Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Fingerboarding for first timers - Effective and simple advice with workouts to get you started....

With the huge amount of training information out there for fingerboarding... hang times vs rest, set numbers, cycles, half crimp, full crimp, max hangs etc etc..   It is easy to be overwhelmed and not really know the best approach to get started.

Here are some basic 'rules', a simple target and a tried and tested routine that will work for climbers at any level. A quick start into the world of finger strength training and a basis to work from to develop and tweak your fingerboard training..

The routine is essentially based on a long time served weight lifters strength program, aimed at new lifters but also a go to routine for experienced lifters wanting to continue good base level strength.

The principles when 'tweaked' transfers very well to fingerboard strength training.
This is a routine I have used for years, every year at the start of a winter training season..

Open Handed hangs on the Crusher Matrix

The Rules

1. Warm Up - 10 minutes

 - 5 Second Hang (both hands all fingers in Open Handed position) with 10 Seconds Rest between Hangs for a duration of 3 minutes. Performed on holds you can easily hold.

 - 1 Pull Up (flat hold or jug) with 10 Seconds Rest between for a duration of 2 minutes. Use a foot stool for assistance if you require.

 - 5 Second Hang (both hands all fingers in Half Crimp postion) with 10 Seconds Rest between Hangs for a duration of 3 minutes. Performed on an edge you can easily hold.

 - 1 Pull Up (flat hold or jug) with 10 Seconds Rest between for a duration of 2 minutes. Use a foot stool for assistance if you require.

2. Hangs Must be performed with shoulders and elbows engaged, no slouching straight armed and hanging on the joints - feels as if you are about to pull into a pull up.

Half Crimp hang on the Crusher Matrix

The Targets

4 Finger Open handed Hangs (see top picture)

3 Finger Half Crimped Hangs (above picture)

why?....   they are some of the most commonly used, they are the most stable positions, they translates well into other hangs that you are going to save for training in the future! ... see two finger pockets and monos training blog coming soon...

The Routine (protocol) - 5 on 5 Training

Total Duration - 6 weeks 
Week Duration - 2 times a week

Hang Duration - 5 seconds
Hang Repitions - 5 times
Rest between Hangs - 5 seconds
Number of Sets - 5 times
Rest between Sets - 5 minutes

Total - 24 minutes 10 seconds (See tabatatimer at the bottom of this post for routine protocol)

Perform the 4 Finger Open Handed hangs for the first fingerboard session in the week, then the 3 Finger Half Crimp for the second session in the week.

The hangs should be performed on a full first digit edge, that is an edge that approximately 20-25mm deep.. the outside bottom edge on the Crusher Matrix for example.

The Appropriate Loading - 80 to 90% of your single repetition maximum.

This is the maximum weight of yourself plus or minus extra weight for you to perform a hang on the edge in use for 4 seconds before failing.

It is very important to get this correct, it is the ideal level of stimulus for the muscle to develop pure strength gains.

You will need to work this out for both 4 finger and 3 finger hangs. 

So before you start the routine... use a rucksack, weight belt or pulley system to add or subtract weight until you find you are failing at 4 seconds.
Add your body weight & this extra amount together and multiply by 0.8. This is your appropriate loading.

e.g. Jimbob weighs 80kg, he adds 40kgs to his rucksack to achieve a 4 second hang.  

80 + 40 = 120kg x 0.8 = 96kgs 
96 - 80 = 16kgs total extra

As a 'rule of thumb' the appropriate load will mean you begin to fail on the last hangs on the last couple of sets. This is ideal! 
If you make it through the whole work out... add more weight.
If you fail in the middle of the routine... add less weight. 


This will get you started and you should see gains after a 6 week cycle of this. Take a rest from fingerboarding for a week after this. You can then go into a second 6 week cycle try and try to increase the weight added and increase your loading stimulus.

The alternative would be to incorporate a Max hang session or three into the 6 week cycle, plus moving onto training a different more 'stressful' hang... this I will cover in another blog..

Incorporating these into a normal climbing week by doing them after a rest day or before you have a climbing session. 


tabatatimer.com is a very useful tool for fingerboard session timing....

