Dominion Riverrock

Hello everyone!  Sorry I haven’t posted lately, but I’m back up to speed now and can’t wait to share more awesome climbing stuff this week!  To start things up once more, here’s an awesome video from dpm climbing of the women’s highlights from the Dominion Riverrock boulder bash!  A ton of professional climbers can be seen climbing in Brent Quesenberry’s boulder cage, as well as PEAK Team coach Corrie Littlepage.  See her crushing qualifiers two 10 seconds into the video.  Way to go, Corrie!

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Good Climbing Foods

Today I will continue my Saturday series on a healthy diet for rock climbers.  I found this article on Urban Climbing, and it pretty much sums up the best diet for a climber.

Rock climbing is definitely an intensive sport which demands not just bodily training to stay in form but additionally correct diet to keep that very good physical condition. Good nutrition is a critical element in climbing training, enabling climbers to prevent injuries, perform at their maximum level, as well as preserve the best possible health and fitness levels. Below are a few basic nutrition recommendations to take into account:

Climbing Training – What foods are best?

* Attempt to consume foods which are as fresh as they can be with regard to nutrient quality. The more refined a food, the less vitamins and minerals it has. You need to choose foods that are going to give you the most energy. You will find this helps you in all aspects of your life such as at work or when you’re playing about… , it’s not just when you are doing physical activities. Complex carbs are your ideal option and include things like whole grain breads as well as pastas, brown rice and also vegetables. These types of foods are a fantastic way to obtain fiber, minerals and vitamins.

* When it comes to protein options, consider lean meat like chicken, turkey and fish. Beef is actually okay if you select extra lean pieces. Do not disregard the high protein, reduced fat advantages of foods such as tofu, cottage type cheese along with eggs. Numerous climbers prefer to make use of whey protein too, mixing it into shakes or adding it to cereal or other cooking. It’s low in fat and is among the practically complete protein food items accessible.

* Do not entirely be put off by fat, just make sure to pick the proper type. The good fats include necessary fatty acids which the body requires to remain healthy. Nut products, avocados, olives as well as cold water fish are excellent options. In case these types of foods do not appeal to you, fish oil dietary supplements are a good alternative.

* Just like all healthy diet programs, a rock climbing training diet plan should include lots of water every day, and that is particularly true when climbing. Remaining hydrated is really an essential component of power and stamina. Although some sports beverages are appropriate for hydration, others which contain unwanted sugar, fructose or glucose need to be avoided.

* Endurance is essential to successful climbing and one method to develop stamina as well as prevent exhaustion, would be to maintain your levels of insulin constant. Although a raise in insulin might make you feel energized in the beginning, you will start to feel fatigued as the spike levels off. It’s much better to avoid sugar spikes and maintain things level. That is very easily accomplished by consuming smaller meals at shorter intervals. It is suggested that you eat every 3 to 4 hours in order to regulate sugar levels.

* In spite of all your best efforts to eat well and stay in best physical condition, you will likely end up feeling hungry or weak throughout a longer climb, or whenever good food options are not available. For these occasions, it’s important to keep a meal replacement bar or shake available.

* A multi vitamin supplement is definitely recommended simply to increase these minerals and vitamins that may be missing in your diet plan.

The challenge for today is to try eating along these guidelines for one week and then post in the comments to tell me how it went!  Did you feel more tired or energized?  Was this “diet” hard to follow or relatively easy?  Let me know of any other observations you have!


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Grades… An Ongoing Debate

Today’s Thursday Thoughts!  Here’s the quote for today by Ralph Waldo Emerson:

Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.

Super inspiring… I need to remember this every time I really blow it on a climb or lose my nerve when lead climbing.  My perceived “failures” should be motivations to pounce on ways that I can grow as a climber, and in all other areas of life.  Looking at it this way, my shortcomings suddenly become opportunities to learn more and have fun, and learning new skills helps me keep the psych high and, ultimately, climb harder.

Now, onto the article for today- a writeup on grades.  As I expect most of my fellow climbers already know, there has been much controversy on the topic of grades.  Recently, the bouldering grade V16 has been proposed many times… and there have been many attempts to downgrade boulder problems of that suggested grade.  The question is, are new grades being created because climbers are sending harder, or is “grade inflation” occurring?  This article was posted on dpm climbing, and I found it a very interesting view of this ongoing debate.  I am not necessarily sure of my opinion on this touchy subject, but I do believe there is a happy medium somewhere between the two extremes of always downgrading problems and quickly creating higher levels in climbing grading systems.  But it’s up to you to decide what your take is on this issue; so without further ado, I present “The Never Ending Story” by Anthony Lapomardo.

