/ Please some training advice for a mid-grade climber
I'm a competent onsight climber up to E2 with the odd flourish up to E4, with no headpoint experience. I boulder 7A steadily and can creep into 7B territory on the right problem.
I have no sport climbing experience to speak of and indoors I climb in the high sixes (have climbed two 7as after a lot of work).
I'd like to get solid on onsighting E3/E4 routes and potentially higher. I'd also like to get stuck into some mid sevens indoors. I'm happy with my bouldering at present and don't really have any real interest in sport.
My abilities seem to be really lacking when it comes to indoor leading, and in the past I've just got stuck into lots of indoor climbing through the winter with no real visible gains.
I'm not really sure where I'm going wrong although an obvious weakness is I'm not completely relaxed with Falling indoors and I have no structured training plan.
I tend to fail on indoor routes because I get pumped and can't make the move or I'm scared of falling and don't give it 100%.
I think what I'm looking for is a way to increase strength endurance?
Any ideas on a structured training plan?
Sorry if the post is all over the place, on my mobile, at a bus stop in the rain :)
Haven't got time to go through stuff now, but definitely get yourself a structured plan.
Since I'm into trad above all else, I spend most of my time indoors doing laps. I reckon it's useful for steep, stamina climbing e.g. Pembroke. Useless for grit and stuff though, obviously. Since I'm not into redpointing, I find increasing indoor grades pretty much a waste of time - increasing the 4x4 grade however is very useful for stamina-type trad.
I had a coaching session with a guy who analysed my strengths and weaknesses and gave a load of good training advice - that's worth thinking about too.
I'll put some more stuff down when I get chance.
Thanks for the reply. It seems that 4x4's are the way forward. when I've tried them previously it was actually pretty hard to find routes at exactly the right level of difficulty but I'll persevere.
Good luck with it all!
The best coach is not always the one who climbs the hardest, it's the one who can help you climb your hardest. It's an important distinction. Ask for recommendations from others and then maybe try again with this approach.
Your skill is clearly pretty high but you may be stuck in a rut, training the same things over again, or missing a crucial element somewhere which an honest and non-biased pair of eyes may help spot.
Otherwise, try to write down honestly what you are doing each session and be very honest with yourself as to what your weaknesses are. Then look back after a few weeks and try to spot patterns in what you are focussing on / missing.
For example I always used to train strength and technique and I got stuck in a rut. I really took the time to drill down into what I was weak at and it took a lot of honesty and asking of friends to determine that I was actually afraid of heights, or at least exposure. Having focussed on this area prominently for a while now my climbing ability has shot up more so than when I was hanging off a Beastmaker a few times per week.
You will know when you strike gold with a weakness because it will feel very hard and more than likely make you question why you are putting yourself through the stress of it all.
Hope that helps.
+1 to structured endurance training.
Might be easier at a boulering wall with a circuit board.
If you can boulder 7A then you are strong enough to climb many 8as.
I found that a year of 12-30 move circuits made me a much better trad and sport climber. But I wouldn't do it for a whole year without making sure you don't lose your bouldering power! Maybe 3 months to try it
Reading your post again I think you already know what your weakness is:
But are afraid to admit it and are looking to bandaid the problem:
If you are afraid of falling, totally normal, then you will be over-gripping and not climbing in a relaxed state. This will lead to you getting pumped and not completing a route that technically you are capable of climbing.
Climb the panel on an easier route and leave the rope in as a top-rope? Do some falling practise (search on here..)
When I'm trad climbing I have a confident approach and particularly like bold routes, but indoors I'm not as confident. I've done lots of falling practice in the past and although I get better at it I've never been 100% confident as I am outdoors.
I'm just going to accept that I'll have to do falling practice every session ( although I feel like a dick if it's a busy evening at the wall.
The thing is with the fear, I know what the problem is and I have a good idea what to do to rectify it. It's the structured training plan that I'm having trouble sussing :)
You touched on fear of falling as a weakness, work on that and you'll be cruising E3 come the Spring.
When outdoors I don't suffer from fear at all, it's only when indoors. This year I Onsighted around 20 E3's and a couple of E4's.
My issues outside start when a route is sustained or 'sport' like, if that makes sense.
I haven't really got any advice as I'm in the same boat but I look forward to hearing others ideas.
It sounds very much like you should work on your head (fear of falling and possibly other anxiety managment areas) to make fastest gains in performance. Bouldering 7B, you're already physically strong enough for some 8a sport routes, and trad E7.
Get technically, tactically and psychologically as strong and you could rocket up the grades.
I'd also clarify your goals: Do you care what your indoor grade is, or just want to onsight harder trad? Or boulder harder? They all require different skills, and therefore different approaches to training.
+1 for getting some (decent quality) coaching ;-)
Very similar to me too, I'm absolutely shite at indoor climbing - but I do enjoy doing laps and getting fit.
The thing about getting used to falling is slightly funny. I struggle with it massively, so I'm not one to preach, but it's quite a complex issue.
On the sort of trad routes I do, often I really, really do not want to fall off. Quite often falling off is either genuinely dangerous or would just propel me and my belayer into a massive world of faff. I love spectacular, committing routes, involving traversing above massive overhangs over the sea and stuff, so falling off is just not sensible. I don't do these routes well within my limit, the best experiences are the ones where I am pretty close to falling off.
If I wanted to get higher up the grades, I could choose safe, non-committing E5s and fall off them all until I finally did one clean. That would be the most efficient way to climb harder routes I guess. But it isn't really what I'm interested in, I want to onsight routes where it matters whether or not you fall off.
I completely agree that getting used to falling is extremely helpful for climbing safe, non-committing trad. However, I don't think it's that handy when you assess the situation and conclude, 'there's no f^cking way I want to fall off now'.
Get fit then. It's easy, and really satisfying (the improvements come really quickly, unlike trying to up your redpoint grade). And stamina trad routes are often really great, fun routes cause they're steep so have good holds. Many of the best routes I've done this year, stuff like Centrefold, Star Gate, Gravy Train have been steep. Others like Roaring Silence and Star Wars have been more delicate but still very sustained and needed fitness.
> Very similar to me too, I'm absolutely shite at indoor climbing - but I do enjoy doing laps and getting fit.
> Well lets do some laps then and get fit!
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