Forums: Climbing Information: Beginners: A little training guide for noobs: Edit Log

Partner tisar

Sep 15, 2004, 12:48 AM

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Registered: Jul 1, 2004
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A little training guide for noobs
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Training for noobs

1. How often should I climb/workout?
Climbing is hard on the body so don’t forget to rest. Three to four times a week is enough for most people. If you’re still looking for more, do some light cardio training like jogging and stretching. Swimming is a good option. Muscles need time to recover after a good workout. Over training will not do anything other than keep you from climbing.

2. Do I need a special strength training for climbing?
All in all, no. Though you’ll get an advantage if your body’s good in shape and you have a good core strength. Climbing itself is a perfect workout for the whole body, so climbing is the best training for climbing. Beginners tend to climb with much more force than needed. Working on your efficiency therefore leads to faster improvement than pumping your muscles. Watch women climbing! They are the masters of efficiency.
To prevent injuries due to imbalance of muscles it’s recommended to do some push ups and train the finger openers as well as the back extensors.

3. Should I train my grip strength / buy me a fingerboard
No, no and again: NO! To understand this it’s necessary to know that there are no muscles in your fingers – just tendons and ligaments which provide the power of your forearm to the holds. Those, while untrained, need to adjust to such forces slowly. In contrary to fast growing muscles this adjustment takes months to years to take place. Forced exposure on them will almost certain lead to injury. Fingerboards are for experts, period.
You’ll also will notice that holds in moderate routes are big enough. If you have problems with holding, better footwork and matching grip force will do the trick.

4. My … hurts so bad, what can I do?
Rest. While resting, search the web for “warm-up” and “stretching”. Next time you get to the crag/gym do both.

5. Training on the wall
To get a good climber climb. To get a better climber climb consciously.
There are lots of exercises you can do while climbing:
  • Down-climb as much as you can.
  • Climb silent, i.e. place your feet as precise as possible making no sound.
  • Try looking good while climbing. Elegance rules and helps you to develop a better body consciousness.
  • Try different styles: dynamic, static, frog-style, turned in, etc.
  • Imitate different climbers (again: women are the most efficient climbers).
  • Imitate animals (skip the elephant, your trunk just won’t do it).

6. A few notes on footwork
  • Follow gravity. If your body tends to 'fall' into a certain direction, place a foot right there. Don't mind if there's a good foothold, a bad one or even none, just place your foot there.
  • Move your hip actively over your feet. The hip is the center of gravity. Placing it consciously over one foot relieves both your other foot and your hands for the next move.
  • Place your toe tips only. Beginners often place too much of their feet, or worst, their instep flat to the wall. This turns out your leg and blocks the hip joint. 'Tips only' gives your hip a broader moving range to allocate your gravity center as needed.
  • Look at your feet! Watch them until placed properly. Easy said, but often you'll find yourself looking elsewhere while doing the last couple of inches to the foothold. It takes some time and attention to get used to it but is worth it.

7. What else?
Don’t push the grades! Try to get familiar with the new challenge at a comfortable level. By the time your body will build up engrams for the different moves which will help you to cope with harder problems later. There’s no use in just pulling yourself up the wall – at a certain level there will be just nothing left to pull on.

8. Literature
A collection of the most popular books on the topic.
  • Freedom of the Hills contains just a few notes on the basic movements. But since it's the outdoor and climbing bible anyway, it won't hurt to take a look at it.
  • The Self-Coached Climber is one of the newer releases. It contains a superb analysis of climbing balance and movement and offers superb guidance to develop your own training schedule.
  • Training for Climbing is supposed to be is "The Definitive Guide to Improving Your Climbing Performance." Haven't read it by now, but those who did recommend it highly.
  • The Rock Warriers Way. Not strictly a training instructional, but as Güllich put it "the brain is the most important muscle for climbing". So the RWW concentrates on the mental priming for your climbing performance.
I bet you can fill half a library with books on climbing, this is just a small collection to start with. Some more reviews can be found in the Media Section of If you got more suggestions, feel free to pm me, I'll add them.

(Thanks to alpnclmbr1 for editing and corrections!)

* edited 11/2/06 to add footwork
* edited 1/5/07 to fix markup
* edited 10/4/07 to add literature

(This post was edited by tisar on Oct 4, 2007, 3:02 AM)

Edit Log:
Post edited by tisar () on Jan 4, 2007, 11:16 PM
Post edited by tisar () on Oct 4, 2007, 12:08 AM
Post edited by tisar () on Oct 4, 2007, 3:02 AM

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