It is safe to say that most people don’t understand our grading system.  Who would?  The system is created by numerous levels that are based upon “personal” biases that can not account for the various heights, methodologies, strengths, and motivations of climbers.  I think it is safe to say it was born broken.  Sure, it lasted us this long, but how do we move forward?  We can’t simply keep jumping into the same 8-mpg gas guzzler and complain about the cost of filling up at the pump.  We need to offer an alternative solution and put an end to this vicious circle.

Most boulderers fluctuate between the V-scale and the Font scale.  Both systems operate on nearly the same premise and have their pros and cons.  For many, the Font scale has become the leading grade converter as it offers a bit more flexibility between the grade ceilings then the V-scale.  The challenge for both of these systems is that they are unable to take into account the numerous variables that can create a “crux” for a climber and affect the grading of the problem.  Stated simply is that they are too rigid.

The main issue, for the everyday 8a user, seems to lie at the bottom and top of a grade.  For example, there are numerous V12’s in the world (some even called V15).  As you have seen on hundreds of score cards there are soft V12’s (even if it takes the climber 3 weeks to send), hard V12’s, and solid V12’s.  It is confusing and the truth is; everyone is right and at the polar end of that everyone is wrong.  So how do we fix this problem and lend our sport some credibility?  Wisdom has poured out by the great thinkers of our time and everyone has tried to offer a solution Gill, Verm, Carlo, but they have only created band-aids when the solution was right in front of their faces.  Don’t grade the problem like a boulder problem; grade it like a sport route.

Rarely do you see sport climbers participate in the back and forth that boulderers do when the topic of grades is brought up.  Why?  Perhaps they truly know whose is bigger and don’t have to inflate or deflate the grade to surf through the testosterone chest-thumping world of the boulderer or, perhaps they have simply inherited a system that allows for more flexibility.  So in order to bridge the gap we should introduce a new system.  This new scale will combine North America’s climbing meccas and grading systems to form one grading amalgamation dubbed “Yosve”…the name is a work in progress.

If you hadn’t guessed yet it is a splice of the Yosemite decimal system and Vermin’s V-scale, combining everything that might deflate the back and forth about a problem’s grade.  The scale will retain the letter “V” and the grades 1-16.  However, from the Yosemite decimal system we will add an addendum and tag on the letters a-d.  The sub letter grades that are imposed on sport climbs will now help boulderers refine their definitions and come closer to the “true” grade of a problem, before it is downgraded.

Take The Game as an example.  First put up by Daniel Woods it was given the grade of V16.  Seasons later, after repelling several ascentionists and enduring massive attention, the problem received its second ascent by Carlo Traversi and was downgraded to V15.  With new beta and muscle memory, new solutions are presented and the downgrade reflected that.  But, instead of knocking it down a full grade lets introduce the new system and boom you get V15c/d.  The problem moves down in a grade, but also retains its dignity and offers the community a more accurate average.

It is not perfect, but neither are the other two systems.  We can’t go as far as the Brits and attempt to classify fear and exposure…  With this new system we can introduce new flexibility into our grading system, lessen the social fluffing that is found on, and bridge the gap between the pad people and the rope climbers.  This seems to be a system that can at least offer our community a new hope and if anyone has a better name for the system please feel free to write in.

There you have it, a little overview of the grade controversy and a possible solution to it.  The challenge for this post is to post in the comments about your view on the great grade debate.  Feel free to post links to other articles that explain this topic further as well!

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Core, Shoulders, and Grip Strength Workout

Metolius Compact Training BoardSorry I never posted yesterday!  It was one of those crazy days when nothing gets done… but I will post double today to make up for it.  I am continuing on my never-ending quest for the perfect workout, and today I will post a workout combo that I have created but have yet to try.

