/ Warming up
I've never really nailed a warm up routine but having recently injured myself because I didn't warm up properly (at least I think it was that - it certainly wouldn't have helped!) I need to think about this more seriously.
If it makes any difference, I don't climb very hard - V3 indoors on a good day.
Probably around 45 min
OK....I should also say that I'm not fully climbing fit at the moment so max quality session is probably about 2 hours!
I usually start by mobilising my joints, shoulders,elbows, wrists and fingers mainly. Then just easy problems gradually increasing in difficulty.
Really depends on what you want to get out of your session but if you are looking to do a specific V3, try and structure your session like this;
4 x V0
2 x V1
1 x V2
Work/do chosen V3
1 x V2
2 x V1
4 x V0
No more than 3 attempts on any of the warm-ups, one attempt on the warm-downs. If you hit a sandbag, give it a try but dont over do it.
If you do the same problems during the warm-down, you will find them easier and your overall climbing more honed.
Resting is the most important consideration for bouldering sessions, one minute for every move you do is a good rule of thumb to remember.
My sessions are normally 1.5 to 2 hours long, and I would spend at least 30-45 minutes warming up with increasingly difficult problems.
I don't generally bother with a warm-down these days (although by default, I will climb increasingly easy problems as I get tired) as I don't need to recover quickly since my next session will be at least 3 or 4 days later.
Easy problems for maybe 20 minutes or half hour or so. That will include some reasonably hard stuff that I've done before though. I reckon my peak time for getting stuff done is roundabout the "hour into the session" mark.
I never used to warm up for fingerboarding anywhere near as much as they say you should, but I find now if I have longer sessions I keep improving as I go on which suggests that really getting to the point of generating max force takes a pretty long while.
So you'd only do 7 problems as your warmup, and would let that take an hour? (7 problems, 7 moves each, roughly, with 1 min rest per move = 49 minutes plus some faff time)
I don't disagree with decent rests between goes when you're on the hard stuff, but that seems like way too much standing around and way too few problems for a session - you're looking at, including warm up and warm down, your 15 problems taking about 2 hours if you follow your advice religiously...
It is up to the individual to decide rest times but if the climber isnt cruising V2 then could easily get shutdown before stepping near the V3.
There are too many session structures and routines to bear thinking about, I was simply advising a basic one from a reputable source that helped me in the past and was relevant here.
Perhaps you could try something else in the first part of your warm-up, then start on the easy problems as other people have suggested?
I do loads of stretches before I even put my rock-shoes on. I find then that I can warm-up on the plastic faster. Yoga-based ones can be good: downward dog, sun salutation, spine twist and other stretchy ones get the blood and muscles going. If I'm making no sense here, google some of those moves or join a yoga class for climbers. It's really helped me improve.
I'm also prone to trigger-pulley injuries, so the fingers get babied at the start of the session as well: big flat holds, then some sharper jugs and then nothing too small and fingery until both the arms and digits are fully ready.
I think I'm usually warm after about 30 mins doing this. I've been bagging some V5s lately and like to think that it's all helping.
Your call I suppose, but if I spent even 60 minutes doing 14 problems below my limit and then say half an hour trying one at my limit I'd feel like I'd not achieved much from the session.
Not particularly relevant for the OP I don't think (depending on the OPs tastes) but I recall a discussion about climbing volume on Fit Club a year or so back about volume in indoor sessions - the idea was to think of the number of moves on a project, the potential difficulty of its crux and the number of redpoints per day you wanted to have, and to look at how many moves that was in comparison to how many you did in a bouldering session. I seem to remember my 40 problems a session only bought me enough moves for about 3 goes! Here it is http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=443183&v=1#x6226326
That really made me think about how much volume I got in a session - I can't really see any reason now not to do 20-odd easy problems and a few harder ones too in the warm up even if the focus of the session is on strength rather than necessarily volume. Not that I've been following that advice religiously of late, but it's a useful reminder to me...
In the case of the former, I like to do circuits to warm up; I'll first do all the V0-V2 problems, followed by all of the V1-V3 problems, with no breaks. Works out to be somewhere in the region of 40 minutes of continuous climbing. At the end up my warm up, I'm drenched with sweat, but a little out of breath, but not physically tired. Exactly what I want out of a warm up.
If I'm doing bigger problems, I'll do something similar but with a much lower intensity and fewed problems.
