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/ Climbing talent, genes or training

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jamesg85 - on 07 Jun 2018

Ok, I might have trouble explaining this but I was thinking what separates the really good guys from the rest in climbing. Is it genes, are some people just more genetically gifted?

I got into climbing and trained a lot but I noticed I hit a kind of plateau, of about 6cish indoors and maximum of HVS outdoors. I was wondering if I had carried on if I could have burst through this plateau eventually or whether it was pretty much my maximum level.

I had my first indoor session in ages today. What stopped me climbing was that I'm fairly competitive and it seemed that despite training hard I couldn't really get anywhere near the top guys. Other things come more easily to me, such as snooker and pool but climbing I had to train hard to get to a decentish level.

Post edited at 22:37
JIMBO on 07 Jun 2018
In reply to jamesg85:

6c ceiling is a bit low... I reckon most people could do 8a if they actually tried...

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jamesg85 - on 07 Jun 2018
In reply to JIMBO:

8a is really difficult though isn't it? You mean if people were just to train harder then they get to 8a? You might be right, given the time to dedicate yourself to climbing.

JIMBO on 07 Jun 2018
In reply to jamesg85:

8a isn't really that difficult and you can either go for endurance/stamina or bullet hard bouldering to suit your strength/weakness.

12
aln - on 07 Jun 2018
In reply to jamesg85:

You don't have to train to climb above HVS outdoors. 

7
jamesg85 - on 07 Jun 2018
In reply to JIMBO:

I used to train hard though and never really got beyond 6c+/7a indoors. Maybe I was doing something wrong.

JimR - on 07 Jun 2018
In reply to jamesg85:

I'd have thought if you could do 6c/7a indoors you should be at least on E3 territory outdoors unless the grading at your indoor wall was partic soft.

jamesg85 - on 07 Jun 2018
In reply to JimR:

UK 5c moves used to shut me down. Uk 5b was generally fine although my crack climbing wasn't great but 5c I struggled with.

Lord_ash2000 - on 07 Jun 2018
In reply to jamesg85:

It's a difficult one, I don't know if genetics is really going to be a limiting factor below 8a in terms of if it's physically possible to do as I think most, reasonably young, fit  people could do 8a if they really wanted. but it might well add to how easy it is to reach that level. 

Personally I never really ''trained' when I was sport climbing, and found I could do up to about 7b+/7c by just going down the wall twice a  week.  I  mannged 8a on a bolt clipping holiday having been hovering around 7b+ prior to it, I just spent several sessions working it out until my stamina built up .enough to do it. 

Even now in bouldering I climb 7C/V9 most weeks and occasionally harder but I don't train as such. I don't use a finger board or campusing nor do I do sets of 4x4's or anything specific like that. I just go climbing three times a week and try hard on stuff. 

So maybe I'm gifted genetically, I don't know. I certainly think body size helps I'd say for a man being about 5'10" is probably ideal and obviously of a slimish build but beyond that I don't know if some people can just build up tendon strength better or something I've no idea really.

I do think once you're getting to your elite level 9a/b climbers though that genetics plays a big part. No13 year old kid who climbs 9a has got there because they are training 10x harder than all the others. 

 

 

Mike Nolan - on 07 Jun 2018
In reply to Lord_ash2000:

> I do think once you're getting to your elite level 9a/b climbers though that genetics plays a big part. No13 year old kid who climbs 9a has got there because they are training 10x harder than all the others. 

Worth watching this and picking up a copy of the book 'Bounce'. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IYs1I4OntAA

aln - on 07 Jun 2018
In reply to aln:

> You don't have to train to climb above HVS outdoors. 

Lol dislike stalker. If you have to train to reach that level then laugh at yourself and dislike yourself ????

14
summo on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to Lord_ash2000:

I think balance, coordination and the head game play as much importance, probably more so than 'body type'. There will be advantages with fast or slow twitch muscle type on certain routes too. There are plenty sturdy climbers out there, who have climbed high Es consistently. The one common factor, is they climb a lot. 

Steven AT - on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to summo:

One point to make is that in reality a lot of what many perceive as 'hard' trad is just not as hard as tricky sport routes. If you can climb 8a then you can climb E8/9, especially if you're willing to take some risks. 