  • Warm Up: Thoroughly stretch your whole body, including your fingers.  If you need finger stretches, click here to go to a finger yoga site.  I usually only perform the backwards, forward, and splits exercises for a fun warmup.  After stretching, traverse three laps in the bouldering cave.  Traverse for thirty easy hand moves, then thirty hand moves of medium difficulty, and finally thirty hard hand moves.  Rest for two and a half minutes between each circuit.
  • Grip Strength Workout: Hang on a hangboard using eleven different holds if possible.  Follow this pyramid guideline, adapted from Eric Horst’s book, Training for Climbing.  This is your pattern: 2 sec hang, 5 sec rest, 4 sec hang, 5 sec rest, 6 sec hang, 5 sec rest, 8 sec hang, 5 sec rest, 6 sec hang, 5 sec rest, 4 sec hang, 5 sec rest, 2 sec hang, 2 and a 5 minute rest.  Repeat this three times per hold, remembering to slightly initiate your arms with your elbows slightly bent as you hang.  Try to perform these at your maximum difficulty; hang by one arm or add weight if you must.  If you hang by one arm, this workout will take a little longer because you will need to repeat the same cycle per arm.
  • Core Workout: Perform ten different core exercises, resting for two and a half minutes between each type.  Count out fifty reps per exercise; try not to rest during your fifty reps for the maximum effect.
  • Shoulder Workout: At my home gym, there are three wood strips fastened under the hangboard.  I place one hand on a jug on the hangboard and the other on the highest wood strip for assisted one-arm pullups.  Using a setup similar to this, perform as many assisted one-arm pullups as you can with your right hand on a jug.  After a one minute shakeout, repeat with your left hand on the jug.  After a two and a half minute break, repeat.  Continue this cycle until you can no longer do one assisted pullup.  Be careful to alternate which arm you begin with, as to evenly work both arms.

I am calling this the “Hard Core Workout.”  :)  The challenge for this post is to try this and let me know how it goes in the comments.  Most of all, I would love to know how long it takes and how hard the shoulder portion of the workout is.


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Climbing Drills: Focus and Footwork

Today’s Tuesday Training will cover two drills, one mental, the other technical.  First is the focus drill, recorded by Eric Horst in his book, Training for Climbing.  This focus drill may seem rather strange at first glance, but the distracted gym climber may find it very helpful.  He says that there are two parts of this focus drill, best performed at different times:

The “Singular Focus Drill” exercise is best used when you are climbing on toprope and well below your maximum grade.  The “Pinpointing Your Focus for a Climb” exercise can be used before attempting any climb, though it’s especially effective when preparing to start up a difficult route.

Now I know that these drills may sound weirdly meditational; that was my first reaction when reading this as well.  But I have tried these drills, and they are definitely worth trying.  My younger sister is naturally an easily distracted climber, but after teaching her to sequence and insisting she perform this drill, her concentration has much improved.  You can also tailor these drills any way you wish; their main purpose is to direct your mind to what you are about to climb.

Today I will only focus on the “Pinpointing Your Focus for a Climb” drill.  Here’s how Eric explains it:

Stand at the base of the climb, assume an extended posture (shoulders back), close your eyes, and place the fingertips of your dominant hand against the rock face.  Your fingertips should be touching the wall lightly (not gripping a hold), and your hand and arm should be completely relaxed.  Now take three deep belly breaths, inhaling through your nose to a count of five and exhaling through your mouth to a count of ten.  Let a wave of relaxation wash across your body, and then direct your entire focus to the tips of your fingers touching the rock.  Concentrate singly on the sensation of your fingertips touching the rock- you should begin to feel the thermal energy moving from your fingers to the rock (on rare occasions when the rock is hotter than your body, you will feel thermal energy conducting into your fingertips).  Maintain a relaxed, singular focus on the energy exchange between your fingertips and the rock for anywhere from thirty-seconds to a minute or two.  If your focus ever wanders, simply redirect it to your fingertips.  Soon your mind will become completely still, as all your focus is pinpointed on the tips of your fingers.  Upon reaching this state, open your eyes and begin climbing.

Interesting, huh?  Before you completely dismiss it as another strange yoga-like stance, go try it, and then (challenge 1) post your results and opinions in the comments.

The next drill is less unusual, and many of you have probably heard of it before.  It was taught to me by one of the PEAK team coaches, Andrew Palmer, during my last isolation warm up, a few minutes before I climbed the finals routes.  It is a good warm up and ab workout that also helps train good footwork habits.

First, find a deep, bomber jug on an overhang in the bouldering cave at your home gym.  Dead hang on this hold, arms straight, and single out a foothold.  Place your right foot on it, careful to position only the toe of your foot on the very best section of the hold, as if you were to grab it with your hand.  Then push on the hold as if you are going to stand on it, with a downward force that brings your hips closer to the wall.  Then drop to a hang once more and repeat with your left foot on the same hold.  Remember to pick holds that are to your right and left, that are high and low.  Vary the types of holds as well.  This will help your footwork to become more precise.

