/ tufa training
Anyone been down this road?
I use banister rails and large dowel with a side sanded flat to the board.
Thanks for ideas. I'll try something the lo-cost route to start with - could always bolt some of those entreprises holds on later. For wooden holds I think a router might come in handy.
The best tufa training is getting a flight to Catalunya. As mentioned before there is much more to climbing tufas than pinch grip.
In fact I was watching someone work an 8a+ last wkd. In 30m there were 2 knee-bars which he made good use of. In between these there were a lot of hard moves.
I climb at around 6c and have used knee-bars on a few occasions, but I have specifically identified the need for improved pinch grip on several routes the latest of which is La Del Fondo at Camarasa; have you tried this route?
Yes, I was in Catalunya last wkd
I would say at that grade it is even less likely that pure pinch strngth is the limiting factor! Lots of mileage on tufa's, and learn the tricks. If you are climbing front on, pinching hard, you're doing it wrong.
That's interesting. What you seem to be saying is that you make better use of a tufa-hold as a layaway than as a pinch. It's not frequent but what I've identified are moves where the footholds don't allow better sidepull technique. In my experience any layaway can be made more efficient if you can bring the thumb into play.
An alternative conclusion is of course that I'm lacking brute strength.
IMO to climb tufas well, having immense pinch strength from big squeezes to little pinches is a useful trait.
Here is one good way to train, saw blocks of wood in different shapes, widths and taper. Drill holes to hang weights from and job's a good'n. Just stand straight and pick up the pinch blocks for as long as you can with different weights and block sizes. This will target your pinch strength/ finger strength specifically. (Idea stolen from a friend with new,immense pinch strength)
Obviously technique and strength and other skills for climbing go hand in hand, but technique sometimes goes out of the window when pumped like a madman. It's good to have the 'brute force' option at that point.
Tufa is VERY rarely anything to do with pinching, and that's what makes it so good.
You need to be inventive to get sideways on and layback, heel hook, drop-knee, etc.
The ONLY time you straight on pinch a tufa is for a fraction of a second when you swap from laybacking one side to the other.
which means that occasionally it is ;)
since tufas develop (thin edges) on overhanging rock then it is not desirable to be pinching them 'cos it means you'll be face on - butt-out. Better to pull the weight in on sidepull holds. Agreed. However, given the infinite variety that cliff topography come in there are bound to be exceptions.
thanks for these ideas Alex; I have an impression the hard boys have forgotten what it's like to have limited strength
Train on pinches on a board - this will get you strong on pinches and get you used to climbing on that kind of hold, getting your weight to the side where possible etc.
In general I agree with Ally/Ged - most Brits are just shit at climbing tufas rather than weak on them. Unless you're on a single tufa then chances are if you're not dropping a knee, using a heel or using a knee scum then you're doing it wrong. Most of the time that's the case on a single tufa too.
I'd not agree with "tufa is VERY rarely anything to do with pinching",however. It's almost always to do with pinching, just not necessarily front on.
From your replies, it comes across rather that you would prefer to think of yourself as too weak than to think yourself unskilled in the fine arts of tufa climbing?
Not that I care, but you seem very keen to dismiss the "work on technique" argument out forwards by people (Ged/Ally) who are both, as far as I know, by far your betters in the art of tufa, and only listen to the people who tell you how to get stronger on pinches. Now yes, getting a thumb on a layaway often makes it better. And yes, given equal technical skills being stronger on pinches is better than being weak at pinches. That's simply common sense.
But what makes a layaway or pinch even better is having your body in the right position. Is it really going to give you better gains focusing on pinch strength when for 99% of people the fastest gains on this type of climbing come from acquiring better technique?
It's true I was taken aback by the instant dismissal of the value in pinching. You need a certain amount of strength in order to apply the techniques, right? Of course I'm interested in technique too - and soaking up the advice. If I was stronger I'd be climbing a harder grade even if my style was bad - at leat evident on non-tufa rock.
Apart from which isn't it likely that pinch power corresponds with all-round grip anyway? If I can create an inspiring training facility chez nous then it can only be helpful.
