By Tom Newberry
So your favourite wall is closed, travel is off the cards and we are back trying to train at home. A few weeks in and the flames are beginning to dwindle, but don’t be discouraged - we got you.
For the training fiend and climbing obsessed, lockdowns may become wearisome. Yet with some motivation, structure and the lack of distraction it might just be a blessing in disguise. We saw this post ‘Lockdown #1’ with many taking their climbing to the next level over the summer period. With this in mind, I’ve outlined some tips and tricks to help keep the flame eternal in your home training.
Before you start training, what are you training for? Jot down some post lockdown goals. Make them specific, not just grades but a tick list of routes/problems. Once you have the end goals, don’t focus too much on the outcome right now. Instead plot the journey to achieve this. Break down small manageable stepping stones to progress from where you are now, to where you need to be. These will become your short term goals. At the moment these might be less climbing specific and more training goals. For example: complete 5 pull ups with 10kg added weight or knuckles on the floor in Uttanasana stretch [forward bend stretch].
Creating a training routine really helps get you in the mindset to try hard. Seek to recreate what you did at the climbing wall, for me this has been buying some nice coffee beans There’s nothing like a good pre workout coffee to fire myself up. Have a plan! Make a list, commit to the list and cross it off as you go. Now’s the time for prehab/rehab, use this lockdown to build good habits. For me regular stretching and mobility work was an area that had been neglected for years. So setting some time aside saw quick gains. Gains equalled motivation, motivation equalled gains! Finally, keep a training diary. This will help you remain focused, notice patterns and encourage self reflection. Looking back at Lockdown #1’s training has helped structure training for this lockdown.
As part of your routine should be a thorough warm up. It is such an important aspect of training, we decided to give it its own sub heading. Injury prevention and increased performance are reasons enough to justify the effort. I like to use the same 10-15 minute routine for every home session. Use this time to dial in a warm up sequence that works well for you, then carry this forward post lockdown at both the crag and local wall. Use workout apps and online videos for inspiration.
Fingerboards & Training Aids
Fingers, fingers, fingers! If you can only make gains in one area, then this is THE one. If you don’t yet own a fingerboard, then invest in your climbing. For those renting and unable to fix a board, portable boards or removable fingerboard set ups are an easy alternative. Two to three short, structured sessions a week maximum. Repeaters, max hangs, density hangs, weighted pulls, finger curls. Half crimp, drag, front two, back three. The options are endless and to go into detail would be a whole other article.
A fantastic resource that has become very popular during lockdown. Consistency is key, so choose videos that are manageable and don't feel a chore. Doing 5 sub 15 minutes videos a week adds up to more than one 60 minute session that you will never repeat. Here are a few of my ‘equipment free’ go-to favourites.
Yoga for climbers:
Flexibility & Mobility
Is it motivating or a distraction? Create an environment that you can thrive in. For me this is watching climbing videos when finger-boarding and listening to loud banging tunes when doing strength work. On the other hand, my house-mates fingerboard while watching Netflix. I’ve tried to watch series whilst training but quickly lose focus and my session falls apart. Know what works for you and implement it to create positive outcomes.
3 Podcasts to Inspire…
- Factor Two – No More Heros Patch Hammond
- Enormocast: Episode 200: Timmy O’Neill – A Life of Yes.
- Jam Crack 48 – The Right Thing.
3 Climbing Videos for Psyche…
Visualisation, the practice of mentally imagining yourself performing various tasks or actions the way you would like to perform them in real-life, is an often over-looked and under-used training tool. One that improves the quality of athletic movement, increases the power of concentration, and serves to reduce the performance anxiety whilst building confidence. The idea is that if you consistently mentally rehearse movements and scenarios, your physical performance will improve. To paraphrase Steve Mclure “if you’ve climbed a route top to bottom 100 times in your head you’re more than 90% of the way there.”
How to utilise this within climbing:
- Rehearse moves on a project, try to remember both hand and foot movements if you can.
- Imagine climbing above a bolt/wire, welcome the emotions and mental dialogue.
- Re-run through sequences of your favourite route or boulder.
- Watch beta videos of future projects.
- Re-watch old phone videos of yourself climbing, be analytical.
In times like these its nice to have something to look forward to. While now might not be the time, things will change and travel options will once again be on the cards. Travel has always been an integral part of the climbing lifestyle and reading up on destinations can be a real motivator during these longer lockdowns. Check out our destination articles here.
Don’t over do it
Final note, if you’re one of those people who jump in with two feet, gung ho, smash it out the park. Just remember ‘less is more’. Listen to your body, injury is three steps back. Train smart, mix up your sessions and factor in rest days. Despite feeling like you might be going backwards you really aren’t.
Enjoy, stay safe and remember to tag us @rockandrun_uk in your home workout videos, we love seeing what you all are get up to in isolation!