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Baldbeard
Mar 26, 2011



Chris! posted:

I was hoping there would be a climbing thread here!

I have just started climbing with a friend, we have been to three 2-hour beginners classes, and been on our own once, and I'm really enjoying it.

The only problem is, I considered myself reasonably strong and fit before I went, but my grip endurance is really letting me down. I can climb absolutely fine for a few climbs, 30-45 minutes or so, then it feels like I lose all grip strength and can barely hold myself on the wall let alone make big reaches etc.

Is there any particular way to focus my progress on improving grip strength and endurance, beyond "climb more"? The climbing wall is around an hour away, which means I can only make it there once a week maximum, so I'd like to be doing relevant exercises during the week as well.

Of course the other thing I guess would be to improve my technique, I'm probably using my hands far too much! The course we went on was all about tying in and belaying safely, didn't really go into climbing technique.

I'm really loving climbing, and looking forward to trying some outdoor stuff when the weather is better!

Almost everyone new to climbing experiences this. It's the fact that hanging off of the wall on big juggy holds that you find on the easier routes is mostly grip (forearm) strength. When your climbing, try not wrap your thumb around the hold unless you have to. Even though it's instinctual because it gives you a bit more power, it will wreck your grip strength pretty quickly. Either way though, as you climb more the weakness will come later and later into your sessions until it's not really an issue.

As for at-home stuff, there's nothing quite like being on the wall. So 'climbing more' really is the best bet. Closest thing I could think of would be doing deadhangs on a pullup bar, or maybe heavy farmer walks.

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Baldbeard
Mar 26, 2011



Fontoyn posted:

What's the next step after I can handle most v2s and am starting to hit v3s? At my gym, it's basically a transition from every type of hold to nothing but crimps and for the life of me I can't grab those. It sucks to plateau.

Moving from V2 to V3 was the first major barrier for me because I felt like the routes were harder only because of lovely holds and not because the movements were more complex. Really though, that's just when technique becomes significantly more important. At V2 and under, good form and technique helps but isn't a requirement -- you will almost always be able to just build or use your strength to power through the route. V3-V4 is when routes get a lot more specific on how they are completed and where you will start running into problems that are extremely difficult without a back-step, heel hook, toe hook, knee bar, drop knee, major flagging, major smearing, big hip movement(or whatever).

If crimps really are your weak spot, then you need to work on how to position yourself under them. 'Under' being the key. Keeping your arms straight and locked puts more of the burden on your skeletal system rather than your muscles,(that's why 7 year old kids who could never dream of doing a legit pullup can swing across monkey bars just fine.) which will make crimps possible until you are strong enough to just beast-mode through them. Sometimes that means you have to drop really, really low, where you are almost sitting on the back of your foot. If that's still not low enough, then you may have to lean passed the hold, just to be far enough away from it to grab it with straight arms.

When you see a really good climber do big acrobatic stretches and impressive looking twists, all they are doing is just positioning themselves through each move to use as little energy as possible. Sorry to sound sexist, but watching girls climb especially will show you a lot of movements to reduce strength and height disadvantages that will help you break through the plateau .

Baldbeard fucked around with this message at 17:12 on Dec 20, 2012

Baldbeard
Mar 26, 2011



Anyone else have a problem with hands being too dry when climbing during the winter months? Today I was climbing, and I went for a hold and somehow managed to form a cut under my fingernail. Like the skin was so dry it just.....separated. gently caress, it is the worst thing.

Baldbeard
Mar 26, 2011



Merry Christmas!

...but climbing in a wool sweater is not worth the irony. My arms are still itchy.

Baldbeard
Mar 26, 2011



Grisly Grotto posted:

Does anyone else have problems with their knees? I've been climbing for a few months now, making steady progress, but my knees are giving me constant trouble. They're really getting quite sore. At least once a session, often more I nail a knee into a hold, a wall, or something. They're covered in bruises. It was kinda funny at first but it's been bumming me out a little. Am I just unco or is this fairly common?

You might want to try focusing on your entire body movement when you make a move. I know when I make big moves, sometimes I'm over pumped and forget to really think about the path my entire body is going to take when I lunge for that extra reach. If you've only been climbing for a few months, that sounds pretty normal. A lot of newer climbers kind of have "tunnel vision" when they are setting up for the next hold -- usually the knees and elbows suffer from this.

