If you clicked on this because you thought we’re going to talk about canine cuties, we’re sorry to disappoint. This post is dedicated to the hangdogs of the climbing world, and we assure you they look anything but cute. For the unacquainted, here is a basic definition of the word:
A person who hangs on a climbing rope multiple times while working on a route
“Leonard is nothing but a hangdog, just look at the way he hangs on the route all day long.”
To hang on a climbing rope while working on the hard moves of a difficult route
“I’m just hangdogging my way up the whole route.”
Working on a project route is a demanding and painful process. Therefore, caring for a hangdog is paramount in maintaining its mental sanity, emotional stability and long-term health. Learning the ins and outs of hangdog care might seem daunting at first, especially if you’ve never been on a project for more than a day, but it’s easier than you think!
Besides, being able to finally reach the top of the wall will make it all worth it.
Create a Hangdog Space
After taking falls from its project all day long, a hangdog needs a place to feel safe and loved; a place filled with happy thoughts where you can get distracted from your failures. Dedicate a space or time to doing happy things, eating happy food, watching movies that make you happy, or playing with your favourite chew toy.
An absolutely must-have item in your hangdog space is a pillow. Not only is it needed for a good night’s recovery rest but screaming into it makes for a good cathartic experience, especially when dealing with the frustrations of projecting.
Whatever your source of comfort or fun fetishes are, we recommend a regular dosage of it to combat the depressing nature of failing over and again on your project. Ultimately, we want you to keep your passion for climbing alive during these difficult times. Afterall, climbing for many of us is our happy place.
Find a Good Vet… we mean, Physical Therapist
Bashing away at training and working on a project all day every day is going to take a huge toll on a hangdog’s body. While self-treatment like foam rolling can help you stay loose and mashed up to a certain extent, a good physical therapist works wonders. Not only is a real live person better than an inanimate piece of foam at judging which areas need more attention, they also can get really deep into the right areas using their fingers/elbows/ what have you.
With a massage and a day or two of rest, we guarantee your muscles will be back in tip top shape to be used to their fullest potential again.
Climbing at your limit also means working the body to its limit. It is at such times that susceptibility to injury is at its highest. While prevention is better than cure, DO NOT hesitate to bring your hangdog to a healthcare professional should an injury incur. A minor strain can be easily resolved with some expert work and advice, but left alone, it can also intensify into a huge handicap in your climbing.
One of our favourite places to get our injuries sorted out is at CityOsteoPhysio Singapore. Check them out here if you’re in need of some help! Did you know Orange and White pass members get a free first consultation?
Get the Right Food
Hangdogs need more nutrients than your regular climber. Tons of energy that are burnt on each full-effort attempt need replenishing and muscles that have been worked to their limits need to rebuild themselves. To maintain your rigorous training, you need to fuel your body correctly.
Have a balanced diet of carbohydrates (40% of daily calories), protein (35%) and fats (25%) and consider the use of supplements such as these below:
Hangdogs also lose a huge amount of performance potential while dehydrated. Low hydration and electrolyte count invites cramping, muscle weakness, bloating, fatigue, and headaches. So, make sure you drink regularly (not at the pub) and replace the electrolytes in your body by adding electrolyte powder to your water or a little salt into your meals.
Just like calorie intake, hangdogs need more sleep than the usual climber for their bodies to repair themselves. Add an extra hour to the prescribed 7-8 hours of rest either by going to bed earlier or taking an afternoon siesta. Getting on a regular sleep schedule is also important.
“Sleep can wait for when you’re dead.”? Bitch (pun intended) please.
Quality and sufficient sleep is not only beneficial for climbing performance but also your daily functioning. It improves memory, concentration, reduce stress, maintains your immunity etc. Singaporeans are already the second most sleep-deprived people on the planet, we really don’t need to be number one on this.
Throw your hangdog a bone
A hangdog deserves treats or rewards when it experiences small successes on the project. It could be a new high point, dialling in the crux for the first time, or a new record of least number of hangs. No matter the size of accomplishment, celebrate it as a sign of progress to keep the motivation going strong.
But what if there isn’t any progress and your confidence is dropping by the minute?
Sometimes, a short break is what you need but other times the best way is to send some routes! Try regaining your mojo by sending many routes a few grades below your project grade. Not only do you not leave your body stagnant, you also get in touch with the great feeling of sending once again. After a period of absence, you will know inside when the time is right to return to the project; and this time you shall be out for blood!
A Hangdog’s Purpose
Failing on a route for many days—or even weeks—can damage your self-confidence and body and perhaps even destroy your motivation to climb at all. But take heart, hangdogging is just a part of something greater. Contrary to its usual negative overtone, hangdogging is not something to be ashamed of. In fact, it actually means you are trying and working hard, really hard. We are so proud of you and we ask that you hold your head up high for being a hangdog this Sendtember.
To all of you who haven’t tried projecting before, we invite you to join us on this month of pushing the boundaries of your climbing performance, and to embrace this important component of your climbing journey.
Lastly, to all the past, present and wannabe hangdogs this Sendtember, we wish you all the best on your projects! “GO GET’EM BOY!”