Thank you all for these suggestions. Great food for thought.
except of course, StG ;-)
> I do loads of stretches before I even put my rock-shoes on. I find then that I can warm-up on the plastic faster. Yoga-based ones can be good: downward dog, sun salutation, spine twist and other stretchy ones get the blood and muscles going. If I'm making no sense here, google some of those moves or join a yoga class for climbers. It's really helped me improve.
Sorry to interject, but you really shouldn't be stretching cold muscles, muscles and tendons needs to have warmed up before you do any stretching at all. Imagine them to be like plastercine; if you stretch them cold they stand more chance of tearing, but if you warm them up with some light exercise first, they are more maleable to stretch!
I boulder or traverse gently for 10 to 15min gently stretching and turning to exploit rests then gradually increase the difficulty on bigger comfier holds for another 10 minutes. After 20-30 problems and about half an hour my fingers feel as warmed up as they're going to get.
Outdoors I'm afraid it's a slightly more brutal process. Brisk walk in or a couple of minutes jogging, easy ish route then straight onto putting the clips in the day's project.
I live about 5 minutes bike ride from the wall which is useful for getting the blood pumping.
When I'm being conscientious I'll then do three sets of 10 L-sit pull-ups to activate my core and back muscles, three sets of 20 press-ups to further activate the core and work the antagonistic muscles, and three sets of deadhangs on big holds to start warming up the fingers.
Next, either 10 minutes of easy traversing or three easy routes depending on what I'm doing that session.
If I'm climbing routes I'll just get on whatever at this point, but if I'm bouldering I'll spend some more time doing slightly harder problems before getting on anything at my limit.
Outdoors, it's usually just a case of doing some pull-ups on a couple of big jugs, and then three warm-up routes getting progressively more difficult. If I have a hard project I'm working, I find my fourth climb of the day is often when I feel physically at my peak.
Agreed, other than doing a bit of spinal rotation (which I need to do before and after any exercise to avoid problems) I like to just find positions on the wall during the warm up to stretch out my hips and back, and leave all other stretching for the warm down.
Your warm up does not need to take forever but it should be specific to the type of climbing you are about to do.
If you warm up your shoulders on juggy overhanging V1s and then go climb a fingery V3 it doesn't matter if you have been warming up for 49 minutes or 5 you still risk hurting yourself.
Start by a general warm up to raise your temperature and get your body used to moving. Dynamic stretching and very easy traversing is good.
Then look at the V3 you want to climb and pick some V1 and V2 that are a similar style of climbing. This way you are gearing your body up to the stress you will be placing on it later.
This information has come from the self coached climber, get yourself a copy, read it, put the ideas into action and soon you will be warming up to climb V5.
I bought a copy of SCC a few years ago when I was first learning to climb. The first chapter felt absolutely unreadable so I stuck to watching the DVD :-). I feel I should return to it now. I'm not actually that fussed about pushing my grade - I climb more for the enjoyment - but there could well be more useful info that I would absorb more easily now.
I'd agree with this entirely if I was jumping straight into extreme stretches, but gentle and dynamic warm-up movements seem fine for me. Of course, with any sports technique/regime you need to listen to your body and stop if anything feels too tight or sore.
The stretches I suggested are generally known as 'limbering' and 'warming' moves and take time to do properly. They shouldn't put any stress on muscles and tendons. Or course everyone's different, but I've had a lot less injuries and general muscle 'tweaks' after warming up in this way. YMMV.
...used to jog/cycle to wall and took a skipping rope for outside (if it was just as cold inside)for when i was waiting for someone/getting a bit cool between climbs, all great for the legs, but its harder to keep the arms active...used to get an old ball (basket/football size, get them in the £1 shop) and bounce it on the floor - double handed, single and from right to left etc and do the same up the wall or with a buddie, close to each other for quick in the air returns, or mid distance bouncing/throwing or longer throws, worked for me, kills time anyways...
There's some great advice from people here so rather than repeat anything that's been mentioned I'll add that's it's best to avoid getting sucked into mates' hardcore problems when you've just arrived for a session......the amount of times I've heard "you'll love this" or "see what you think of it" makes it very hard not to join in but you just have to try those problems on your own later. 45 mins is about right for me to warm up and I do easy problems and gradually stretch. I do a pilates warm down to finish.
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