Baldbeard
Mar 26, 2011



Man, I've hit a pretty serious plateau and I'm feeling pretty discouraged. I've been climbing for 9 months now, and I can do most of the V5s and some of the V6s in my gym, but I've been at this level for a while now. I can't seem to get the V6 grade on lockdown, especially cave routes. After progressing so quickly and then stopping, feels like I'm at a dead-end and I have to lose weight or magically grow 3 inches or something.

I need some sort of mindset change. Starting to think 'progressing' is more important to me than 'climbing' which can't be good.

Baldbeard
Mar 26, 2011



pokchu posted:

Change it up. Put bouldering on hold an do a shitload of routes. Depending on where you live (ie the availability of local climbing), find a partner and project some hard things to be a goal. Find a rich partner and learn trad! But don't just keep doing the same thing. Work on another aspect of your climbing, and when you go back to serious bouldering, apply your new additions to the problems. For me, going hardcore on routes for a while really helped with the endurance I needed for full on, sustained boulder problems.


Tarnien posted:

You've only been climbing 9 months. Just give it time. Switch it up for a while, give your fingers time to catch up, and you'll come back stronger.

Thanks, good advice. It definitely is my fingers too. I boulder 3 days a week for close to 2 hours each session, with way too short of breaks between attempts. There's days when my fingers just can't do it -- they won't hurt, but they will just be weak.

Baldbeard
Mar 26, 2011



So my middle finger on my left hand (between first and second knuckles) has been a little sore for a few weeks, not painful -- just feels a little bruised. I took a week off climbing, and when I got back in it was somehow worse? Holds that put any significant amount of pressure on that part of my finger are quite painful now. Even though I can lift weights and do any other activity without feeling any pain whatsoever.

If I try to work through the pain, then it spreads to my forearm as well.

Best way I can describe it is like a dull, deep bruise, practically on the bone.
Sounds like I need an extended break and I'm already fretting it!

Baldbeard
Mar 26, 2011



Blaming shoes for poor technique is definitely done way too much by newer climbers, but I feel like shoes do make a bigger difference than what I've been reading here. I find it very difficult to hold a heel-hook in a newer pair of shoes I bought on problems where I have zero issue with on my older pair. The newer shoe however has a way more aggressive arch and I can snipe footchips significantly easier. There's a guy who goes to my gym that regularly does V8 & V9, and he brings several pairs of shoes and mix/matches them to see what feels best on his main project. Literally a different shoe on each foot.

It's like crying about chalk, or a hold needing to be brushed in the gym. Those things are rarely the culprit of why you can't finish the route, but they do make vast differences to many people.

Baldbeard
Mar 26, 2011



Pander posted:


Drop-knees, keeping knees bent to stay low, and locking into holds...that stuff's still pretty hard for me. Is a drop-knee supposed to make you feel like you're about to have some joint shatter?

Definitely not. Drop knees seem counter-intuitive when you first start using them, but they are actually really comfortable when done correctly and make it easier to get where you want to go.

Let's say your foot is on a hold with your toes directly facing the wall and you need to get low. If you bend your knee, your knee is just going to go forward into the wall. So you would have to turn your hips and your foot, and bend your knee slightly to the side. That's a good starting maneuver to practice drop knees.

Also, locking off is important. You shouldn't be in a shaky position too often. A lot of the time you can almost "sit" on the back of your leg, or push your hip into the wall. Many impressive and technical looking static moves are a lot of locking and resting on your own body to reduce the muscular load.

Baldbeard
Mar 26, 2011



Pander posted:

Thanks for the info...I'll give it a shot tonight.


Typically each week I climb 3 times, and 1 time it's just the easier autobelays, running through them fast to get endurance. 1 time it's going to the harder top-ropes to build technique. Then the last time it's either autobelays or top-ropes depending on what I want to work on.

Right now I'm still working to develop strength, particularly upper-body. Is intentionally NOT locking off a good way to help get tired/build muscle? Like, when I do those quicker autobelay routes, should I maybe do them wrong technique-wise on purpose since that'd require more muscle use to make up for the poor technique?

Always focus on technique over everything else. Not locking off on purpose would definitely increase your strength, same as any other isometric exercise, like freezing in a pullup half way up or whatever. But your time will always be better spent focusing on proper technique, most any strength you need to climb will happen as you climb. The only time I'd personally recommend specific training would be intense core exercises.

