For the longest time I thought that training for climbing was just to climb. I would skoff at people who would lift weights to build strength... I mean if you want to be good at something it seems that just doing that activity should be good enough.... right? The short answer to that is yes and no. At some point we all hit the dreaded dead zone called "a plateau".
Ah yes... the table top of doom in which it seems that the hardest we will ever climb has been reached! At least that is completely how I felt... no matter how hard I tried I could not break past mid- 13's and lower double-digit boulder problems. I began to think that really the key to success would lay within push-ups and pull-ups. Realistically this training method is retarded... all you really get good at is doing push-ups and pull-ups- which I had become a master of. One arms were simple and I thought that I had all the strength and power in the world to crank on those difficult projects.
Chalked and psyched I would pull through a difficult move and then tank off the problem or route. It felt as if there had been no progress- in fact it felt like regression. Not good for the ego... or the id... or anything really. I figured I was pretty much done when it came to progression... I had a good run... that is it... I was going to be 5.13 climber forever... but then I met Rob. image
Tall... skinny... created with an energetic head bobbing... kind of goofy... but super psyched (on everything)- that pretty much describes Rob. I was lucky enough for him to take an interest in me for training... mostly because I was dumb enough to join him and he wanted a training partner. He laid the training schedule out for me over a 6 month plan... two days a week with his crazy workout to start with to build me up to being able to handle what I would soon learn was the "real" training cycle. I would be able to get better at climbing... without actually climbing... but doing specific climbing muscle development and strengthening... I didn't really think that it was going to work for me... but I figured hey it is worth a shot. I hadn't bought into the concept of "non-climbing" training.
However; curiosity and the lure was too much to deal with... I was hooked quicker than I imagined and soon I was training 6 days a week... balancing work... and what little social life I had to begin with. Pretty soon I decided that a social life was going to have to go... so it just became work and climbing (making it much easier to deal with)! After about a month I was always tired and my mentality started to become hateful to training... no matter how much sleep, food, or rest I took I could barely function. I hated it... the gym had become a zone of torture... the area that we worked out in became known as "the pit"- where spectators could (and still can) watch the horrors unfold from a balcony up high. image
Rob broke me... he broke my spirit... I would dread having to go to gym; but I would put on a smile and continue the routing hoping it would get easier. For another month I tried this... it never got easier... I became more efficient but I was still just getting slayed. I was incredibly close to quitting... it was going to be either me or the training! Until one day I switched my mentality. I hated training because I couldn't really engage in it... I was thinking about how it wasn't going to help my climbing and dammit I wanted results now! So I decided to let go... training became a whole entire entity- a separate reality- a beast all of its own... and I was going to slay it. So I worked harder and started to make games for myself... try to help motivate others and learn as much as I could about how these movements could pertain to climbing.
After four months of embracing this mentality I climbed my first 5.14a in Rifle, CO called American Prayer. Beyond psyched I came back to my coach like a little kid holding a trophy... and with a mischievous grin and head-bobbing he congratulated me... but I noticed something in his eyes... a spark.. and then I realized that ol' Robbie had something brewing in there. Turned out that I was right... I had been doing what would be considered the infantile training program.
As of this moment he is cooking up a training regiment for me to be able to crush... I'm psyched, scared, and getting ready for absolute exhaustion... again! I will be posting more about this epic little journey... and video... maybe it can help motivate others as well :)