Choose wisely... or just do some actual training...
If you aren't friends already, let me introduce you to the SAID Principle. The SAID Principle is one of the simplest, most important concepts in sports training. The acronym "SAID" stands for "Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demand."
In plain english (which I usually need to really grasp what the hell sports scientists are talking about), it means that as you provide your body with stresses, it gradually gets better at handling those specific stresses. The key word here is SPECIFIC. You've been running 5 miles a day for a year now, and your steep climbing endurance hasn't improved? Who woulda guessed? A young climber asked me just yesterday in the gym, "How do you get that kind of endurance, other than training and laps?" Well, you wish upon a star, dream a little dream, and choose the blue pill or the red pill. However, regardless of the pill you choose, neither of them will be the magic potion for endurance, or power, or technique. To get those things, you have to practice THOSE things.
"Now hold on just a second", you say. "What about hangboards, and core workouts, and campusing, and hanging out at the gym chatting with the hot girls?" You might have a point... but probably not. Fact is, most of us don't need any of those things... we just need to climb more, and be more specific about the style of climbing we're training on. If you want to climb 5.13 in Red River Gorge, then doing V9 dyno's at the gym to show off for the new girl won't help you. I promise, you just look silly. Not to say that hangboards, core workouts, and campusing are bad. They are, in fact, great specific exercises you can utilize WHEN YOU'RE READY. But we'll get to that...
If we take the SAID principle at face value, we'll be missing out on three very important, and potentially limiting, factors.
First, how much demand is enough? Too much stress could quickly and easily result in injury or overtraining, while not enough will leave the body with no reason to adapt. Luckily, we're climbers. If you're working on endurance, and you fall because you're pumped... you've given your body a reason to adapt. If you're training power, and you fall because the move is too hard... you've given your body a reason to adapt. A simple rule is to give your body just enough stress to reach failure at a prescribed point (e.g. while anaerobic endurance training you'll want to fail after 12-15 moves, but while power training you should reach failure in 1-3 moves.) If you never fail, its safe to bet that you're improvements are coming very, very slowly.
Second, exactly what demands do I need to provide? This is where it pays to have a knowledgeable coach, trainer, or partner, or just be exceptionally good at self analysis. If you can target exactly what you need to work on, be it power, endurance, or specific techniques, then you are ahead of the game. Be diligent and honest in your analysis. Did you fail on the powerful crux because of a lack of power, or because your footwork was sloppy? Or did you just psyche yourself out? It can be tough to accurately diagnose your deficiencies, but time spent doing so is time well spent
Climbing is, without a doubt, one of the most complex sports we know. It combines thousands of movement possibilities within the separate pursuits of power, endurance, and technique. Once you've reached a certain level of "mastery" it becomes more efficient to work on the specific components of climbing individually. That level of "mastery" is subjective, and it's tough to put a number on when you should stop just climbing, and start engaging in sport specific exercises. I'll do it though. 5.12c. I believe that most reasonably fit people can redpoint 12c by doing nothing more than simply learning technique, gaining good power and endurance, and focusing their "training" to be more like the type of climbing they'll be pursuing outside. Once you're around that level, some types of sport specific training will be just what you need to keep improving. The big question: Will it transfer to actual climbing?
Specific. That's the key word. Nearly all climbing specific exercises that will successfully transfer to the rock have one thing in common... they all zero in on one small component of climbing, and practice it without the added difficulties of introducing the other 4539 processes going on in your body while climbing. The "real climbing" gains you stand to see from these exercises (campusing, hangboarding, etc...) are best realized ONLY when all the other areas of your climbing are solid. No amount of finger strength can consistently substitute for poor technique, and so on.
Basically, if you want to get better at climbing, then go climb. Alot. Try hard. Learn more. If you aren't climbing 12b/c or bouldering V5/6, then the best thing you can do for your climbing is to climb some more. And more. You get the benefit of the chance to learn so much more in one session of climbing than any 14d climber can gain in a year. If you have reached that higher level, be very picky in the ways you train. Focus on what you want to get better at, and train exactly that. Exactly. Specifically.
Tell 'em I SAID so.
This will be a review of 2018 in regards to goals, training, climbing, numbers, injuries, and lessons.
We live in an age of fast food bouldering. Gym boulders are turned over more frequently than ever before. Hop on the Moonboard and you can try 2,500 different v7’s before you have to move on to v8.
Adam Ondra’s commentary on his legendary onsight, along with thoughts from a coach’s perspective.