I don't think the logic holds - you need a certain amount of strength in order to be able to get away with not applying the technique, that's for certain.
But sucking your centre of mass into the wall via a tight drop knee isn't dependent on your pinch strength. And as Alex says, if you aren't doing it like that you're probably doing it wrong. If the line of your hips and the line of the rockface are parallel, you're probably in the wrong position.
Pinching is often basically half crimping plus thumb strength, so training that will work on your half crimp and will therefore be applicable to the rest of your climbing too, but it won't work it as efficiently as fingerboarding just on the half crimp would, so I don't think the "it'll help my all round grip" line works terribly efficiently. Training pinches will mainly get you stronger on pinches. Which will make you better at tufa, but unless you're amongst the very few who have no more technique left to learn it won't make you better as fast as learning that technique will.
Which is why I said:
Obviously if you know all there is to know about tufa climbing already, and you are sure your biggest weakness is in your pinching (rather than say your core, your stamina, or what have you) then go to town on pinches. But then the OP said they were very surprised to have so many people telling them that pinching wasn't the answer, which suggests to me they probably don't fall into that category quite yet.
I disagree actually. Making the assumption that you have a finite amount of training time, its best used on the areas of greatest weakness, not scattered around doing a bit of everything.
You can easily train finger and pinch strength in a small bit of free time at home, where you couldn't get anywhere near a tufa. Time is always finite for everyone, so by your logic nobody would ever benefit from training technique and strength, which is obviously not true. It's always worth training technique, and obviously for some it's worth doing some strength training.
Either you've not understood my post or I've not understood this one!? If you've read from my post "there's no point in training strength or technique" then it's certainly the former.
How you've gone from "making the assumption of finite training time, its best used on the areas of greatest weakness" to "there's no point in training strength or technique" baffles me. That's a leap of illogic beyond the usual on here!
Anyway, to try and summarise clearly before I log off:
- Tufa climbing relies far more on technique than it does brute strength.
- Most Brits cannot climb tufas well, and I include myself in this. To paraphrase someone I met over the summer "there's only 3 tufas in the UK and one of them is at Warrington wall", or something along those lines.
- Most Brits who think they need to get stronger on pinches to climb harder tufa probably actually need to climb cleverer instead.
- Given that there's only so much training time in the world, you might as well use it well. So if, like most, you are a poor tufa technician, the best use of your training time is on technique.
- If, as in the above example you give, you're already a good tufa climber but weak as a kitten, you can self-evidently focus on something else. But to be honest weak-as-a-kitten good proficient technical tufa climbers probably don't tend to ask on UKC about how to improve pinch strength as a way to improve their tufa climbing. They certainly aren't surprised when people tell them pinch strength isn't the way to go, because if they're a proficient tufa climber they'll have told plenty of people already that its not about pinch strength.
- If you have spare time that you can't use on a board or wall climbing tufa style problems (I'd suggest either shit pinches or flat sidepulls, to force you to climb side on), then by all means go get some bits of wood, drill holes in them, and pinch them with car batteries tied to the end. Or fingerboard. Or whatever it is you think your biggest weakness is. But don't bother doing this as anything except a supplement unless you know already you're a pretty good tufa climber.
You did misunderstand. I meant, it's best for most people to train both. I do agree you should spend most time on technique, strength training should be supplemental.
You said don't mix technique training and strength training, 'scatter around doing a bit of everything' is how you kindly put it :). Now you're saying do mix them?
Anyway, it's all getting a bit too drawn out for me. I think we're saying approximately the same thing. :)
As others have said, technique is the key to efficient tufa climbing, but there's absolutely nothing to be lost by gaining a little more gripping power.
I have a 4m x 2m training wall in my attic (now all I need to do is use it!). As well as the usual shop-bought plastic holds, I've attached several short lengths of banister rail right up the middle to make a continuous 'wufa' (wooden tufa). Banister rail comes in all sorts of profiles and off-cut pieces can usually be bought for pence if you find the right place.
I wouldn't bother with commercial tufa sections — I've tried a variety and in my opinion they're mostly far too fussy, not to mention expensive.
