Podcast: Performance Tips for Weekend Warriors

If you’re a passionate climber who works full-time (or in school), then you likely train indoors during the week with the goal of climbing your best outdoors on the weekend. In this podcast we’ll dig deep into the rich topic of things you can do to optimize your weekend climbing. I’ll cover a wide range of things—perhaps a few that you’ve not thought about—you can do to arrive at the crag fresh and ready to send your project, on-sight at a high level, or climb for volume and maximum fun! While this podcast will be most meaningful to weekend warriors who specialize in sport climbing, the many tips I serve up will also be quite useful for boulder specialists and multi-pitch climbers.

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Podcast rundown:

0:50 – Introduction

2:50 – Things that contribute to “low-gravity” send days.

4:35 – Tip 1: Arrive at the crag physically fresh and 100% recovered from your last training or climbing day. Easier said than done…

8:40 – Tip 2: Get your sleep and diet right in the 48 hours leading up to your send day. Performance nutrition is especially important for advanced climbers. Listen up for vital tips!

17:45 – Tip 3: Conduct a quality warm-up before getting on your redpoint or on-sight goal of the day. I’ll take you through what it takes to get your muscles warmed up and nervous system turned on.

24:07 – Tip 4: Make the most of your Day 1 freshness…as you likely won’t be 100% recovered for your Day 2 of climbing. There are a few ways to approach this in order to best invest your time Day 1 and 2.

29:12 – Tip 5: Try to master each project route with the goal of nuancing each move, sequence, clip position, and rest to make it as efficient as possible. In aggregate, striving to refine all aspects of your climb will save you energy and increase the odds of a send—and it just might open up the next grade for you!

39:30 – Tip 6: Rest the right amount between redpoint attempts. I’ll give you science-based guidelines that you can employ and modify, according to how you feel.

44:50 – Tip 7: Breathe optimally, not maximally! Many climbers—and athletes in general—don’t know how to breathe properly to maximize oxygen availability to the muscles. The common practice of overbreathing actually lowers oxygen availability! This is powerful information—listen closely, then begin to become a more conscious breather until you do it right unconsciously.

52:30 – Tip 8: Eat and drink in small/modest amounts throughout the day, but be careful not to overeat and/or overdrink! Many climber tend towards eating and drinking too much during their climbing day with the belief that more is better. Ironically, eating and drinking too much can have the opposite effect.

58:55 – Bonus tip: Get your head right before going for the send. Anticipate success, but accept that a failed attempt is okay…because it’s part of the journey of working and eventually sending the route! As you climb, remain in the moment—take on the route one move at a time—and let the outcome evolve organically.

1:03:30 – Special feature! My thoughts on Alex Honnold’s incredible free-solo of El Capitan, and a throwback to a podcast interview I did with Alex in 2008 after his barrier-breaking free-solo ascent of Yosemite’s Half Dome. Though more than 8 years age, this short interview is quite interesting and revealing. If you’ve seen or heard a recent interview with Alex, it’s remarkable to observe that he’s pretty much the same guy today—as a world-renowned rock star—as he was a 23-year-old just getting his started as a pro climber, per this interview. Enjoy!

1:18:50 – Closing comments

Music: Misty Murphy

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