There is a lot of different reasons to climb, the social community, fitness or just being in the outdoors to name a few. The problem sometimes is that very few of these reasons match up with most people idea of training.
Often when discussing climbing I'll slip the word training in, and more often than not I receive a look of distaste. "Training is hard work and when its work it’s not fun!" or "I just come here to climb" are both common among many other dismissive responses. The reason for this is the general perception of what training is, even some of the hardest working climbers conjure up images of pull up bars, weights, cross fit style routines, hangboards and the likes. This isn't always wrong but it is a common error as it gives the impression that we should mainly train physical ability as priority.
On a previous article we defined climbing as a skill sport and explained what this means for you as a climber. Lets look at some simple blunt facts. 1. Practice makes permanent this is not just a mental thing, its biological when you move a protein called myelin coats the nerves allowing signals to arrive where they need to, more efficiently. The same goes when you move sloppy and without thought. The ineffecient movement patterns are reinforced.
Another way to look at this is neurologically your movement is always getting better or worse so you can't truely Plateua. So if you really dont have any desire to get better be accepting of a steady decline in skill. 2. Getting better is fun even if your goal is to bizarrely "just climb easy stuff with no dream of improving" then you might as well feel like you dance up the wall. But in truth I don’t believe these people really exist as even the least ambitions enjoy being good at what they do.
3. Climbing IS an athletic endeavour, and that means we can make gains by treating it as such. Some will say it's doesn't have to be that it can be about adventure instead. But why not both? Why not travel, explore, have an adventure and be good enough to survive.
4. Nature is elitist, Regardless of why you train(climb) being better gives you more options. Going to a new wall or crag and suddenly finding only one maybe two climbs you can try is a bit of a bummer. The harder you can climb the more places you can go and the more climbs you can do when you get there...which is a lot more fun.
5. Climbing is goal orientated. The goal could be to reach the top of this route right now or to climb all the problems of a circuit. Training is what happens on your journey to reach that goal no matter how immediate or distant that goal is. Heading to the wall and grabbing a hold with no goal results in no/little progress.
Commonly witnessed by notorious follower, who just climbs what his/her partners climb because that's where he/she is standing, and follows their beta. This person usually has a very slow progress if any due never consciously thinking for themselves. Their practiced techniques involve follow and listen, just like Sheep.
So what can we do to train?
Move intentionally, any move we do, do intentionally. That is to actually think about the move, the feel of the hold, your balance, the pressure upon your limbs and to be as conscious as possible.
perform a little exercise off the wall, to compensate for a lack of climbing time, work on a weakness that prevents us from performing a technique or to condition ourselves for injury prevention.
Selecting climbs or goals for progress rather than just the for the tick.
Do anything that helps us achieve our goal?
If our overall goal is to climb then a simple way to summaries would be
CLIMBING DEFINITION : Training
Training is any climbing or activity we do to improve towards our climbing goals.
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