Conditioning for Climbers: The Complete Exercise Guide

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This is an instruction book about rock climbing, a sport that is inherently dangerous. Do not depend solely on information from this book for your personal safety. Your climbing safety depends on your own judgment based on competent instruction, experience, and a realistic assessment of your climbing ability. The training and nutritional advice given in this book are the author's opinions. Consult your physician before engaging in any part of the training and nutritional program described by the author. There are no warranties, either expressed or implied, that this instruction book contains accurate and reliable information.

There are no warranties as to fimess for a particular purpose or that this book is merchantable. Your use of this book indicates your assumption of the risk of death or serious injury as a result of climbing's risks and is an acknowledgment of your own sole responsibility for your safety in climbing or in training for climbing. The Globe Pequot Press assumes no liability for accidents happening to, or injuries sustained by, readers who engage in the activities described in this book.

I dedicate this book to two of the strongest, most innovative and humble men ever to pull down on rock. It is a team effort that takes many months or years to plan and execute, but getting to the summit still takes an immense individual effort and an indomitably singular focus. Having completed this climb, I reflect on all that has brought me to this point-the thousands of wonderful days I've spent on the rock, the countless climbers from around the world I've had the pleasure to meet, and the dozens of partners I am grateful to have shared a rope with.

Learning to climb is a long, continuous process with no end, and I thank all the people who have influenced me from my days as a wide-eyed fourteen-year-old rock jock to an almost forty-year-old veteran climber.

Though I continue to view myself as a student of rock climbing, I enjoy more every year the role of teacher. I am humbled by all the letters and emails received from climbers in more than forty countries who have read my books and articles. I appreciate all the feedback, the suggestions, and, most of all, the success stories of those who have benefited from my works.

Writing climbing books is certainly not a lucrative endeavor; still, knowing that I've helped thousands of people from around the planet climb better is priceless. I am also very appreciative of all the climbing companies that support me and my many projects, including Nicros, La Sportiva, Prana, and Sterling. Many thanks to my close friend Eric McCallister, my wife, Lisa Ann, and my family for their support and proofreading over the last six months of pedalto-the-metal writing.

I am most grateful for the encouragement and input from Mark Robinson, M. Watts, M. Barb Branda Thrner, and Cliffhangers for their contributions. And I must thank my two beautiful sons, Cameron and Jonathan, for making this year the most exciting and wonderful in my life! Finally, I am sincerely thankful for my original climbing partner and a real-life hero, Jeff Batzer. Minus five fingers and half a leg, Jeff recently showed me again that he still has all the moves and remains one of the most impressive climbers I've ever met.

Train Smarter, Climb Harder!

Jeff, you are a true inspiration-thanks, man! IWenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Building on the foundation laid out in my first two books, Flash Training and How to Climb 5. Training for Climbing blends leading-edge sports science, tried-andtrue practice strategies, and powerful mental-training techniques into a single text that will help you climb better regardless of your present ability.

By faithfully applying just 50 percent of the methods contained herein, you will surely grow to outperform the mass of climbers. And if you integrate most of the material into your training, dimbing, and living, you may very well progress to levels beyond your current comprehension!

Training for Climbing is as much about developing new ways of thinking as it is about engaging in new ways of training. A common thread that weaves throughout this book is that "intelligence in dimbing is not measured by IQ, but instead by your thoughts and actions. Whether you flash or fall, become superstrong or get injured, or feel happy or frustrated, springs forth from subtle differences in the ways you think, feel, and act compared to other climbers.

Therefore, the primary goal of this book is to help guide you to more deliberate and effective ways of thinking and acting in your pursuit of peak dimbing performance. Since climbing is all about an intimate dance between you and the rock, it's vital to recognize that your climbing performance evolves from the inside out, and that you only trip and fall when you blow a move.

Goethe wrote, "Nature understands no jesting; she is always true, always serious, always severe; she is always right, and the errors and faults are always those of man. The man incapable of appreciating her, she despises; and only to the apt, the pure, and the true, does she resign herself and reveal her secrets.

Looking outward for the reason or to place blame is a loser's game. This book begins with a logical progression of self-analysis, goal setting, mental training, and technique training before ever lifting a weight.

My Shopping Bag

Chapters 1 through 4 are focused on helping you learn, most quickly, the vital mental and technical skills that separate the best from the rest in this sport. After a brief review of the history of training for climbing, you'll get started on the road to better climbing by taking a self-evaluation test that will reveal your true strengths and weaknesses as a climber. Armed with this information, you can apply more effectively the material that follows on the subjects of training your mind and developing better climbing technique and strategy.

Chapters 5 through 7 present the most in-depth look at strength training for climbing ever published. As an intensely practical person with a background in math and science, I have always felt it important to delve into the theory and application of cutting-edge sports science. Transferring this technology to training for climbing is vital to unlocking the most effective training methods and strategies. In reading these chapters, I trust you will gain new insight into the physiology of climbing performance and thus become a more physiologically effective student of training for climbing.

The concluding Chapters 8 through 10 cover the often overlooked or ignored subjects of performance nutrition, recovery, and proper treatment and prevention of climbing injuries. Becoming a complete climber requires that you embrace these subjects with the same fervor as you would in executing your training program or plotting your next climb.

