Category Archives: Get Strong

Improving Climbing Performance with the Trailside Kitchen

Psyched on all the veggies!

Before trying out the Trailside Kitchen, I’d never attempted any sort of sustained dietary modification. Most of my meal planning revolves around trying to balance medical school and climbing on a budget. My favorite crag snack is Goldfish, and, more often than I’d like to admit, my pre-climbing breakfast is cannoli from the Italian bakery around the corner (since that’s the only thing open at 6:30 am most Saturdays in my neighborhood). I cook and eat homemade meals about half of the time, but also admit that it is time for some changes so that I can continue to accomplish my career and climbing goals in good health for years to come.

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Dynamic Stretching: Fad or Fact?

What exactly is dynamic stretching, other than some fad circulating from the depths of the internet? Dynamic stretching is the combination of stretching and movement. In other words, rather than holding one position for 10-30 seconds, as you would for a static stretch, you move through a range of motion using both muscular control and momentum.

Here’s an example:

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Static Stretch

Dynamic Stretch

Dynamic Stretch

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Tips from the Pros: For Beginners

A photo posted by Crux Crush (@cruxcrush) on


Today, Alex Beale from 99Boulders — a site focusing on climbing gear and training — joins us to share training advice he dug up from some of the world’s greatest climbers.

1. Alex Honnold

On what he would do if he had to coach a beginner climber:

“If I was trying to train someone to be a good rock climber, I would focus on movement and technique and footwork… The right things [in climbing] are movement and technique. So how you move over the rock. It has nothing to do with how well you can hold on or how hard you pull. It has to do with knowing where your center of mass is and being able to move your body around in the right way so that you can stay balanced over your feet and you can move yourself upward with your feet.”

Source: The Tim Ferriss Show

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Building Climbing Confidence

climbing confidence 1

Most good climbers will say that confidence plays a huge role in their ability to climb well. So much of climbing is mental that not believing you can do a move or make a clip can be the difference between success and failure. I think of gaining confidence like building a wall, each positive experience helps to build up the wall. So what happens when you don’t yet have the confidence to try hard or commit to an insecure move or clip? Or what if a negative experience causes your wall of confidence to come tumbling down?

In my case it was the latter. My mind, which used to be strong and confident, is now filled with self-doubt and insecurity. As I look to the next hold on a route it seems further away and less attainable. My mind tells me that I won’t be able to grab the next hold. My self-doubt makes me expect to miss the dead point before I have even initiated the move. I envision myself botching the clip just as I am about to pull up the rope.

This type of negative thinking holds us back from our goals. So how do we overcome our self-doubt and replace it with confidence? To be honest, I’m not entirely sure. It’s something I’m still working on every time I climb. But I do have a few thoughts that are helping me and I hope they can help you too.

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The Yoga Warm Up for Climbing

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Today, Colorado based yoga instructor and climber, Emma Murray, gives us the low down on the best yoga warm up for climbers. Try it out and work to loosen up those perpetually tight shoulders!

Getting your muscles warmed up before jumping on the wall can not only help prevent injury, it can also get you climbing your best right off the bat. Get on this yoga routine to activate all your climbing muscles. When warming up, movement is key. Dynamic stretching that targets shoulders, hips and lats is particularly important and helpful for climbing. Warming up the muscles in these areas can prevent muscle and soft tissue tears or overstrain on tendons and ligaments. Climbing is a strenuous sport; be kind to your body and take care of it so you can continue for the rest of your life!

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Dyno-ing for People Who Can’t Jump

Dyno

Ready, set, dyno! If we can do it, so can you.