I was surprised at how much this helped me to pay attention to the exact section of the hold I should use, and since I need to greatly improve my footwork, this is a drill that I will use as often as possible.  Post in the comments to tell me how this technical footwork drill went for the second challenge of the day.  Have an awesome climbing week!

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Earth Treks Roc Comp

Today is Monday Movies!  This video is the women’s highlights from an Earth Treks pro bouldering comp in 2010, when Alex Puccio and Alex Johnson fought for first place.  Enjoy!

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2012 Sport Climbing Regionals

Here’s Saturday Statistics… on a Sunday!  I’m sorry that I’m posting a day late, but I do have a good excuse.  I was at the 2012 SCS Regionals yesterday in Raleigh, North Carolina!  This was my first regional competition ever, and it was an absolute blast.

Friday evening, we packed up the van and drove three hours down to a hotel in Raleigh.  I never sleep well before a comp, but this time I managed to get my rest.  We awoke at 6 in the morning, grabbed a quick breakfast, checked out of the hotel, and drove to the host gym, Triangle Rock Club.  We arrived at 7, and I walked around the building to the side entrance to check in to isolation.  After registering for sport and speed climbing and receiving my patriotic wristband, I found a little corner with my friends and hunkered down to wait out my two and a half hours of isolation. Isolation, in essence, was a workout room plus a section of a bouldering cave and climbing wall that had been tarped off.  To the right lay a concrete floor, and to the left, a stretch of padded floor and crash pads.

At 7:30, isolation was closed, and the fairly small area was full of energetic kids ages 8 to 17.  As the room quickly filled, the noise escalated.  The announcer’s voice blared through the speakers above the chaotic chatter of 70+ kids as a screen displayed a five minute countdown over and over again.  Those who were soon to climb began to warm up on the walls, and the others read or moneyed around on metal bars and pull-up rings.  About one hour into my time, I began to warm up… and get nervous.  This was to be my first regionals ever, and I would also be lead climbing.  For me, leading usually means only two things: terror and huge falls.  I was able to push my thoughts aside, however, and began to stretch and traverse laps on the climbing wall, listening to Cold Play on my ipod to get the psych high.  Later, my coach, Andy Cutler, helped me get the jitters out by creating routes for me to climb on the strip of overhanging boulder accessible to us.  As the time for departure drew near, I packed my backpack and waited by the tarp door that would lead into the unknown.

It was soon time to leave iso, and I was handed my scorecard and escorted from the room.  My head down so as not to see the routes I was about to climb, I navigated the gym, following the lady who had directed me from iso, and sat in a chair, my back to my first climb, to wait.  The judge soon took my scorecard, and my belayer handed me my rope, so I could tie in.  Then the announcer gave the command to face our routes and begin sequencing.  I prepared the best I could, then began climbing.  The rest of qualifiers sped by in a blur, with only a short break between qualifiers one through three.  I was much more confident leading then I expected and was able to focus on climbing without worrying extensively about falls.  I was satisfied with where I got, and I still hoped to continue to finals.  The scores would be posted later that day, however, and all I could do was wait.

I soon checked in at the speed station, and raced two different competitors up a short and easy wall.  My time was a little over 15 seconds for each climb, but it was my first time competing in speed.  It was a lot of fun, although I didn’t beat either of my opponents. When they shut everyone out of the gym to compute the qualifier scores, I went to lunch with some friends from team: Kat, Emily, Zoe, and Nathan. Afterwards, we returned to the gym to check the scores, which were posted outside.  We all crowded and pushed our way through the circle of people to the board, eager to see if we had made it to the final round.  I was thrilled to find that I had placed tenth and made it to the finals round!

To pass the time till iso opened once more, we threw Frisbees in the back parking lot.  Soon we filed back into iso once more.  I passed the first hour half-sleeping on a mat, tired from the early morning and the stress.  After the second hour, during which I warmed up, I exited the room and climbed in finals, which was much like the first round.  I was tenth in finals as well, and although I had hoped to make it to divisionals, I felt like I had done well.  After hanging around with coaches and friends for a while, I headed home, my first epic regionals over.

