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Dragonshoes


Sep 8, 2012, 3:16 PM
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Muscling through routes
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I've been bouldering for nearly 3 years on and off and I still have less experienced climbers(Like day 1) being able to muscle through problems I've been attempting for weeks. I'll be honest I'm not light but, I'm not over weight. So far I've been getting through problems simply through experience and being able to hold onto crimps. I was wondering at what grade does this stop and if I should just buff up rather than doing fingerboard? I can flash V3's at the standard grading at Brooklyn Boulders but, the grading at my University's local gym is much more harsh.


(This post was edited by Dragonshoes on Sep 8, 2012, 3:17 PM)


Marylandclimber


Sep 8, 2012, 6:21 PM
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I thought you were going to be a one time poster because of the Dragon Shoes Thread and your name. :p


SylviaSmile


Sep 8, 2012, 10:20 PM
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I'm not sure if this has anything to do with it, but your post struck a chord with me because recently I've observed two things: 1) my new gym's bouldering wall is centered around dynos and 2) I'm not naturally good at dynos (i.e. I can't do them). The reason your post resonated is because I also find myself saying, "Well, at least I can do this (single non-overhanging) V3 here by holding onto these little crimps"...but of course that's not good enough. So my hypothesis is that the people who are "muscling through" these routes are, besides being stronger than me, also just instinctively better at dynamic moves. What do you think?


Dragonshoes


Sep 9, 2012, 6:21 AM
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SylviaSmile wrote:
I'm not sure if this has anything to do with it, but your post struck a chord with me because recently I've observed two things: 1) my new gym's bouldering wall is centered around dynos and 2) I'm not naturally good at dynos (i.e. I can't do them). The reason your post resonated is because I also find myself saying, "Well, at least I can do this (single non-overhanging) V3 here by holding onto these little crimps"...but of course that's not good enough. So my hypothesis is that the people who are "muscling through" these routes are, besides being stronger than me, also just instinctively better at dynamic moves. What do you think?

@Marylandclimber Nah, I just started to take bouldering much more seriously and my shoes and I share the same name. I'm hoping to get more involved in the forums as long as time permits me. I do a lot more reading than posting though.

@SylviaSmile Yeah, my major guess were the individuals were either extremely stronger than myself or extremely lighter. I've pulled off a few dynos myself but, nothing super impressive. It's not so much dynos but, simple incline walls that get me. (I'm terrible with any incline and don't even get me started about the 35 degree area at my gym which I've never topped out on) We're talking like V2 grade routes. V3 routes however have a noticeable amount of crimps and I do better than them simply because of the crimps involved. I think body types have to do a lot with it. I'm climbing with nearly 190 pounds (People say I look 170?) while everyone else is climbing between 145-170 and are as strong or if not stronger than I am. I keep saying "At least I can do this better than them" but, honestly if they put in a little effort they'd probably pass me in no time.


(This post was edited by Dragonshoes on Sep 9, 2012, 6:22 AM)


cleavoncox


Sep 9, 2012, 6:41 AM
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Here is my take on it.

1. Eventually, the less experienced climbers won't be able to muscle through the problems, especially when the climbs get higher in grade. In my perspective, its starts at 3s and 4s, but gym grades are subjective.

2. Dont worry about them, climb for yourself and your satisfaction. I found myself also puzzled at why certain people were able to send 2 and 3s on their first visit. I then decided to forget them and focus on climbing for fun.

3. Focus on movement and balance. Watching some of the smaller women climb at the gym has helped me realize that strength i'snt everything. And while at one point I was struggling to send 2s, they were sending 4s and 5s with ease. I know its like a broken record at this forum, but "The Self Coached Climber" is a great read. It helps you understand the movement on a technical level -why certain moves work and others don't.

4. Start climbing 0s on the 30 wall and then the 45 wall (I also climb at BKB). After than do the 1s and 2s there and in the cave.

