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10 Ways to Revamp your Climbing

by Katherine Schirrmacher

1. Go somewhere new as much as possible.

Try a new foreign destination every year or visit a new crag every month.

2. Plan and motivate yourself.

Write down the routes or boulder problems you want to do over the next month, 6 months, year etc. Look at the next few months ahead and plan your climbing around heavy periods of work, family commitments, weddings etc. Don’t just hope that fitness will magically happen, so be realistic about how you can fit your climbing into your life. Plan that trip to Yosemite or Arapilies – make sure the dream comes true.

3. Hang out with motivated people who have the same approach to climbing as you.

The people you climb with will have such an influence on your climbing. When you meet new people ask them questions about great climbs, crags, foreign destinations – get psyched. Get a training partner and go for it. When you’re at the crag, talk to strangers – you never know you might make a new friend or have a climbing partner for the day. We don’t tend to do this in Britain – its so much more common in places like America or Australia.

4. Incorporate aerobic exercise into your training.

Take up walking (walking to the crag doesn’t count unless you climb on Scafell every week), swimming, running.

5. Work your weaknesses.

E.g. cracks, slabs, slopers, learn to climb dynamically, improve your flexibility. It’s obvious, but how many people really make an effort to do it?

6. As well as the physical, train the mental.

If you know you have a problem in your head e.g. not willing to go above your gear, always blowing routes 2 ft below the belay, always under-performing just when it matters, train your head as much as your finger strength. Read ‘The Rock Warrier’s Way’ by Arno Ilgner. You might find it corny, but it might just help.

7. Have a break!

You never know, this might be exactly what your body needs. If you are feeling like you are on a plateau, getting worse or not that motivated. Having a month off every year is good for your body and your climbing.

8. Shock your system.

If you just do routes, try bouldering and vice versa. Its well known that your body doesn’t respond and improve when its been doing too much of the same thing. Your body will really relish the change. So if you just redpoint hard routes the whole time, what about a period of onsighting at an easier level? If you just boulder the whole time, what about incorporating some routes into your average week?

9. Think about what you are pouring into your body.

Cut down on smoking & drinking. Think about the food you take to the crag. Take stuff that will release energy throughout the day such as nuts, canned fish, oatcakes. Graze throughout the day. Sitting down to have a stack of sandwiches may actually slow you down as your body has to digest. Instead of chocolate, eat bananas for an energy boost.

10. Replace old gear.

Buying a decent pair of boots might up your grade and even replacing ropes or friends with faded slings will give you so much more confidence