There are 10 techniques you’ve probably thought of to improve your climbing skills but that you NEVER used or didn’t use enough.
The worst part is that you know these techniques are easy to use, for each level, for beginners as well as for advanced climbers.
And that all you have to do is apply some of them seriously to get past the level you’ve reached.
Am I right?
What are these 10 techniques and how do you apply them?
But first of all, the key to activating your progress
If you REALLY want to make progress in climbing, you have to train seriously.
Because after having experienced a constant progression during the first months, without really doing anything else but climbing, you have reached a plateau.
You’re stalling, you can’t get past that famous 7a.
That’s why you MUST understand the importance of training, the importance of developing your physical, mental and technical abilities.
That’s what makes these 10 techniques so useful, they’re the key to getting higher and becoming stronger.
#1 – Climb More Often
Don’t make the mistake of spending too much time on physical training or training on Pan Gullich (or campus board) for example.
You need to build up your strength, of course.
But as you climb you develop your technique and that’s the most important thing.
Avoid complicating your life by including too much physical work in your training.
Your progress will be far greater.
And the strength you seek will come naturally.
In fact, it’s by climbing outdoors or indoors that you’ll train your body best and get into great shape.
If you feel that you can’t get past a certain strength or condition, then try to increase your training volume.
How? Reduce the breaks between every route you take by half.
Result: you’re going to climb twice as much and this can make a huge difference!
Also, increase the number of routes and moves you perform in a single session.
Talk less and climb more!
By doing that, you’ll more than double your training volume and therefore progressing exponentially without necessarily going through bodybuilding exercises.
But don’t make me say what I didn’t say.
My advice is not to make “physical” training a priority, not to abandon it.
It’s just a better use of your time, a way to have fun more often, to make training more exciting, and also to avoid certain injuries.
#2 – Train Your Fingers
So the first secret is to always give priority to climbing over strength.
However, there is one body part that you need to train especially: your fingers.
Because it’s going to help you minimize the risk of injury, and therefore to climb even better.
You’ll have to be patient because developing your finger strength will take time.
Especially because in addition to the muscles, you will also need to strengthen your tendons and that needs time.
It’s going to take some self-sacrifice and that’s why most climbers neglect this training.
A good finger training consists of making “dead hang” exercises of 3 to 10 seconds with different finger holds.
Open-hand, full crimp, half crimp, and pinch.
If you last more than 8 seconds, add weight (with a belt for example or adapted weights).
Do the exercise for each type of grip and repeat it 3 times with a 2-minute break in between.
Your progress is going to be slow, it will take months so you MUST be patient and don’t be like most climbers, don’t give up.
The ideal is to do these exercises on a yarn-beam.
#3 – Incorporate strengthening training
To progress in climbing the ideal is also to do muscle strengthening.
You have to mix cardio sessions and strengthening sessions to also strengthen your aerobic capacity.
This way you will be more active every day without feeling overly fatigued, be able to sustain intense, long-duration exercise, you will recover better after intense exercise and better handle heavy training loads.
It’s essential that you tailor your training frequency to your climbing days.
It means that if you are in a period where you are not climbing, let 2 days pass between each training session of this type.
If you are in a period where you are climbing, do no more than 2 strengthening sessions per week, and leave 2 days between each training session.
After that, you can add one more session each week but don’t exceed 3 sessions per week.
And remember to include a cardio session one a week.
#4 – Watch What You Eat
Don’t worry, I’m not asking you to go on a diet, you just need to figure out what kind of food will help you perform better.
Quality nutrition is very important for your training and performance.
This is also important to prevent injuries.
Here are 4 habits that you can easily integrate into your everyday life.
Choose the freshest possible foodstuffs
Fresh food contains more vitamins, minerals, and nutrients needed for good health.
Avoid industrial food as much as possible, which is much less nourishing and gives you much less energy.
Drink lots of water
It may seem obvious, but it’s not that easy to do.
Staying hydrated will help you improve your performance, especially your strength and endurance.
Try to drink 2 liters of water a day.
Sports drinks are occasionally acceptable but avoid drinking sweetened drinks too often.
Watch your blood sugar level
Your blood sugar should remain stable.
Because it helps you control your energy.
How do you do it?
Consumes fresh, low-glycemic index products.
You’ll find a list of these foods here.
Eat protein after training
Proteins are essential to help you during recovery.
They allow you to increase your strength by rebuilding your muscles, damaged during the effort.
It is advisable to consume protein within 45 minutes after your workout.
You can make yourself a powder protein shake or eat a protein bar.
Almonds are also an excellent source of protein, a good handful after practice can do the trick.
#5 – Learn to Visualize
Sometimes the solution to a problem is simple. Just take a step back.
That’s what visualization is for.
Stand in front of the route and watch it, try to imagine the moves you’re going to have to make to get to the top.
It’s a simple technique, but one that will really help you progress.