5. Since your max bouldering grade seems to be a V2, try to send all of the 2s and below in the gym PERFECTLY -focusing on footwork, balance and movement. Again, the book has great exercises to help you with that.

Finally, you should continue finger boarding (which is probably why you have an easier time with crimps -I personally struggle with them), but also include a bit of weight training. Don't do it to muscle up, so it to keep your self tone. Adam Ondra is not a muscle man, and he's considered one of the best climbers in the world.

Hope this helps. I was where you are at one time, and I know that it can be frustrating. Crazy


Dragonshoes


Sep 9, 2012, 7:15 AM
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cleavoncox wrote:
Here is my take on it.

1. Eventually, the less experienced climbers won't be able to muscle through the problems, especially when the climbs get higher in grade. In my perspective, its starts at 3s and 4s, but gym grades are subjective.

2. Dont worry about them, climb for yourself and your satisfaction. I found myself also puzzled at why certain people were able to send 2 and 3s on their first visit. I then decided to forget them and focus on climbing for fun.

3. Focus on movement and balance. Watching some of the smaller women climb at the gym has helped me realize that strength i'snt everything. And while at one point I was struggling to send 2s, they were sending 4s and 5s with ease. I know its like a broken record at this forum, but "The Self Coached Climber" is a great read. It helps you understand the movement on a technical level -why certain moves work and others don't.

4. Start climbing 0s on the 30 wall and then the 45 wall (I also climb at BKB). After than do the 1s and 2s there and in the cave.

5. Since your max bouldering grade seems to be a V2, try to send all of the 2s and below in the gym PERFECTLY -focusing on footwork, balance and movement. Again, the book has great exercises to help you with that.

Finally, you should continue finger boarding (which is probably why you have an easier time with crimps -I personally struggle with them), but also include a bit of weight training. Don't do it to muscle up, so it to keep your self tone. Adam Ondra is not a muscle man, and he's considered one of the best climbers in the world.

Hope this helps. I was where you are at one time, and I know that it can be frustrating. Crazy
^ This is why I like forums. All very good advice I knew but, was too stubborn to do.

My only problem is that the inclines normally have tougher problems above V2+ and the 35 often involves heel hooks which I cannot do because my old shoes don't have where the material goes all the way up the heel (5.10 rouges) and I forwhatever reason my 5.10 dragons I can't get the left shoe on! Pirate

As for the finger board, I recently got into it. Doing 20-25 pulls ups on the second bottom rung after climbing. Smile


jbone


Sep 9, 2012, 8:48 AM
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I said for a while now, there is a difference between the "Strong" climber and the "Good" climber and one does not equal the other. You can be both but most are just one or the other.

Stop comparing yourself to others, be your own smelf.


hafilax


Sep 9, 2012, 3:38 PM
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Re: [Dragonshoes] Muscling through routes [In reply to]
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What exactly do you mean by muscling through a problem?


JAB


Sep 10, 2012, 6:42 AM
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Somehow it sounds like your problem is a lack of core strength. If you are heavy and lack core strength, you will be in trouble on overhangs even if the holds are good. It might look like others are "muscling" through the routes, but what they really do is keep their weight under the holds instead of swinging out and falling off.

Solution: train your core by doing leg raises, the plank and various other ab excercises. On the bouldering wall, do excercises where you have your weight on one arm & one foot, and learn how a change in body position can mean the difference between a rest and an impossible to hold position.


hafilax


Sep 10, 2012, 11:01 AM
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I didn't want to try and read between the lines but...

My guess would be that the OP is trying to boulder statically. Steep bouldering requires a lot of deadpointing and dynamic movement. This will look pretty herky-jerky as people are learning how to do it. The thing is that working out the moves will always look wonky if it's a reasonable project. Once it's all worked out it will become smooth with practice.


sycamore


Sep 10, 2012, 11:49 AM
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jbone wrote:
I said for a while now, there is a difference between the "Strong" climber and the "Good" climber and one does not equal the other. You can be both but most are just one or the other.