It’s been a wonderful pump-free five years, but that time has come to an end.
As I switch back to sport climbing as my primary focus, I feel like this is a good time to reflect on and share some lessons I’ve learned over the past few years and talk on some things I’m having to relearn.
For this Board Meeting, Nate and I sit down with our good friend Dru Mack to discuss something that we are all far too well versed in: The 5 most common redpoint pitfalls that we see climbers get trapped in.
Even though we can see that there are tangible benefits, few of us ever put in the time to improve our mental game.
My perception of what I was capable of, what could be possible, how hard I can push myself, the belief, the confidence, was all very much changed through a mere three weeks of training.
“Learn how to train, then train hard, then train smart. Most people will never have to go past step two.”
If you've heard of Justin Salas, you may refer to him as a "blind climber." You'd be wrong. He's a climber who just happens to be blind, just like you're a climber who just happens to have sight.
Russ Clune has climbed in more places than you. Climbing since the late 70's, and in more than 50 different countries, I wanted to know what the legendary Clune had learned from climbers of other cultures, and how he's applied that to his own climbing.
It's a new year, and it's our 2nd birthday! In this episode, Nate and I talk goal setting. Not resolutions; goals. Different animals altogether.
At a time when we're seeing a whole new generation of young crushers becoming adults, the role of the parent has become more and more important. Constance Lightner is, in my mind, a perfect representative for climbing parents.
No, that isn't a typo. It would be amazing if we kept all our attributes forever, but the reality is that we lose things, we forget things, and we just stop doing some of the things that made us good to begin with.
How often do you give 100%? REALLY give 100%? I make my living coaching climbers, and I seldom see a climber try their hardest. Myself included.
In this episode Dr. Shannon O'Grady and I discuss the hot button topic of protein. Why do we need it, how much we need, and what's the best way to get it.
In this episode, we go deep into the world of Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA’s) with Dr. Shannon O'Grady, Ph.D., Director of Product at Gnarly Nutrition. We talk about what they are, why we need them, how to use them, and more.
If you want to be physically prepared for rock climbing, you need to concern yourself with the following components:
In this episode, Nate, Paul, Blake, and I discuss the Top 2 ways we break through plateaus. Whether it's mental or physical, unless you're a mutant, you've gotten stuck. Well, we have some advice.
If there is a polar opposite of "nutritionist," I'm it. I blank out immediately when talking the details of nutrition. Not so with our guest today, Neely Quinn.
Jon Glassberg recently wrote a blog for La Sportiva in which he states that, “Climbing double digits is an attainable goal for any serious climber.” We agree.
Honorary Cohost Steve Bechtel has a new book out: "Logical Progression: Using Non Linear Periodization for Year Round Climbing Performance." If you write your own training plans, and still have a hard time sticking to your plan, this is the book for you.
Today we're officially releasing our new "Proven Plans," an option that lands between our simple eBooks and our completely individual customized plans. Coach Blake Cash and I discuss the plans, how they came about, where their value lies, and what we've learned from them.
In this Board Meeting, Nate and I discuss strategies and tactics for redpointing. Some you may know, many you may not. Most you've probably forgotten or ignored when you needed them.
LEGEND! Not much more needs to be said about this week's guest, Stevie Haston, but I'll say a few more things anyway. Simply put, Stevie Haston is a machine. A simple, hard working, sensible machine.
In this episode, I sit down with strength coach, climber, and multisport athlete Charlie Manganiello, from ClimbStrong, to find out how we can all perform in multiple sports. Even if you're only switching from sport climbing to bouldering, Charlie's philosophies are applicable.
For quite some time I've toyed with the idea of "in-between" episodes. So while on our recent workshop tour, Nate and I sat down and figured out a rough format for a new concept. And thus "The Board Meetings" were born.
It's that time again. Soon we'll be 14 or so weeks out from the best temps at climbing areas all over the world, which means that if you want to be better prepared this season, the time to start planning your training is NOW.
Breaking in a new pair, putting shoes on when you have a blister or cut on your foot, or dealing with hot spots from shoes that don’t fit perfectly can all be very uncomfortable, and can make climbing miserable.
I needed stronger fingers and I knew that if I could stick with it, hangboarding would get me where I wanted to be. This time though, I would make it impossible to fail.
It’s fair to say that most climbers would improve if they followed three rules: Try harder. Stay healthy. And when you’re not trying harder, move better.