I go 2-3 times a week too, and I usually try to force myself to make one of those days a 'training day' where I work on technique within my grade rather than "performing" and trying to complete 1st time projects.

Baldbeard
Mar 26, 2011



I see what you mean. If you boulder hard and eat accordingly you will definitely gain a lot of muscle either way. Technique is something that everyone always has to work on to progress though, so choosing to focus on strength over technique won't ever allow you to climb harder stuff as quickly as making technique your main focus.

That said, I can totally understand switching it up for the sake of a workout.

Baldbeard
Mar 26, 2011



Fontoyn posted:

Okay, more beginner climber advice posts.

I'm about 200lbs with a lot of muscle/fat that is useless for climbing but I like climbing anyway. I am just now completing v2/3s on the bouldering wall and want to know:

What are some drills I can use to improve my technique? I can't attend any classes on climbing but I'm just now focusing on carefully finding footholds instead of grinding down the wall towards them.

What are common mistakes I should avoid?

My forearms are getting stupid-rear end strong but I know skinnier guy will always beat me. I just want to get to the point where I can boulder v5s at least and people keep telling me grip strength is less important than technique to getting there.

-Take plenty of rest between attempts.
-Make the meat of your session routes within your grade, rather than solely struggling to break through to the next grade.
-After you complete a challenging route, revisit it often until it is cake. Redoing routes is great because you can focus entirely on movements since you already have the beta memorized. This helps a lot with technique.
-Keep your arms straight and lock off whenever possible. It's cliche, but look at how monkeys climb.
-Do VB/V0s and try to skip as many holds as possible. This is a surprisingly good simulation of harder reachy routes you will encounter. Big static moves force you to plan the whole movement out, rather than just lunge and go, smashing everything and dragging your body across the wall.

Overall. Just climb. When you are resting, watch other climbers.

Baldbeard
Mar 26, 2011




Your arms are strongest (or hardest to move) when they are either fully extended or full contracted, that's why it's called locking off or locking in. From what I understand, the worst position for your arms is exactly in between the two, where your elbow is pointing out and you are "chicken winging".

I've never heard anyone say locking off is bad before, as it's the most efficient way to idle between arm movements or feet movements.
Think about going across monkey bars. You lock your arms open, hang, and use your skeletal system to swing from hold to hold. If you try to go across in a chinup type position, flexing the whole way, you would burn out and probably hurt yourself in just a few seconds.

Big strong guys who climb in gyms usually overuse their strength and try to "pull" themselves up the wall, because that's what's comfortable to them. Usually smearing and slipping all the way to the top. This works great until you get to V3-V4, but then it becomes all about technique and balance and raw strength is not even that important. That's why you will constantly hear people say climbing is basically the only exercise that will make you better at climbing, and doing a million pullups at home will hardly make a difference. Only exception is core exercises, as these give you the strength you need to pull your hips and legs around for heel-hooks and big reachy stuff where you need to practically plank.

Baldbeard fucked around with this message at 23:57 on May 1, 2013

Baldbeard
Mar 26, 2011



Pretty funny, about a month ago my gym made a conscience effort to start down-rating bouldering routes so overall everything would seem much harder. We just had a competition and visit from Sharma, and I swear we down-rated an additional time with our newest routes for the comp.

Crazy seeing people who were working on their first 7s now struggling on 4s and 5s. I'm so confused as to where I'm at now, I feel like I have to go to other gyms just so I know what's going on. All about those numbers!

Baldbeard
Mar 26, 2011



Sleepstupid posted:

First-timer question: I should wear socks with rental shoes right?

Yes.

When you're serious enough to go barefoot for that little bit extra, you're probably serious enough to buy your own pair.

Having your feet reek of someone ele's feet after a session is disgusting. One time I took a buddy to my gym for his first time bouldering. On the drive home, he was in the back seat, and I heard him scream, "DEAR GOD NO". I turned just in time to see him throw his socks out the window like they were on fire.

Baldbeard
Mar 26, 2011



who cares posted:

I took a gnarly fall at the bouldering gym today. I was making the last move of a problem, reaching up to grab the top of the wall, and before I knew it I was on the floor. I don't really know how it happened but I landed on my hip and shoulder and I hit the mat so hard that my glasses came off. My shoulder hurts right now and I can tell that it's going to hurt tomorrow. When I first started climbing it took me a while to work through the whole "I'm kind of high up and I'm nervous about making this next move" mental state and now I'm back there in a different way.

