Perhaps not anyone, but do you think that if you train and focus on trying to climb harder 8A is a goal to aim for , or is it so incredibly difficult that it starts to be the case that unless you are the right height/build etc it's just impossible?
Did you think that after reading the Stevie Haston interview as well? Yeah I think that anyone can do it, but you've got to put the effort in. Which will most likely involve several years of training, effort and pain!
In reply to marcusinbristol: I managed to get to nearly 7C+ without any special training before i got smacked back down by the flu a couple of months ago, i'm getting back towards 7A+ish now. The point being that i am not the most talented of my climbing friends by a considerable margin. I don't know whether everyone could boulder 8A, but i reckon the vast majority could if they could be bothered.
As to whether it's a good goal, it depends whether you want it enough more than anything else i think.
> Perhaps not anyone, but do you think that if you train and focus on trying to climb harder 8A is a goal to aim for , or is it so incredibly difficult that it starts to be the case that unless you are the right height/build etc it's just impossible?
It's like saying "can anyone start a business that makes them a million"
Essentially, yes. But hardly anyone does.
It comes down to, dedication to the goal, sacrifices for the goal, drive, ambition, ability to maintain those last two!, natural talent and luck
I'm still a bit confused as to whether the OP is about bouldering or sport climbing, I'm going to assume sport.
Its amazing how things have moved on. When Rachel Farmer was the first brit woman to climb 8a it seemed incredible (to me) and impossible. Now quite a few of my mates are there or knocking on its door, and because I measure my self against them, it now seems very feasible.
I suppose that's one of the reasons why being the first at something is so special, because its never been defined in human terms, there are no signposts.
In reply to mattrm: Do you mean that hard sport climbing is basically putting the effort in to get fit and then working the route? I'm currently on a fitness drive to see if it is possible for a normal bumbly to do a similar thing
Working hard at fitness alone (endurance) will only get you so far but probably still well into (say) the 7's. Strength is going to be required to get you further. In order of priority strong fingers, strong arms, strong shoulders, strong trunk (core and back). Strength takes longer to develop (so start earlier) if you aren't naturally strong. Bouldering + strength training of one sort or another coupled with a base of fitness should get you well into the 8's.
I think that anyone could probably could get to 8a. Afterall, Neil Gresham was allegedly a chubby kid, and he's done alright! 8A though is in my opinion a different ball game.
Certainly for me, I believe 8a is attainable (but remains a life goal), and while I climb frequently, I haven't ever trained specifically. I think that I would have to focus on an 8a as a goal above all others to acheive it, but I really think I could. And if I can, I reckon an awful lot of people could.
> (In reply to mattrm) Do you mean that hard sport climbing is basically putting the effort in to get fit and then working the route? I'm currently on a fitness drive to see if it is possible for a normal bumbly to do a similar thing
> Working hard at fitness alone (endurance) will only get you so far but probably still well into (say) the 7's.
true....i think also choosing the right crag helps....i got very close on a 7c and 7c+ first shot at rodellar with out any specific prep or training in what i'm regarding as a bit of a lost year climbing-wise....i felt i didn't have the power endurance to do them 2nd go but i'm sure with a bit more time and i'm sure i would have had them.
I think this is a common misconception. There are a lot of 8a's which will have cruxs no harder than Font 7a boulder problems and I don't mean Font 7a like you'd find in Font, I mean font 7a like you'd find in the UK.
To get to that standard (font 7a) I don't think you need to put in any kind of specifc strength training at all and I think most people are capable of climbing at this level.
I think training the relevant energy system is miles more important than strength training.
So in my view, to climb 8a, you'd be better off concentrating on endurance than strength.
Yes you can get further down the endurance blind alley if you go somewhere were the routes are longer and the moves not hard. The stunning 8a 'Corridor El Muerte' apparently has no move harder than English 6a.
You can get stronger working routes - dogging moves route is like bouldering and doing links trains PE. It is also specific. But general improvement in these areas is more efficiently trained by bouldering, fingerboarding, campussing, systems boarding, bar work and weights.
1. It is easy to underestimate how much moderate climbing to a font7a crux takes the edge off even if you are superfit which is why being capable of (say) font7b might be required to pull it off
2. Training strength improves endurance (with a couple of caveats) but the reverse doesnt apply - endurance doesnt improve strength. Listen to Moffatt.
But where do you go after that gradewise ? Retire ? To move forward you would have to do a lot of consolidation at a lower (but as hard for you) level. Believe me - I've been there. 8a before 7c+ on an enduroroute that suited me then nearly a decade of seiging burlier 8a's to get to 8a+. Being tactical in grade chasing is likely to be more beneficial in the long run and you will get more routes ticked along the way. I'm too set in my ways to change my habits and still take the longterm seige approach but I wouldn't recommend it as the best way forward to anyone else.
> (In reply to Adam Ellwood)
> 1. It is easy to underestimate how much moderate climbing to a font7a crux takes the edge off even if you are superfit which is why being capable of (say) font7b might be required to pull it off
This is, in my opinion, the wrong way to look at it as I don't think it is as simple as that.