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Win a Matrix Competition & Board Reviews Time

So to kick off your 2013 training fest with a bit of wooden inspiration, why not enter the Win a Crusher Holds Matrix Fingerboard Competition. All you have to do is go to the Crusher Holds Facebook Gear Page and 'Like' it... dead simple!
When we get to 1000, someone will be drawn from a hat and bobs your uncle, you'll Win our Top of the Range Fingerboard...  a serious bit of kit for some serious finger strength training. Ask Stevie!

Crusher Holds facebook Gear Page Competition just click 'Like'

So what else has been happening in the Crusher Holds world. Well its only taken me 9 months to write on here, so here's a rare treat for ya. As of 10am today there has been zero nicotine breathed and the fat controller upsatirs is currently stomping about changing the points as and when he wishes... with no appreciation for the fact that I would actually like to concentrate on any said task for more than 30 seconds. So yep its come to this narcissism... in some attempt to stay on track, Grsh, hopefully I'll stay with it this time.


Well its been busy busy busy with the lead up to Xmas, which fortunately hasn't affected climbing to much, 'cause this dear little island with its a damp problem hasn't been very giving this year and I struggle to piece together a handful of climbing highlights.. so I won't. Bollocks to it, you can be as disinterested and bored reading this as I am with British climbing.

Cellars on the other hand are definitely in Vogue and currently providing a life line to the depleted psych reserve. The recently established Boulder Nelson and the self established Boulder Darwen giving 50 and 60 degrees of core busting, joint wrecking wood therapy. Boulder Nelson with its endless crimps and tiny foot holds give the fingers and locks a great workout and my place, a bit easier on the fingers but systematically able to destroy shoulders and work core to death. Handy, very handy, and spending some good time stuck under these things you'd have thought I'd be getting strong. Well may be.. may be it might pay off next year, or may be I might just getting good at climbing 4 metres of wood..
They are great resources and all of us that have been using them, have commented on the benefits of board training, nothing new in that in the slightest but everyone seems to just go down the wall these days and its easy to forget, so yep clear improvements have been seen all round. Dedicated training in late 30s improvement shocker! Definitely a worth while investment knocking one up if you've got the space and the time and will to use one.
Its also been really handy as we've got fingerboards up at both venues, obviously I've stuck Crushers up, a Megarail at mine and a Matrix at Pete's... this means sticking in a few hangs in the middle and at the end of sessions has been effortless, no need for seperately warming up etc. and it again confirmed the benefits of a board, and actually pulling a finger out and getting on them. The finger injury of last year now gone and my mono strength is probably the best its been in 15 years.

Anyhow away from the happy sunny northwest training venues to some dungeon in the south of france, and some good news in that an ex pat got hold of a Matrix board and did a review... being rather handy and one of the most in the know blokes when it comes to all matters of climbing... with much dedication to grunt, grrrr, squeezzze and hoiyykke.
...a few weeks in and he'd boshed out 1500 pullups in a sesh on it. Nice.

Here's what he had to say about the board..


So thats that, I may be back soon with more vital crusher information for your needs...  but here's a few highlights of the dry days for you..

right where's me skins gone...

Another successful Mr Farnell Siege underway.

Vitruvian man at Trowbarrow.

Me about to prove in this universe a tree and a rock ain't that bad a landing and this ain't 7b+.
Some Pill Box Wall action...

Rare dry Caley.... 
Good shooting of Zooyork by Ainsworth..

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Beney and the Bowderstone

They like familiarity round here, as opposed to unfamiliarity. They don’t do that particularly well...  creed, colour, sexual preference, intelligence, humour, conversation, happiness, sporting activities other than fussball, hair length & colour or just general possession of if male.... anything outside of their norm... it usually provokes a response of resistance and hostility. Hard to live with and be around but such is life.