Any advice on how to break through the mental stuff? I've found that I've been having issues climbing problems on aretes and problems with lots of volumes. I'm worried about falling and hitting my head on something on the way down. I know that the answer is always "climb more" and that is my plan, but I would like to hear about your personal experiences in advancing the mental aspect of your climbing ability. Right now I feel like my physical climbing skill is ahead of my mental skill and I need to find a way to get them in synch.

1 - When I was just starting, I would first jump down onto the mat after going further than I was comfortable. That way I would know what to expect when dropping from various heights and angles. For example, if there's a sketchy move half way up a problem that I'm going to make a serious project, I would drop off that sketchy move on purpose. Then, in the event that I slipped on the sketchy move on a real attempt, it wasn't really that big of a deal and my body would more or less figure out an okay way to land.

2 - If you are high up or at an awkward angle, take a brief moment to consider how to turn if you slipped on your next move. If you don't slip, good job. If you do slip, good job, you know how to turn.

3 - Boulder outdoors if possible. This will teach you more about commitment and appropriate respect of heights and angles than you can gather from a gym environment, especially if the gym has padded floors rather than mats.

Baldbeard
Mar 26, 2011



tynam posted:

Question - when did you all start training on hangboards? (If at all?)

I'm about 3 months into climbing now and am completely addicted to it, going to my local gym 3+ times a week, or as often as my hands can hold up. I've got to a point where I'm at a physical roadblock - I just can't do crimping problems, and all the unfinished problems and routes require them.

Is 3 months enough time for me not to gently caress up my fingers? I've heard it's bad to do finger training as a beginner, but it's hard to see any way around it for me now. I plan on open-handed and half-crimps to build up my finger strength first, but if the consensus is "it's a bad idea," what are my alternatives?

I would wait at least another few months and see if you see natural improvement from regular climbing. Footwork is immensely important, and general forearm/hand strength is just as important as ™FingerStrength™ when it comes to crimps. Especially seeing as how you are going 3+ times a week or "as often as my hands can hold up", a fingerboard or overdoing it on crimps sounds like a terrible idea.

Baldbeard
Mar 26, 2011



tynam posted:

Thanks for the advice. The problem I'm having is that I've never actually done any kind of crimpy holds before, and I can't even get on one to start. For example, a V3 with a low crimp grip start - just to get on I need to somehow hold a really freakin thin edge.

I really understand how important footwork is, especially since my goal is ultimately sport/lead climbing and I want to be as economic with my climbing as possible. It's just that in my current schedule of bouldering, I want to see if I can get to a point where I can even attempt crimpy holds.

I just got a tip from another friend to just do easy climbs, but only using the top two digits of my fingers for all the holds. Going to try this out tonight, might not need the hangboard after all.

V3 in particular is a pretty big benchmark. It's usually the point where setters start phasing out jugs completely and working in crimps, slopers, and bigger movements as the meat and potatoes of a route. It's also the point where balance starts to become more important than brute strength. Literally every climber starts hitting a lot of crimps for the first time and thinks their fingers aren't strong enough. It's like how everyone learning how to play guitar thinks their fingers are too big/small when they start learning advanced cords.

If your gym sets anything like mine, by the time you can comfortably complete most V3s, you will probably be able to do a lot of V2s with 1 hand tied behind your back. In other words, don't fret the crimps. It takes a while.

Baldbeard
Mar 26, 2011



Kylaer posted:

When you're climbing multiple times a week, is it normal for your fingers to develop consistent pain if they've been immobile for any time? When I first wake up, the first movements of my fingers will be extremely painful until I've stretched them a bit. Is this alright, or is it a sign I'm doing too much and am injuring myself?

I don't only climb, I also lift weights, but I didn't have these pains back when climbing was a weekly thing instead of two or three times a week.

This is likely inflammation and is not good, -do not climb- when they are like this. You aren't giving your fingers enough time to recover between sessions and so they are getting hosed up.

But yes, it's perfectly normal. A lot of people, especially climbers in their first year, climb too many times a week and/or too hard and mess up their tendons.