Have these words lost all objectivity? Everyone I know that climbs harder grades is both "strong" and "good". They are certainly not mutually exclusive terms.

Muscling through: Completing a route or problem despite complete lack of technique. Usually a pejorative term used by a (often slightly jealous) climber to describe someone with equal or less experience climbing a route they themselves cannot climb. Primarily the province of the fit beginner male climber, whose baseline strength will often get them up V2-3 problems.

To the OP: 3 years on and off? How much of that was "off" time? You have to have realistic expectations based on the amount of time and energy you're willing to commit to climbing. Everyone is different, and you have to discover the balance for yourself. If you stick with it, your technique and strength will improve to a point, but your dedication to the sport will determine where that point is. I assume you live in NYC, which means you've already got it harder than most.

Also, something I've noticed is that climbing seems to be a poor (or at least real slow) way of getting into shape. Obviously it's better than nothing, but a generally fit beginner is going to excel much more quickly than an out of shape beginner. If climbing is your only exercise activity, you may want to add running/swimming/cycling/yoga/whatever to the menu.


gosharks


Sep 10, 2012, 2:14 PM
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hafilax wrote:
Steep bouldering requires a lot of deadpointing and dynamic movement.
Not if you're good Shocked


johnwesely


Sep 10, 2012, 5:34 PM
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gosharks wrote:
hafilax wrote:
Steep bouldering requires a lot of deadpointing and dynamic movement.
Not if you're good Shocked

Especially if you are good.


dynosnore


Sep 11, 2012, 12:09 PM
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hafilax wrote:
What exactly do you mean by muscling through a problem?

Muscling through is using brute strength to reach the top instead of technique and finesse.

In regards to the original question, I think it becomes pretty hard to muscle through after V3 or so. Technique becomes so important after that.

With that said, strength is always very important, and you need to have both strength and technique to do well.

Keep working on your fingerboarding and do pull ups for strength. Pick routes you know you can do, and climb them repeatedly with slow, perfect footwork and technique.

You'll get there!


DemolitionRed


Sep 15, 2012, 10:25 AM
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dynosnore wrote:
hafilax wrote:
What exactly do you mean by muscling through a problem?

Muscling through is using brute strength to reach the top instead of technique and finesse.

In regards to the original question, I think it becomes pretty hard to muscle through after V3 or so. Technique becomes so important after that.

With that said, strength is always very important, and you need to have both strength and technique to do well.

Keep working on your fingerboarding and do pull ups for strength. Pick routes you know you can do, and climb them repeatedly with slow, perfect footwork and technique.

You'll get there!

I agree with all except what I made bold. It really isn't true that fingerboarding gets you bouldering strong quicker. Fingerboarding is good for making you better at fingerboarding.
I eye-roll every time I hear some guy in the bouldering room grumble that 'he just isn't strong enough' and so rushes off to the fingerboard or worse he goes and does some weight lifting.
I'm not saying fingerboarding is bad, when used correctly, it shouldn't be used in place of bouldering, ever. There is nothing like the real thing to build the correct muscles.

From what the op is saying, he believes its lack of strength over a heavy torso and he could be right in which case a diet plan may be in order.

What you don't want to do is train those legs and diaphragm to be even heavier than they are now and don't overvalue power for good technique.

On a side note. I weigh just over 100lbs and there is not a lot of room on me for muscle. Although I have to be strong, I can't be reliant on strength alone. understanding my route along with good technique gives me the speed I need to complete a route.


guangzhou


Sep 15, 2012, 7:16 PM
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In reply to:
Muscling through: Completing a route or problem despite complete lack of technique. Usually a pejorative term used by a (often slightly jealous) climber to describe someone with equal or less experience climbing a route they themselves cannot climb. Primarily the province of the fit beginner male climber, whose baseline strength will often get them up V2-3 problems.

Very keep and often accurate observation.