There is always though the exception and that is in one particular familiarity, and I can't take it away from them... Benedictine.   D.O.M. Benedictine to be precise, the liqueur consumed in vast quantities in the east Lancashire area. DOM or "Deo Optimo Maximo" is translated as "to God, most good, most great".... an 'interesting' statement, no doubt conceived as a watertight contract with his greatness by a bunch of shit faced monks trying to stay shit faced.  
Originally introduced into these parts during the First World War when a Battalion from Burnley based in Fecamp, the home of the Benedictine Monks, got a taste for it and immediately started carting it home. The ingredients are a closely guarded secret, but supposedly brandy based with a great deal of herbs and spices added. Its tastes very medicinal and is sworn by in these parts as a cure for colds and essential for healthy living.
My point is, this stuff is actually pretty good, and worth a tipple for those evenings out prior to a cragging day. You know you always get it, have a brandy, have a port that'll sort you out... yeah yeah, as you wake up the next morning with rod in your head. But... their point was proven over the weekend. Feeling a bit under the weather on Saturday, I resided to the pub for a few before bed then drag my arse out Sunday to the stone. Anyway come lock in time, every man and his dog went on the bennies so feeling decidedly worse went for a few knockouts, no loss.
Sunday I got up, a fair bit fuzzy obviously, but physically feeling ok. No sign of the cold, and actually feeling quite psyched for a bit of cranking. Remarkable. Even more so 'cause we were at the stone and the lump usually requires a fair bit of eye popping squeezing to get any success.. not a good situation after a night on the spirits.
So there be my sermon, benny not bourbon!

Anyway it was a good craic, loads of usual banter and quite a bit of effort going in to stuff, and plenty of excuse tourets going about.
I've been really psyched for Phantom, the Gaskins 7c+ that crosses from Picnic Sarcastic into Grand Opera. Had a play last week and it felt close. Its a cracking problem, powerful and crimpy as hell. Brill. Well I was feeling a bit stronger and after a couple of goes knew it was in the bag. So went for it and got to the move to the jug at the top, but it looked absolutely gopping wet so dropped off not fancying an uncontrolled fall. About 5 mins later the ankle bitter dispatched Grand Opera hitting the same jug only to discover it was pretty dry and thus hung it. Back on then. Next go up and I was pretty psyched, managing to use some Jedi mind control tricks to block out some full on distractions (note to self to remember to put pool ball and gaffa tape in bag in future). Got to the move out of the letter box. This is where you grab a small two finger intermediate with the right and swing your heal over into the ramp on Grand. Well I think Pete might have smegged up the letter box 'cause it felt shit, so I was having to really pull hard on the right hand to stay on and whap! next thing I know I'm on the deck, a bit winded and fingers serious ragging. Snapped the flipping intermediate hold. Gutted. Did well to escape without injury as fingers recoiled with some right force. So I was pretty pissed to be honest and still am, I should have done it the go before, and now you’re looking at it being 8a and a whole harder ball game. And, there was no chance of that happening that day. And, needing to come up again to start all over again. Oh well not ideal but no point grumbling.
So apart from that it was a fairly good day. Stuff getting done, sun was out, nice little breeze, birds tweeting in the trees...

 About to bottle the top on Phantom.                               Just before the hold blew.

Pete on Grand, he'll be good one day
that lad when he gets acquainted with
his lower limbs.


Old man slappy french start Ainsworth, inaudible vaudible payback time.

Other stuff to report...
I'm still getting a considerable amount of interest in the blog from a place in Russia no doubt a result of putting 'blue' in the last blog... oh shit done it again oops. I'm also pretty chuffed with the interest in my finger boards coming from outside of the UK, it appears I've a decent following in Norway at the mo  :) 

Also for any Brownstones devotees who are reading this, I've starting cleaning up the long back wall. Really only because I use it every year to get into routing, and get more comfortable moving about when you don’t really want to fall. Think it was Geoff Hibbert who cleaned it all up about 7 or 8 years ago, which must have been a monster job, so it’s done well, but it has been getting a bit overgrown on top last few years. So I've ripped some of the bracken out and cleaned of a few top outs so it should be right if anyone fancies a few high balls.

Anyway that’s all for now, happy cranking, get the bennies in.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Post Font Bleau's

You see what I did there... Bleau's .. Blue's.. eh.. eh?

Ok it’s been a while since last blog; I have made attempts recently to write a few but, well got bored to be honest. Not much use if there's no substance. I tried over the weekend also, sat in the Vaynol in Nant, but the level of the Welsh variety of that intoxicant somewhat similar to our alcohol made a mockery of my attempts. Interesting reading in the morning... each sentence bearing some resemblance to queens english, based around some form of subject or random boggled thought/rant but only linked to the next sentence, inextricably, by location alone.     In fact this not wholly true...  space and time was shared on quite a few occasions, understandable, but more strangely others appeared to have quite clearly continued of their own accord entirely out of controlled space and onto, who knows where? The bar?    