Bloody hell, I thought I was the only one stupid enough to climb at Camarasa in the winter!
Thankyou AJM for your patience in breaking down this issue.
Most of us have limited time to gain good experience (ex' we're bumming around in a van ;) - where are you now?) and that's where the training comes in. The most realistic such are in modern indoor walls; fine if you can get to one (I live in the country).
When I next get the chance to climb tufa I will be mindful of technique and attempt to apply it correctly - b4 strength runs out. Any home facility I create to train is unlikely to give optimal opportunity for training technique which leaves me to work on grip.
Unfortunately, I don't find a fingerboard v inspiring - so wish to create something closer to real life - a compromise; hence my initial inquiry.
Thanks for that 2nd vote on 'wufas' Pete. I'll hope to use the router to simulate different profiles.
We went to Camarasa on a wet day - the cave at La Selva stays reliably dry. In returning we observed the glinting new bolts on the routes L of sector Fashion which I believe are now presented in the 2nd edition of Lleida Climbs. How many new routes are there now? I'll be dipping into the 2nd edition soon as my friend has purchased one.
If you mean the sector about 200m left of 'Fashion', which is called 'Cingle de la Llum', then yes, this does appear in the new edition, along with several other new sectors equipped since the first book.
However, if you're talking about the "glinting new bolts" just before reaching 'Fashion', these (14) routes were equipped by myself and Albert Cortés over the last few weeks, so too late even for the new guide.
So far we've only climbed half of them — it's just been too cold in the shade — but as soon as we've named them and got the grades sorted out I'll post a topo on the Lleida Climbs blog.
The pinch grip is quite complicated insofar as that there is lot of variety of types of pinches so if you want to be able to be fairly versatile in this area for the variety of holds you'll encounter on routes you'll be better to have a widish variety of exercises in your routine.
Lots of ideas and info here:
We may be using the same words, but when I say "if you have spare time you can't use" and "don't bother doing this as anything but a supplement" I really do mean that I wouldn't do it if I didn't have to. You seem to mean "yes you should do some of this too, definitely".
If you gave me a goal to get better at tufas in a month and gave me an unlimited budget in which to do it I wouldn't waste a second or Penny wondering how to improve my pinch strength. I know enough to know I'm not in the 1% for whom pinch strength might actually be limiting. I think if you're in that 1% you're probably there because you've already spent a long time climbing tufas and know enough about them to know you need to get stronger for them. Similarly if you gave me a month to improve my ability to crack climb, I wouldn't waste a second on things that didn't improve my crack technique. Screw getting stronger, that can wait until I really understand what it is I need to get stronger at.
If you think I'm saying to mix them, its only as a reflection of the practicalities of life that mean we can't spend all our training time focusing on the most relevant things and sometimes have to dip deeper down the list.
In reply to LeeWood:
Fwiw I'd say relevant board problems (not sure if you have one but if you're considering a wufa perhaps so?) are probably more helpful than what most indoor setters will come up with. Directional poor sideways feet to encourage drop knees, screw ons placed within kneebar distance of your wufa or other similar holds, lots of pinches and sidepulls, lots of problems that encourage you into that tufa-ey sort of movement.....
The smiley suggests there's a joke you're trying to make. But, to be honest, I'm not sure I care enough to find out what it is.
As far as I can work out, if I'm wrong then so are many of the respondents on the thread who have similarly stressed technique over strength. Given the company, and the routes they've done and the grades they've climbed, I'm happy to be approaching tufa climbing in the same wrong way that they clearly are.
Thanks for that blog link, at least one hard climber thinks pinch is worth working on - a v comprehensive discussion.
All I mean is, I was thinking we were saying the same thing, but you made it clear we weren't. Obviously we both are expressing a different opinion, so we both think the other is wrong. The smiley was just to indicate I don't take myself too seriously, it's just a good humoured discussion.
Having said that, you are misrepresenting what I'm saying, but I'm sure it's not deliberate. I've said explicitly that most time should be given to technique, so on that issue we both agree with said respondents, i.e. technique over strength.
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