I am exactly 13 days out from my first day of climbing in Céüse. During the last 4 to 6 weeks, I tried to get as fit as I could with my finger injury still healing. You already know that I did a lot of power endurance training and I had 2 posts just about this.
Here are some of the other things that I did and that I’ll do until we finally go away and climb for 2 weeks.
My first concern was power. I actually had a power phase planned but my finger made all plans obsolete and I had to do something else. In order to still gain some power, I had to get creative and work around the injury. For the first two or three weeks, dynamic loading of the finger was out of the question. This meant that I could neither do limit boulder problems nor campus boarding. Thus, I decided to train my big pull muscles with explosive pull-ups and explosive straight-arm lat pull-downs. I also figured that training minimum edge hangs might be a good substitute for bouldering on small holds because they are generally pretty specific to outdoor climbing. I performed 1-2 sessions of the pull exercises and minimum edge hangs per week.
Another thing I wanted to address was the fact that I probably wouldn’t be able to use middle/ring-pockets or index/middle/ring-pockets because my finger was just hurting too much. Therefore, every time I climbed at the climbing wall, I would perform a few index/middle-pocket hangs after a warm-up and before doing more climbing. I figured that pulling with this finger combination was just a case of something that I had to get used to. I think this is more a neurological adaptation than really gaining strength here. It worked out quite well and I am now using this combination instead of using middle/ring, which I’d normally do.
A third factor that I started to work on right after the injury is the mental side of climbing. Pro-climbers often talk about route visualization and how important it is to prepare mentally. In fact, you don’t even have to visualize a specific route. You can also recreate certain situtations in your mind (being pumped, being afraid, falling, clipping, sending) and you will become more comfortable when you are actually climbing. These techniques get better and better the more you practice. Here are some resources where people talk about practicing visualization and training your mind:
- Podcast with Jerry Moffat about his upcoming book on sports psychology
- Hazel Findlay on preparing your mind and finding success
- Adam Ondra on preparing for competitions
- Pro tips and motivation from Jerry Moffat
Alright, that’s it for this week.
See you next Tuesday!