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Goal Setting & Self Assessment for Advanced Climbers

Goal Setting & Self Assessment for Advanced Climbers

In the U.S., we are just starting to recognize climbing as a sport worthy of sponsorship and funding by the nation you may someday represent. As I write this, climbing has just premiered in its first Olympics in 2021! Already the rules and competition will change for the next summer Olympics in 2024. This has started to open the door to financing for the first national training facility, coaching, physio, nutrition, and the entire village it takes to keep athletes at this level healthy, happy, and injury free.

read more
Goal Setting & Self Assessment for Intermediate Climbers

Goal Setting & Self Assessment for Intermediate Climbers

At this point in your climbing, you will need to start setting specific goals. “Get better” is NOT specific. Are you training for a trip? How should you structure your training to meet your goals? What are the training priorities? What climbs shut you down and WHY? What does life outside of climbing look like? What time of year should you rest or train hardest? What’s at risk of injury for your body type? What is your climbing style and what are the things you avoid? Are you training for bouldering? Trad? Sport? Alpine?

read more
Self Assessment & Goal Setting for Beginning Climbers

Self Assessment & Goal Setting for Beginning Climbers

During each phase of your climbing, the priority changes. And, your goals will change as well. For beginners, I recommend you work on mental aspects of climbing. Focus on the skills in the skill section of my blog (link here). Focus on improving your body awareness, especially breathe work.  Focus on keeping minimal upper extremity use.  Focus on core tension during movement. Focus on lower extremity pushing. Focus on calm and controlled movement, even if you feel a fall coming. Learn to fall like you did as a toddler.

read more
At Home Strength Training for Runners

At Home Strength Training for Runners

When you’re training at home, variety helps! Hill climbing is all about glutes. We use hamstrings for speed on the track. Downhill runs can often result in foot fractures and patello-femoral issues when we are in our quads too much (putting the breaks on vs controlling eccentric motion with hips).  Mastering glute and posterior chain endurance is great for distance runners; we use high rep strength training for you!  

read more
Strength Training for Advanced Climbers

Strength Training for Advanced Climbers

I’ve said it in previous posts, but it bears repeating. “Difficult” is great! There isn’t any point to an exercise that isn’t hard. Pain is never OK. Modify, or have someone observe painful movements to see what’s wrong; don’t push through it. The things that are hardest for your ego, are likely the things you need to work on. The stuff you avoid is what you need to keep on you work out list.

Be specific with your training. Be mindful of goals and stay prioritized. There are only so many hours in each day. Eliminate the “easy” stuff on your workout plan. To advance exercises, try it on one foot or one hand. Try it on an unstable surface like a BOSU, or cushion. Try it with eyes closed. Do it with a climbing cone, ball, or cylinder.

read more
Strength Training for Intermediate Climbers

Strength Training for Intermediate Climbers

In all my years of working with athletes, this is one of the areas with the most questions and confusion (nutrition is at the top). Movement science (kinesiology) has come a LONG way. It’s easy to get caught up in the numbers during workouts. There are protocols for everything and it can be tough to figure out who the reliable sources are for your questions. The answer is… there is no wrong answer, really. Anyone that tells you there is a perfect number of sets & reps is LYING to you! Whatever reps & sets you choose are based on YOUR goals, YOUR body needs, YOUR injuries, YOUR current project. Your body does not know math, so don’t get consumed by it.

read more
Strength Training for Beginner Climbers

Strength Training for Beginner Climbers

Posture. Posture. Posture!  As an injury prevention specialist, my goal is get you functioning properly first, then strong and flexible.  If you can’t maintain a neutral spine for a minute, how can you pull from that mess and expect that something isn’t going to break down in the chain of weakened links? 

I usually have beginners start with a basic movement screen on the ground.  I’m not so much looking at the movement as much as I’m looking at HOW you accomplish it. What muscles are you using?  Did you stay balanced and stable?  Was it graceful?  Was it painful?  At the end of the assessment did I cross my arms, end up shaking my head, and saying “PLEASE make it stop.”? 

read more
Mental Health and Training for Advanced Climbers

Mental Health and Training for Advanced Climbers

Let’s talk about competition and avoiding burnout. Competition can give you reason to celebrate. It can also give you reason to grieve. Give yourself 24-48 hours, to embrace your victories and reflect on the things that didn’t work this time. Then give yourself a play day to get right back to it. Have no expectations.

Look out for an inability to be content. Dopamine is addictive. It can leave you always seeking “What’s next?”, thinking “Do better! Keep pushing!”, pushing yourself to “Win again! Don’t fail!”

read more
Mental Health and Training for Intermediate Climbers

Mental Health and Training for Intermediate Climbers

It’s easy at this level to get caught up in grades and results. You have probably reminded beginners many times by now, not to get caught up in grades, especially in a gym. Remember the joy of climbing when you started. It gives you access to beautiful places; it keeps you challenged, both physically, and intellectually. Don’t get caught up in continual progression. Listen to your body. Seek coaching with plateaus. Being OVERly focused on goals can lead to frustration or burn out. Worse, it can lead to cheating when you have a must “win” at any cost attitude.

read more
Mental Health and Training for Beginning Climbers

Mental Health and Training for Beginning Climbers

For many experienced climbers, the fear of falling can still be a serious impediment to projecting. Learning to fall is one of the highest priority skills for newer climbers. It is one of the most difficult to improve upon for most of us. You can learn steps to help, but only if you practice them.