All in all, this competition was one of the best experiences I have ever had.  Strategic planning and problem solving, combined with physically pushing to the limit, with a little spicy dash of fear thrown in, along with a huge bucket of fun, resulted in the best recipe for a comp, or any other day, for that matter.  I have narrowed down all of the info I gathered at the comp into two specific things I have learned:  (1) Leading isn’t all that bad, and (2) I need to work on my footwork.  I have always been scared of lead falls, especially falls where you swing or deck (hit the ground).   I had never taken those types of falls, however, until the competition, where I found out that they aren’t that bad.  And about my footwork… well, you’ll see what I can work on in the videos to come!  Big shout out to Andrew Palmer, though, for teaching me a cool new drill to work on footwork!  I will post about it in the next Tuesday Training.

The challenge for you today is to post about your first divisionals experience in the comments, or, if you went to the comp this weekend, comment about that if you like!  Here’s the videos I promised:

Qualifiers Route One  Qualifiers Route Two  Qualifiers Route Three

Speed Climb One  Speed Climb Two

Finals Route One  Finals Route Two

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A Climber’s Diet

Hello everyone!  Today’s the first Friday Facts!  On this day, I will post climbing lingo and health tips.  This Friday, the climbing word of today is a frog step, found on

Frog Step
A frontal body position in which both legs are extended simultaneously to reach higher handholds.

Now, onto the main post, which is about a climber’s diet.  Before I begin, I know that many of you may already be dreading this post, because we all know that diets are usually quite obnoxious commitments.  But actually a climber’s diet is not that bad.  In October, while I was preparing for my first bouldering competition, I began to attempt to eat healthier.  Now, my Mom had to explain to me that eating smart does not necessarily mean eating less.  Yes, I was eating smarter, but I was also finding that I was hungry all the time.  Eating less than what your body needs is the wrong way to go about it, and I soon learned that you can eat the same amount while eating healthier.  In Horst’s book, Training for Climbing, he presents this table, which I will try to paraphrase here:

Male climber (160 lb) on an active day- Carbohydrate: 520g/2,080 Calories  Protein: 115g/460 Calories  Fat: 70g/630 Calories  Total: 3,170 Calories

Male climber (160 lb) on a rest day- Carbohydrate: 360g/1,140 Calories  Protein: 85g/340 Calories  Fat: 50g/450 Calories  Total: 2,230 Calories

Female climber (110 lb) on an active day- Carbohydrate: 350g/1,400 Calories  Protein: 80g/320 Calories  Fat: 50g/450 Calories  Total: 2,170 Calories

Female climber (110 lb) on a rest day- Carbohydrate: 250g/1,000 Calories  Protein: 60g/240 Calories  Fat: 38g/342 Calories  Total: 1,582

Just use this table as a guide, and soon you will get a feel for what healthy eating means for a climber.  It’s not really a specialized diet, but just a healthy way of living.  Here’s the challenge for today: (1) try using this table for a day and post in the comments to tell me how it went, or (2) don’t eat dessert for a week.  I’m counting up who does the most challenges; so don’t forget to post in the comments if you did either of them.  Have a happy, healthy climbing weekend!

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Stay Psyched…

It’s time for Thursday Thoughts! :) I love inspiring quotes, and here is one of my favorites, found on Andy Cutler’s blog:

“No other sport has been so permeated with this word: psyched. Your little sister does not get psyched for swim practice nor does your grandfather get psyched to play eighteen holes of golf. The term is ours, by and large, because it’s so essential for success in climbing. You cannot progress, send your hardest project, or make your next road trip a reality without being psyched.” – Mikey Williams

Vertical Rock posted this awesome article, entitled “Climb Like a Girl,” and I’m resurrecting it for all the girl climbers crushing those rocks:

She’s wearing yoga pants and a ponytail, clutching borrowed climbing shoes and a safety harness. She warily looks up Karen Rock at Moonstone Beach. Her palms are sweaty. As she watches a couple of shaggy-haired guys ascend the cliff, her stomach tightens. She’s so nervous. What she doesn’t realize is that she’s built for this.If this beginning climber looked around, she would probably notice other women like her on the rock. Women scrambling up a crack in the green stone, their sweaty hands kept dry with chalk. Women who have harnessed their physical and mental abilities to become rock climbers.

Women tend to carry less upper body muscle than men. So a newbie male rockclimber with upper body strength can often muscle his way up a beginner route. He can wrap his hands around some meaty holds and haul himself up the rock face in a series of pull-up-like moves. This strategy will get the job done. It can also blow out his shoulders and “pump out” his forearms. And it won’t make him a better climber in the long run.

