The many ways I’m doing it wrong

5 Oct 2010 by flerly, 1 Comment »

As a beginner climber, with little to no technique, I’m sure I’m doing many many things wrong. I’m a climber who is inconsistent on 5.8′s, mostly because I can’t think through my route, and find myself awkwardly holding myself on the wall while I think until my arms are shaking and are just done — a situation I shouldn’t get into. There are comfortable ways to hang and rest, but the bent arm holding myself into the wall is my default, even though I know it’s wrong and can feel it wearing me out.

When we’re done climbing, my arms are blasted — in the bicep/tricep area, when it should be a more overall shoulder to forearm and hands tired. After climbing with the gang some last night, James took me upstairs to the shorter wall to practice some techniques like hanging straight armed and using my shoulder to begin my pull toward the wall when I’m ready to move up. And had to remind me 300 times to move my feet up first, because I’m not elastigirl. But, I did climb another 6 times upstairs — struggling through bad technique and “making it harder for myself than it needs to be” — but he did remark my endurance had really improved just to battle up so many times.

My endurance is better, and heck my arms are stronger — despite my quick burnout, and I am still having fun. I’m dying of lack of hand strength — because I dont trust my grip, which is why I tend to pull in to stand so much.  I dunno if I suffer from lack of technique or lack of strength worse, but both I guess will build with continued climbing.

James and I did struggle last night to think of exercises I could do that might improve my shoulder strength and my grip, and he is really encouraging about me keeping my Curves membership because of the type of machines they have for me to work out on. Even though they’re mostly light-weight for toning, it is at least working some of those muscles that you just can’t do without a machine.

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One Comment

  1. Kit says:

    You are so dang hard on yourself. Guess what, we are all doing it wrong, and we are all doing it right. It’s just a matter of what level you are at.

    I can see times where James struggles with things where I can clearly see how he might do it better but it doesn’t matter. It’s not one of those things that has a right and wrong way. It’s just climbing. There are techniques that help, but each body is different so some work better for some people than other people.

    There are no rules, other than those of physics. Full arm extensions are more resting yes. But this post seems like you are really beating yourself up. I say yay to 5.8. I climbed at the 5.8 level for quite a while back in the day. And I still am only climbing 5.9s. So what!?! Am I getting a workout? Yup. Is my flexibility getting better? Yup. Do I care if I am the worlds best climber and make it to some made up tournament? Nope.

    Rock climbing is just that…. climbing rocks. I think calling is a “sport” is simply for the lack of anything else to call it. In my book it’s not competitive other than the casual sort of “can I climb what you climbed”. Even that is totally subjective.

    James out climbs me plenty. He is way taller and weighs less. I out climb him sometimes on lefty routes or some other odd angle stuff I have experience with. You climb stuff that is a challenge for you and you try things that you haven’t before and you work on them until you conquer them. That’s all it’s about. I don’t think you are “Doing it wrong” in the slightest. You are learning how to use your body on the wall, which is EXACTLY what we are all doing. As for exercises that will help you climb. I read once that the only conditioning for climbing was… climbing.

    I am sure I am taking this waaaaay to far, but I worry about you looking at the negative instead of the positive. Like you said, you ARE getting stronger, and you ARE getting better. Most people don’t start out climbing 5.11′s. You are right on track IMO.

    Climbing with boys just doesn’t let you see that very well cause they are just stronger. And those little kids in the gym don’t help either. But trust me, date night comes, and you see regular people climb; even big strong guys who think they need to pull themselves up cause they were in the marines; yeah, they will make you feel good. Hahahah.

    But really, I just wanted to say, books get written and that does NOT make them law. It’s a good reference, but there is no “right” or “wrong” to it. It’s like life. There are self help books, but really, you just figure it out as you go along.

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