Baldbeard fucked around with this message at 16:26 on Jan 6, 2014

Baldbeard
Mar 26, 2011



MA-Horus posted:

Hi thread

I've been bouldering now for about 6 months, and I go about once a week. I'm a big dude (6 foot, 220lbs) and I can consistently dummy the yellow routes without any issue. But it feels like the jump from yellow to blue is huge, and I don't seem to be making much improvement in tackling the blues.

Anything I could be doing to help improve? I think a lot is just technique.

Does your gym use V+number ratings? I'm not sure if gyms have some kind of standardized color scheme -- but I definitely don't know what blue or yellow means.

Baldbeard
Mar 26, 2011



MA-Horus posted:

Sorry, V0 is White, V1 is Yellow, V2 is Blue. I'm basically at V1 and some V2.

Footwork doesn't seem to be a huge issue, it's more grip. I find the holds for V2 are much, MUCH more difficult.

I can almost guarantee you it's not your grip, but rather a technique issue. It can be hard to conceptualize at first, because chances are when you fail a route it's while making a hand movement, but poor balance and footwork is actually sabotaging your grip by putting too much weight on it. Strong and/or tall people get a free pass on V0/V1 and even V2+ depending on the particular gym.

V2/V3 is where you start to see holds that make it difficult to support your full weight on and so you have to actually learn the correct sequence(s) to complete the route. This is like every climber's first major plateau. Watch better climbers and try to figure out why they are doing what they are doing. Experienced climbers move pretty gracefully on routes within their comfort zone, and you will see a lot of movements that looks like squatting or lunging while on the wall -- this is all about putting the maximum possible weight on your feet/legs.

Baldbeard
Mar 26, 2011



Climbing through finger pain is really never a good idea, unless you are completely knowledgeable about what is happening to the exact tendon in your finger causing you pain and can formulate some recovery plan. Overuse injuries from climbing usually happen slowly and cause soreness that recovers less and less over time. If it was bad enough to where you had to stop mid session and now hurts to make a fist, you definitely need to take time off. I would suggest a lot longer than 4 or 5 days.

Tendons are sketchy because they take a lot longer to heal than muscles and are more prone to permanent damage, and remember there's no muscles in your fingers. I would climb very often until the soreness would get bad, and then ease off for a bit until the pain went away. Rinse and repeat a dozen times over the course of a year, and now I haven't been able to climb in 6 months because the middle finger on my right hand get's aggravated when I climb now.

Baldbeard
Mar 26, 2011



Yeah that's exactly what happened to me. I was climbing lightly with some mild discomfort in an attempt to keep things warm rather than be idle while recovering, and then my foot slipped on a small hold.

I'd say do whatever works I guess, but there's a reason tons of climbers fear tendon injuries. Regardless of your preferred type of recovery, prevention is still best. If pain is causing you to bail mid session, its time to slow down or take a nice break.

Baldbeard
Mar 26, 2011



Eat Bum Zen posted:

So I'm a 200lb guy (14%bf, like decently strong) who is having a lot of trouble progressing from v0-v2 to v3/v4s and it seems to me to be just straight up forearm strength (and it doesn't help that I only climb at the end of my normal lifting routine). At what point can I expect my grip strength to finally catch up with my weight? At what weight would I be able to climb more efficiently at?

I understand technique is a wholly different affair, but I've never met anyone who climbs at my weight and have no idea how bigger climbers are supposed to progress.

How tall are you? V3 is basically every climbers first major plateau, if you read through the last few pages you see several people asking the same question. Climbing is grip intense, and therefore forearm intensive, so if you are climbing after a lifting routine you are probably going to fatigue quickly. That said, there's almost a 100% chance that your problem is technique and has very little to do with grip. Bigger guys, especially bigger guys who are decently strong, over-utilize upper body when climbing. This problem is evident when you start encountering routes/holds that cannot support your full weight with just your hands (v3 and up generally).

Your grip strength will continue to increase from climbing for years, and the lighter you are, the more efficiently you can climb. There's really no special ratio.

Baldbeard
Mar 26, 2011



Eat Bum Zen posted:


Are there other specific ways I can improve my technique even if I'm already in a fatigued (post-lifting) state?

e: and finally what cool core routines do you guys do? I kind of cycle through them and I know I could google climber core but I've gotten bored with the one I currently do.

