Round 56

Q: I just discovered the Training Center and, as a climber of only one year (V2 – V3), I found it to be very helpful! My question is about nutrition and getting stronger in climbing. I am 5’10 and 140lbs. I’m quite skinny, and I would like to become stronger in climbing. Can I train and eat a certain way to gain some muscle weight in order to climb better? What routine do you suggest? –Steven (California)

A: Hi Steven, First, as a new climber you must keep in mind that your biggest gains will come from refining technique and mental skills…so make this something you work on everyday that you climb! As for strength training, you want to do climbing-specific exercises and not the popular bodybuilder routines. A good first exercise is to do weighted pull-ups (add 10 to 20 lbs around your waist) or heavy lat pulldowns. Do 2 to 4 sets at the end of your climbing session three days per week. If you are climbing regularly, you really don’t need to do anything additional for your grip strength, until you reach the V5 threshold. Then you can begin some of the more advanced grip training methods feature in the Training Center and my books. Regarding nutrition…strive to eat a clean diet of high-quality protein, complex carbs, veggies, lots of water, and avoid the “bad” fats. Really, your goal is to get stronger without gaining much weight.

Q: Not a question, just wanted to say thank you very much for the information in the NICROS Training Center; and I will be ordering your book, Training for Climbing, in a few days. I’m sure I will be even more in your debt after reading it. Keep on doing your thing and inspiring guys like me to improve everything about themselves. –Sean (Colorado)

A: Hello Sean, Thanks for your kind remarks. You’ll love Training for Climbing—it’s a book that will guide you for many years to come. Wishing you many great days on the rock! Eric

Q: After a knee injury that kept me from running and climbing, I gained some excess weight. However, I previously had a lot of unnecessary leg muscle from biking. I’ve read your article on cutting down on unwanted muscle through running, but is there a specific running routine you could recommend? Should I worry about regaining leg muscle when I bike? I am 6’1″ and weigh 200lbs. Thanks! –Scott (California)

A: Hi Scott, Any aerobic activity will of course help drop the body fat. For slimming the legs, however, distance running is the best activity. Try to build up to 20 to 30 minutes of moderate-speed running, a few days per week. This should help reduce leg mass long-term; although genetics somewhat determines your physique and you may never be a skinny-legged climber. Still, a comprehensive training-for-climbing program will enable you to improve a LOT in the years to come. Good luck!

Q: Eric, I’ve just read How to Climb 5.12, and now I’m trying to digest all the information and advices in it. I’ve been out of climbing for over 5 years, but after I discovered your web page I started training and climbing again! First of all I got free of 9 kilograms of my bodyweight. My question is about nutrition after workouts. You advise to take 100g carb and 25g protein as liquid within two hours after a hard workout, then to follow this with a meal within two hours. What type of nutrition method should I follow if I do my workouts in the late evening and not finish until 10pm…and then go to sleep within one hour. –Orhan (Turkey)

A: Hello Orhan, If you are training late, then just do the liquid nutrition immediately after the workout, perhaps followed by a small solid snack. Ideally you want to avoid heavy meals before bed, so the liquid carbs and protein will be perfect to jump start recovery while you sleep.

Q: I’m curious about the pulleys in the fingers that the tendons run through—these pulleys seem to be a common site of injury. I know that the tendons are considered dense connective tissue…are the pulleys similar in nature? John (Washington)

A: Hi John, Like tendons, pulleys are made mainly of collagen and they likewise have limited blood supply which makes them very slow to heal. To avoid these injuries, warm-up well with stretching and massage, and avoid tweaky moves. Finally climb no more than 3 or 4 day per week, maximum! Rest is critical for the healing/strengthening of the tendons and pulleys.