Throughout the text, I have footnoted the relevant scientific literature so you can peruse the nitty-gritty details if you are so impassioned. These references and other useful information can be found in the back of the book. To glean the greatest benefit in reading Training for Climbing, you are encouraged to employ active reading techniques such as underlining key passages, putting a star next to the most meaningful strategies, and taking notes for later review.

Try lifting the most powerful phrases and posting them in places where you will see them throughout the day. Review these highlighted passages and your notes at least once a week, then reread the entire book in three months and, again, in one year.

Training for Rock Climbing: A Guide for People with a Full Time Job and Career

Not only will this reinforce your understanding and mastery of the concepts, but you also will gain new insight and distinctions as you become a different person at each read-through. As you cast off into the depths of this book, I want to wish you success and happiness as you climb through this world of wonder. Though we may never meet, we are connected through our shared passion for climbing. I am grateful for you taking the time to read this book, and I hope you find the material entertaining and immensely beneficial. I welcome your feedback, and look forward to hearing from you after some grand success that undoubtedly awaits you.

I wish you the best both on and off the rock.

4 essential exercises for climbers with Brittany Griffith and Esther Smith

While there may be nothing more natural and intuitive than climbing Uust watch how children climb around on everything in sight! Performing in the vertical plane requires physical capabilities such as strength, power, and endurance. It also demands the development of technical skills such as balance and economic movement while gripping and stepping in an infinite variety of ways, positions, and angles. Most important, the inherent stress of climbing away from the safety of the ground requires acute control of your thoughts, focus, anxiety, and fears. In aggregate, the above factors dovetail into what may be one of the more complex sporting activities on this third rock from the sun.

The goal of this book is to explore all the topics relevant to increasing the effectiveness of your training and the quality of your climbing. As a climber of more than a quarter century who's been fortunate enough to meet and climb with many brilliant individuals , I feel the journey should begin with a primer on the history of training for rock climbing. Clearly, the advancements we make today are possible only.

Next, we'll explore the interesting subject of genetics and the possible genetic limitations to climbing performance. This leads us into an overview of training for climbing and the things you should consider in your quest for the biggest gains in performance in the shortest possible time. A Brief History of Training for Climbing Compared to many other sports, the science of rock climbing is still quite young.

Well over one hundred years of literature exists on, say, the technical aspects of the golf swing; the diverse array of Olympic sports have been the subject of thousands of research studies during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Conversely, technical rock climbing was born in the early s as an offshoot of mountaineering and, as an activity far removed from the mainstream, never garnered the attention of sports scientists.


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What little information existed on the technical aspects of climbing was mainly passed on by word of mouth in the form of tips on technique and equipment-virtually no one considered climbing to be a sport that required training outside of climbing itself. That is, until a young man from Alabama began climbing in the early s. Now one of the legends of climbing, John Gill was the first person to experiment with sport-specific training for climbing.

Unlike other climbers of that day, who were lured to climb towering cliffs and mountains, Gill was enamored with short, overhanging faces on boulders lying around the base of mountains or in river valleys. Bagging summits or climbing. From the midS0s through the mids, Gill trained on a gym rope, on the rings, and with weighted, fingertip pull-ups often one-arm!

In the early years Gill's dynamic boulder problems, use of gymnastics chalk, and amazing feats of strength were viewed, by most, with amusement. Today we acknowledge that John Gill was an innovator, a visionary, and, in fact, the father of both bouldering as a subdiscipJine of climbing and training for climbing.

His technical climbing ability was years ahead of everyone elseconsider his free-solo ascent of the foot Thimble, in South Dakota, now considered VS S. By the mids a handful of climbers began to recognize the importance of what Gill was doing. Famed Shawangunks hardman Richard Goldstone met Gill during a summer trip out west, and he was enormously impressed with Gill's one-arm pull-ups, front levers, and the difficulty of his boulder problems.


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  8. Goldstone returned to the University of Chicago with an enthusiasm for training and adapted the use of surgical tubing as used by gymnasts to learn an iron cross as a training aid for portions of his workouts. A few years later Goldstone returned east and became a player during the golden years of free climbing at the Shawangunks. Similarly, it seems that Jim Bridwell was the first West Coast climber to begin serious sport-specific training, possibly influenced by Goldstone's propensity to hang a pull-up bar in every climbers' campground, including Yosemite's Camp Four.

    Bridwell and others. In the years that followed, the Camp Four workout rigs introduced countless climbers from around the world to some of the basic elements of training for climbing.

    Training for Rock Climbing: A Guide for People with a Full Time Job and Career

    Still, sports sdentists in the university community and in Eastern and Western Europe had yet to view climbing as a worthy subject of study. Though first ascents of the world's highest mountains were a source of national pride in Europe, there were no Olympic medals to be won.

    Therefore, research remained focused on refining the sdence of weight lifting, the track and field events, and other sports where world records could be broken. Still, the increasing popularity of climbing in Europe during the s eventually gave birth to the first studies relating to injuries and the physiological stresses of rock climbing. Master of Rock was published in This biography of John Gill, though not a training book, did serve to document Gill's strength-training techniques and quickly became a kind of bible for a new generation of climbers interested in pushing the physical limits of climbing.

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