If you can do the font7a crux after having a rest then the issue isn't one of strength. This is the English mindset - got pumped ergo must get stronger. Whereas the issue is in fact one of endurance or even efficiency in getting to the crux.
> 2. Training strength improves endurance (with a couple of caveats) but the reverse doesnt apply - endurance doesnt improve strength. Listen to Moffatt.
To a degree I agree with this statement, however it is misleading. Like I said above you need to train to relevant energy system.
There was a post on here a while back with someone asking advice about training for Ceuse. The majority of advice given was to concentrate of strength / power.
Do you think the little french dudes you see at Ceuse go down their equivalent of 'The Works' or 'The Depot', or spend lots of time at Annot bouldering to get strong?
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying they won't do any strength training and that it isn't important - it is. However, their stable training will be endurance.
In reply to marcusinbristol: It's pretty depressing all the people on here who think they (or others) would never be able to climb 8A. 8A was once for the elite, but with the facilities and knowledge available to most of the country these days, there's very little reason why it shouldn't be a realistic target for the majority of climbers.
I think it is way easier to do it if you start young. It is remarkable what Stevie Haston has achieved recently but I assume he was climbimg somewhere relatively close to this kind of difficulty many years ago and kept that kind of base level that you never really lose.
How about Aktion Direkt Stevie?
The English mindset is based on English routes not Ceuse. Clearly if you have the bouldering ability (and these days that seems to be increasingly the case)then to peak for a Euro trip then a couple of weeks endurance training prior is needed. If the thread was this onehttp://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=376164 then Jeff25 says "If i was you I would look to leave stamina route training until a relatively short period of time before you go (eg 3 weeks). Especially if this is already a strong area for you" That seems like good advice.
In the long term strength training should be prioritised over endurance to realise your potential. Less so if you are naturally strong or do a lot of bouldering already. You can win PE quickly and tactically. Strength takes years.
I don't think that's true. Although they are doing a lot of training on routes this does not mean it's centered around stamina. I suspect what happens is they spend a good length of every session either redpointing or on resistance routes, ie. strength or strength endurance, both of which will give good strength gains over time.
I agree with Simon, too much focus on pure stamina/endurance type training is not the most effective way to get stronger.
Irrespective of what the english mindset is based on, it is: got pumped, couldn't do the move so must get stronger. Even though, after a minute of hanging on the rope they can do the move i.e. strength isn't the issue.
I agree to a certain extent with what you are saying about strength taking longer to develop, but aerobic endurance takes a long time to develop as well. However if your goal to do to routes, that you should prioritise endurance over strength training, be it power endurance (anerobic) or aerobic endurance.
The advice about Ceuse it not good advice. You would be miles better of focusing on endurance then leaving it until say 3 weeks before you go, because for the majority of british climbers they won't be failing on routes in Ceuse because they don't have the strength to do the moves they will be failing because they don't have the necessary endurance.
Given you have been trying the Oak since the training diary started, maybe you would be better off focusing on endurance and PE for a bit longer because they you might have a better chance of doing it. IMHO if you are focussing on strength then this will not be as helpful towards this goal.
Here is a quote from the co-author of the self coached climbing regarding the following comment on strength and endurance:
"But generally speaking strength is more important than endurance.
Increased strength will improve your endurance, but the opposite is not the case."
"This is incorrect. We simply can't make general statements like that about the importance of different kinds of fitness. Second, strength does not have a direct relationship to endurance. They are different elements of fitness and are trained differently. One might be able to claim with some validity that a stronger muscle has greater potential for endurance than a weaker muscle but it requires endurance training to realize that potential. "
> In the long term strength training should be prioritised over endurance to realise your potential. Less so if you are naturally strong or do a lot of bouldering already. You can win PE quickly and tactically. Strength takes years.
Is that just a long winded way of saying 'work your weaknesses'?
Its certainly true for me (and probably for most from a routing background) that to progress in redpointing I've got to get stronger. However, I'd be prepared to bet that is not the case for the majority. The walls of Manchester are crammed with people who can boulder quite hard but who's redpointing grade is relatively rubbish (and who profess to want to 'do routes'). I'd have thought some stamina training, or at least time on the rock, is what is required for these people.
Which, I think, is just a long winded way of saying 'horses for courses'.
That was the caveat I was referring to in my post above and is covered by Serpico's post in that thread. A strong fast twitch fibred recruiter may have to undertake hypertrophy training as well in a bid to achieve better endurance.
As for the Oak I will prioritising strength training till february then some PE work in March. Generally speaking endurance is not my weakness strength is. You will be appalled to learn I invested in a set of dumbells and barbells yesterday which I am looking forward to using.
In reply to Tyler:The walls of Manchester are crammed with people who can boulder quite hard but who's redpointing grade is relatively rubbish (and who profess to want to 'do routes'). I'd have thought some stamina training, or at least time on the rock, is what is required for these people.
