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Dec 24, 2013, 2:32 AM
Post #1 of 5 (3817 views)

Registered: Oct 5, 2012
Posts: 14

Took climbing class
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So, since I felt I was stuck on 5A routes (5.8-5.9 for my American fellow climbers), I decided to follow a climbing class for beginners. It seems to have helped. Before the class I struggled really hard to finish a 5B (5.9) while now I can complete them with relative ease, I can finish some 5C's (5.10a) and even do some 6A's (5.10b) for about 70-80%
I especially learned to rely less on my arms and more on my legs and overall torso and back/abs muscles.

There are moments where I go back into old habits though: when I'm on a tough route and I can't really find a proper, clean way to get through, I go into "panic" mode and start muscling my way through which usually ends up with me getting exhausted and falling.
But I do have the feeling I improved.

Anyways, I often feel stability and balance is not my strongest point (coupled with my severe lack of being supple, it's a big showstopper) so is there any way, besides climbing more, to improve my balance? I understand it's mainly the core muscles, back muscles and abs that do this?

Secondly, some people are fast learners and seem to have the talent for being a good climber. Some of the guys in the class started climbing only about 4 months ago yet they're better than me to give you an example.
I seem to progress slower than those talented people... does that mean I will eventually reach a ceiling (figuratively) and stop progressing, or do I just have to keep at it and climb more?
The best way to become better at climbing is to climb a lot right?


(This post was edited by Snowbat on Dec 24, 2013, 2:33 AM)


Dec 24, 2013, 8:09 AM
Post #2 of 5 (3730 views)

Registered: Dec 5, 2002
Posts: 228

Re: [Snowbat] Took climbing class [In reply to]
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There are a lot of ways that you could do this. What you need to find is what will work for you and keep you going. Your CORE MUSCLES are the main group that will help the most, as you have stated. Do a lot of traversing on say a 15 to 25 degree wall and keep your butt pulled in. Doing this will help your climbing and work your CORE MUSCLES. This will help a little but will not build them up fast. I would traverse for my warm up when in the gym and do as I stated above.

Another thing that I would do is at the end of a gym secession I would do 3 sets of 1 to 2 min planks, help me.


Dec 24, 2013, 8:13 AM
Post #3 of 5 (3728 views)

Registered: Jun 27, 2006
Posts: 6087

Re: [Snowbat] Took climbing class [In reply to]
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It is entirely normal to regress into old habits when you are stressed out, tired, and panicked. A class teaches you certain techniques. But they become second nature with practice, lots and lots of it. Practice skills on easier routes. And try the harder routes multiple times, trying to apply the same skills. Don't think about finishing the route on the first try, so much as doing the moves well and keeping relaxed. After a few tries, you will finish it.

Climb with stronger people. Watch how they move. Ask for advice. And don't get discouraged.

People do a lot of different exercises for "core", most of them useless for climbing. But they could be good for general fitness or keeping opposing muscles strong. Same goes for yoga. Great for flexibility, balance and general body fitness. But not in climbing-specific way. So, if you feel compelled to do them, go ahead. But don't expect to see your climbing improve from it, unless you are particularly weak, overweight, or injured, to begin with.

As far as progressing at different levels, yes, that is normal, too. Don't compare yourself to others, compere yourself now to yourself 2 months ago, or a year ago. There is no reason why you need to stop progressing, if you are progressing at a slower rate. If you keep working on your weaknesses, and don't fall into the rut of doing the same things over and over, just because others are doing it, whether they work or not, you will get better.


Dec 24, 2013, 11:31 AM
Post #4 of 5 (3691 views)

Registered: Sep 17, 2005
Posts: 144

Re: [Snowbat] Took climbing class [In reply to]
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There are a lot of "methods" for improving, but none better than climbing at least 50-100 5.8s, then 50-100 5.9s, and moving on up (pun intended).

I think more people do a disservice to themselves by thinking they have to become an elite climber within a few months, "chasing the numbers" as we say, and are not content with becoming very proficient and really enjoying the moderates.

Years ago I climbed 5.10s all the time, but now that I am older (than before) I am going back and doing a lot of 5.7-5.9 climbs and really enjoying them, sprinkling in an occasional 5.10 when I am feeling good to spice up my life.

Climb for yourself not to impress others with your prowess.


Dec 24, 2013, 11:56 AM
Post #5 of 5 (3685 views)

Registered: May 20, 2006
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Re: [Snowbat] Took climbing class [In reply to]
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Concentrate on the factors that affect your balance. For me that mostly means foot placement and hip orientation. Try multiple approaches on the same route and see what works best. Mileage on routes that you can climb in control. Do a good deal of bouldering, which gives you concentrated high value training, because you get, generally, more balance intensive movement out of it, per foot, than route climbing. But do it at grades that you can control and evaluate the movement advantages of different postures.

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