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Decrease in performance/skill level
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Feb 22, 2014, 10:27 PM
Post #1 of 3 (3129 views)

Registered: Sep 15, 2013
Posts: 4

Decrease in performance/skill level
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Iíve been climbing for about three years, mainly indoor bouldering, which I enjoy most. Iíve made good progress in terms of skill and performance for most of that time. My peak last spring was at the V6-V7 level at various gyms (projects with good possibility of sends).

Since last summer, it has gone downhill. I am now at a V4 (usually flash)-V5 (project) level. V6+ I can work but I usually canít top them. Besides the grades, I can feel that I donít have the strength or endurance that I had a year or even 6 months ago Ė moves I know I could do before I just canít execute. Really frustrating.

Iím not sure what the exact reasons are for this, but I have hunches:
1. Took a month off in summer due to travel
2. Took another month or so after travelling due to minor injury
3. Started a full-time job (first one after college), which leaves only evenings and weekends to climb, and leaves me spent energy-wise
4. Mental frustration Ė as I see my performance drop, my confidence in what Iím capable of has really dropped

#3 is the biggest issue for me (followed by #4), which Iím not sure how to get around in terms of improving performance. Any advice on maintaining/improving performance while managing the daily 40hr/week grind? Any advice in general?

Iíve put together a training schedule so I can use the time I have more efficiently, but havenít implemented it yet.


Feb 23, 2014, 7:56 AM
Post #2 of 3 (2982 views)

Registered: Jun 27, 2006
Posts: 6087

Re: [x2josh] Decrease in performance/skill level [In reply to]
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Have you moved, and are you now climbing at a different gym?

Has there been a change in route-setters at your gym?

The decrease you are describing is not that huge. Before, you were working on V6/V7 at your peak, and now you are working on V5/V6? Meh, not that big a difference.

Taking time off will set you back, for sure, but if #1 and #2 happened last summer, and you have been climbing regularly since then, you should have regained lost ground long before now.

Being tired and drained will affect your climbing, but if you (presumably a 20-something fresh college graduate with no family to take care of) are so tired and drained from working ONLY 40 hrs/week, you have bigger issues than your climbing to worry about. If you are not working some weird shift that messes with your sleep schedule, and if you aren't dealing with some kind of unusually-toxic and unpleasant bullshit at work, I wouldn't expect the work to be THAT draining for a healthy person.

Putting that aside, #1 and #2 are in the past and cannot be changed. #3, presumably, cannot be changed easily. So, that leaves you with #4.

Channel that frustration into devising a better training plan. "Evenings and weekends", which is all you have for climbing, is, believe it or not, ALL that most of us with day jobs have for climbing, too.

Are you getting enough sleep? Are you eating well? (Both of these things will affect your energy level)

How often are you climbing? Maybe you are at the gym TOO often? Aim for 3 times a week, no more than that. Also, periodization happens. If you climb long enough, even if you are continuing to improve, you will see that there are peaks and valleys, your improvement is not linear. Maybe you are in the valley right now.


Feb 23, 2014, 7:58 AM
Post #3 of 3 (2982 views)

Registered: Jan 5, 2009
Posts: 366

Re: [x2josh] Decrease in performance/skill level [In reply to]
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The schedule will make a difference, but improving your attitude is crucial to maintaining or improving skill when you're not climbing as much.

I recently went from climbing full time to working 40 hours per week. I'm stronger and healthier than I've ever been. There are three major reasons for this.

1) Resources. I have more money, more training apparatus available, better food, better recovery opportunities, etc.

2) Scheduling. I don't take a day off if I don't feel 100%. I stick to my schedule, beat myself up, and recover. I take the time to train skills and strength and to train for joint stability.

3) Dedication. I'm just as dedicated as I've ever been, but I only climb 10 hours a week now. This leaves me feeling a lot stronger when I am climbing and a lot healthier.

I had to take a major step back at first to make it to this point. It took time to get used to my schedule and to get used to not having a performance expectation every time I went climbing. I started to focus more on the process of getting better instead of the result. Time will tell how effective this is for my continued climbing improvement, but it was a nice plateau buster for certain skills.

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