Co1urzz


Sep 15, 2012, 7:50 PM
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ive been climbing on and off since i was 15(22 now) and ive noticed people progressing faster than me the whole time, and simply put, i have a large frame, and even larger arms/hands. its taken me years to build the PW and fingertip strength that say someone who is 5'4" can create within 6 months.


theextremist04


Sep 15, 2012, 9:17 PM
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If you can, get out of the boulder cave and go do slabby/dihedral stemming stuff. That'll keep you from muscling through stuff.


flesh


Sep 15, 2012, 11:04 PM
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Don't fixate only on power or only on technique. You'll need massive amounts of both to climb at a high level. It may help at any given time to focus on one or the other. This could change, year to year, month to month, or hour to hour. Whatever is giving you results, is either your weaknesses being ironed out or maximizing your strenghts. As long as your progressing... it's silly to assume that one is superior to the other. Assuming you had the best technique in the world, would you be the best climber? Would it be the fastest way to get stronger? Assuming you were the MOST powerful climber in the world..... at some point you would naturally pick up technique.. you would have to in order to continue up the grades. I've known some climbers personally who were simply so strong that they never learned a technique until it became absoultely necessary to do a particular move..... some of them not even until v11 or v12... they always muscled through everything.. now years later... they have good technique, they had to, or else they couldn't get better anymore, they hit their personal threshold in their personal style of climbing.


DemolitionRed


Sep 16, 2012, 11:32 AM
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I think it depends what you want to do. If you only ever want to boulder, then strength plays a big part but lets face it, before bouldering rooms and climbing walls existed, climbers were not so strong. They still climbed up to dizzy heights and overhangs on grit and lime stone with the grace and finesse of lizard, when all they had to rely on was great technique and a healthy pair of lungs.

Climbing walls seem to be all about being strong and getting stronger but you only have to sit and watch those big armed muscular men bouldering around for an hour to understand that most of them have poor technique.
I agree there has to be a balance of technique, strength, cardoio fitness and stamina to be a good climber but imo far too much emphasis is put on strength.


shockabuku


Sep 16, 2012, 11:39 AM
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Yes, weight is a huge factor on overhanging climbs.


guangzhou


Sep 17, 2012, 2:44 AM
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DemolitionRed wrote:
I think it depends what you want to do. If you only ever want to boulder, then strength plays a big part but lets face it, before bouldering rooms and climbing walls existed, climbers were not so strong. They still climbed up to dizzy heights and overhangs on grit and lime stone with the grace and finesse of lizard, when all they had to rely on was great technique and a healthy pair of lungs.

Climbing walls seem to be all about being strong and getting stronger but you only have to sit and watch those big armed muscular men bouldering around for an hour to understand that most of them have poor technique.
I agree there has to be a balance of technique, strength, cardoio fitness and stamina to be a good climber but imo far too much emphasis is put on strength.


People bouldered on real rock dude, they also trained in other ways.


DemolitionRed


Sep 17, 2012, 5:53 AM
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In reply to:

People bouldered on real rock dude, they also trained in other ways.

Firstly I'm not a dude, Im female.

Secondly I'm not saying you can't train in other ways. I consider cardie-vascular drills really important for good climbing ability. Endurance exercise such as using hard pumpy walls, sprinting and hard rowing are good. When it comes to core strength, suppleness and good body direction, drill climbing, acrobatics and slack lining are very beneficial.
Whilst I agree that fingers/forearm muscles have to be strong, there is good reason why a body builder can't hang by his forearm any longer than the next guy. Our bodies unfortunately are not adapted to hang on to tiny pinches or high force pulls for long, no matter how strong you are because as we squeeze the fingers those tiny blood vessels shut (like a tourniquet). During the hold, blood can't flow in and blood can't flow out. We are pushing those muscles to their limit and unless we can quickly give that muscle group a brief rest, the contraction will just let go of the hold because no blood to those extremities causes rapid muscle fatigue.
Our legs are naturally stronger than the arms. Our muscle groups in the legs are huge in comparison to the forearm. There is not enough emphasis on foot and leg forces when it comes to completing a climb. How many times do you use the tip of your toe on the tiniest of holds to launch you forward to that final reach? IMO many climbers are far too passive with their lower body.