Presumably they boulder outside as well because thats another issue however with the caveat mentioned detailed in Serp's post - yes and probably a genuine desire rather than a wistful one
Yes I do, to be able to climb the projects I want to do that I can't currently do moves on. Also, my training time in a week is limited, it is far more efficient to train strength using that time. If I relied on endurance training I wouldn't be able to improve, in fact I'd go backwards on my current level.
Strength may not have a direct correlation to endurance, but it absolutely does have a correlation to the potential capacity for endurance once trained. A bigger, stronger muscle needs to exert less relative force to perform the same move as a smaller, weaker muscle. In other words, with no endurance training a bigger muscle will have a higher anearobic threshhold than a smaller one because it doesn't have to work as hard.
That doesn't mean that you don't need to keep an element of endurance in a training schedule.
I have a life which includes a family and work. I do not have the drive and determination, oh and I do sometimes put other people 1st.
I am happy knowing I will never climb 8A.
Saying that, I am not happy about the grade I climb at the moment, and I need to put some more time and effort into getting it up to respectable punterdom level (rather than scrapeing the bottom of the barrel level which I am at the moment), whilst of course making sure that the rest of my life doesn't suffer.
> Out of interest what are the dumbells for? I thought it was pretty clear nowadays that time spent doing weights would be better spent climbing, or if you can't climb, then using a finger board etc....
I notice that Steve McClure recommended dumbell execises in his 'Training for Malham' article in Climb a few months back.
> (In reply to Simon Lee)
> Out of interest what are the dumbells for? I thought it was pretty clear nowadays that time spent doing weights would be better spent climbing, or if you can't climb, then using a finger board etc....
Your right that weights aren't good training for climbing, however they are a good way to support climbing training, generate non-specific strength and help prevent overloading injuries.
> Do you think the little french dudes you see at Ceuse go down their equivalent of 'The Works' or 'The Depot', or spend lots of time at Annot bouldering to get strong?
I agree with most of what you're posted, but having climbed extensively with the French I can tell you that's exactly what they do. It may come down to the economics of wall building but the majority of walls in France are bouldering rooms (from my limited experience I'd say it was similar for Spain and Italy).
In reply to Bob kate bob: Ah there in lies the difference between not having the potential to and not having the desire to. You could climb 8A if you were willing to put climbing before all the other things you value in life, but have chosen not to. I took the OP's post to be more about physical possibility, rather than circumstantial possibility
Yes I can. But on redpoint I get shutdown by a move at 10 feet which is a full stretch off an undercut pocket even though I have done it 7 times in a row on the dog. I believe this down to weaknesses in my lower and core. I have always had a problematic back. I am trying to build the strength up gradually (without putting my back out) with yoga and hopefully build towards more aggressive core exercises and deadlifting weights. Re. weights they can be usefull supplemental tools for warming up, general conditioning and targetting specific strengths though my knowledge is sketchy at the moment. Being generally strong as oppsed to just climbing strong is good for injury prevention too. A weights session on its own would be something to do at lunchtime followed by fingerboarding or indoor bouldering in the evening or even after climbing like Adam Lincoln and Serpico do. You can get stuff to overlap as it were in this way so its not 'instead of' more climbing specific activities but 'as well as'. In terms of where I am personally (this won't apply to those new to the sport) I don't think more climbing is going to be the most productive way for me to improve (unless literally fulltime on the road)so am aiming to train in a variety of inventive ways to achieve a physical response/adaption. Trouble is there isnt enough days in the week.
> I have a life which includes a family and work. I do not have the drive and determination, oh and I do sometimes put other people 1st.
That's different though as its just a rehash of the "I could do it but can't be arsed" argument, which is not what Tim was talking about. However, I too disagree with him, I think Font 8a (as in a problem of a few moves, rather than long link ups) is beyond the point where most people could get to with extensive training. And certainly if you are already over 35, been climbing keenly (i.e. going to the wall and having an eye on improving throughout your climbing career) since early twenties and have not yet bouldered at least 7b+ then I'd say you've no chance.
>if you are already over 35, been climbing keenly (i.e. going to the wall and having an eye on improving throughout your climbing career) since early twenties and have not yet bouldered at least 7b+ then I'd say you've no chance.
<Ben slumps deflated into chair in front of his computer>
(I reckon you're right though... if I wasn't working I reckon Font 7c or maybe even a + is within reach but 8A is never realistically going to happen to me without a massive dose of luck)
I think we need to make the distinction between physical and non-physical factors. This is just excuse making (not getting at you personally because we all do it) whereas to make the discussion at all valid we need to eliminate external factors like amount of time people are prepared to train etc and asume the person in question trains optimally.
> (In reply to Tyler)
> >if you are already over 35, been climbing keenly (i.e. going to the wall and having an eye on improving throughout your climbing career) since early twenties and have not yet bouldered at least 7b+ then I'd say you've no chance.
