A lot of people want to climb stronger and more efficiently so that they can continue to progress to more challenging and intricate climbs. However, the percent of climbers who want to train seem to be a minority. Most people will consider a technique class or seek help from a more advanced climber. There are many who are hesitant about regular training sessions. Some people fall in and out of training. There are a couple reasons it can be difficult to get into training. For one thing, many people think of training as not being fun. They want to just climb because climbing is the fun part. If you go to a local gym to training, you may be lured into climbing with friends or jumping on interesting new routes instead. If you train at a home gym, it may be easy to put off your routine for other things or because a friend calls to climb.
Training can be fun though. It can be easy to do once you get a routine going. When I first started training, I wasn’t too psyched to keep it up. Now that I’ve learned some helpful tips to make it fun, established a steady routine, and have seen the results, I sometimes think I enjoy training more than climbing. It can be a great time if done right. It doesn’t have to be the suffering, boring regiment that only makes you miss climbing.
One of the most important things is remembering not to completely cut out actual climbing. You need to keep up climbing because climbing is really the only thing that helps you keep the technique and route reading aspect of climbing. Also since climbing is what you want to do, you need it to keep motivation and focus. I warm up and cool down with climbing when I go to the gym. The first hour is mostly doing some boulders. I start off with really easy ones and before training try some harder ones. It really isn’t the time to project, but it is a good time to do some climbing. I end my session with a little bit of easy climbing as well.
You could consider a switching off routine to give yourself climbing time as well. You will need rests between training, but you could do training Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, with a just climbing day Sunday. Or you could train one week, climb one week. It depends what works for your body. Keeping climbing into your routine will help you see the results too. As you get better climbing, you will be more motivated to train to keep it up.
Another good idea is to find a training partner. They don’t necessarily have to be working on the same thing as you. For instance, maybe you are doing shoulders and they are doing fingers. Maybe you are working on endurance and they are training core. This will keep you motivated because it will be spending time with someone you enjoy seeing and also because you can motivate each other. When one doesn’t want to go, the other can encourage. The times you don’t want to go should lessen when someone is relying on you as well.
Force yourself to stick with a routine. The first few times may be hard, but as you get used to going on certain dates it will get easier. You will expect it and be more comfortable with it. You will also see progression and that can lead to an addiction to training. The progression you see in the act of training will be fast and the results in your climbing, while they might not be as fast, will be easy to feel. You might not go up a grade, but you will feel stronger on areas you previously struggled with depending on which training. For instance, training shoulders I didn’t instantly go up in grades, but I felt so strong on shoulder intensive moves when I never had before. Training fingers didn’t make me jump a grade, but it made holding certain holds much easier. Eventually both did lead to climbs at higher levels.
Try to find the right music. People are much more motivated by music they like. Fast, upbeat tunes can really get you going. Use this to your advantage when training. You can also try to set goals. This will let you know you have something to look forward to. Maybe you want to be able to do a certain move, hold a certain hold better, climb a grade higher, etc. Come up with a realistic small goal and an appropriate reward to help the motivation. For example, when I get a grade higher, I’m going to take a weekend to climb at a favorite outdoor crag instead of training. When I can hold onto a fatty pinch well, I’m going to treat myself to a new pair of climbing shoes I’ve been needing. Think about little things you can work into your routine to provide motivation and healthy rewards. Chances are you won’t even need the reward because being able to reach that goal will feel so incredible.
It may be a bit of a struggle to get into training, but once you get going and see the results chances are you’ll just want to do it.