Technique will come with more time on the wall, and the more energy you save for climbing the more you will get out of it. The downside to having your physical strength surpass your technique is that it tricks you into thinking you need more power, more grip, and more energy to get passed a plateau. I remember watching an episode of Fear Factor where a body builder dude couldn't even swing through some suspended monkey bars because he tried to do it totally stiff with his whole body flexed. Meanwhile the next contestant, a ~115lb woman gracefully swung across with her arms straight and locked, using her legs and core to generating momentum and swing. It's ridiculous how well that relates to climbing.

One of the best ways (other than climbing) to improve technique is just to watch other climbers who are better than you. You should notice that they are twisting at the hips and knees, and doing lots of lunging motions rather than simply pulling themselves upwards with their arms. As for cool core exercises, just go with what pokchu said. Hanging leg lifts are my absolute favorite. Hang from a bar with your arms straight and envision a foothold somewhere off in an awkward direction -- try to put a foot there by moving your core around. Then do it again with your arms locked at a 45 degree angle. Then do it again with your arms locked closed in a full pullup or chinup position. etc... When you get to V4-V5-V6, there's so many moves where you are just stabilizing yourself with your arms/hands and just...trying...to...reach with a drat toe.

Baldbeard
Mar 26, 2011



Many routes have you climb up to a hold, then later stand on that same hold or knee bar it, or heel hook it. Also, don't forget smearing -- many, many times you will need to place a foot on a random spot on a wall to anchor yourself, or provide just a little bit of friction. You don't have to play 'the wall is lava' on any route ever.

I think the biggest mistake climbers in the V0-V2 zone make is feeling bound to always have their feet on footholds. Flagging is by far the most usefull technique to improve climbing, and its really hard to teach and practice for some reason. Probably because the idea of using your foot as a weight rather than to hold weight seems counterproductive.

Baldbeard
Mar 26, 2011



Teeter posted:

re: footholds as hands

H's referring to the specific type of hold, i.e. little foot jibs, which are sometimes used by setters in a route to simulate a lovely crimp or whatever. These routes generally aren't anywhere near as fun as an equally difficult problem that instead earns its rating by rewarding good technique. All of my favorite climbs have been ones that utilize creative body positioning or have some quality to them beyond "make the holds shittier or further apart so it's harder."

Ah yeah, I see that now. Yeah, some setters use foot chips as some kind of make-shift crimp. Usually just makes the route more confusing.

Baldbeard
Mar 26, 2011



4R7 THi3F posted:

Hmmm, so going from bouldering to top roping is actually going to be very easy? I've been incredibly intimidated by top roping, because it looks harder.

How much experienc do you need before you can start to do rock climbing outdoors? Before my gym closed, I was able to solve most V1's within 1 or 2 tries and I was getting to the point where I could even do a few V2s. Is that adequate for outdoors rockclimbing?


They've given about a million and one reasons for not having their permit yet, and one of them was because a light switch doesn't match the floor plan. Lol. They were a great gym, and I didn't feel like I wasn't safe, but the whole thing stinks on both ends since the DoB is dragging its heels to do approvals and The Cliffs seems a bit disorganized, and I don't think that they have been completely transparent about what's going on.

Bouldering and top roping emphasize different aspects of climbing technique. Bouldering routes will generally require a lot of power and more frequently use dynamic movements and more technical moves. Top Roping has a big emphasis on energy management and moving efficiently, and of course endurance since the routes are so much longer. It's pretty hard to evenly compare grades since they use different systems to represent difficulty.

When you say outdoor rockclimbing, are you talking about top roping or bouldering? Outdoor bouldering routes are generally much harder than indoors, and doubly so when you account for the safety difference when toping-out.

Baldbeard
Mar 26, 2011



SaltLick posted:

Finally getting lead climb certified at my gym next week so that's exciting. Now I just need to find a consistent climbing partner. Bouldering is fun, but I'm getting frustrated at my lack of progress. Granted I've only been climbing for about 2 months now. How fast did it take y'all to start climbing 5.10/V3s consistently?

Bouldering can be really frustrating like that. Well, I guess climbing in general. I often have to step back and remind myself I climb for fun, not for numerical progression.

