Over the past nine months or so that this blog has been running I have covered a variety of topics that cover just what climbing fitness is. Rather than be specific I have had a rather holistic approach on the one hand to focus on individual needs, and on the other hand to try and account for the fitness of the body and mind as one unit. So whilst you might be physically in the best shape ever, if your head isn’t with you then no end of climbing fitness will get you up the route. In an attempt to give you a quick over view of the topics I have covered I am going to try and link back to the best bits of the last few months work.
In terms of the physical side of climbing, the main this you need to do is learn to identify your weakness and skills you need to reach your goals, through something like mind mapping or performance profiling, as well as know how to train them. Typically these fall into three areas of the holistic climbing machine which includes the physiological (You Fitness for Climbing), Cognitive (the psychology of climbing), and Bio mechanical (Movement efficiency). If we look at these three individually then there are several post already in existence on this blog.
Physiologically, climbing can benefit from getting stronger, increasing your aerobic capacity and increasing your anaerobic endurance. Depending on you aspiration and goals what you spend your time training for will vary, you might find yourself fluctuating your training requirements throughout the year. An absolute must for any physiological training is the application of overload, to allow you to make those much needed improvements.
The cognitive needs of the sport require us to be able to perform at our limit of physical ability in perhaps some of the most risky positions we will ever encounter. The anxiety that climbing induces can reduce us to being a total beginner as our minds basically stop running on auto-pilot and have to think through everything. There are various strategies to help address these issues include use of self-talk, imagery, relaxation, self belief, increasing confidence and fall practice. Further mental skills are developing a routine and preparing properly before climbing
In terms of becoming more efficient there are several things that you can do, however for most people who already climb, the biggest issue is unlearning those ingrained bad habits. This is only achievable through lots of good, if not perfect practice. Often done a a low stress and easy environment to allow the number of perfect repetitions to learn the new techniques.