Remember that our fear is meant to keep us safe. Fear reactions are a normal and healthy part of our life. Fighting your body will not work. Simply ignoring or being in denial of these reactions will not work. Recognize what is happening in your body. Awareness of ones’ self is key to preventing a fear or anxiety response.

read more
Goal Setting & Self Assessment for Advanced Climbers

Goal Setting & Self Assessment for Advanced Climbers

In the U.S., we are just starting to recognize climbing as a sport worthy of sponsorship and funding by the nation you may someday represent. As I write this, climbing has just premiered in its first Olympics in 2021! Already the rules and competition will change for the next summer Olympics in 2024. This has started to open the door to financing for the first national training facility, coaching, physio, nutrition, and the entire village it takes to keep athletes at this level healthy, happy, and injury free.

read more
Goal Setting & Self Assessment for Intermediate Climbers

Goal Setting & Self Assessment for Intermediate Climbers

At this point in your climbing, you will need to start setting specific goals. “Get better” is NOT specific. Are you training for a trip? How should you structure your training to meet your goals? What are the training priorities? What climbs shut you down and WHY? What does life outside of climbing look like? What time of year should you rest or train hardest? What’s at risk of injury for your body type? What is your climbing style and what are the things you avoid? Are you training for bouldering? Trad? Sport? Alpine?

read more
Self Assessment & Goal Setting for Beginning Climbers

Self Assessment & Goal Setting for Beginning Climbers

During each phase of your climbing, the priority changes. And, your goals will change as well. For beginners, I recommend you work on mental aspects of climbing. Focus on the skills in the skill section of my blog (link here). Focus on improving your body awareness, especially breathe work.  Focus on keeping minimal upper extremity use.  Focus on core tension during movement. Focus on lower extremity pushing. Focus on calm and controlled movement, even if you feel a fall coming. Learn to fall like you did as a toddler.

read more
At Home Strength Training for Runners

At Home Strength Training for Runners

When you’re training at home, variety helps! Hill climbing is all about glutes. We use hamstrings for speed on the track. Downhill runs can often result in foot fractures and patello-femoral issues when we are in our quads too much (putting the breaks on vs controlling eccentric motion with hips).  Mastering glute and posterior chain endurance is great for distance runners; we use high rep strength training for you!  

read more
Strength Training for Advanced Climbers

Strength Training for Advanced Climbers

I’ve said it in previous posts, but it bears repeating. “Difficult” is great! There isn’t any point to an exercise that isn’t hard. Pain is never OK. Modify, or have someone observe painful movements to see what’s wrong; don’t push through it. The things that are hardest for your ego, are likely the things you need to work on. The stuff you avoid is what you need to keep on you work out list.

Be specific with your training. Be mindful of goals and stay prioritized. There are only so many hours in each day. Eliminate the “easy” stuff on your workout plan. To advance exercises, try it on one foot or one hand. Try it on an unstable surface like a BOSU, or cushion. Try it with eyes closed. Do it with a climbing cone, ball, or cylinder.

read more
Strength Training for Intermediate Climbers

Strength Training for Intermediate Climbers

In all my years of working with athletes, this is one of the areas with the most questions and confusion (nutrition is at the top). Movement science (kinesiology) has come a LONG way. It’s easy to get caught up in the numbers during workouts. There are protocols for everything and it can be tough to figure out who the reliable sources are for your questions. The answer is… there is no wrong answer, really. Anyone that tells you there is a perfect number of sets & reps is LYING to you! Whatever reps & sets you choose are based on YOUR goals, YOUR body needs, YOUR injuries, YOUR current project. Your body does not know math, so don’t get consumed by it.

read more
Strength Training for Beginner Climbers

Strength Training for Beginner Climbers

Posture. Posture. Posture!  As an injury prevention specialist, my goal is get you functioning properly first, then strong and flexible.  If you can’t maintain a neutral spine for a minute, how can you pull from that mess and expect that something isn’t going to break down in the chain of weakened links? 

I usually have beginners start with a basic movement screen on the ground.  I’m not so much looking at the movement as much as I’m looking at HOW you accomplish it. What muscles are you using?  Did you stay balanced and stable?  Was it graceful?  Was it painful?  At the end of the assessment did I cross my arms, end up shaking my head, and saying “PLEASE make it stop.”? 

read more
Mental Health and Training for Advanced Climbers

Mental Health and Training for Advanced Climbers

Let’s talk about competition and avoiding burnout. Competition can give you reason to celebrate. It can also give you reason to grieve. Give yourself 24-48 hours, to embrace your victories and reflect on the things that didn’t work this time. Then give yourself a play day to get right back to it. Have no expectations.

Look out for an inability to be content. Dopamine is addictive. It can leave you always seeking “What’s next?”, thinking “Do better! Keep pushing!”, pushing yourself to “Win again! Don’t fail!”

read more
Mental Health and Training for Intermediate Climbers

Mental Health and Training for Intermediate Climbers

It’s easy at this level to get caught up in grades and results. You have probably reminded beginners many times by now, not to get caught up in grades, especially in a gym. Remember the joy of climbing when you started. It gives you access to beautiful places; it keeps you challenged, both physically, and intellectually. Don’t get caught up in continual progression. Listen to your body. Seek coaching with plateaus. Being OVERly focused on goals can lead to frustration or burn out. Worse, it can lead to cheating when you have a must “win” at any cost attitude.

read more
Mental Health and Training for Beginning Climbers

Mental Health and Training for Beginning Climbers

For many experienced climbers, the fear of falling can still be a serious impediment to projecting. Learning to fall is one of the highest priority skills for newer climbers. It is one of the most difficult to improve upon for most of us. You can learn steps to help, but only if you practice them.

Remember that our fear is meant to keep us safe. Fear reactions are a normal and healthy part of our life. Fighting your body will not work. Simply ignoring or being in denial of these reactions will not work. Recognize what is happening in your body. Awareness of ones’ self is key to preventing a fear or anxiety response.

read more

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