> <Ben slumps deflated into chair in front of his computer>
Don't let them grind you down Ben. Come on man pull yourself together.
I'm 33, started climbing at 29, have a very involved family/work life and am still delusional enough to believe that one day i will do it.
My limiting factor is time on real rock. Got a mate who is 22 and has never 'trained'. Lives nr St Bees and goes down there as much as he can for routes or bouldering and gets out every weekend around the country. Now he has a natural talent for sure but he's never followed a structure for training. Just climbs. This year he's hit V9, E7 and F7b+ - but he doesn't really try at sport.
Interesting question may be how many people have climbed 8a/A who have families? Those who had climbed 8a before babies came along don't count.
All the good climbers i know have a background of climbing masses of volume in their youth. No real direction just out as much as possible.
Aye Ben, I think I'm in a similar position to you, getting a level almost by accident and then not knowing how to progress, but I completely believe I can improve with some intelligent and focused training and changing what I do.
I'm feel like a total bumbly with my training knowledge though. I think I've got some fundamentals but need more, hence why I like reading posts from the more knowledgable types on here.
Lets face it we dont know. You were trying to say you couldnt do Raindogs just before you did it. What if we'd asked you when you wre 20 if that was possible. 'Its impossible to climb 9a at 50' would be an accpetable assertion to make until a few weeks ago. Forget self-limitation. Do the best you can do and see what results.
and speaking of which, this is for Simon. You said on the other channel that you'd started doing the 5secs on/off x5 reps because repeaters weren't working for you. Do you mind if I ask why? It's just that I thought the point of repeaters was for hypertrophy and that in a sense the pump you get is for a purpose? I've been doing them for a month or so but I'm not sure yet if they're a good or bad thing.
I made a concious decison to do just that a couple of weeks ago. I'm now sat here unable to crimp thanks to a regime of three days on, one off at Broughton and I'm still sat here wondering if I should g tonight and dangle on the big holds on the 45 degree board, previously I would have used it as an excuse to rest!
I've not read every post - so forgive me if this has been said, but I would say yes - anyone can climb 8a - I'd enter only one caveat and that is age - if you've never pushed yourself and you're over 50 then it's probably a bit late.
It may sound hard, but 8a is within anyone's reach. They come in all different styles, short, long, steep and slabby - so you just have to choose one to suit.
If someone is reading this and fancies taking it on, this is how you do it: taken your best onsight, add three grades to it (e.g. 6a+ := 6c) this is your redpoint level - now add a grade to make it challenging (6c+) find a 6c+ that you like and make it your project - if you need to train for the route then focus your training on that route - forget everything else. When you've done this, add a grade and pick another - train the weaknesses that are stopping you - redpoint it and add a grade etc. Keep going until you do an 8a. Starting at 6c - I would estimate about 3yrs. Stay focussed and it's inevitable.
Thats inspiring so if my best onsight is 7a at present in theory with the right discipline should lead to 8a in around two years? That should be inspiration for all of us!
I got a 7b second attempt the other night at the wall and it did feel hard but something clicked in terms of me trying really hard not to fall off as such (I know it is inside and does not count) want a 7c indoors before xmas and considering the 7b went on two redpoint attempts does this sound faesable?
> (In reply to Simon Lee)
> I made a concious decison to do just that a couple of weeks ago. I'm now sat here unable to crimp thanks to a regime of three days on, one off at Broughton and I'm still sat here wondering if I should g tonight and dangle on the big holds on the 45 degree board, previously I would have used it as an excuse to rest!
Don't. Go and do a long aerobic endurance (SAC) session instead. much less stressful on the fingers, so less chance of injury, better recovery and much more productive long term.
I will climb 8a sport, I have no doubt about it. I reckon it might have been possible this year or next had I not got injured and next year it still isn't out of the question if I'm really careful with my training, the good weather falls on the right days and my work schedule doesn't screw everything up. I'm also confident if I took a year off and went to Spain that I could do 8b too... (Oooh get me!)
I do think there's some truth in Tyler's declaration that 8A font is probably out of reach at my stage of development.
In reply to IainAM: and speaking of which, this is for Simon. You said on the other channel that you'd started doing the 5secs on/off x5 reps
If you read again Abarro does that. I just do 5 hangs with untimed rest interval but usually between 5 and 15 secs recovery to work a variety of grips. It seems to me that is more maximal. I do 30 secs on and off exercise at the end of the session for endurance. Its all guesswork. Start with the recommended regimes and vary it to make it work for you. The repeaters seem to have undue prominence which I think is more down to Varian's clourful writing as he does recommend other regimes and aproaches in his articles on the beastmaker site.
> I think Font 8a (as in a problem of a few moves, rather than long link ups) is beyond the point where most people could get to with extensive training. And certainly if you are already over 35, been climbing keenly (i.e. going to the wall and having an eye on improving throughout your climbing career) since early twenties and have not yet bouldered at least 7b+ then I'd say you've no chance.