To the OP: 

The reality is that when you start to plateau in climbing, you need to work out where your main weaknesses are and bring them up to speed, then train consistently to increase at an even pace in all areas. 

Theoretically you will have a genetic ceiling but I can pretty much guarantee you'll never reach it. The boring reality about the top guys is that they're simply really well rounded in all areas - strength, fitness, headgame, flexibility etc etc are all on point and this gives this them the edge over people who are unbalanced. 

The positive side of this is that with a bit of persistence and focus most people can get pretty damn strong if they want too. 

1
summo on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to Alpinetrek.co.uk:

> One point to make is that in reality a lot of what many perceive as 'hard' trad is just not as hard as tricky sport routes. If you can climb 8a then you can climb E8/9, especially if you're willing to take some risks. 

I'm not so convinced it is that clear cut. As it isn't just the risk or head game. Route find and spotting the moves, the gear etc.. plays a part too, unless you get into pre chalking and placing. There will of course always be the exception, the person who just rocks up and cruises stuff.

> The positive side of this is that with a bit of persistence and focus most people can get pretty damn strong if they want too. 

But that's the great thing about most sports, unless you did dedicate the entire decade of your 20s pushing in a very precise direction, there isn't any physical reason why you can't perform at least as well in your 40s or 50s, provided you put the time in. 

wbo - on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to jamesg85:genes help but very often talent is an ability/desire to train very hard.  As an example I have a friend with very little traditional talent for running who ran 13:45, 28:45 5k and 10k. 

Of course anybody can run under 15 mins if they try a bit, or climb 8a.  People who are good at things always say stuff like that

 

Steven AT - on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to summo:

> I'm not so convinced it is that clear cut. As it isn't just the risk or head game. Route find and spotting the moves, the gear etc.. plays a part too, unless you get into pre chalking and placing. There will of course always be the exception, the person who just rocks up and cruises stuff.

Onsighting is something else - but if you're onsighting 8a or E8 then you've got some serious margin and are probably really climbing 8c/E10. 

 

tmawer - on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to jamesg85:

There seems to be a number of families in which climbing well passes from generation to generation or is within the family. I am thinking of the Birkett's, Pasquel's, McCaffie's, Matheson's and probably loads more... Perhaps genes do play an important role? 

2
Yanis Nayu - on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to Mike Nolan:

I don’t think Syed is considered the most credible of sources. 

jezb1 - on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to jamesg85:

You say you were training, were you genuinely training? There’s a massive difference between just going to the wall and purposeful training.

If you are committed to improving get a coach for a session, it’ll be well worth it.

bedspring on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to tmawer:

> There seems to be a number of families in which climbing well passes from generation to generation or is within the family. I am thinking of the Birkett's, Pasquel's, McCaffie's, Matheson's and probably loads more... Perhaps genes do play an important role? 

  • All these families live near climbing, the more you do the better you will get.
  • Also, the culture is that climbing hard is possible, normal even. Look at other walks of life, Political families turn out politicians, Lawyer families turn out Lawyers. This is because they know how to get to be Politicians and Lawyers, what the Goal is and what you need to do to achieve that Goal. 
jamesg85 - on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to jamesg85:

I was bouldering 3 or 4 times a week, trying problems at my limit. I also did some roped climbing and got outdoors about once a fortnight.

Post edited at 08:57
AlanLittle - on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to jamesg85:

I'm sure generic factors play a large role at the absolute upper limit say in the French 9's or so. I'm also sure hardly anybody is anywhere near any kind of genetic limit at the levels you're talking about.

summo on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to wbo:

> Of course anybody can run under 15 mins if they try a bit, or climb 8a.  People who are good at things always say stuff like that

As Jez implies above, there is training and there is training. Structured plans, that change as you progress, but also overall consistency over the years, with just little dips or pauses for sniffles, minor injuries etc.. 

Consistency is the challenge, as for many most other aspects of life consume too much time. 

Post edited at 09:03
jamesg85 - on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to AlanLittle:

Thanks I always wondered if I could have got better, and was frustrated because I wanted to be able to boulder 7a and harder and climb harder trad. I guess it was my training that was the problem. A good coach would have given me direction. Now 33 and nearly 12 stone I'm deciding if I've still got the motivation but it would be a good idea even just to lose weight.

