Maintaining strength on a trip
Two years ago when I was climbing in Spain, I had to go back home to work, but I went back to Spain only 1-2 weeks after. While I was at home, I trained hard and I sent all of my projects in Spain when I got back. Ideal for me would be to spend a few weeks climbing outside, go back home to train and do normal-life-stuff, and then go back. But making that happen is challenging unless you can climb for your living and have a partner with a similar schedule.
Now I’m on my way back home to Finland from Switzerland and Austria where we climbed for solid three weeks + driving which took a couple of days (and the recovering from that 😅). We climbed mostly in Voralpsee in Swiss, close to Austrian border, and we had some intro days and also our last climbing day in Zillertal, Tirol.
Having both, the mode to perform well outside and have a snap and power you get by climbing indoors is hard when travelling for a while. When you’re only climbing outside, you might start getting weaker and therefore not be able to send hard stuff you first planned of doing. That is simply because climbing outside is much more technical and you can compensate a lot with your footwork. Of course it is not as this black and white and depends of a trip, place and a the style of the routes etc. 🙌
Climbing outside brings something for indoor climbing as well. Route reading skills (if you’ve done mileage and onsighting), much more relaxed but strong climbing style (I’ve felt that way… 😊) and fresh mind and the change of doing a little different style of climbing does good for the body too! Mixing up different climbing styles always keeps the motivation high and helps preventing injuries <3. Getting burn out by trying just a one single hard route might cause you an injury. So letting go for a couple of days or at least for a day might be a good idea especially if you have started to feel anxious about giving tries or have started to feel imbalance on your arms or upcoming repetitive strain injury. When I was projecting Joe Cita, 9a, in Oliana a year ago, I got really obsessed because I got so close on doing it for 7 times. Conditions were bad and unfortunately I had to leave Spain and the route. All I got as a suveneir was a bad golf-elbow pain 😅.
🌷 FIRST 🌷
Get a hangboard. 🔥 A small one is nice to carry to the crag but bearing up the Flash Board by Tension Climbing is definitely worth it. There is also the Problem Solver or a smaller portable one by PUC Series. On FIngerschinder one you can also warm up the pinch muscles and thumbs :D .
Find the local gyms. 🔥One with a campus board, fingerboard, weights and a system wall would be ideal. In Voralpsee we went to Buchs to Sparta Bouldering which has an amazing wooden system wall, campus board and fingerboards! A gym in Rankweil had a moonboard if you’re into that!!! We were :D . They also had a campus board, fingerboard but no weights or a stretching area.
Get your ass to the gym on a rainy day. 🔥 I decided to do a workout once a week to keep the power up. In the end of the trip I slacked cause I wanted to get as many routes done and just send the projects. I can train and climb indoors when I get back at home!
Having a fingerboard on a trip is crucial in my opinion! It helps with warming up and maintaining finger strength. If there’s no gyms any nearby you can in the worst case do a hypertrofic strength or strength endurance training (like the Beastmaker app training).
🌷 A Couple of Finger Strength Training Exercises 🌷
In hypertrofic strength training you rest 1min between the sets and on each set you hang for 8 seconds, come down for 5 secs. Total of the sets is 4-5. In strength endurance you rest 2.5min between the sets, hang for 7 secs, come down for 3 secs. Total of the sets is 2+ but I usually do 7. This is really good when training for routes. But in trips I’d rather “train” strength or power endurance on the routes and focus more on maximum strength and contact power (the snap) which you get from a campus board.
Maximum Strength. For this one you need a 15mm grip and weights, harness, sling and a carabiner. You also need a timer! If you don’t have anyone to take time, you can use the beastmaker app and set the hanging time to 10sec!
Exercise: Hangtime 8-12sec til failure, 3 min rest, 5 sets. Use half-crimp and add weights depending on how long you can hang.
Huge thanks for Stian Christophersen for introducing me these exercises! Stian is an amazing coach and a physiotherapist from Norway. He also wrote a training book for climbing (which is unfortunately in Norwegian ;) ) One of his athletes is crazy strong and an amazing athlete Tina Hafsaas who has been in the Lead climbing finals in World Cup on 2017.
I saw a huge improvement in my climbing after starting doing this 1-2 a week. I didn’t see the results immediately but I noticed gaining power in couple of weeks.
🌷 How I’d build the session: 🌷
Campus board. 🔥 Warm up on the big rungs. Move to the smaller ones when your fingers are warm enough. Do latters (up and down ones too), basic 1-3-6’s, 1-4-6, double dynos, pump ups till failure etc… There’s plenty of important ones phuh. Rest is 3+ mins between the sets and try not to get too fatigue and do toooo much.
Maximum Strength 🔥 on a hangboard (see above)
Pull Strenth. 🔥 While I’m resting 3min between the sets, I’m doing maximum core like frontlevels and one arm pull ups. Usually assisted ones :D
System wall. 🔥 I try not to climb too much (that’s hard). On the system wall I set boulders where I try to imitate the crux on my project or just improve my weaknesses. Which in my case are dynamic and long moves.
“Non-Climbing Exercises.” 🔥 Stretching, physio and opposing muscle groups.
In this session I got a little too excited and I did also a lot of core, shoulders, lats, chestflies and press handstands. I definitely felt these on the next day! But the point is to push yourself to get stronger… Right? 😉
Fingers felt strong tho and I felt snappy on the routes which was the plan anyway!