(This post was edited by DemolitionRed on Sep 17, 2012, 5:58 AM)


guangzhou


Sep 17, 2012, 6:29 AM
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DemolitionRed wrote:
In reply to:

People bouldered on real rock dude, they also trained in other ways.

Firstly I'm not a dude, Im female.

Never really differentiate between male and female when use the term dude.

In reply to:
Secondly I'm not saying you can't train in other ways. I consider cardie-vascular drills really important for good climbing ability.
While I agree these are good for general fitness and will help in climbing, they definitely don't help you get strong from a climbing point of view.

Really important, not sure, I know people who can't walk 100 steps up the hill to the crag without stop and breathing heavy who climb pretty darn hard.

{quote]Endurance exercise such as using hard pumpy walls, sprinting and hard rowing are good. When it comes to core strength, suppleness and good body direction, drill climbing, acrobatics and slack lining are very beneficial.
While slack-lining is fun, I never found it useful in increasing my climbing ability. Just seems to be one of the activities that climbers enjoy doing.

How does slack lining help specifically.

In reply to:
Whilst I agree that fingers/forearm muscles have to be strong, there is good reason why a body builder can't hang by his forearm any longer than the next guy.

Actually, I bet boy builder can hang more than the average guy, maybe not the average climber.

Want to build finger strength before your area has a climbing gym, do what climbers did for years before gyms were around. Finger tip pull-ups. Add weight to get even stronger.

In reply to:
Our bodies unfortunately are not adapted to hang on to tiny pinches or high force pulls for long, no matter how strong you are because as we squeeze the fingers those tiny blood vessels shut (like a tourniquet). During the hold, blood can't flow in and blood can't flow out. We are pushing those muscles to their limit and unless we can quickly give that muscle group a brief rest, the contraction will just let go of the hold because no blood to those extremities causes rapid muscle fatigue.

Isn't this the entire reason to use a sport specific training program?

The Power versus Endurance debate in rock climbing has been around for long time. With more of either, you are less liking to get pumped, or to recover quicker between pumps. (Shaking out has been in use for a long time too.)


In reply to:
Our legs are naturally stronger than the arms. Our muscle groups in the legs are huge in comparison to the forearm. There is not enough emphasis on foot and leg forces when it comes to completing a climb. How many times do you use the tip of your toe on the tiniest of holds to launch you forward to that final reach? IMO many climbers are far too passive with their lower body.

I agree, many climbers rely to much on upper body, I learned to climbed on slabs and cracks, so I understand the importance of foot work. With that in mind, regardless of how strong your legs are, if you upper body and arms can't hold you, you won't climb overhanging routes.

When I started climbing overhanging routes, cracks and face, I had to learn to be less aggressive with my lower body and more aggressive with my upper. I spent forever trying to get perfect foot placement instead of just moving into the next stance. By doing so, I wasted energy. Once I learn to move, cut my feet loose, dead-point, and dyno, my climbing improved significantly. So did my confidence on run-out slabs. (I started trusting and moving on smears I wouldn't have otherwise.)

My Indonesian climbing partners are all about power, power, power, I still focus on Endurance and technique with power on the tail-end.

If you finish the route or boulder problem, it doesn't matter is you powered through it or not. Doesn't matter if you finessed your way through it either. Actually, it just doesn't matter how you climb as long as you are enjoying yourself.


guangzhou


Sep 17, 2012, 6:42 AM
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On the footwork issue, when I lived in Yosemite, a couple of guys repeated the second ascent of Hall of Mirrors. I read about the route around the same time.

It's been on my must do list ever since. Now that the bolts have been replaced, I may actually give it a go in the next few years. My wife loves slab as much as I do, so I already have a partner.

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