A conditioned climber relies on precise footwork, fluid body movement, power in the lower body for dynamic movements and… sense of balance. A newbie with strong back muscles can skimp on these qualities for a while, but at some point he’ll be facing a rock slab with tiny rock chips for hands holds. To get up this climb, he’ll need to use those chips as balance points as he tightens his core and presses his toes into the rock. This climbing is all about flexibility and agility. Push-ups and pull-ups won’t get you there.

When a woman (or anyone with less upper body strength) starts climbing, she has to move across the rock face like a dancer, with small movements and frequent shifts of body weight to keep her balance. At first, this climbing feels slow and weak. But over time it becomes graceful, smart and strong. “I sometimes need to overcome that feeling that a route or problem just can’t be done, or I’m too short or not strong enough,” says Patricia Terry, a climber from Arcata, “I’ve learned that if I just get creative with the movement, I can solve the puzzle and find a sequence that works for me.”

This is what I teach new climbers. I tell them to focus on their lower body. Solid foot placement maximizes your options when you’re climbing; it gives you a base to launch from and it gives you time to consider your next move. Beginning climbers often mistakenly focus on gripping the big hand holds and letting their lower body go limp, their feet dangle.

“One of the best pieces of advice I was told early on by another female climber,” says climber Trisha Cooke, “was that especially for women, climbing is in the legs.” Women’s center of gravity is naturally lower, so we are used to using our lower body for lifting and carrying. We are aware of and more flexible in our hips. So when a beginner climber relaxes her arms and focuses on moving her feet, she climbs stronger and higher.

Climbing doesn’t just require agility and strength; it’s an intense mental challenge. Afraid of heights? Of failure? Of pain? Of looking stupid in front of your friends? Climbing will get inside your head and find your deepest fears. Cooke says, “I constantly have to remind myself to breathe so that I don’t let fear and insecurity overtake me.” Your climbing buddies may be belaying you, spotting you, shouting out suggestions. But ultimately, it’s just you and the rock up there. Actually, it’s you, the rock, your adrenaline and your demons.

Most climbers can tell you about their inner monologues and climbing mantras. We try to psych ourselves up to climb higher, push farther, be braver. When I’m exhausted and scared on the crux of a route, I find myself chanting, “I trust my body” over and over again. Terry says, “Climbing puts me in a focused mental state that I don’t find in many places. It’s a feeling that is born in the fear of falling but becomes about determination and flow instead.” That feeling is what climbers live for. We love the moments when we are dancing across the rock, each move flowing into the next. “When I’m scared, my adrenaline takes over and I just go for it,” says climber Laura Dawson, “No other thoughts cross my mind.”

When my legs are burning and my heart is pounding and the calluses on my hands are ripped to shreds, I am grateful to be climbing with other women. Women climbers tend to be tough and resilient, but they are also supportive of one another. Terry says, “It helps me to learn from other women. By watching other women’s technique we learn new ways to move across the rock.” But, Dawson adds, “It’s not just about climbing support. It spreads to other things. There’s a friendship that comes from it.”

So to the girl in the yoga pants at Moonstone Beach: It’s OK to be scared. Embrace the fear because it will make you a stronger, braver climber. Remember that you’re not the only girl who’s ever wanted to climb a big rock just to see if she could. If you’re looking for climbing partners like you, we’re out there. Climb on.

Here’s the challenge for today: post your favorite climbing quote in the comments!  Stay psyched; I hope this encouraged all you girls out there!

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The V13 Workout

Hello everyone!  Today I will post a Wednesday Workout.  Wednesday posts are all about the physical aspect of climbing, and each Wednesday I will post some type of PT (physical training) session for you to do.  I have been experimenting for some time with PT workouts, trying to find the workout that is right for me.  I measure all my workouts against this one rule: did it make me sore?  If it didn’t, then I need to up the difficulty or try a new method; if it did, then it’s a success!  Once I’ve found something, I normally continue using it, but I try to change it up a little every time I workout, although the principle may remain the same.

Recently, I discovered a training program on Andy Cutler’s blog,, and I have changed it to fit my schedule and training needs.  This workout, the V13 workout by Brian Antheunisse, is an amazing way to thoroughly push the muscles in your arms to the limit.  Although he recommends doing this workout for three hours, one hour of nonstop training has been more than enough for me.  Here is the article from Andy’s site by Brian:

Tri-sets – the most effective training tool I have ever used.