Anyhow, I'll try again.
So what’s the score in the Crusher Holds Fingerboards daddy’s world? Well I pulled my finger out a bit, kept with the new training regime for a good two months, trying to use my cellar for sessions and the body tension exercises... also opposing muscles exercises... and try and not hammer finger strength, to coax the tendonitis away. Also the plan to stay away from the local wall is paying off, training on plastic... eesh.. nice skin friendly, tendon friendly wood for now thank you. I also managed a few days on the grit, and managed a couple of Wales and Lakes trips, then hit Font for a week...

I didn't really manage to much on the grit, burbage was a laugh, did a good circuit of problems, had a play on the 7c Talk to me Martin, got pretty close but the sharp right hand crimper was soon eating skin. Defo one to go back to. Then nearly had a spectacular dismount off the top of the Sheep, the classic 6c+... somehow got in a right pickle, brought my feet by my hands thinking it was all over.. and to be fair, also a little flustered by a rather good looking lycra clad lass sat basically on the finish holds.. anyhow with right hand greasing off and imminent back flip on the cards.. much shouting from below ensued and I managed an all out get as much skin on rock, fore arm, elbow, knee manoeuvre, which managed to udge me a couple of inches up, back in relative control and enough to save face.... oh how close I came to asking for a hand..

Wales trips were good, I've got the bug back for the bouldering there. Crimpy power stuff, pretty uncompromising and not very friction dependant. Welsh grades can be a bit all over the shop, and I guess for the power reason alone, you can either pull the hold or you can't... and maybe a bit of morph as well. But it is pretty stiff on the grades sometimes, which suits me.. you know you’re getting a good tick if you’re chasing a grade...   So I got pretty psyched by Ogof boulder and Sway on. Also decided a bit of Jerry’s Roof action would be good. Managed to bosh of Bus Stop 7c pretty quickly on about my fifth or sixth go (all that body tension training working out). Then had a look a Mr Fantastic, did some really good links on it, then spent a while sorting the start moves out of Jerry's into it. Right up my street, big spans and gurns between descentish holds. Whether it will go is another question but I can see how it would. Is it 8a+ now the footholds broke? 8a+ would be nice!

Lakes trip was good, bit of Bowderstone action. Not been up for a long long time. Maybe the year living up there and being 5 mins away had killed some of the psych for it. Anyhow it was good to go back and relight a small flame for it. Managed to knock of the normal stuff, power pinch, statstick (which I'd not done before), picnic sitter, inaudible vaud, then following in the footsteps of the performance of the Burnley ankle biter Wilkinson, did Impropa Opera 7c... minutes before the X hold bust. Then had a good go on Phantom, nearly sorted all of it, just needed to be fresher I think, so that’s another one on the ever increasing list to go back to.

So roll on Font! What a week! Again, font is another place I've given a wide berth for a few years... 9 in fact! Hammering it in early twenties kind of took away the magic. Anyway it didn't take long at all for that to return... couldn't get my boots on quick enough...  it was kid in sweet shop all over again.
I did try honest, to pace myself and be sensible, but yep what ensued was 6 days on 6 or 7 hours a day, relentless pig in shit, don’t care my toes are bleeding never mind my tips, one knees fucked, and the other legs got groin strain... and Font elbow... shit... forgot about that one... when it takes 20 minutes between goes just to let the pain in the bicep dull enough that you’re not gonna vom onto the starting holds next go, you know your int zone! Really the last day was pretty much that. 

All in all no idea how many problems I did, all a blur, but there were a few good highlights.
The biggest issue was the weather... 20-25deg + with not a cloud in the sky for any day. Not ideal for cranking hard stuff at all, but just ok to get away with dropping the level and going for some classic ticks, chasing them into the shade.

