I live pretty close to an indoor gym and climb there regularly during the winter and any other day when I don’t have time to climb outside. You quickly get to know who all the regulars are and it’s a pretty easy place to meet some awesome climbers and make some great friends. During my recent years climbing at a gym I’ve come across an interesting observation. Have you noticed that there are some climbers out there that are getting freaking strong ridiculously fast!? Well, it seems to be happening a lot at my gym. The progress I see from some climbers from week to week is mind blowing and eventually I started asking myself:
I started observing exactly what these climbers were doing to get so strong and noticed three things that seemed to be consistent across the board. Before I get into that though, I think it’s important to note that just carrying out these three tips is not going to magically turn you into a better climber, unfortunately, but they can get you well on your way.
Let me clarify that for me a better climber is not the same as a stronger climber. Yes, these tips can help make you a stronger climber, but can they make you a better climber? Not necessarily. A better climber uses resources beyond just strength. So, in addition to the following three points, if you want to climb better then I also recommend working on things like breathing, technique, mental training, yoga, and nutrition.
So the first thing that I noticed about these strong lads is that they were always at the gym when I was at the gym, which either means they are coincidentally at the gym when I am at the gym or that they are just always at the gym. I think my second hypothesis is likely the most probable. These guys are putting in a lot of miles. Not only are they climbing on more days but they are also taking shorter breaks. This adds up to a ton more climbing! Let’s say they climb 4 days a week and I only climb 2 and that their breaks are half as long as mine. This mean that in one session they are climbing double the amount that I am climbing and after one week they’ve climbed 4 times more than I have!! That’s a lot more climbing! No wonder they’re achieving things so quickly. They’ve packed four years of my climbing into one single year. Wow!
The second thing I noticed is that these people climb on everything! They aren’t intimidated by a measly grade, they are constantly pushing their limits. They don’t hit climbing plateaus because they are always projecting something that is beyond their limits. Many people climb at their max grade until they feel comfortable moving up to the next one, whereas these other climbers move onto the next grade after having just a few under their belts. You can create rapid progress by making a habit of trying climbs that are just beyond your limit. Project them then move onto the next. Just be careful and be smart with the way you climb. Picking a hard climb because it’s crimpy is a great way to get a pulley injury if you don’t often climb crimps. A hard climb for you doesn’t always mean that the grade of difficulty goes up. If you’re a V6 climber but you’re horrendous on crimps then picking a V4 crimpy climb still counts as pushing your limits.
Climb with Confidence
The final thing I noticed is that all these climbers seem to climb with so much confidence. There is little to no hesitation in any of the moves that they attempt. Being able to climb with this kind of confidence is a huge benefit because it allows you to give 100% for every move. Many climbers waste a tremendous amount of energy by hesitating when attempting hard moves on a climb, which lowers their level of effort to below 100%. Hesitation results from things like being nervous to fall, thinking your not capable of making the move, or feeling uncomfortable with other climbers watching you. Confidence will allow you to climb more efficiently and freely while progressing at a faster rate.
Do you see the simplicity in this kind of training? It’s just back to the basics. No crazy workouts, or weights, or reps. Just climbing. Often times the simplest ways are the way to go.
What are your observations? Please leave a comment below!