When I say I can’t dyno, I really mean I can’t dyno. There is some gravitational pull connected to my bum that increases ten fold at the exact moment I pump and release to go up. Instead of catapulting upward, I typically plummet to the ground with a loud, confidence-inspiring thud. I tried pumping, visualizing, counting, ejecting, nothing seemed to propel me in the right direction of up. After years of refusing to try any problem or route that involved a dyno, I finally admitted I had a dyno problem and needed serious help to break the process apart and then build it all back up together. Luckily climbing coach and pro, Mike Foley, was open to giving me (and by extension you!) a few pointers on the dyno process. After just three drills, I felt more confident in attempting a dyno and even managed to stick a few dynos since! Below, I’ve described the three easy drills that Mike had me do and included a quick video demonstrating each so that you could set the same drill up at your own gym. These three drills will either warm you up to practice dynos if you already feel confident in the skill, or will allow you to gradually build up to an actual dyno.

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Conquering a Fear of Falling

Climber Fear

Chelsea on Fuzzy Undercling (5.11b) in the Red River Gorge. Photo by Erik Thatcher.

Chelsea has been climbing for 11 years and has dedicated her life’s work to outdoor education as an Outward Bound instructor. The self-proclaimed lover of all styles of climbing: bouldering, sport, trad, mountaineering, and ice, has worked hard to overcome her fear of falling. Today she shares her story with you. 

I was fed up, utterly frustrated, on the brink of quitting climbing all together.

I had spent the majority of my decade-long climbing career not climbing anywhere close to my physical limit. Here I was, an Outward Bound Instructor whose job it was to teach people to push their comfort zones in order to learn what they are truly capable of, and I was not able to do that for myself. It’s not because I didn’t want to. I really did want to know what it felt like to try hard and to climb while pushing my physical limit.

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Tips to Trad: A Beginner’s Guide

When I began trad climbing earlier this spring, I was entirely perplexed about where to start. I kind of felt like…

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And though I’d like to say trad isn’t complicated, that’s not really true.

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The sheer amount of gear alone is overwhelming! Don’t worry, you probably won’t need this much. Photo by Weigh My Rack

The fact is, trad requires an added level of technical expertise and gear than sport climbing – there’s no avoiding that. But when you boil it down, these are essentially the two things you need: skills and gear. Here I’ll walk through elements of each, and provide tips for your first lead. This is by no means comprehensive, but will hopefully give some ideas and a good starting place.

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Mindfulness in Climbing

Photo credit: flowingspiritjourneys.com

Bringing a meditative mindset to the crag.  Photo credit: flowingspiritjourneys.com

Today’s post is from guest contributor Anna Enright, a climber, mother to 2 climbers, and a psychiatric clinical nurse specialist. She works with the youth team at MetroRock Climbing Centers on mindfulness practice for competition performance. We’re lucky that she’s shared some of her tips for honing your focus and awareness to send your next project!

A few summers ago, after years of watching kids in local and national competitions trying to perform their best, I became interested in learning what qualities enable certain climbers to succeed in a high pressure setting and others to falter in the same situation. How can an athlete cultivate those qualities if he/she is having difficulties when performing under pressure? After scouring the literature on the topic of peak performance, I found articles in the fields of neuroscience, positive psychology and mindfulness. Key mental skills include focus/attention, confidence, empowering thoughts and the ability to regulate emotions and energy.

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Warming Up for Your Project with Angy Eiter

Angela Eiter on "Era Vella" her 3rd 9a route. Margalef, Spain. Foto: Bernardo Gimenez

Angy Eiter on Era Vella, her third 9a/5.14d route.

Today, Austrian climber and World Cup multi-medalist, Angy Eiter takes us through her strategy of warming up for projects. As one of a handful of women to ever climb 5.14d, Angy has proven that she’s doing something seriously right, so read carefully, warm up, and get on the send train.

Warming up was always an essential part when I was a competitor, and it was quite obvious to me that my best performances were linked to a good warm up. I consistently followed a strict warm up routine for 90 minutes to perform well at the right moment. Now, as I have shifted my focus to outdoor climbing, my experience as a competitive climber has enormously benefited my climbing projects. Here is the general process I follow when warming up for a project:

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