So we went to... some random place first day I can’t remember the name of, Roche aux Sabot, Isatis/ Cuisinière, 95.2, Roche Fin then Rempart/Cuvier.
Sabots was good on the 2nd day, got warmed up then had a good bash for an hour at Sale Gosse, like you've got to if your there. Did ok on it, was getting up on the dish and getting left toe up in the pocket, just couldn't really do anything apart from try and go left hand, and let my right hand rip from the dish. Maybe friction? My excuse. Anyhow nipped around then for the afternoon, Graviton 7a & Jetset 7a being highlights plus a great effort from the drew and myself for the last hour trying was is quite possibly the hardest 6b on the planet, the slabby arete opposite Jetset, can't remember the name but it involved rocking onto a high left foot smear on the slab with right hand on the blunt arete... along way from the top, which is where you needed to go next... impossible. (update.. cheers Mr. E.. its
L'angle à jean-luc, red 25, and is 6c... sandbagged again!...  http://bleau.info/sabots/5754.html )

Cuisinière was good, supposedly the rest day but, quite quickly got psyched by the chaps trying a couple of 7a roofs, can't remember the names but they were over the right of Beetle Juice, relatively new problems, rounded roof and slopey heel hook top out... this lead to boots coming out and some gurning and slapping, and whale style belly flop top outs by everyone. Then it was over to Isatis late on and I got pointed in the direction of Les Deux Font la Paire 7a+/7b a cracking problem, the old subtle power and finding the sweet spot problem again, managed it in a couple of goes so was chuffed. Then onto yet another problem I forget the name... some 7a behind Les Deux, a sitter into a short crimpy arete. More mooching about followed and a couple of easish problems to finish.

95.2 well was warm! Very warm, a tiny hint of wind but probably 25 in the sun. Anyway I set to on a mission, I'd never been to 95 before and the guide was lashed with quality looking 7s and most of them sat in the shade. So dump the bag, top off, grab pad, boots, chalk, water and smokes and sorted for an afternoon of wandering, discovering and working on a tan. A quick couple of warm ups then I jumped on Miss KGB, a 7a+/b wall, not uber classic but some great long moves on opposing holds. Subtle, powerful, stretched and needing body/toe power... just like brownstones ;) Anyway it had just come out of the sun and wasn't happening. So onto Le Mur de la Fosse aux Ours the little 7a two move wonder. It was sat in the shade and friction good. Cracking little problem, one of those layaway pull and push of a shit smear altogether jobs, try and over power it and it won’t work. Get some momentum and find the sweet spot and just go with it, and plop you hit the top.
Then wandered over to Retour aux Sources again a cracking 7a, over hanging/arete, bow of a ship, prow thing. Now this was 'in the sun' it was like hanging onto a hot pan. So first go for the flash I was pulling pretty hard, I stuck my left heal on the obvious jug and hoiyked for the left side pull... bang! Shit! Pain! Knee. I knew what it was straight away. Done a similar thing a few years ago on Mira Hindley at kilnsey. When you twist your knee and load it heal hooking, a tendon can ping over the top of your fibular on the side of your knee... usually with an almighty crack. It flicks back straight away, but you are the left with a fair bit of pain and a knee that won’t pull back for a couple of weeks. Not ideal half way into a trip.
Anyway the pain went quickly and I was able to tentatively still heal hook, managing to finish off Retour after a few goes. Really top problem.
Onward with the wanderings, then bumped into Drew n Helen who doing the red circuit, played about a bit ticking a few, then headed back over to Miss KGB. Friction was up and after a few plays with different sequences managed to do it. Not without feet popping as I hit 2nd to last and last move for the top... skin of teeth job. Cool. I then gave the route to the left, Mister Proper 7a+ some attention, well some attention meaning about 30 goes. Found a horrible pressy sequence requiring a lot of toe power to stay on the foot holds, but it was working and getting me into the top crack. Could I do it though? No. Solid. So that was that time to stop. 95.2 another cracking crag for a low 7s climber.