I disagree. I didn't boulder Fnt7b until 32 when I'd been climbing for 10yrs. I stagnated at that level until the last couple of years where I've managed to up my best to Fnt7c+ (at 41).
Fnt8a is my new MTG, I should get it this winter, or more likely next.
I got to 8a in under 6 months purely by getting the route mileage in at the wall, lapping routes including down climbing. I climbed slow and deliberately, not particularly pushing the grade, but more letting the grade come to me.
Though it helps to be naturally strong, fortunately i have a manual job that keeps me strong even when not training so the only thing i need to build up again is the stamina.
So i would say, if you redpoint 6c, come back to 6a/+ and get some laps in, down climb too, when you reach the bottom don't step off the wall but start another lap again.after a few laps then step up a grade and repeat. You just need some friends who are aiming for the same goal. If you aren't in a job that keeps you strong then alternate with some bouldering. Ie if you train 4 days, then make 1 of these days a bouldering session, and 3 a route lapping session.
One more thing to remember(sorry if this sounds like teaching granny to suck eggs) is to not underestimate the importance of warming up and down and having rest days.
In reply to Serpico: Certainly, about 60% of what he wrote I agree with.
Ok. Taking the general point of contention - my belief is that if strength it should take priority over endurance for route climbing in the long term firstly because it is the harder to acquire and secondly because it can also benefit endurance.
> If someone is reading this and fancies taking it on, this is how you do it: taken your best onsight, add three grades to it (e.g. 6a+ := 6c) this is your redpoint level - now add a grade to make it challenging (6c+) find a 6c+ that you like and make it your project - if you need to train for the route then focus your training on that route - forget everything else. When you've done this, add a grade and pick another - train the weaknesses that are stopping you - redpoint it and add a grade etc. Keep going until you do an 8a. Starting at 6c - I would estimate about 3yrs. Stay focussed and it's inevitable.
A lot of work but I well believe it's as effective as you say.
> (In reply to Simon Lee)
> It was indoor at the leeds wall. Best outdoors is 7c, I need the balls to be able to push on the bolts...scared to death of falling! :o/
It? When you first posted about this some time ago you boasted about 'regularly onsighting 8a', surely that implies more than one dubiously graded route indoors?
You'll forgive us if we appear cynical it's just that you crop up regularly on these forums asking about the beta for hard routes (that then never appear on your log), posting how you were hoping to be the first to onsight E8 when the yanks were over and did just that, posting how you were going to onsight 8a outdoors this year whilst at the same time we watched you stick clip your way up 7a's at Malham and subsequently fail to redpoint them, and fail to even get off the ground on Comedy at Kilnsey.
If you read again again it's my mate (reeve) who told me he was trying that. I've been doing 3 and 4 hang sets instead of 7.
RE: the original poster, of course not everyone can do it - a retarded dwarf with no hands is never going to. Others will crush it with minimal training or sacrifice. Everyone else in somewhere in between (except, maybe, for a retarded dwarf with no hands or feet) and the only way to find out how hard you can climb is try real fricking hard to get good. For a long time.
RE: strength/endurance etc. - some disjointed thoughts.
To the guy saying that you only need to climb font 7a to do a 7a crux after - for arguments sake - a F7a's worth of climbing. Sure, it's possible by getting fitter, but getting fit enough to arrive at the crux with 95% in the tank might stupid if you can get stronger and arrive with 85% but find the crux easy enough that you can crush it with that much left. Which one you need to train more will obviously depend on your strengths (or lack thereof) and weaknesses.
'The english mindset' or whatever you're on about - I think you mean 'the northern bouldering scene based mindset'. There's a balance to be struck as always.
On euro trips you'll get fit and weak - better to turn up a bit over strong but unfit than a bit overfit but weak.
Finally, I realised the other day that training strength or short PE almost certainly really WILL get you fitter. Go do some repeaters, campusing or leg raises. NOw look at your forearms during the rest periods - there's just as much blood flowing through there as when you're capilliarising! No wonder Simpson was fit enough to onsight stamina 8b despite spending all his time on power and PE.
I think what most people forget is that "strength" training, and "power endurance" training have a lot of overlap, and that there's overlap at the other end, between "power endurance" and "stamina".
Lots of people (I'm looking at you Mr Lee) seem to think that getting strong is all about the maximal stuff - deadhanging as hard as you can. In reality most of the hard work of getting strong is the more intense "power endurance" type stuff. This is what you should be spending most of your time training. Things like repeaters and 15 move circuits with ~4mins rest build the muscle bulk*. This can be topped up with maximal deadhangs, and campussing but I don't think this should dominate your training, even if your goal is bouldering strength.
*people often say "oh but you don't want to be too bulky for climbing".
a) Come on, how much do forearms weigh
b) Have you seen sharma and andrada?
To the original poster. I know people who've got their training right, have stuck with it for years and have never climbed 8a. They're in the minority. I know people who've got their training right, have stuck with it for years and have never climbed 8A. There are rather more of them.
