Just curious to see how people gauge whether/how much they are improving? I am mainly interested in bouldering (indoors).
The problem is that grades are so varied that they are almost meaningless over a short/medium period of time. Over a longer period obviously any improvement will be also reflected in the grade ranges one tries but has anyone come up with any way of knowing whether their current training approach is working well or not?
If i can do a move i couldn't do the week before then i'm getting better. I'd imagine a lot of people might have a similar gauge. But then again, performance can vary week in week out but if the time goes in properly then surely it can only be positive results ?
> The problem is that grades are so varied that they are almost meaningless over a short/medium period of time. Over a longer period...
Over a longer period they can be fairly useless as well, walls and/or areas grades can vary a hell of a lot too, not to mention the 'style' of the problem. For example a (pulling a grade out of the air) Font7A thats overhanging is going to require different strengths in technique compared to a Font7A slab.
Some common advice to improve is:
*) identify the areas of technique you are weak on, and send more time working on them.
*) Spread your time in climbing sessions between different types of problems, not just ones your strong on. Like aim to climb 1 or 2 of each type, ie slab/crimpy/sloper/overhanging/etc each session.
*) Then climb them again, seeing if you can find a different or cleaner way up them. Just because you've done if before doesn't mean you can't do it 'better' and still learn something.
Also don't be afraid to drop a few grades working on areas of technique your weak on. Setting goals over a time period is often better then in a single session, instead of saying "i'll climb that F6C slab tonight or never" think " i'll climb the F5+/F6A/B stuff repeatedly over the next few weeks and see what i learn".
That's helpful, thanks. I found out the hard way when I kept trying to do harder problems but wasn't improving, in fact at some point I remember reaching a point where I felt I just couldn't do any problems at all! Working on easier problems and focusing on technique really helped me I think.
Having said this I definitely need to spend more time doing problems that I don't like - perhaps a good gauge would be to identify a few 'types' I am weaker at and work them for a couple of months and see if they feel easier.
True but it's tricky in indoors bouldering as the problems get reset every few weeks so not very straightforward to have a like for like comparison. Sometimes it feels like the ground is moving under your feet as you turn up one day and everything has been reset and you know there is no way you can get any of the old problems that you couldnt do back. Having said this, it keeps things interesting of course.
For outdoors I could see that it could work ie I could return to try again a problem in 6 months or a year etc and hopefully as i got better I would be able to climb problems that had escaped me in the past.
In reply to Simos: Forgot to mention, one thing I feel I definitely got better is the ability to actually work out the problems ie what are the right moves.
This is great but it also makes it more difficult to know if my technique in actually doing the moves themselves is better or whether I just do less 'wrong' moves if that makes sense?
By the way please don't think that I sit at the wall stressing about all this! Lol i just enjoy climbing but just good to be a bit critical of how you are doing from time to time to keep motivated and improving
Yes I did mean system boards Steve - there are a couple of pretty decent ones where I climb so I think I'll start using them more.
e.g. I could go up and down (frontal) until failure and hopefully over time I'll be increasing how many times I can hold on for etc. I just use them for some dynamic moves now but I think I'll use them for a lot more going forward and see if they help.
if you are focused on indoor climbing then systems boards and campus style exercises must be the way forward to measure any improvement gains made over weeks/months.
You should know with in yourself how well you are climbing from month to month but maybe you should set yourself a few outdoor targets to really measure gains over a year or more.
Mostly i find that my improvements can be directly correlated by how big or not as the case maybe a particular hold feels that has caused me trouble on a route or boulder.
I think the real turning point in my bouldering career came when I started climbing without a shirt on. The decrease in drag caused by removing my shirt, not to mention the weight saved, made me climb at least 5 V grades harder.
> Yes I did mean system boards Steve - there are a couple of pretty decent ones where I climb so I think I'll start using them more.
> e.g. I could go up and down (frontal) until failure and hopefully over time I'll be increasing how many times I can hold on for etc. I just use them for some dynamic moves now but I think I'll use them for a lot more going forward and see if they help.
System boards are great but don't just climb 'frontal' on them, they are there for working all areas. Try going from shite hold to shite hold, real high rockovers, awkward cross footed positions, all sorts.
Interesting you say not to go 'frontal' on a systems board, as I'd always thought they were generally used front on. I remember seeing Ben Moon demonstrating how to use one in a video a while back and all his moves/holds were front on. Also Michael Caminati (?) demo'd one in a recent video too, and from memory he too was front on.
> (In reply to Jon Stewart)
> For outdoors I could see that it could work ie I could return to try again a problem in 6 months or a year etc and hopefully as i got better I would be able to climb problems that had escaped me in the past.
I think you may have cracked it. You may need to go outside occasionally. Be careful out there.
Does it actually matter? I don't mean that to sound snippy, what I mean is what will you do with the information? If you're going to feed it back into your training program then reliable and near real-time performance information is useful. I've just settled for looking back on the season and seeing what I got ticked along with watching to see how I'm doing compared to friends and other folk using the crag/wall.