Rob Exile Ward on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to jamesg85:

Years ago I used to take my son climbing with his mates - they'd be 8 or 10 at the time. David wasn't much interested, fair enough, and he wasn't very strong either, though he became a really good footballer in the end. One of his mates though was naturally incredibly strong - he could do pullups, hang on monkey bars all day, bend double easily, stretch his legs almost horizontal - he was too young for training to have any effect, he was just a natural. That, combined with training, would always put him way ahead of anyone without that initial advantage.

I used to climb a bit with Jonny Woodward, he was the same - the level he was at when he started training was infinitely higher than mine. (His motivation was pretty high, too.)

alanblyth - on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to jamesg85:

I have reached a similar plateau, after a break from injuries in Jan/Feb/Mar (Detached rib, bruised tibia), I have been consistently climbing 4-5 times a week, mix of sport/trad, as well as plenty of strength exersizes, I feel significantly stronger, in the last 8 months dropped 15kg of fat, but I'm climbing the same grades, max onsight is ~6b/6b+ depending on wind direction...

I would expect some progression, but I think my main issue is a lack of a regular partner who is psyched and climbing at or above where I am, often I'm just getting a random belay from a social group during the week,

 

 
ClimberEd - on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to jamesg85:

This is much easier to explain with diagrams/sketches and has been well researched in sport more broadly. 

Essentially for all the components (grip strength, stamina, flexibility, innate fear level/focus, co ordination to name a few) of climbing you'll have an 'untrained' level. You'll then have a range of possibilities building on this depending on how hard/effectively you train (some people can improve more, some less.) This will define the parameters of your potential performance at climbing. 

Everyone has a different untrained level, and a different capacity to improve upon this. You can only perform within these parameters.

Does that make any sense?

GrahamD - on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to JIMBO:

> 6c ceiling is a bit low... I reckon most people could do 8a if they actually tried...

That is the big IF, though.  Assuming that their bodies are physically capable, most people do not have the mental ability to do that training.

jezb1 - on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to jamesg85:

> I was bouldering 3 or 4 times a week, trying problems at my limit. I also did some roped climbing and got outdoors about once a fortnight.

Ok well there’s your first issue, that’s not training.

Thats not the same as saying you need to train, I think mileage will get most people to 7a ish.

Think about your goals, your strengths, your weaknesses and this will help you come up with some training structure, if that’s what you want. For example you mention HVS in your OP, if you want to improve that 4x4s are likely far more beneficial than trying boulder problems at your limit.

 

ClimberEd - on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to GrahamD:

There was a great cycling sports phys experiment. 

Basically it got amateurs to follow an interval based pro programme for 8 weeks to measure the improvement (I can't remember the exact purpose of the study.)

They all showed significant improvement but when asked if they'd do a part 2 all participants refused, saying it was too hard to do again.

tmawer - on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to bedspring:

The old nature, nurture debate, and the old answer is that probably both play a role. 

Mike Nolan - on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to tmawer:

Or is that an environmental thing? I can think of a lot of non-climbing families who have produced brilliant climbers!

Mike Nolan - on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to Yanis Nayu:

Any more info on why, out of interest? 

Whilst the specifics of the book may not be 'true', I think it does challenge a few perceptions. 

nniff - on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to jamesg85:

I think that it's an interesting question.  There is clearly something about aptitude - some kids like climbing trees, some don't.  Some kids can kick a football well, some can't.  I'm not sure that those are inherited genetic traits or not.

I'm sure that it is possible to train the most of what you've got, but if you haven't got that aptitude then I'm not sure that you'll keep pace with someone who has.  But, there's more to it than just training because of the mental aspects and the skill aspects (if one were to separate straight physical prowess from the ability to apply that effectively).  I'd suggest that 6c indoors should deliver the physical ability to climb E3 outside

AlanLittle - on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to AlanLittle:

> I'm sure generic factors play a large role

Oops. Genetic, obviously.

AlanLittle - on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to jamesg85:

If it helps I'm 57, and did my first 7A boulder a few weeks ago.

In my case by realising that I had done 6C/+ in a single session a handful of times, so 7A must be possible if I found something that suited my style and spent more than one session figuring it out. It actually turned out to be three sessions.

gravy - on 08 Jun 2018

Having thought about this a lot I think you're all missing something here.