To Steve Crowe:
Parisella's is a good bet for long 8's of all standards. On grit, try any of the versions of the Exorcist at Almscliffe.
In reply to abarro81: "NOw look at your forearms during the rest periods - there's just as much blood flowing through there as when you're capilliarising!"
Wrong. Pump causes tightening of the muscles which impairs capiliary bloodflow which is why it is important to get the intensity right for ARC. Or so says the Self Coached Climber. I still struggle to get ARC right, particularly finding times when the wall is quiet enough to do it.
On a personal reflection, just about every single sport route I've failed on has been due to "pumping out", after a period of training stamina I saw huge improvements (pity that's coincided with not being stuck with indoor climbing for ages, can't wait to go redpoint harder sport now!) The thing is, if you have the time, why not throw in a couple of 45 min ARCs each week? It is an excellent warmup and offers a chance to refine movement skills (I play all sorts of games with myself whilst ARCing). That said, I'm built very much for power and already have strong upper arms and core from other sports, my weakness is very much in my fingers.
I really hope anyone can climb 8a because I sure would like to! I hope I can make it in about 2 years from now, in my first year of serious climbing I managed to make it to 7a fairly comfortably but I am increasingly aware of diminishing returns. Then again, where do you draw the line? Anyone who's climbed 8a want to chip in with what you then went on to do? How do you stay motivated to train when diminishing returns kicks in?
I think there is some confusion over the distinction between what people class as strength training and what they class as endurance training.
Power endurance clearly falls under endurance training. This will tax the anaerobic energy system and hence will get you fitter.
Although when you say fitter what exactly do you mean, do you mean fit as in the ability to handle more climbing volume in a day, with multiple on-sight and red point attempts? i.e. Stamina. Or you mean the ability to do long 30m routes?
>> but getting fit enough to arrive at the crux with 95% in the tank might stupid if you can get stronger and arrive with 85% but find the crux easy enough that you can crush it with that much left.
I think this is the kind of statement I'm not entirely in agreement with. I believe that 'getting stronger' as you put it is the wrong approach, because the limiting factor will not be strength, it will be a form of endurance.
But again, it depends what you mean by training strength and whether you class anaerobic PE training as strength training - which I don't.
The point is, when you climb a route that is going to take more than a say 30 seconds you will start to rely more and more on your anaerobic and aerobic energy systems and if you have not trained these sufficiently then no amount of strength is going to help.
I may be wrong about your training approach for the Oak. However, although strength training has to play an integral part of a training schedule, if you goal is to climb routes then routes are going to tax energy systems that you are not training particularly well by prioritising strength training.
> (In reply to abarro81) "NOw look at your forearms during the rest periods - there's just as much blood flowing through there as when you're capilliarising!"
> Wrong. Pump causes tightening of the muscles which impairs capiliary bloodflow which is why it is important to get the intensity right for ARC.
In terms of short PE (but not strength training) he's right, it's the way Tabata intervals work in other sports. The capillaries are squeezed closed during the higher intensity work, but that builds up an energy debt that must be repaid by a higher blood flow during rest. In this way you're effectively ARCing during your rest period.
In reply to Serpico: Interesting, hadn't thought of it like that. Makes sense though, good news since my training seems to be very PE based. I've used tabata and complexes as training for other sports and I guess PE work like repeaters is just a localised version. I guess this is why the self-coached climber says PE boosts aerobic systems too but not as effectivley as ARC (or so they claim). I guess I'll continue to try to do both, though ARC is a giant pain in the ass, particularly at the Westway (too easy or too hard and almost always too full).
> (In reply to Serpico)
> How do power lifters and the like train? Surely they can't do 5 hours a day of maximal training, or do they?
The Romanians used do multiple 30mins sessions per day, every day to take advantage of the short hormonal spike you get when doing intense exercise.
The ability to tolerate exercise volume is partly genetic but largely a trainable variable.
In reply to midgets of the world unite: Lots of people (I'm looking at you Mr Lee) seem to think that getting strong is all about the maximal stuff - deadhanging as hard as you can.
I shall take the oppurtunity to remind you (and anyone else unaware of the strengths you clearly take for granted) of your advice that if you can't one-armed deadhang from first joint edge for at least five seconds you should give up climbing and take up ledge shuffling in Wales.
> If someone is reading this and fancies taking it on, this is how you do it:
... focus your training on that route - forget everything else. When you've done this, add a grade and pick another - train the weaknesses that are stopping you - redpoint it and add a grade etc. Keep going until you do an 8a. Starting at 6c - I would estimate about 3yrs. Stay focussed and it's inevitable.
Do you know what ? That has really got me thinking.
I've been ill the last few weeks and not climbed but used the time to produce a year long training plan starting in Jan.
Bollocks to all that. Pick my route, train for that route, move on.
Beautiful + simple. Obviosuly not quite that simple but you really have cut though a lot of the BS there Adrian.