Next day was Roche Fin, home of the minotaur. A remote venue about a 2k walk and just after Diplodocus. Being such a walk means its dead, and you can guarantee you'll probably have it to yourself. First off my knee had ceased up over night and walking was proving difficult. So I grabbed the guitar and followed the others opting for an easy one munching quality bread and quality Philadelphia. Within minutes they'd jumped on Mémoire d'Outre Tombe, classic roof with a couple of variation around 7a/7a+ & 7b, one flash ascent by Andy and a lot of slapping and grunting by the others. Quality efforts.
Anyhow not wanting to get involved I went for a wander leaving them to it, no chance my knee could cope with hooking in a roof. Pretty quickly I noticed a massive amount of really good looking problems on the red circuit. Most of them 5s and few 6a's & b's. I mean circuits are good, very good, but you usually have a fair deal of none problems, those that just make up the numbers. This one is the total opposite. Everyone is an absolute classic and I can highly recommend. Check it out if you fancy... http://bleau.info/fin/circuit121.html. So on with the boots and try pottering round to see if the knee can handle it. Well after about an hour, it was warmed up and ok, bit of hobbling but nothing to moan about, so I went for the Red Circuit. I probably did around 30 of the 35 problems, some steep juggy stuff, slopey font rounded technical stuff and a few proper nose grinder finishes. Got to say it was class, best circuit I've done, not too taxing but needing to be on the ball with technique.. So what was looking like a bad day turned into probably the best day of the week.

So last day was a quick visit to Rempart then into Cuvier. Bizarrely it was really quiet. We decided to have a burn on a few classics and goes without saying finish off on the carnage block. As always last day of the hol I was starting to really get into the font style again, moving quick and pretty smooth. Had a crack at La Balance, I've done quite a few of the tougher problems round there before but never got on with Balance, struggled with the first move so I've always avoided it.
First go I'm up shared on the big sloper staring the next slopey layaway thing out right in the face.. hang that and it’s done. Well I shit myself. Virtually flashed the thing. But, that hesitation was enough and bumf I'm on my back side. A bit of a shocker, felt a totally different problem than did years ago, obviously something was working a lot better, maybe friction, maybe power, or maybe just not hesitating and moving quicker. Psyched again, and up for a battle. I probably gave it a good hour and after getting up on the sloper a good few times it just wasn't sticking. Anyhow close but no cigar, one to defo go back for now.

After this time to go at the classics, team onslaught style, Abbetoir, Carnage, Charcuterie, Cortomaltese, Berezina, Holey Moley, all getting done or not done in some form or other. Plenty of pain and sado finger masochism all-round, amazing how you still enjoy this stuff, especially as when you hit the finish holds minor implosions go off in your biceps and your elbows try to eat themselves.

The highlight of the day maybe the week was Helens ascent of Fissure Morin, the minging crack to the right of Cortomaltese. After many many attempts, last gasps of the day, ready to leave, no skin, no strength, no chalk, sliding and skitting, feet nastily high by hands, one move from the top but poised for a horrid lob, plenty of grunting and screaming, this is really last chance saloon, all out do it or go home... and she throws a proper gritstone jam into the top of the crack to save the day.. and thus foot up and swing into balance and the top... everyone explodes.. fucking brilliant. Happy home time.

Well nice one of you got to the end of this, bit of a holiday tick list blog, but hey if it’s your sort of read hope you enjoyed.
I'm endeavouring to write a short story of tales of woe, bravery, youthful stupidity and lakeland classics... stirred up borrowdale memories from yesteryear, so hopefully this will be up next for your perusal.


Monday, 13 February 2012

Not a lot.

Not a lot happened over the weekend, thought the weather would crap out so decided to work Sat and Sun, and try and get a couple of board sessions in in the eves. It appeared not so though, a couple of the boys got down to the Pass on Sat avoided the ming and did a bit of cranking, with a few good ticks going down, nice to see the old mans still got skills ;)

Well anyhow I decided on the 2 pint an hour rule for the weekend, so I put a 3 hour cellar sesh in on Friday night, overan a bit and only just managed to catch the lock in, but being so late that gave me a couple of pint credits. Sat, I had a long day and was still a bit stiff from Friday so I had an easy night, opting to eat large quantities of chicken and use the credits. Sun, more work, but home by 6, so I opted for a quick board session. It was one of those when you feel awful to start, really creaky, and not psyched at all, but after a 45 mins I was really warmed in and pulling quite hard, and up for it again. Crucially the tendonitis in my left wasn't showing and I could fully bear down, so again put about 3 hours in.

Ive got a circuit going now on the system board, 8 exercises/problems that are mirrored, thus 16 problems, each between 5-8 moves, with 2 mins rest between each... so about a 40 minute workout. Its kind of just getting into the power endurance thing, which is not exactly what I want, but I was finding it too hard to stay warm, and I was well.. just getting bored, so shorter rests it is. For the first half though it seems fine, but the second half recovery isnt totally full with the 2 minutes get quicker and quicker. Which means I'm having to really hang in there by the end. Anyhow I like it, seems to be working already, so I'm going to stick with it.