Obviously genetics is a key factor at the top end of the grades and "talent" could be considered something more than genetic (obviously genetics are also a factor).  What separates most of us from reaching the echelons where genetics and "talent" are the key arbiters of performances is mental attitude.

Most of us can try pretty hard for a reasonable period and get ourselves reasonable fit and strong.  Going beyond this is mentally difficult for most.  Training, practise, diet, focus and study is hard work and boring and most of us have better things to do.  Those that can really focus and train systematically over a long period can take it to the genetic / talent limit.

There's plenty of talented and genetically gifted athletes out there who simply [ have better things to do | can hack it mentally | get bored | are too bust | get dispirited etc ]. 

Anyone dedicating less than 60 hours per week to climbing is kidding themselves that they can't improve.  If you're training full time for several years you're probably within one-two grades of your ultimate limit unless your training regime really sucks.

A key marker for the uber-talented is they really don't find the hard grind as hard as the rest of us and they try really, really hard. Injury is the biggest wild card.

gravy - on 08 Jun 2018

As Jez sez

"> I was bouldering 3 or 4 times a week, trying problems at my limit. I also did some roped climbing and got outdoors about once a fortnight."

That's not training, that's noodling around (and that's what most of us end up doing and why we're consistently whooped by the good climbers).

bedspring on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to tmawer:

I am guessing you may know Dave Birkett, listen to him when he speaks, I bet he has never read a motivational book in his life, but I have and I tell you straight he is the living embodiment.

  • He talks of how when he was young they would mow a field in Langdale, they could see what had to be done, decided to do it, and did it. Thats classic goal setting.
  • He is super nice, totally non egoic. Therefore you know them little gremlins in your head telling you not to do things, I suspect he has less of them.
  • He broke his leg or arm or something. Most would see that as a problem, not our hero, oh no he saw that as an opportuinity to train for one arm pull ups.

    read any motivational book, and its full of this stuff.
     

The Pasquells and Caff and to be honest every super good climber I have ever met seem to be cut from the same cloth.

jamesg85 - on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to bedspring:

Yh, I think whatever the sport, the people who get to a high level have a completely different mindset. They don't make excuses, and just get things done. I play a lot of snooker and you hear all sorts of excuses, like oh it rolled off, table's not playing well, I can't play on table 4 because it's not level. These pockets are too small, the cushion's don't seem right today. The guys who live and breathe the game don't complain as much. 

I've always done things in sport in a kind of half arsed way and it only gets you so far, with snooker like with climbing I have hit a plateau which to be honest isn't a very high level. I've got to look at things off the table too, keep going to AA meetings as drinking kills my motivation.

A lot of interesting posts here, its's a topic that's always interested me. Thanks everyone

planetmarshall on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to tmawer:

> There seems to be a number of families in which climbing well passes from generation to generation or is within the family. I am thinking of the Birkett's, Pasquel's, McCaffie's, Matheson's and probably loads more... Perhaps genes do play an important role? 

That's one interpretation. The other, and one which I think is probably much more significant, is that those people started climbing young, in an environment where climbing was a regular family activity and was actively encouraged.

summo on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to ClimberEd:

> There was a great cycling sports phys experiment. > Basically it got amateurs to follow an interval based pro programme for 8 weeks to measure the improvement (I can't remember the exact purpose of the study.)> They all showed significant improvement but when asked if they'd do a part 2 all participants refused, saying it was too hard to do again.

Every year there is a Skoda sponsored cycling team in Vattenrundan (300km classic Swedish sportive). Amateurs, mixed ages and experience. They train as pros, full support etc.. It is brutal. But, they all go sub 8hrs. Usually about 7:30. I suspect the same, many loved the unique experience; but have no desire to repeat. 

Dave Garnett - on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to jezb1:

> Think about your goals, your strengths, your weaknesses and this will help you come up with some training structure, if that’s what you want. For example you mention HVS in your OP, if you want to improve that 4x4s are likely far more beneficial than trying boulder problems at your limit.

Or maybe going outside and climbing a shed load of HVS, then some E1s.