My best on-sight is 6c i have a target of doing Dreaming of Red Rocks 7a+ at St Bees ( for which i need more str/end fitness not strength )so i am going to take up your challenge of 3 yrs and if i've not done it by Jan '13 i want my money back ;0)
One concern about it is becoming a one trick pony only capable of one type of route. I don't want to end up being able to RP 7c but still only OS 6c.
I guess if i pick different types of route in differenet locations it should keep the balance there. Use warm ups for OS'ing skills etc. Hmm. This could work.
End of last 2008 I set myself a silly target for end of 2009 (rp 7b). My best sport route at the time was 6a+.
I guess like a lot of beginners I proceeded to 'train' with no particular aim other than a trip to costa blanca in April when I somehow hoped I would be able to climb routes of 6c-7a. Anyway I got my butt kicked in Spain and came back a little miffed but for some reason with renewed determination to crack that grade range.
From my trip in Spain I had a better idea of what my main weaknesses were and proceeded to trawl the forums to focus my efforts on these areas. As a scrawny fellow I was severly lacking in strength and I decided to bulk up so did 6 or 7 weeks of hypertrophy following some of Serpicos advice on how to go about it. I also made a wishlist of routes and started to try one or two of them.
It made a massive difference - I got my first 7a (a soft one unfortunately) and I was getting 6c and 6c+ second try.
Despite a shoulder injury sidelining me in September I resumed training my specific weaknesses and in November got my first 7a+. This was the first time I had spent more than one day on a project and it really got me buzzing.
In all I've ticked seven of the routes off that wishlist and I was psyched to try a 7b but the weather crapped out unfortunately.
Anyway, my humble advice is not to drop your training plan but keep it adaptable so you can be responsive to the route you're attempting and your current circumstances (injuries have bothered me quite a bit so far this winter). I think its good to have the overall plan so as to keep yourself well balanced and not develop weaknesses through focussing on your development elsewhere.
I would also like to take up the 'Adrian Berry challange' and I'm sort of holding out hope that it could be done in 2 years rather than 3 if I'm lucky and stay away from serious injuries.
> (In reply to biscuit)
> I bet you a tenner you do it next year, never mind 2013.
So you bet that i will and i bet that i won't ?
So if i don't you owe me a tenner ?
You're on ;0)
Seriously though it's refreshing to get a piece of info that cuts through all the techno babble every so often. Pick a route, train to do it, pick next route, train to do it continue ad infinitum. No need for worrying about your schedules or phases.
I am failing on route X due to being un-able to do a move - get specifically stronger for that move.
I am un-able to do route Y as i can do all the moves but run out of steam - get fitter for whatever the length/character of route is.
Obviously the techno babble will enter into the how to improve str or end stuff but i love it as a concept.
It is very focussed on one thing though, climbing an 8a, rather than a wish to do good looking routes etc. It certainly appeals to my ego though. It would look good on my profile ;0)
> I am failing on route X due to being un-able to do a move - get specifically stronger for that move.
Always gets my brain working overtime trying to work out how best to train a weakness with my simple fingerboard set up at home - especially when its a really odd or contorted move I'm trying. If I had a woodie at home I'd try to replicate it but I don't have the space at the moment.
> Power endurance clearly falls under endurance training.
Depends on how long PE.. I was doing 24 move campus stuff last night - short PE like that seem much more strength than enduranced based to me (like midgets said). On that point, this is another thing I've been thinking about more, since a lot of the super-strong seem to spend more time on stuff like that than maximal things (again as midgets alluded to). I'd hazard a guess that what you need to spend more time on out of these 2 might partly depend on what you're naturally good at.
> I think this is the kind of statement I'm not entirely in agreement with. I believe that 'getting stronger' as you put it is the wrong approach, because the limiting factor will not be strength, it will be a form of endurance.
The obvious limiting factor might be endurance but that doesn't mean the best way to solve the problem is training that. My logic: Let's assume someone starts getting pretty pumped at 60% of their max and can then hang on for 2 minutes (simpflying all this for ease of argument/debate). Now they go try a sustained route at 65% of their max...
If they get fitter aerobically they might raise their threshold to 65% and thus avoid the pump.
If they get fitter anaerobically they might then be able to hang on for 3 minutes instead of 2 once they start getting pumped, giving them enough time to get to the top.
If they get stronger the moves might now only be 60% of their max so they don't get so pumped.
Obviously all the above doesn't mean they could ignore aerobic/anaerobic fitness work, but it shows my thinking on the matter and the fact that there's more than one way to skin a cat/crush a route.
Where my ealier thought on longer strength work or PE being like ARCing in the rest periods, and midget's point about short-ish PE being prime strength training seem to fit in is that by doing lots of training over this long-strength/shortPE region you get to train everything inadvertantly.
Conclusion: We should all do repeaters and 5-20 move campus circuits for 6 hours every day. Then we will be strong, fit and power enduranced up to the balls. Unfortantely no-one's going to give my uni project any marks if I try to presentt a poster about training methods instead of nanoplasmonics so I might have to be content with hoping that dreaming of long route in spain or pinches wall will get me strong and fit.