After this, a quick 10mins rest, then I'm into an hour working a few projects. These are vagually devised around a couple of things I'd like to get done. I'm trying to be really strict though and make sure I fully rest between goes.. minute a move job, its so easy to just plow on and blow out on that board. One of the problems is an easier replica of the crux on the longridge reverse (a good grade easier), its taken a couple of weeks to build up the body tension, to be able to throw my foot out on it, but I've got it dialled now. So I've been doing reps on the problem, this should build up my left crimp strength and the stability when I cut loose, and hopefully will translate to the real thing.
Another is super simple right hand small boney crimp and throw through, nearly campusey but not quite. The plan is to get back on a problem at almscliff, I tickled the break a couple of times years ago, when all I did was campus, but never had quite enough to do it. This sort of mimics the move, although my boards a little steeper, but it should relate. Again its a grade or so easier, which should work well for training on, thats when I get round to actually doing it anyway...
What would be good for the board project as well is to link these 2 problems together... 8a/8a+ for sure.

Finished off with half hour or so circuit training.. body tension, pressups, really wide pull ups and stretching..

Ok enough rabbiting, here's a quick vid of said projects if you've got a minute and half to waste..

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Get a Book!

Well I've decided in order to get my arse in gear for the summer, that, rather than building a massive training plan to concentrate soley on training 3 things. Everything comes in 3s. Weaknesses it is. Body tension, antagonists & open handed left hand. Everything else can sort itself out, and by its self.

After watching this vid http://youtu.be/enMb85tE67M of Chris Webb Parsons at the depot comp, go to 58 secs, as the flicks across the roof, he goes from kicking his foot above his head to counter the swing to perfectly stopped on the returning swing... and he doesn't even look like he's trying... it just made me think again, for all the arm umpff in the world it means bugger all if you cant keep a grip of the lower bit.

So fortunately having a 60deg board in my cellar, that's a bit of system board, coming up with some tension exercises has been easy. Small footholds big moves! ...a one foot climbing 6 move exercise that is mirrored and a desperate bachar ladder style slap and control the swing as another. Pretty simple stuff but quick and easy to stick in a session.

Antagonists... well i've been doing these for a bit.. mainly as an ongoing treatment for the back.. so press ups, working up to maybe a couple hundred at the end of a session and kneeling plank superman things for middle and lower back strength. 6 sets of 20 second holds each side.

Open left hand.. a combination of a ten minute routine on the Matrix and another simple idea of sticking a slopey first digit 3 finger hold as a finish hold rather than a jug on the board. The idea being to always finish on this hold, cut loose and hang for 5 or 6... im working upto this!

Im definately coming round to the way of thinking again with having such a little amount of time to train, that to get the most out of my time on a board, its got to be simple, pretty specific, and easily quantifiable. The sort of thing after a day in the office when psych is low, you just get a brew on roll a tab, get in the cellar and do the routine, no planning, no major head ache, and simple to gauge the gains... and being creatures of habit and all that, make it a habit! So these should take up a good portion of a session leaving a bit of messing about on projects and doing some general system board problems.

..Funny.. I found my training note book the other day from around 2001... I look back now and realise I actually really pulled my finger out... for six months ... I used to campus 3 times a week in between normal climbing and the sessions were super simple...  8 sets of 1 4 7 10 up and down, followed by usually 4 or 5 sets of  2 3 4 5 6 fall off .. on the 10mm rungs. Then maybe an hour of easish problems. With it being logged, it was easy to turn up psyched to better the last session or quickly realise you were tired, not on it, and back off. Make the most of a session and go home happy. Maybe the simplicity suited me, no faffing, just get on and do it.

Anyway it sort of worked... I went from just managing a single one armer to doing 8, and from being pretty useless of the rungs to clipping the 9 on a 1 5 9 a few times...   nothing to shout about these days but I managed the improvement pretty quick. Of course they were my weaknesses at the time but I really targetted them and didn't get distracted.. and it was written down...  hmmm...

So... I'm thinking go simple and go specific... and I've bought a book!