I think it took me about 2 or 3 months to get V3s down pretty well. But it took another 6 months after that to get 4s. Another number of months until my first 5 etc....Every single time I moved up, the next grade felt 100% impossible no way in gently caress can't even start them.

Just keep at it, you will get stronger as long as you are climbing hard, and your technique will improve as long as you are watching better climbers and experimenting with their movements.

Baldbeard
Mar 26, 2011




I wear these too. I was afraid the arch would be too 'aggressive' for me, but I think they are super comfortable and seem to be holing up really well as far as durability goes.
The only downside I've found is that hard heel-hooks, the kind where you are leading with your heel or have your heel higher than your head, hurt like hell. I don't know if it's just my feet or what, but ouchies.

Baldbeard
Mar 26, 2011



What do you folks (who boulder) usually do for a warmup before you tackle main projects? I have a bad habit of barely warming up at all, but I've heard some people will do 5 or 6+ easy routes before jumping into it. After finally recovering from a pulley injury, I feel like I need to warm up a lot more these days.

Baldbeard
Mar 26, 2011



Yeah I'm dumb. I definitely need to warm up more. Ill try the 0s and then going up the grades tomorrow.

Baldbeard
Mar 26, 2011



tynam posted:

So I haven't really climbed outside my gym since I started, and assumed the grade differences wouldn't be very big between gyms. A few friends dropped by once and mentioned how much more difficult the bouldering grades were at my gym, but I didn't think much of it. Last week I visited LA Boulders and was able to climb up to V5... while I'm a solid V2 at my gym. The disparity was big enough that I'm a bit confused now, either LA Boulders is softballing or Sender One (my gym) is grading exceptionally harder. Is there anyone that goes to either of these gyms that can give me an idea? I don't really care about the numbers, but it's hard to talk with people now when I'm getting advice, and they mention I should be a so and so grade before this and that, like the post above.

I've heard people from another gym say that my gym is way way waaaay harder with grades, but when I went to that very gym I felt like it was actually harder. I've also heard people say Sender One is very hard all around. I think there is a huge disparity between gyms, but also a setting-style difference that makes an even bigger impact in the end. My gym has the setter name next to the V-grade, and the style difference between setters can make a V2 feel like a V4, or a V5 feel like a V3. That's within a single gym.

Sad part is it only seems to get worse in the V6+ range. I've spent hours on a V6 only to have a guy who is solid V9 tell me even he can't send it.

Then tack on the fact that outdoors is a totally different ballgame, and you have a general clusterfuck when it comes to standard grading. I think it all stems from the fact that bouldering routes are generally graded by their 1 or 2 hardest moves rather than the sum average of the whole route. So height, weight, and climbing style can make the same route very different for different people, because it's all about if you can or can't do that crux.

Baldbeard
Mar 26, 2011



The problem is new climbers generally don't understand that finger strength and grip strength are two different things that are trained in different ways. As far as climbing is considered, finger strength is the ability to put your fingers in a position and keep them stable even when applying weight. Grip strength is how hard you can squeeze, or how long you can squeeze before fatigue sets in.

V0-V2, you can get away with brute force upper body/grip strength.
V3, is when you start to find holds that require finger strength. Technique helps you apply the minimum amount of weight on your fingers.

So every new climber faces their first plateau and goes, "Help, I need more grip strength!". Not only do they not know what they need (technique), but they are calling what they think they need (finger strength) something else (grip strength).

That's why every page a bunch of us go TECHNIQUE, ITS TECHNIQUE
Don't use fingerboards or any other bullshit.

Baldbeard
Mar 26, 2011



Irving posted:

I've taken a lot of beginners climbing and one of the most interesting things to me is how people who can brute force it through the low levels just hit a WALL when they get into the high 5.10 or V2 range. The people I've taken climbing who have great upper body strength (men and women, though generally guys tend to have this "problem" more, the only girl I've taken climbing who's had the issue was a kayak guide for years) can muscle up routes and just don't progress on technique nearly as fast as you'd expect. The people who progress the fastest tend to be the ones who are weak as hell in upper body and flail like crazy on the 5.8s when they start, but once they figure out technique they shoot right up in levels.

Everyone is different, blah blah blah, but in general I feel like you don't really benefit from specific training for climbing (aside from climbing more) until you're climbing solidly in the 5.11 range for sport and in the V3-V4 range for bouldering. That's around the range where even if you've got perfect technique, more strength and such will really benefit you.