Visualization gives you confidence, it puts you in the right frame of mind.
It prepares your body for the sequence of moves you’re about to perform.
Studies on professional athletes have shown how effective this simple technique can be.
It forces you to create strong mental images about your moves but also about how you’re going to feel.
By making it a routine, your mind will become more and more efficient at creating these images and you’ll find it easier and easier to make the moves you’ve imagined.
So the next time you’re going climbing, stand in front of the route, study it, imagine climbing it.
Try to feel how comfortable you are, how strong you feel.
Once this is done, attack your climb with the confidence and strength you have built up during the visualization.
#6 – Practice yoga
Yoga is a practice that is seriously starting to earn its place in the climbing community.
Yoga classes can be seen all over the climbing gyms.
But why the craze?
Quite simply because yoga and climbing are two complementary practices.
Indeed, yoga will help you improve several things:
- Your balance
- Your strength
- Your flexibility
- Your breath
- Your state of mind
These are all the skills you’re going to use in climbing!
The physical benefits of yoga
|Improves flexibility||Improves the functions of the respiratory system, hormonal, etc.||Eliminates toxins||Promotes blood circulation|
|Relieves women with PMS||Tonifies the silhouette||Improves the quality of breathing by expanding the rib cage||Relaxes muscles|
|Harmonizes the musculature||Accelerates recovery||Enhances vitality by circulating vital energy||Increases immune resistance|
So I suggest you do an initiation to yoga and see if you like it.
#7 – Work on your weaknesses
Personally I don’t really like routes with dihedrals, I don’t know why, but I don’t feel comfortable.
And I know it’s the same for most of us.
Not necessarily about dihedrals but about certain types of routes or types of climbing that we don’t like.
But this behavior isn’t helping us.
How can you become a good climber if you don’t practice all types of climbing?
So it’s time to stop giving false excuses and start working on your weaknesses.
But how do you work on your weaknesses?
A good trick is to work on them during your warm-up.
By making an easy route, you’ll be able to work on your weak points without getting in over your head.
Then as you get better, try to incorporate, little by little, your weaknesses into more difficult routes.
You’ll be surprised how quickly you’ll improve in those areas you dislike so much.
#8 – Leave your ego in the locker room
Fear of failure can really compromise your progress, staying in your comfort zone, worrying about other people watching you.
All these are going to jeopardize your progress, too, and that’s the reason you never work on your weaknesses: the look of the others, fear of failure in front of other climbers
It’s time to leave your ego in the locker room.
I know it’s hard for some of you to face that look, that judgment, but when you think about it…
Who cares how other people look at you!
Why waste energy worrying about that?!
What does it matter if other climbers think you’re a great climber or a beginner?!
Okay, you may think: “Easy for you to say! » and I agree with you.
It’s a real job to do on yourself.
But know that your progress will only be faster because you’ll put all your energy into making progress.
And not to worry about the looks on other climbers’ faces.
#9 – Overcome your fear of falling
I told you about the fear of failure in the previous paragraph.
The other fear that keeps you from progressing is the fear of falling and it’s understandable and normal.
As a human being, you’re programmed to be afraid of danger, and your past experiences are going to make you more or less afraid.
But think about it for a second and pretend you’re not afraid of falling.
That you can make the moves without hesitation, without grabbing the holds too tight and without wasting your energy.
You’d be twice as strong!
So how do we overcome the fear of falling?
There is only one solution, you will have to face it!
You have to become insensitive to the fall!
Depending on how scared you are, you have to take it one step at a time, but with practice, you’ll see that you won’t be afraid anymore.
And one more thing.
Climb with a belayer you trust. This will help you a lot.
#10 – Listen to your body
I understand that the desire to progress quickly is very strong but you must be careful not to do anything foolish.
Learn to listen to your body and respect the days of resting.
Don’t always work the same moves and try to practice on all types of holds.
All of this together will help prevent injury.
So be smart and don’t let an injury ruin weeks of training.
#11 – Forget about the ratings
Climbing ratings are a good way to measure your progress but they can also be a drag.
Why? Because they can create frustration and a drop in self-confidence.
If you have successfully completed a route in 6c, you will unconsciously expect to have no problem climbing a route of lower difficulty.
Except that you may certainly encounter some and even fail in a route that is inferior to the rating you have reached.
And that can create frustration and loss of confidence.
So don’t let the ratings take control of your mind and your spirit.
What You Must Remember
These 10 techniques are essential to progress in climbing.
They are all UNAVOIDABLE.
Here’s a little reminder:
- Climb more often
- Train your fingers
- Muscle training
- Watch what you eat
- Learns to visualize
- Practice yoga
- Work on your weaknesses
- Leave your ego in the locker room.
- Overcome your fear of falling
- Listen to your body
- Forget the ratings
That’s it, I’ve just given you the keys to your climbing progression.
Ideally, you should reread this article from time to time to remind yourself of all these axes of progress.