In reply to Simon Lee: I shall take the oppurtunity to remind you (and anyone else unaware of the strengths you clearly take for granted) of your advice that if you can't one-armed deadhang from first joint edge for at least five seconds you should give up climbing and take up ledge shuffling in Wales.
I completely agree Simon.
What would you equate one armed deadhang from first edge joint on campus rungs too? Medium or small?
> (In reply to Simon Lee)
> .scared to death of falling! :o/
Seems you have been somewhat discredited but I think this an important point. I have redpointed 8a without taking any falls and it really does hold you back.
Those who can push to their limits progress much faster.
> (In reply to the inspiral carpet)
> Seems you have been somewhat discredited but I think this an important point. I have redpointed 8a without taking any falls and it really does hold you back.
> Those who can push to their limits progress much faster.
I'd like to put in a point about Mr Inspiral. For what its worth I've belayed Mr Inspiral indoors and outdoors a fair bit and frankly he's a d@mn good climber and a sight better than I am and the stuff he is talking about is well within his ability.
He's done some spectacularly hard stuff in his time and is more than capable of kicking some very high E-numbers into touch.
Like me, he's had a couple of years where other priorities have got in the way of climbing - to quote another poster "I have a life which includes a family and work."
When he is back to full fitness I look forward to belaying him, and then getting hauled up (**grins**) some seriously nails stuff I'd never hope to be able to lead.
> (In reply to martin heywood)
> I'd like to put in a point about Mr Inspiral. For what its worth I've belayed Mr Inspiral indoors and outdoors a fair bit and frankly he's a d@mn good climber and a sight better than I am and the stuff he is talking about is well within his ability.
I am sure he is John.
It is just a little ill advised to start talking about onsighting 8a to some of the most clued up climbers around on a forum like this where everything goes under the microscope without having the numbers to back it up.
Good luck to you both in your aspirations..
First joint is first joint - just see which one you can get the tip of your finger on up to the first joint but no more. Or maybe you're suggesting that we trick ourselves into saying something is first joint when in fact it's a bit more? You might be right there of course. A one inch edge is a good target in my view.
To be honest, the OP didn't specify indoor, outdoor, french or English gradings (though 8a English would be, erm, interesting). Nor did they specify that any reply had to be from someone who is regularly on-sighting 8a NOW - as opposed to in the past.
There's also the point that the OP talked about a goal of climbing 8a. There's a big difference between regularly on-sighting 8a and achieving a route of that grade as a goal. They specified a goal, which implies once (ish). They didn't even specify that any respondant needed to have *ever* climbed 8a.
By the above, Inspiral is totally qualified to comment. No he has not regularly on-sighted 8a outside, but in fairness if you look at his profile he's never claimed to have done. I don't doubt that he could - he *was* regularly doing 7c outdoors a few years back.
You're right about the miscroscope though. This forum tends to be a little over-critical - there's a tendancy to pull anyone's achievements to bits rather than just taking each individuals achievements and congratulating them for something that is hard for them.
It says E4 on my profile, for example. It's true, I have on-sighted E4, I've not climbed many, and almost every single one was a bold slab (which is how it got the grade) at the relatively harmless tech grade of 5c or 6a. I'm not, and have never claimed to be, an E4 leader. Right now I doubt I could repeat any of them as I'm out of practice.
e.g. If someone saw me today at Redpoint being spat off low graded routes at the end of a session (ok, miss-dyno-ing for a hold and punching the wall instead really didn't help!) I'd guess my claim to climb anything harder than VDiff might appear a little, erm, over-enthusiastic. Making a judgement of someone's ability on the basis of a short viewing on one occasion should not be a reason for slagging them off on a public forum.
...but does that fact that I can't, right now, lead E4, that mean I'm not qualified to reply to a post which asks "How difficult is it to climb E4?". I think not. Others may differ.
On the other hand, I have a long term goal to on-sight (or at least redpoint) Obsession Fatale, at E7/E8. Am I disqualified for asking about the route because I've not cleanly led anything from E5 upwards? (actually I wouldn't ask about it as I want to have the "fun" of working it out for myself, but that's my personal preference).
As you've probably gathered, I'm a mate of Inspiral. I'll stick up for any mate where I think they are being unfairly treated. Actually, I'll stick up for more or less anyone who I think is being unfairly treated, as people on this forum know. I think some of the above, from some posters, was harsh.
In reply to John_Hat:
I think you need to go back and read my post again more carefully, and while you're at it go back and read your mate's posts (including the ones posted under the original Martin Rogers profile).
I'm not the first person to have pulled him up about this, and if he continues I doubt I'll be the last.
> (In reply to Simon Lee)
> hope that's Ashtanga Simon, it does what it says on the tin.
I am not sure Ashtanga is ideal for most people. If you have a decent knowledge of yoga already then great, but it is difficult to get a posture right when you are constantly moving and even more difficult to co ordinate your breathing. (no idea how much experience Simon has, just speaking generally..)