5 Ways to Compliment Your Climbing
By Peter Dixon
1) Start setting routes
a. If you haven’t noticed, most of the best climbers in the gym are also route setters.
b. In order to set a great route you must begin thinking externally about the subtle body movements required to get up a route.
c. Setting opens up new avenues for creative body movement. When you set something, you know precisely how you intended a specific move to go. With that knowledge you can create specific movements for your body that you might not find on someone else’s set route.
d. As you develop experience setting, your climbing knowledge and skill sets will improve. You will conserve more energy by being able to quickly decipher a problem and find the easiest most efficient way to climb through a tough sequence. e. There are many ways to learn. The most ideal would be to volunteer at a local climbing facility or build your own home wall. If these avenues are closed to you, don’t give up! You can create your own routes by using existing holds on a wall at the gym. Focus on setting fun creative moves over strait foreword hard problems.
2) Teach someone to climb
a. One of the easiest ways to improve your climbing is to teach someone how to climb. In order to convey what you do instinctually you’ll have to break down and analyze your own climbing movement. This will force you to start piecing together all the different movements which will eventually lead to a more solidified and honed climbing perspective.
b. By helping someone else get into the same amazing sport you love so much you’ll find you improve your own instincts and problem solving skills along the way. The person you teach may eventually turn into a great climbing partner and help you stay motivated.
a. If you’ve never slacklined, or just aren’t very good at it, the simple act of walking a piece of taught webbing might seem like a novelty circus trick rather than a serious climbing tool.
b. If you can get passed the initial learning curve of walking the line from one end to the other, you’re certain to open up an invaluable tool for improving your climbing abilities.
c. Slacklining strengthens and tones a myriad of subtle yet vital core muscle groups. These muscle groups won’t be activated by simply doing crunches or sit ups. Think about the body position of holding a tough barn door. Your body begins to swing, one leg floats in the air, and your core tightens from just below your shoulder all the way down to your lower abdomen. That same movement and muscle group is activated then you’re recovering your balance on the slackline. It’s just one of many climbing moves which correlate with slacklining and the activation of your core.
4) Watch someone better than you
a. More and more studies are coming out about the effects of the mirrors of the mind. That is, when we skillfully observe someone else doing something we begin a powerful process in which the mirror neutron system acts out simultaneously that same action in our own mind. In essence we are physically replaying the visual action the same way as if we had done the actual action ourselves. In climbing this means that through this process we are gaining access to knowledge about a specific movement, sequence, or body position we may or may not consciously recognize. Our subconscious is picking up all the subtle information as if we had already tried the move ourselves.
b. By watching climbers who have more knowledge, better technique, and years more experience, we can pick up on that information and apply it much quicker than if we were to develop those skill sets on our own.
c. This form of learning can have far reaching affects and is probably why after watching climbing films people tend to get motivated to go climbing. Incorporate both indoor climbing videos and outdoor climbing movies into your training routine for an extra boost in both your technique and overall performance.
5) Stop looking at route grades
a. Often we can break our own grade barriers by simply trying an ungraded boulder problem. The mental aspect of climbing beyond ones self-determined abilities can have a significant impact on what we can accomplish.
b. Try incorporating visualization techniques.
c. Remember, advancing your climbing without a work out is about having fun and taking the pressure off. This is sure to free up some powerful energy you’ve kept in reserve.