided some value 🙂
See you in the next one !