Training Tips for Climbers: Not Just Playing To Your Strengths
If I could go back and tell my younger self about strength training, I would definitely talk to 18yr old Ella about the importance of developing a well rounded base level of strength rather than just playing to my natural strengths.
1- Develop your active AND passive grip types.
At the outset of my climbing I favoured open 3 and pocket grips and found myself naturally better at these but they eventually became the only grip types I could work with when at my limit. Over the last 5 years I’ve had to spend a considerable amount of time building my half 4 and pinch strength which were lagging behind significantly and limiting my climbing.
2- Incorporate Strength & Conditioning work
Incorporate S&C (strength & conditioning) work to support your ability to execute burly and athletic movements on steep ground.
In my early years I definitely favoured the straight arm ‘dangle and rotate around the shoulder joint’ type movements. Even though I could climb fairly hard steep roof boulders with this technique, I would struggle on boulders which required basic pull strength.
3- Listen, act and get a second opinion when something doesn’t feel right
I picked up many niggles or developed pretty impactful injuries by not recognising that something didn’t feel right during my training or climbing. With more experience I’ve learnt to recognise that if something doesn’t feel right even though it’s not painful, 9 times out of 10 it’s worth backing off and taking a little more rest.