/ Training areas at walls

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Ramblin dave - on 23 May 2013
So on the (now pulled?) thread about what you'd want from the ultimate bouldering wall, there were quite a few mentions of training areas, circuit walls, moon boards, system walls, campus boards etc, and I think this is something that gets suggested in that sort of discussion.

But this got me wondering... how much do training areas at walls actually get used? Maybe it's because I've always lived in flat places where no-one that committed to climbing would stay for long, but I've almost never seen any of the pure training equipment at a wall getting used properly.

You sometimes get a newbie showing off for their mates on the campus board, but never anyone who seems to be doing a properly coordinated workout on it. Meanwhile the system wall, if there is one, mainly serves as a convenient place where you can sit around when the wall's busy without worrying about getting in anyone's way, presumably because by the time people are good enough and committed enough to know what a system wall is for, identify the weaknesses they need to train on it and then build that sort of training into their routine, they've probably got one set up in their garage / basement / attic anyway. And I guess a similar thing applies on a less committed level with fingerboards - again, I've seen people do the odd pullup on one, but never anyone going to the wall to do an organized half hour fingerboard workout.

Is this a general pattern - that training gear is something that we like to feel that we COULD use, but never quite get around to? Sort of like the climbing wall equivalent of the exercise bike in the attic? Or would I find if I lived in Sheffield or Leeds or somewhere a bit more hard-climber-friendly that I could jump onto any boulder problems I wanted but have to queue for the system board?

(Also, on a more gormless note, what actually is a circuits wall?)
deacondeacon - on 23 May 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave: I climb at the works mostly and the campus boards, woody and circuits board all get heavy use.
Although every square inch of the place seems to get heavy use.
Also the system board at the foundry usually has people on it.
deacondeacon - on 23 May 2013
In reply to deacondeacon: sorry meant to say a circuit board is an area of wall often between 10-30 degrees overhanging with circular boulder problems that can be lapped. They often have French grades due to the endurance style of climbing.
Jon Stewart - on 23 May 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave:

I've used finger boards and pull-up bars at the wall systematically before (but not for a while - can't be arsed).

The Leeds Wall has a training area that I don't use but there is a hard core of folk who do. My local bouldering wall has campus boards that get used too. Generally speaking I don't think they're left unused.

Bloodfire - on 23 May 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave: just had a thought. I love thoughts about climbing wall innovation. A ledge somewhere with some anchors where one could practice some belay anchor skills would be great. Lots of people are doing SPA training etc. and could benefit from rigging up different anchors, rescues, hauling, prussiking etc.

These are the things you don't wanna practice on the crag when you can be climbing. And can't really rig on routes at the wall because others want to climb.

As for the training part. I find much of it is geared for the higher grade climbers. The progression should be through the grades so that everyone can train or at least get used to training.
Jon Stewart - on 23 May 2013
In reply to Bloodfire:

> As for the training part. I find much of it is geared for the higher grade climbers. The progression should be through the grades so that everyone can train or at least get used to training.

I dunno about this. Have you met any climbers who got into training before they had any skill? Although it doesn't affect me in any way and is completely irrational, I just hate watching people haul themselves up hard problems with strong arms and appalling footwork, it just grates on my soul. Please don't encourage people to do this.

wurzelinzummerset on 23 May 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave: I often go to TCA in Bristol early in the afternoon when it's quiet and even then there'll usually be someone on one of the circuit boards. At the weekend they're queuing up to take their turn. Often I visit specifically to do circuits so I don't lose the modest gains in endurance I've made.
witnessthis - on 24 May 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave: Ever since the Biscuit Factory/Arch has been around i have been able to customise my training which has meant for me an increase in climbing specific strength,less injury anda general feeling that for as long as I live in London this for me is by far the best use of indoor facilities in London.
Why ?
The reason is simple...the Arch is has very good training area the 'boards' are very hold dense(both good,bad and very bad) and better than anything do not follow the elitist pattern of thinking that only the elite should have access to this form of training facility.
Anyhow the result is an example of an exellent training facility but you do need to know what you are using it for in the long run.
I have had others asking me what I am doing and I try to explain that this is but one facet of indoor climbing that is helping me personally more than following the coloured circuits and is more creative for me but might not be the right thing for them.
Its not the 'bread and butter' of the new big Bouldering walls I know but it remains a very valid facet of them.
RockSteady on 24 May 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave:

Wasn't aware that the thread was pulled, but I'd posted in it specifically suggesting that my 'ultimate bouldering centre' would have all those training aids. Without them it simply wouldn't be ultimate.

I use those training facilities at the wall and would use them more if there were more of them. At the Westway and Biscuit Factory and Mile End and Castle in London the training areas are used very frequently. I'm thinking specifically of the Biscuit Factory circuit board area - would be better if it was twice as big so that more than one person could do circuits at once. For me the Biscuit Factory has set the gold standard in London walls, but looking at training videos of walls abroad, it's really just scratching the surface of how good a centre can be.

The upside for lower grade climbers is that they will have more of the set problems to themselves while the higher grade climbers focus on working problems on the board/circuits etc.

Ramblin dave - on 24 May 2013
In reply to deacondeacon:
Ah, cool.

In that case I'd probably remove circuit boards from the stuff I'd consider "training areas" because they're presumably also good for people who just enjoy doing longer routes, whereas a system board is really only any use if you're doing fairly specialised training...
deacondeacon - on 24 May 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave: tbh I think they definitely come under 'training' rather than regular climbing. They tend to be used mostly by keen sport climbers who want to train without a belayed. Stern faces and stopwatches are the order of the day.
witnessthis - on 24 May 2013
In reply to RockSteady:
I agree but London walls have to get their heads around the training areas are doing no good if they are catering for only the elite(V8 and harder or training for routes 7c+ and harder).
The Biscuit Factory has through design and luck got very good boards,its not dumbed down nor is it so hard that its uses become very limited for training at a more modest level.
I would agree though London has some of the best unroped training facilities in the UK.
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RockSteady on 24 May 2013
In reply to witnessthis:
> (In reply to RockSteady)
> I agree but London walls have to get their heads around the training areas are doing no good if they are catering for only the elite(V8 and harder or training for routes 7c+ and harder).
> The Biscuit Factory has through design and luck got very good boards,its not dumbed down nor is it so hard that its uses become very limited for training at a more modest level.
>

I think it still is doing good as it's helping this subset of high performers to further improve.

However, I agree that boards can still benefit skilled climbers at more modest levels - perhaps from V4/5 and up.

I don't think 'board' style training is particularly useful for lower grades than that - not through elitism, simply through the usefulness of the training aid to someone at a comparitively low level of skill/strength who would be better advised to 'climb more' and train less.

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