Round 76

Q: Some days I lack desire to go training or climbing; perhaps because I’ve been climbing for more than 22 years. What can I do to increase motivation? –Vangelis (Greece)

A: Hello Vangelis, Motivation comes from having compelling climbing goals–so if you don’t have a trip or goal climb in mind that you are training for, then it will be difficult to get energized to train for climbing. Perhaps you need to take some time off from climbing to do other things; then after the break you can return to climbing with a fresh mind for setting—and training—for some climbing goals! Good luck, my friend! Eric

Q: Do you have advice on how to train the 3rd two-finger pocket team (ring and pinky fingers) on the HIT system…since I can hardly hold my body weight with this grip? FYI, our wall is about 70 degrees overhung. –Chris (New Hampshire)

A: Chris & Rose, 70-degrees is really steep for a HIT Strip training wall–I’m not sure I could do any of the pockets on a wall that steep! If possible, build a 50-degree wall since that’s what the HIT system is designed for. Otherwise, have a partner push on your back (to reduce weight) as you climb up and down the HIT Strips on the 3rd team grip. Do this twice per week and you’ll get strong FAST! Have fun!

Q: Hi Eric, I am currently getting shut down on overhanging V3 at our gym in Pittsburgh. I go there 2 times a week and workout on my own the other days. My forearms feel very pumped doing these problems. I have a much easier time doing vertical problems. How do I know if it is technique or forearm strength holding me back? Should I just go to the gym more often to achieve greater forearm strength? I am 6’1″ and about 190 lbs (approx 10.5 % body fat). I am getting frustrated with my plateau. Please help!

A: Hey Gif, As a climber of 3 years, I’d bet you can improve in all areas–mental, technical, and physical. Steep routes demand techniques that are much different from vertical routes…so your situation is not uncommon. Dropping a bit of weight (10 lb?) would be a good thing, if doable. But technique training is probably the answer to that one problem; so indeed, climbing more (and general training less) is your best bet in the long term to maximize skill and performance. Let me know how it goes!

Q: Just what exactly is a “pull up”? I’ve been training with my palms facing away from me and starting from the lowest position I can hang from. Is this correct, or should I be starting a pull up from a position similar to the 120 angle frenchie hang. Thanks. –Duncan (UK)

A: Hi Duncan, Palms away is the pull-up. Lower most of the way, but stop just short of the bottom (say, 5 or 10 degrees before your arms go straight), then immediately start back upward with the next repetition. Avoid resting at the bottom (with completely straight arms) which will stress your shoulders, especially as you tire.

Q: Hi Eric, I’m fairly new to climbing (one year), and I got a great deal for a one-month rock gym membership and was wondering what’s the best way to make the most of it? I generally climb once or twice a month, but I also do additional strength training (mainly bodyweight stuff) a few other days. When I do climb at the gym, I climb hard for about 2-3 hours; it then takes me at least 7 days to recover sufficiently to match that performance. Do you think there is any way for me to get more than 4 good trips (one per week) out of this one-month deal? –Ben (Mass.)

A: As a relatively new climber, you should climb more often doing easier climbs that don’t fatigue you so bad that you can’t climb again for a week. I suggest you go to the gym twice per week and do the following: The first visit your goal is to climb for volume; that is, climb many easy routes totaling 500 to 1000 feet of climbing. For example, if 5.10 is your top limit, resolve to climb only routes 5.8 or less and do a ton of them, focusing on footwork, efficient movement, relaxing and being smooth on the rock. Pick a route and climb it a few times in a row, so you can dial in most efficient movement and sequencing so you aren’t even getting pumped–that’s good technique! Your second visit of the week, start off doing several easier routes (focus on technique), but then get on several harder routes (near limit) that you will get really pumped ascending (or falling from!). This second session should be shorter in length, perhaps 2 hours, whereas the first sub-maximal session can be up to 3 hours. Doing these twice-weekly sessions will get you 8 visits in your free month. Have fun!