 

 

jezb1 - on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to Dave Garnett:

> Or maybe going outside and climbing a shed load of HVS, then some E1s.

Yeah absolutely, if you can. I've assumed that:
1. The OP likes the idea of training
2. Has much easier access to a wall than a crag

 

Dave Garnett - on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to jezb1:

Sure, I didn't mean to sound flippant.  Even on a wall, though, surely what's needed is some lead practice, not more bouldering.  HVS face climbing is technically trivial to anyone doing 6c moves (even indoors - it's just a question of getting used to the holds being camouflaged).  I agree that jamming is a different thing, not usually available indoors very much.

I used to be pretty solid at UK 6b moves, but I don't think I've ever climbed 6c indoors.  Whilst a bit of strength gained indoors is useful, what boosts my grade at the beginning of each season is going out and doing it.  There is no substitute!

 

1
jezb1 - on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to Dave Garnett:

> Sure, I didn't mean to sound flippant.  Even on a wall, though, surely what's needed is some lead practice, not more bouldering.  HVS face climbing is technically trivial to anyone doing 6c moves (even indoors - it's just a question of getting used to the holds being camouflaged). 

Wouldn't like to say, not knowing what's holding the OP back, head game, endurance or whatever, but when I refer to 4x4 I mean on routes no bouldering. Like you say, bouldering ability doesn't really come in to play on HVS type stuff.

 

jezb1 - on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to jamesg85:

Unlike a lot of climbers I like football and was reading this today:

World Cup 2018: The making of France and Manchester United's Paul Pogba http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/44228259

Some if it’s interesting in relation to the talent v practice elements of this thread.

Webster - on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to JIMBO:

> 8a isn't really that difficult

wow there are some real smug bastards here... who are clearly genetically light and strong! no amount (or quality) of training is going to get you to 8a if you have rugby player thighs and a sprinters posterior!

to the OP, the answer is of course both. you cant get to the top of your game, let alone the top of the world game without natural talent AND years of quality training. No matter what style of climbing you excel at, to get near the top you need to be genetically light and slim (there are no top climbers with a 34-36+ inch waist now is there). you also need to be naturally flexible (of course you can train flexibility by increasing your suppleness, but everybody has a natural flexibility limit where there is no more range of movement possible within their joints).

separating the best from the best will sometimes be genes and sometimes be training. if you take two climbers who have been through identical training programs, the chances are one will be slightly better than the other due to their physical traits. likewise if you take two identical twins, if one trains harder and better than the other, they will climb harder. 

6
jezb1 - on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to Webster:

> wow there are some real smug bastards here... who are clearly genetically light and strong! no amount (or quality) of training is going to get you to 8a if you have rugby player thighs and a sprinters posterior!

John Dunne.

LeeWood - on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to jezb1:

> You say you were training, were you genuinely training?

Call it talent, or call it genes; you need one of these to 'genuinely' train. Its a mentality which tolerates boring repetition.

1
LeeWood - on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to gravy:

> Injury is the biggest wild card.

It would be interesting to get stats on injury (i.e.. tendons) for harder climbers, however, there are plenty about - and at lower grades too, who get probs - common enough training indoors. I climb around 6c for the most part, at which grade I notice incidence of strains and recovery sustainable. What strengthens tendons  - I mean does tendon strength naturally follow muscular strength ? :/

Climbing media is littered with photos of chaps hanging stoically off monos - this simply isn't going to work for me and many others.

 

Post edited at 13:42
AlanLittle - on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to Webster:

> separating the best from the best will sometimes be genes and sometimes be training.

For the actual best it will always be both

DubyaJamesDubya - on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to jamesg85:

How tall at that weight?

Yanis Nayu - on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to Mike Nolan:

I think it’s allegations of a lack of scientific rigour and latching on to the wrong kind of people as role models.   

JIMBO on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to Webster:

You've never met me have you...?

> wow there are some real smug bastards here... who are clearly genetically light and strong! no amount (or quality) of training is going to get you to 8a if you have rugby player thighs and a sprinters posterior!

I think most of my friends would describe me to have the above thighs and posterior. I've always been about 36" waist and never sub 80kg... Plus I'm 5'7" before you think I'm tall!

 

DubyaJamesDubya - on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to JIMBO:

> You've never met me have you...?

