A shocking revelation, no doubt! But perhaps one that may surprise you given all of my entries on training for climbing here. Of course, I plan to elaborate on the “climbing is the best training for climbing” statement at great length in the next few Improve Your Climbing (IYC) entries here. So let’s get started!
Basically it comes down to this: if a person wants to do one thing and only one thing, year in and year out, to improve his or her climbing, it should without a doubt be climbing – not lifting weights for strength gains (or power endurance or endurance gains for that matter), not campusing, not working on strengthening fingers through some hangboard-training protocol, not stretching or doing yoga, and definitely not running or swimming or biking.
In fact, if pushed to prescribe a one-size-fits-all, one-level-fits-all, super-basic training scheme to improve at climbing for any given person who wants to rock climb or who already rock climbs out there, I would most assuredly say, “CLIMB.”
The reasoning behind this recommendation? Simple. Like any complex, multifaceted athletic endeavor, climbing cannot be learned, mastered or kept up with at a high level without logging some serious and dedicated time actually doing the activity.
More on this in the next entries, but until then, get out there and climb and feel good that you’re training for climbing every time you climb!
(And for just a hint of what’s to come in this series: depending on your background and level of experience, you might not be training for climbing very effectively or efficiently by just climbing at this point…but still, you are indeed training for climbing by climbing, just like running is training for running, and playing football is training for playing football.)
This multipart series of articles starts here, in case you have to catch up – you’ll also find a full table of contents, complete with links, in that entry. My designation of each area as “easy,” “medium” or “hard” is purely subjective. I’ve arrived at the designations from my personal experience garnered from 20+ years of climbing along with observations I’ve made as a climbing coach/certified personal trainer. You may find some of the areas harder or easier to change. You also might not agree with me or my take on things. That’s fine – feel free to take it or leave it as you wish! Also, remember that the information I provide here is purely offered as advice and that no exercises or training program should be undertaken without receiving medical clearance from a healthcare professional.
One other caveat: As will be true for all of the entries and articles in this series, if you’ve already mastered or maxed out the topic at hand to the best of your ability level, you’ll reap far fewer benefits or none at all from my suggestions – good for you that you figured it out, but sorry I couldn’t help you out more. Happy climbing and training!