Over Labor Day Weekend, I went up to Squamish to go rock climbing. Most weekends I am out and about climbing, but this weekend was different. This weekend, I found a route that was new to me and to get to the top, took the culmination of my training this summer. I came across a route called Mrs Negative which is graded a 5.12a. Ever since I first started climbing I have had a goal of climbing 5.12. This is not the first 5.12 I’ve been on and lead all the way to the top, but it the first 5.12 I have finished this year. The reason why this is important to me is because I have recently changed up my training after having a rough start to my year climbing.
Before I get too far into this, let’s rewind a little bit to bring everything into context. The grading system for sport climbing starts at 5.0 and goes all the way to 5.15c. As the numbers get bigger the routes require more strength and more technique. A beginner climber typically starts out doing 5.6, 5.7 and 5.8. At 5.9 is the first step into moderate routes followed by all the 5.10s. Once the grades get 5.10 its breaks down into 5.10a, 5.10b, 5.10c and 5.10d. Then 5.11a, 5.11b etc. which gets into more advanced routes. Once you get 5.12 you have crossed a line into expert routes.
After getting to the top of my very first 5.12a and attempting several others last year, I was feeling great about my climbing going into my offseason (I take November and December off from climbing every year). Then January came around and for some reason I wasn’t really motivated to train hard. I lost some of my climbing partners due to life and traveling and moving away. So when the season started (my outside climbing season is from March through October) I would get burnt out really fast. I would climb a warm-up route or two and then try something hard and get completely shut down. I would get tired and fall and would be too pumped out to keep going. Most of season has been like this until this weekend, when I came across and got on Mrs Negative. Everything I have been doing over the last couple of months started paying off. This was my first route of the day, nor my second, it was my sixth. Which may not seem like a lot, but after getting burnt out after 3 routes most of the year, I definitely was not fresh. Not only I was able to finish the route, but I didn’t even feel worn out and I was able to climb more after it.
So what changed? Back in June I started doing Hot Yoga (at Seattle Yoga Lounge). For climbers, being flexible and having strength while your body is contorted is important. Also in June, I joined a softball team and started teaching our Outdoor Bootcamp. Adding diversity to my training really made a huge impact on my climbing. Instead of just climbing all the time and trying to climb as many hard routes as possible and as a result over training, I allowed my body get stronger in other areas which helped to balance out the climbing that I had been doing this season. As climbers, it super common to over train. We can easily get into the mindset of just climb harder and train harder and you will get better. I am as guilty as anyone else of this as times. Having some ups and down this season has reminded me that balancing out my climbing with cross training and mobility work has a huge effect on performance. The more efficient you can be one the wall, less energy you expend. The more fluid you move on the wall, the better your technique gets. Therefore, allowing you to climb a greater volume of routes and more difficult routes before getting tired.
Not sure where to start or how to cross train? Need accountability for your training? Or do you just want someone to tell you want to do so you don’t have to think about it?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, make an appointment with Jason to come up with a training plan of action and accountability.