> I think most of my friends would describe me to have the above thighs and posterior. I've always been about 36" waist and never sub 80kg... Plus I'm 5'7" before you think I'm tall!

Clearly even more genetically gifted than most.

mantelself on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to AlanLittle:

Indeed. I'd say if there is one genetic golden ticket it is likely not so much "how quick can someone hit, say, consistent E4/7a onsights" but how quickly they can recover past that point on a day to day basis to do high volume training while remaining mostly injury free and continuously improve and.... all while being able to still opportunistically get out when the weather is good to pack on more real experience. This is a form of work capacity that can be built upon but anecdotally from my contemporaries some of us could do it straight off (admittedly myself and 2 out of the 3 that this came easily too had really strong histories in some junior sport or other, but that third mate was a full on DnD nerd who had done no sports prior to starting climbing at 15. The other half of my bunch of mates couldn't train as hard, as often, for some time. I am pretty much convinced it had nothing to do with effort or desire. It was noticeable not just because of the age we were at but this was also the early 90s indoor facility revolution. Prior to this we had been pretty much been doing the same stuff for the previous couple of years and climbing at around the same level.

Lord_ash2000 - on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to Mike Nolan:

> Worth watching this and picking up a copy of the book 'Bounce'. 

Regarding the practice vs. talent thing in your video, I get what it's saying and for 99% of us, I'd agree. As I said early on, most people 'could' climb 8a if they put the effort (and time) into training, genetic limitations are not going to come into play, assuming they are broadly young, healthy and of a normal body type. 

What I'm saying at the elite level is that there are loads of young hotshot kids out there who have all the opportunity (keen climbing parents, time, access to crags etc) and the drive and dedication to become awesome young climbers. But out of all of those elite level young kids (say 10-12 year olds climbing 8a or more having only climbed a few years) you still only get a handful of truly elite next level climbers, your Adam Ondra's etc who climbed 9a by 13 years old. I'd find it hard to believe that he just tried THAT much harder than all those other elite kids did as the gulf between say 8a and 9a is vast. 

SDM on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to jamesg85:

Any person who is not overweight, does not have some form of physical disability and and is under about 50 is capable of climbing at least about 8A (Font, not French) if they prioritise it sufficiently.

But you have to really want it. To achieve it, you will probably have to:

1) Be sufficiently motivated to really want to improve a lot. This may take years of hard work and there will be many sacrifices along the way. The older/less fit/busier etc you are when you start will affect how much you have to sacrifice to achieve it.

2) Set aside sufficient time to honestly learn what aspects you need to improve on and plan how to effectively improve those aspects.

3) Set aside sufficient time for training and work sufficiently hard during that training.

4) Have the motivation to carry out an effective training plan to improve those aspects. And put in the time to constantly evaluate what it is that you are doing right/wrong and amend your plan as needed.

5) Be sufficiently motivated to overcome ego/other distractions. Work your weaknesses. Do not be afraid to fail on easy things if that is what you need to do to improve. Do not be distracted all the time by what other people are doing at the crag/wall if what they are doing isn't what you need to be doing. Being at the wall does not equal training. Bouldering X times per week does not necessarily equal training.

6) Make changes in your diet/sleeping patterns/work life/social life etc to give you enough time to train and enough time to recover effectively.

If anybody can honestly say they did all of the above and still hit a ceiling at 6c, I call shenanigans. The number of climbers who are sufficiently motivated to do this is much less than 1%, even among regular climbers.

For some people, the path will be a lot easier than others. If you get in to climbing as an 18 year old student with a background in gymnastics, it will be a lot easier. If you get in to climbing at 45 with a beer belly, a busy career and 3 kids, it will be a lot harder. Genetics may play a role as people approach their maximum potential but most people never get anywhere close to that potential anyway and it certainly isn't genetics holding them back.

jezb1 - on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to SDM:

I agree with 99% of what you say in that post, but font 8a I'm not so sure on, French 8a I'd agree - but I'm not basing that on anything scientific!

Skip - on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to Webster:

> wow there are some real smug bastards here... who are clearly genetically light and strong! no amount (or quality) of training is going to get you to 8a if you have rugby player thighs and a sprinters posterior!

>  you cant get to the top of your game, let alone the top of the world game without natural talent AND years of quality training.