Yeah exactly, v0-v2ish gives people the false impression that you can get through routes by just -pulling really hard!-. So people who have stronger upper bodies fall into that trap even more, and seem to hit an even more significant plateau when that's over. Meanwhile the skinny guys/gals sometimes pick up good technique sooner because they have to, and have a more consistent progression.

Fingerboards and stuff can definitely supplement experienced climbers who know exactly what's going on and exactly where they are lacking, but the act of climbing is the only perfectly balanced exercise that improves climbing, so I'm wary of someone who is not really really good at climbing already wanting to use a fingerboard. I know at ~V6, I still feel like technique is holding me back and I still rely on my strength too much -- a fingerboard would just tax my tendons off the wall and be a waste of time.

Baldbeard
Mar 26, 2011



ConspicuousEvil posted:

I've been lurking quite a bit in this thread and have noticed some odd trends. It seems like there's a lot of misinformation being disseminated here, mostly about injuries and training. First of all there are a few different types of holds that can cause injuries and those injuries are not all the same.

Tendon injuries typically occur while pulling on pockets and, less often, slopers. There are lots of tendons in your hands and arms. You could pull on a pocket too hard and pop a tendon somewhere in your forearm, or just in your palm.

The most common injuries are actually to the annular ligaments and less often the cruciate and collateral ligaments in your fingers. These occur from stress the tendons put on the ligaments while closed-, or even half-, crimping.

I think it's really important that anyone posting up here asking for advice should first give us a rundown on how hard they climb (only so we understand what suggestions might be most helpful), how many years, and what they already to for training in addition to the specific things they want to improve.

I would be more apt to chime in here and give my $.02, for whatever that's worth, if there was more background being given. Seems like most people are assuming everyone asking for advice is a beginner, which may be a fairly safe assumption, but not always the case.

On a lighter note, I'm going to Joe's in a couple of weeks. Anyone else got some good climbing trips planned?

That's a good point. "Ligaments" and "tendons" are sometimes used interchangeably here and by a lot of climbers in general. I think because both do not traditionally 'strengthen' as regular muscle would, both take much longer to heal than muscle, and both need different care for rehabilitation than muscle. I think the assumption that most questions come from beginners is that the question most often asked is, "What kind of exercises can I do to increase my grip?, and it's usually presented like, "My grip is really holding me back!".

That line of thinking is dangerous because not understanding that grip/forearm strength does not equal finger tendon/ligament strength leads a lot of people to going apeshit on fingerboards and crimps, thinking the 'no pain no gain' methodology that works for getting sweet biceps applies to finger strength.

Baldbeard
Mar 26, 2011



WYA posted:

Thats a completely normal price for Toronto from what I've seen, which is sort of prohibitive from doing rock climbing at all.

They all have a first lesson for around 50$ which includes equipment rentals. Is that worhtwhile to get into it, do I even need a lesson for climbing rocks, or can me and my bud just go and figure it out ourselves?
You cannot top-rope at most gyms unless you are certified there through a lesson and/or preform some kind of demonstration of harness and rope knowledge. If you make it clear you are just going to boulder (no ropes, less height, 'crash pads' or padding is used), then some gyms will give you a free quick lesson that goes over the basics like safely falling, gym rules, and how routes are organized. At least one person in your group should have these basic rules and ideas behind safely bouldering explained to them.

Likely everyone will have to pay the day pass fee, shoe rental fee, and at least one chalk bag shared between the group.

Baldbeard
Mar 26, 2011



All about corn huskers post climbing. I hate the smell, but the stuff absorbs into your skin faster and easier than anything I've ever tried by a factor of 10.

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Baldbeard
Mar 26, 2011



Colonel J posted:

Just got back from the gym, this is hard as hell! But so much fun. My forearms and fingers are shot. Right now it seems like my grip strength is by far my greatest weakness, although thinking back footwork would probably be it. It's really confusing when you're starting out and I need to learn to relax, take my time and place my feet. It's hard to do when I'm just barely hanging off the wall! I was able to get a few V1's in, which I'm pretty happy about.
Awesome! Yeah my first session was just like that, very exciting. The good news is your forearms only hurt like that for the first few sessions generally, and your grip is almost positively just fine. Couple more sessions and you will be able to focus more on the fun stuff.

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