Rock Climbing Conditioning
Column #78, 7th November 2009
What does it take to enhance your performance on the rock? Like all great athletes, whatever their natural ability, achieving success comes from practice, practice and more practice. Basically, if you don’t get yourself on the rock, it doesn’t matter how many chin ups you can do in the gym. This is sound functionally-specific theory, but you may be surprised to hear that there are many decisions you can make away from the rock/wall that will significantly complement your performance.
Components of Climbing Fitness
Many of you will not be surprised at all by this revelation. You may be perfectly aware of the many physical and psychological components of fitness required to excel at your sport. The question is how many of us act on them and are able to get the balance right in our training programs? This is an important consideration as my experience as a strength and corrective exercise coach has identified that without it, you will go one of two ways: Either a plateau in performance levels or breakdown and injury somewhere along the line, eventually preventing progress.
Science Behind Climbing
Are you using the same conditioning techniques that people were using 20 years ago? Don’t get me wrong, the tried-and-tested are among the best, but you still need to keep up with the cutting edge developments that save you recovery time and get faster results, building on what we already know works. To find out the science behind climbing, for the next few months I will discuss these developmental techniques, with the aim to complement (not replace) your current training.
Cutting Edge for Rock Climbers
When you work with a health and performance professional you not only get the expert therapy or coaching, but you also get the know-how of when to apply and how to plan each step, together with a network of others. This ensures that you receive the right input at the right time. What techniques and strategies are being used by the most successful athletes today?
· Postural correction for injury prevention
· Core conditioning and scientific back training for an increased power base.
· Strength and conditioning for climbing-specific fitness
· Instant Muscle Strengthening Techniques.
· Bodywork (The Bowen Technique) for connective tissue health.
· Nutrition for greater energy levels, strength, growth and repair.
· Periodised training programmes for optimised load stimulus and repair.
· Physiotherapy for shoulder, wrist, elbow and lower back pain.
· Recovery Strategies.
Connective Tissue Health
Whilst tuning all these components specifically to a climber’s needs is important, in the next article I want to focus on one particular area……..the connective tissue (fascia). This is what gives you stability, strength, power and structure. It is possibly the most important tissue for a climber. When you see a skilled climber at work, the defined and toned body is due to the properties of connective tissue. It integrates and connects the whole body meaning that it is possible to hang your whole body weight off of one fingertip. Being ‘as strong as your weakest link’ is pertinent to climbing and if you want to iron this out in your athletic ability you need to find out what you don’t know about the connective tissue or Fascia.