>  if you take two climbers who have been through identical training programs, the chances are one will be slightly better than the other due to their physical traits. likewise if you take two identical twins, if one trains harder and better than the other, they will climb harder. 

At last, great post/

1
mantelself on 08 Jun 2018
In reply to LeeWood:

> What strengthens tendons  - I mean does tendon strength naturally follow muscular strength ? :/

Don't take this as gospel, more second hand information, but I had this conversation with a S&C coach a few months back as I had a little start up of tennis elbow tendonitis just after xmas. The information I gleaned from him was that by far the most promising studies of tendon rehab and conditioning is that it is "time under tension" responsive. The majority of his experience is around lower limb tendinopathy specifically in rugby players. The current thinking is a very short rest phase if there is an acute stage, and then the likes of slow eccentric and paused squats of moderately taxing weights. We threw this into me doing the likes of extremely slow pullups (approx 40s a rep)with a neutral grip and a variety of presses with slow eccentrics. By far the fastest and most consistent recovery I have had from a case of tendonitis over decades (though to be fair I usually have had  "golfer" inner arm flare ups most of those times) and as I am still using this protocol as prehab I haven't had any of that post session warm tingles you might sometimes get when not fully fixed up that I have had before. On speaking to a pyhsio about this he said something that rings true: "tendons hate 2 things: sudden change and inactivity."

 

Not sure how the above might help with finger tendon stuff. Maybe something like physio putty or a rice bucket. I never felt that things like the Gripsaver did much at all for the extensor part of those exercises.

Post edited at 15:30
LeeWood - on 09 Jun 2018
In reply to jezb1:

> I agree with 99% of what you say in that post, but font 8a I'm not so sure on, French 8a I'd agree - but I'm not basing that on anything scientific!

But french 8a implies folk are going to top out a pitch. I reckon there are plenty strong enough to boulder hard but can't hack the head game above 5m - a limiting factor not quite so so obviously beaten with training ??    

jezb1 - on 09 Jun 2018
In reply to LeeWood:

You could be right, I guess our perceptions are affected by the climbers we’re surrounded by.

Living in N Wales it seems like every person and their dog climbs E8, 8a, f8a, VIII ! 

I haven’t climbed either 8a yet, but am working two projects at the mo, an 8a sport route and a f7c boulder prob, the 8a feels much more doable, but that’s obviously specific to me.

thebigfriendlymoose - on 09 Jun 2018
In reply to LeeWood:

My own experience accords more with jezb1.  I used to solely boulder, climbing outdoors 3-4 times a week, and hit a wall at around F7b+ / low end F7c.  Circumstances changed, had a health issue, my bouldering grade went down to around F7a/+, so I took the cowards way and changed discipline!

Started sport climbing around 7 years ago, RPing f6c+/7as on the catwalk.  After around 4-5 years, I had managed a good number of f8as just by climbing every weekend - no midweek climbing (except for annual leave), no training at all.  Going up the grades in sport climbing is definitely easier than bouldering. A "bouldery" f8a will typically have a F6c+ crux, and being able to do that when tired is more a matter of sieging the route into submission and tenacity.  My own experience as a once pretty dedicated boulderer is that F8a is properly physically hard - even at my youthful peak I would have needed to train a lot and essentially became physically very different. 

Webster - on 09 Jun 2018
In reply to jezb1:

the exception that proves the rule!

 

Dave Kerr - on 09 Jun 2018
In reply to jamesg85:

Lazy climbers or those who don't understand training like to attribute good performance to talent. 

Post edited at 22:45
1
MischaHY - on 11 Jun 2018
In reply to jezb1:

To be fair Jez F7C is more comparable to 8b route in terms of relevant strength so it does make sense that the 8a feels more doable, even assuming specific strengths and weaknesses. 

paul mitchell - on 11 Jun 2018
In reply to MischaHY:

To get better,you have to WANT to get better.That means less snooker etc.

Get outdoors more,find  a few routes that inspire you.If you can't get inspired,then getting better ain't your game.Climbing indoors and being deterred by mutants is bad for your confidence.Top roping outdoors is way better for technique and learning how to move on real rock.Indoors you will never learn that.That means going on real rock in less than ideal conditions.


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