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A Girl Who Climbs

A blog of bouldering

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Training

The Campus Board | A Newbie’s Journey

Now found in pretty much every climbing gym, the campus board is a well recognised piece of equipment. It was invented by Wolfgang Güllich to aid his training for the very first ascent of the route Action Directe (9a) in Germany’s Frankenjura.

Since my local wall have just put up a new one, I decided to give it a try.

I currently cannot campus particularly well, so realistically there is no point me trying to 1-4-7 my way up some thin slats of wood. At any rate, I’m of the understanding that the campus board is a training tool for improving explosive power and contact strength, not specifically to get better at campusing. That being said, it is a training tool so I think if it’s used sensibly it can give a performance boost and some climbing gains.

 

Before even glancing at a campus board you really need to have climbed for over 2 years, and should be over the age of 16. This is to help protect your finger tendons and prevent injury.

Beginner Tips

-Always warm up first

-Keep open hand grip

-Use the foot hold so there is less stress on fingers and upper body

-Work easy exercises and build up

-Many sets with little rest, to failure

I’ve dabbled a little and done a few basic exercises, to which I received extreme forearm pump! I still have a very long way to go, but I really enjoyed mixing up some training. What I’m aiming to get out of using the board is some finger strength and dynamic movement. A few beginner exercises I’m working are dead-hangs, up/downs and laddering. There’s no point me showing you how it’s done, because I can’t do it just yet. There is video evidence on my Instagram page! So I’ve linked Moon and Crux Crush articles below which are a haven of campus board information.

http://www.moonclimbing.com/blog/moon-blog/school/campus-boarding/

http://cruxcrush.com/2014/09/15/how-to-train-on-the-campus-board/

 

Happy climbing!

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Yoga Update | 2

I’ve discovered that the hardest thing about yoga is actually rolling out your mat and doing it. I’ve been consistently inconsistent with practicing 2-3 times a week. Mostly I just ended up going straight to the Savasana, in bed, which is easily done after a day of work.
However I’m pleased to say I have managed to get 20 minutes in somewhere once a week, and I feel better for it.
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I’m starting to find the poses and routines easier, and I can almost touch my toes which is something I’ve had difficulty with for a long time. I’m not sure if my yoga gains are translating into my climbing just yet, but I’m hopeful that high foot moves and anything stretchy will begin to get a little easier. Generally it just feels good, almost like a declutter for the body and brain. I think sticking to once a week is the best plan for now, as a little is better than none.
Once I get a little more confident with my poses and balance, I’m going to try and get A Boy Who Climbs to do some crazy Acro-Yoga with me. He is not aware of this plan just yet, so we’ll see how that goes in the next update!

 

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Small Victories

I find it hard to take compliments, so when someone tells me I’ve improved in climbing I just think they’re simply being polite, and I don’t actually believe them. I’ve posted about trying hard and noticing your improvements previously, you can read that here, so I feel that this is nice update on how I’m getting on. Got to practice what you preach!

Last week I was bouldering at my local wall, just wandering around chatting, and casually trying a few problems. The gym was quiet, there were about 5 or 6 people floating around, (not literally as that would kind of take the fun out of climbing) but it was a nice, chilled atmosphere.
I meandered over to my friends, as they pondered and messed about on a problem they were setting I decided to try a climb nearby. I’d previously had a few attempts at this but not completed it. Somehow I managed to get up the problem easily and as I was a couple of moves away from the finish, I unexpectedly noticed the normal chatter and background noise had stopped…which meant people were watching…they’re watching me climb…this is weird…oh hey gravity!

Previously I would have got anxious of people watching me and mostly likely just jump off. However, as gravity dragged my butt to the matting I realised that I wasn’t bothered I had fallen, because it was just the result of me actually trying to make the move.
It was nice that my friends watched me really put effort in, and I guess their silence was a mixture of their surprise, and not wanting to spook me! That was the moment that reinforced my acknowledgment of my progress, well that and the fist bumps. I don’t think they had really seen me push like that before.

It made the session rewarding as for the first time I realised I had gained some confidence, and made some improvements.

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Yoga Update

No one really feels like contorting themselves into a pretzel when you can eat a bunch of real pretzels instead. Add in a constant flow of mulled wine, endless piles of mince pies and the general festive season…it was all a little distracting, and my yoga plans got derailed for December. I did get the odd session done last month, and I can tell you that both these practices are way harder than they look, but oddly still enjoyable.

But now, now it’s back on. Plan Pilates and New Year Yoga are a go! In fact, as I write this now, I have just finished a 30min yoga session. I thought I would write down my thoughts straight after, for some real time feelings:

 

 I feel like I can see in colour again, especially after what felt like a very long day at work. Despite working the poses on achy muscles, I feel much better physically and less ‘smushed’ up. My brain has stopped whizzing around in the dark and foggy end of the thought pool. Overall I feel awake and pretty darn good!

