Looking for advice on how to take your climbing to the next level?
These days, tons of advice can be found on the Internet. Even if technology isn’t your thing, people everywhere are dying to offer advice when they see you fall off a boulder problem or a climbing route. Everyone wants to give their 2 cents on how to stick a move/ send a route/ get better/ be strong.
How do you separate the wheat from the chaff? Let’s look at some commonly heard, yet seemingly pointless advice.
Are they really all that useless?
1. “DON’T LET GO”
Obviously none of us would intentionally loosen our grip to fall off, but perhaps, there is hidden wisdom in this mocking statement.
Ever heard of the term mind-body connection?
What we think and feel directly affects our bodies. What we say to ourselves has an impact on our climbing. Our bodies can be amazingly receptive and responsive to instructions from our conscious minds. If we tell our bodies to hold on and not let go, they are likely to hold on for a little bit longer. This could be the difference that helps you to hold the swing and regain equilibrium.
Your body can and will do that for you, if you ask and trust it to. The next time you need to hold a swing, try telling yourself: “DON’T LET GO”. Who knows, your body may just do so.
2. “JUST STICK YOUR FEET”
Maybe it’s the word “just” in this piece of advice that pisses the hell outta us… because seriously, if we could just stick it we would have!
Climbing requires complex coordination of our muscles. Our fingers, arms, shoulders, back, chest, core, butt, hamstrings, calves all have to come together in a symphony of firing patterns to produce the fluid movement required to execute even the most basic of moves.
It is very common to place too much focus on our arms, and on latching onto the next handhold. We tend to neglect our lower body and core. This can cause our feet to come off the footholds. If you concentrate instead on keeping the core tight, and your hamstrings and calves flexed while making a move, you might have a better chance of staying on the wall even if you didn’t manage to latch the best part of the next handhold.
You don’t just stick your feet, you concentrateonkeepingthecoretightandyourhamstringsandcalvesflexed and stick your feet.
Pay attention to your lower body and say hello to body tension.
3. “DON’T FALL”
Again, obviously none of us would choose to fall off the wall that we are trying to climb up.
Wait…Or do we?
Have a look around the next time you are at the wall. You may find that actually, people voluntarily fall off all the time.
Perhaps it’s a fear of falling in an unglamorous fashion, a fear of looking like you tried hard and failed, or a fear of commitment that causes climbers to step off the wall mid-problem without even trying to make the move. It seems as though coming off is better than falling off. Well, this climber humbly disagrees.
When you try to make a move, regardless of success, your body is receiving neuromuscular feedback which it can use to learn how to do the move. On your next try, your body is armed with more information, and therefore more likely to be successful. In addition, you are training your brain and programming your instincts to to commit to trying out unfamiliar movements. You are developing a habit that facilitates learning and promotes decisiveness.
Don’t fall off, go for the move. When you try, you give yourself a shot at success.
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A great example of a climber that has reached a state of Nirvana - not letting go, sticking her feet, and not falling off - is multiple World Cup winner Janja Garnbret. Check this out:
Out in the wild, it’s a jungle of good advice, bad advice and bad advice that is secretly good advice! No need to be confused, just take our advice and sign up for BasicsPLUS programme – now that’s good advice on taking your climbing to the next level, guaranteed PLUS chop! If you’re just starting out on your climbing journey, we recommend taking our beginner class (Beta Basics) first to get your fundamentals in place!
BasicsPLUS lessons start Jan 2019, Mondays 8-930pm. Click here for more information.
Beta Basics lessons start Jan 2019, Tuesdays 8-930pm. Click here for more information.