Round 77

Q: My question is that on some days a week I am tired and I do not desire to go for even indoor climbing. I’ve been rock climbing for 22 years, and I no longer have motivation. How can I regain motivation to train and climb more? –Vangelis (Greece)

A: Vangelis, Motivation comes from having compelling climbing goals–so if you don’t have a trip or climb in mind that you are training for, then it will be difficult to get energized to training for climbing. Perhaps you need to take some time off from climbing to do other things….then return to climbing when you develop fresh desire and goals to pursue.

Q: Hey Eric, I really enjoy reading your books, and find them very informative in training as well as injury prevention. My question is that I just recently took a 2 week break (rest) from a year long climbing schedule, and was climbing pretty strong (leading 12c @ the NEW). I was doing weighted laps(11a-12a) in the gym to work on “power endurance” which worked out great for me. I’m really excited to get back in the gym this year and train even harder for some harder sends. I really like face climbs and don’t really care for big overhanging roof climbs. I feel this is really my weakness. How should I approch this new climbing year? Pick up were I left off? Start off easy and concentrate more on power then power endurance? Focus more of my time on my weakness? Does doing the weighted “power laps” help in both power and endurance? I would really like to take this to the next level but not quite sure if I should focus on power, endurance, or both. –Chris (Virginia)

A: HI Chris, Thanks for your kind words. Sounds like your current training has been working, so I don’t know that you need to make any big changes yet. That said, you do want to keep the program progressive…and not just do the exact same things. My advice would be to adopt something like the 3-2-1 program described in my books. 3 weeks focusing on strength and power, with lots of max bouldering and some hypergravity training. 2 weeks of endurance, focusing on lapping routes and developing “hanging on power” (which is both a mental and physical trait). The 1 week is a 4 to 7 day recovery period before slamming into the next 3-2-1 cycle. At the crags/gym, I suggest you split your time between projecting (12s and 13as) and onsighting (or 2nd try redpoints) of routes in the 11b to 12b range. This is the best approach to foster better technical and mental skills, while also pushing out your max limit boundaries. Good luck and let me know how it goes.

Q: Hi Eric, I’m a climbing of about 3 years, and 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? –Gif (Pennsylvania)

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 lbs of muscle bulk) would be a good thing, if doable. But technique training is probably the answer to that one problem. Long term, work on all three areas and you’ll keep progressing through the grades!

Q: Hi Eric, A big hello from your UK fans, your work is amazingly helpful. I’m a tall slim 30 year old with fairly loose joints, climbing for 1 year with a few injury breaks. I love and enjoy the sport but have a lot of catching up to do. If I’m honest I can only just squeeze out 8 bodyweight pull ups and only around 15 push ups at the moment which I really want to improve but I’m not sure how to fit in all the  various recommended exercises along with antagonistic and core exercises as well as getting to the wall a few times a week. Could you possibly give me an idea of what my priorities should be, other than simply climbing? –Ben (United Kingdom)

A: Hi Ben, Your situation is common, so trust that you can train in the city and climb harder on days off that your travel to the rock! As a relatively new climber, I suggestion you refrain from too narrow a training focus. Instead, think “broad focus” in training your mind, technique and strength. Actual climbing time is important…2 or 3 days per week if possible (indoors or out). But you should also do the strength training of pull muscles, core, and antagonist muscles 2 or 3 days per week. You can do these exercises at the end of your climbing sessions (same day); or just do pull exercises after climbing and do the core and antagonistic on your rest days from climbing. Hope this helps!

Q: Hi Eric, I was bouldering in Bishop (up to V10) early March 2009 and injured my ring finger and pinky finger, while crimping (heard four pops one after the other, and topped out the climb). I believe I’ve torn the A2 and A4 pulleys of my ring finger and the A2 and (A1 or MCP??) of my pinky finger. I immediately stopped climb. In May, I returned and climbed only easier stuff, and only shortly after got stupid and just went to hard. My injury worsened, and I haven’t climbed since. I got an MRI, but it did not show anything. I was recommended to get a dynamic ultrasound testing with a radiologist present but I’ve been waiting for ever and still don’t have an appointment. I don’t think I sustained a complete rupture, but I need to find out what is exactly wrong, and to find out why it’s taking so long to heal, and then to be question what can I do to treat it. The doctors I’ve seen are by no means specialist with the hand, and one of the doctors even Googled it looking of answers, they are not climbers and do not fully understand the stesses we put on our hands. –Gary (Canada)

A: Hey Gary, So sorry to hear about your injuries. I totally know the feeling–most high-end climbers do at some point or another. I, too, doubt you have complete rupture of A2 and A4 because you’d have very noticeable bowstringing of the flexor tendon. However, I’d bet you do have high grade tears…which might take up to a year of no climbing to heal. Remember, I’m not a doctor…so I’d hope that you could find someone more qualified to give you guidance. A true climbing doctor is hard to come by, although I would bet you can find a hand specialist in Toronto. The bottom line: you are a great climber…and you will still be a great climber even after taking 6 to 12 months off to heal. Perhaps you can find a new passion for 2010, with the plan to return to serious climbing with healthy hands in 2011. I know that sounds like a strange plan, but it may be the best plan to get you back climbing with a bright future. Wishing you the best, and I look forward to updates from you in the future.