This old workout, first constructed by the champion American competitor Timy Fairfield, passed down to an equally successful Jon Cardwell, and taught to Dallas, TX native crusher Ryan Roden, has turned everyone who uses it into a V13+ rock climber. The workout is similar in concept to the new popular mainstream workout program P90X, both of which utilize a phenomenon called ‘muscle confusion.’ Throughout the span of a tri-set, you do three different sets of workouts working out three different muscle groups. This variety of workouts ‘confuse’ the muscles, and seems to prevent the body from adapting to the same exercises over time, resulting in continual improvement without any plateau-ing. These three workouts that compose a tri-set include a push exercise, a pull exercise, and a hang exercise. Once finished with this single tri-set, you start over using a new push, pull, and hang exercise. A good complete tri-set workout should take you about three hours, where you do four to six tri-sets.

Here is how a tri-set workout is laid out:

  • 5-10 minutes Push: A fairly difficult workout involving your opposition muscles like triceps and pectorals. This workout should be intense enough that it should last 5-10 minutes, and you should have a hard time completing it without resting. I, for instance, choose something like muscle-ups, or flies (both done on gymnast rings).
  • No more rest than a short water break.
  • 5-10 minutes Pull: Again, choose a difficult workout that is quite a feat for you to finish without much rest. This workout should revolve around your lock off and/or explosive pull muscles. My pull workout would include campus laps on a boulder problem, typewriter pull-ups on some gaston crimps, or one arm pull-ups/one arm negatives.
  • No more rest than a short water break.
  • 5-10 minutes Hang: These are a little more straight-forward. Again, pick a exercise that you can barely continue to do for 10 minutes without someone yelling and screaming at you to not let go. A hang here can involve anything from repeating two hand hangs on crimps for a little while, or one hand deadhangs on slopers, etc. Hangboards obviously help this exercise run smoothly. My favorite hang exercise is one handed deadhangs on crimps just good enough to where you can open hand crimp for about 5 seconds before failure. Then maniacally repeat until 10 minutes is up.
  • Rest about 10 minutes, then repeat using new workouts that are similar, but still working slightly different muscle groups. Do this continuously until you have completed about six tri-sets.

If done properly, this workout should take you about three hours to complete. Afterwards, your fingers should feel permanently stuck in the crimp position, you shouldn’t be able to lift your arms over your head, and you should be trying to hide the tears you just shed in the bathroom during one of your 10 minute “rest” periods.

I strongly advise doing this with a friend, because if the motivation is not there, it’s very improbable that you will have had the motivation to successfully complete this workout. You may want to plan out all four to six different push, pull, and hangs prior to starting the workout so it runs smoothly with no time delays. Also, I strongly advise you to do this workout no more than one time per week. This probably won’t be difficult to accept seeing as how most people are sore for three to four days following their tri-set workout.

Like I said, I personally can’t do this for three hours, and this guy really takes this workout to the extreme.  But after being tailored for your own use, tri-sets are the perfect PT session for training pure power.  Although Brian says to only perform this workout once a week, if you are only training for one hour and are really serious about this, then I think twice a week is doable.  The only other thing I have to add to this workout, it that I like to work my core every time I workout, just because I have terrible abs.  So if you like, after you do this workout, follow up with this PT session I made up:

  • 50 bicycle crunches.  Bicycle crunches are quite simple; do a sit-up, but do not tuck your feet under anything.  Instead of just sitting up, you will make your right elbow touch your left knee.  Then lay back down and touch your left elbow to your right knee next time you sit up.  This counts as one; you are really doing 50 for each side.
  • 100 knee raises.  Hang on a pull-up bar or jugs on a hangboard and raise your knees till they are parallel to your waist.  Then lower.  Try not to swing back and forth as you do this because it will make it much harder.
  • 50 V-ups.  Some people call them jack knives.  Lay down with your arms stretched over your head, then crunch up and touch your toes without bending your knees.
  • 100 side crunches (50 each side).  Lay on your left side and touch your hands to your head.  Then crunch up so that your left elbow touches your left knee.  That’s one, and after you have done 50 switch to your other side.  Do not bend your legs during this exercise.

Well, there you have it, today’s Wednesday Workout!  The challenge for today: complete either (1) one tri-set, which is equal to a 30 min workout, or (2) the ab workout.  If you do more, let me know!

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