 

I followed the YouTube video linked below, which I found newbie friendly. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7AYKMP6rOE&feature=youtu.be
Namaste.
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Training Plans | Yoga

I feel like I’m at a good place with my climbing, I know my weakness is mostly the mental side of things but I think a little more confidence in my body and strength would help overall. After reading and researching all different kinds of training programmes, I came to the realisation that even though I want to train and kick it up a notch, I don’t want it to feel like a chore or heavy gym session. After some more reading it seems like yoga is an obvious but gentler choice to help improve my climbing skills and for some mental gains. It’s also a buildable practice so I can work through at my own pace.

My plan is to do a 20 min yoga session 2- 3 times a week at home, in between climbing days. I’m really excited to see how I can improve, and I plan to keep track and check in monthly with an update about how it’s all going.

Naturally I headed over to YouTube and sought out some beginner yoga stuff. The video below is what I’m going to be working and eventually I hope to build my own routine.

 

Wish me luck!

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Planning for the Outdoors

I am what some climbers would call a gym rat because I climb inside 98% of the time, and I’m okay with both of those things, but I would like to venture outside. Part of the reason I’ve not gone out is down to me being a newbie and feeling safer indoors, and some of it is down to me being uneducated on my surrounding outdoor area. We aren’t blessed with the most inspiring climate in the north west of England either, but there is still plenty of opportunity to climb some real rock and I want to start seizing it. I feel pretty lucky to have such easy access to Pex Hill as my local crag, and what better place to start for my first outdoor bouldering experience. I guess it could be considered a crime that I’ve not climbed here yet, in fact I hadn’t ever visited, so I recently ventured up there for a look around to get a feel for things. Afterwards, like all good bookworms I headed straight to the library internet and purchased ‘Cheshire & Merseyside Sandstone’. Teamed with some online research this has given me a good base to start understanding Pex Hill, which I shall share with you now.

 

The quarry has sandstone walls which were used for target practice in WW2, particularly Pisa wall. These bullet holes are now used as hands holds (more like pinky holds) , so needless to say climbing here will give you very good finger strength. It holds over 160 climbs of which 40 are boulder problems ranging from V0-V10. It seems to be the place to go for practicing crimping, endurance, finger strength, and nifty footwork. So basically everything, as there are plenty of traverses on offer too. As the walls are so high there seems to be a cross over between some boulder problems and routes, making them too long for one, or too short for another. This means the grading can be complicated but that doesn’t bother me personally. I feel getting caught up in grading and ticking off climbs isn’t always the best for my mental game, but I understand how it gets others motivated or psyched.

All that aside, plans are in the works and I’m excited to go grope some real rock, and experience climbing/bouldering as it was intended by nature. Just me and the rock…and my Anasazi boots…oh and a Mad Rock R3 crash pad, because safety should always come first.

I would very much appreciate any tips or real rock wisdom for bouldering outdoor for the first time! Please feel free to share.

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Training Tips

The last few weeks of the  EpicTV Climbing Daily YouTube videos have been particularly great on a Wednesday, because there has been a ‘Training with Louis Parkinson’ segment. He covers a bunch of things in his self-taught training routine, all of which are easy to follow for any level of climber. One of the tips that stood out to me was to climb with technique you don’t use strength, and to climb with strength you don’t use technique. I’ve really enjoyed this small series and I feel like I’ve absorbed some good habits. I’ve jotted down a quick summary of the videos so far, but I will link the first video of the series too for your viewing pleasure!


Warming up and warming down are important to prepare your body, and help prevent injury. The warming up period is also the best time to consciously work on your footwork, strength and technique.

Warm up

-Cardio exercise

-Dynamic Stretches

-Easy climbs and traversing

Improve Footwork

-Traverse with silent feet

-Only allow 1 touch on each foothold

-Down climb each climb

Improve Technique

-Keep feet on the walls as much as possible

-Climb with straight, relaxed arms

Improve Strength

-Campus problems

-Don’t match on holds

Warm Down

-Cardio decreasing speed

-Gentle stretches


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Yay Progress!

It has taken me some time but I finally nailed this problem 🙂 Wahoo! I also filmed myself climbing which is not something I would ever normally do. However, I was getting scared on the last move and no matter how many people told me that the hold was so close, I would not believe them. Haha. So I figured I had to see what they could see, from where they were. Filming your climb is a good tool for improving, and I guess the proof of that is in the clip. Like I said, there were so many falls and down climbs before this video, and part of me wishes I’d filmed them too because those climbs can be even more important than the finish. That may be something I do on the next problem.

Happy vibes.

A Girl Who Climbs

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