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Demon Wall

Application and motivation are strange things. Over the years I’ve found myself applying, not just having a go, giving it a good try, half arsed acting out drunken dreams, but full on 100% totally consumed life defining stuff. I could probably count the number of times on one hand and the outcome’s have never been earth shattering, fairly mediocre to be honest but they’ve always had a marked effect, achieving something new and are defined memories. Trouble is, when you want to be in that place, when you need to be in that place, you never seem to have it. How do you find that sort of motivation, what is that captures your imagination so profoundly that all aspects of your life are dimmed in significance, that one thing that becomes your waking thoughts, destructive yet life enhancing.  Well... for the last few years I’ve been missing it. I’ve given myself a fighting chance, put myself in shitty grit quarries, clambered under limestone roofs, sat at the bottom of slopey grit boulders, trekked up to mountain crags in all weathers, even broken out the axes in the Lakes.
I think you never know where it’ll come from, the line, the history, the holds, the movement, the grade.. but as long as you’re stood there you have a fighting chance of it capturing you.

I remember as a scrawny 19 year old walking over to north stack, I’d read the history, heard the dramatic stories, the runout, the quality, the reputation, all of this really meant very little, too young and green to care, but as soon as I caught a glimpse of the white face, the flake and top wall, it was like a smiley pill had just plopped in my stomach.

6 months later I was stood at the bottom warmed up, freshly resoled vectors biting into my toes, hours and hours crimping on the Otterspool  Park wall in my arms and wanting it, want that I didn’t know existed. It was my first 6 and I wanted a goodun, I’d picked one of the best. My mate gave me the thumbs up, “go on you can have it, look after yourself”. And away I went. I got to the flake without too many worries...  stepped up from the low rising traverse a bit early, down climb, try again, quite nervous but on the ball, threads on the spikes and rocks in the crack, clip the tat and then reach out right to the flake. Now it was time to go, don’t hesitate like usually, look left gear is good, just climb, be confident, read the moves, relax, do what’s natural... and yey, quick rock over and sorted, onto the little boss, nice, crux done. Ok, right, rrrighhttt, that’s the bolt! Sheeat! Clip it! Breathe and look up, this is it, the top wall....... boom, wow it’s a lot flippin bigger now I’m here. My heart went off like an express train; I started that slight dizzy spin, vision going a little bit furry, ears starting to whistle. Fight or flight, we all know it.. well this certainly wasn’t fight. Now as I remember as a kid this happened a lot to me, the big lad in the second year that’s just punched me in face, I’ve no chance don’t even think it, certain death, run, run like fuck. It was always a good option. An option that always worked when things got too much and out of depth.

Well this was different, the thought of committing to 35 feet above was tormented, back off now like usual while you can, but then there’s a burn inside that doesn’t want to give in. Breath, calm down, think clearly, make a rational decision. Preparation Probes, you’ve been laps on stuff way harder than this down Otterspool and you’re not even pumped, you’ve got this, just go with it, you really want this, go on dare to stay, no need to run now. It sounded good to me at the time and still does to this day. It was a stepping stone, a big step and to this day what I learnt in those couple of minutes, has stayed. 

A couple of minutes later I found myself pulling through the slopey ledge, big grin, amazing climbing, amazing situation, no fuss, no flapping, just enjoying it. Shit Hot.

Well the point of this rambling is that as much as the Cad was a big progression in learning to keep it together on a bold route, it was the motivation I had behind it, that drove me, drove me to the situation, to the experience, to the lesson with thankfully such a good outcome...  that is now I realise gold.

You see motivations in people from all different angles, but there is always quite a unique type, one that is driven without pretention or ego, greed or glory. And it’s great to see. Watching a young lad trying Stu’s Roof at the Cliff over the weekend, I saw it in him. He was so psyched, psyched out of his mind and he wanted it for no other reason than to just.. well.. have it. And its infectious, just his presence at the little roof got us all psyched. And without realising it I was getting the bug for a problem, 3 hours later and it wasn’t happening, walked away empty handed. But that little thing had gone off in my head, and I’ll be back, fresh skinned and ready. A couple of feet of grit, no classic, not the greatest line but with the bug for it. 
Question is where do I find a big one... you know one that’ll go for a year, two years, one you can apply everything too, as much as it takes until you do it... hmm...