How to Climb Harder is an online resource that accompanies the book of the same name. It is a practical manual of essential knowledge f0r rock climbers of all abilities. If you use the site or book as a roadmap to help you improve your climbing you should consider that the ethos of of the book was one of a holistic approach, whereby we consider all facets of performance and work towards improving a number of these aspects to improve performance. For most climbers this will included examining the TTPPS of rock climbing performance, where we consider how we can improve our Technical Climbing skills, Our Tactical Approach to climbing, the physical qualities we have or can develop, our psychological approach to climbing and finally staying safe whilst do all of this.
How to climb harder is about finding and working on your weaknesses in order to develop yourself as a total climber or for that matter into a climber specialising in any sub set of the sport. Whatever grade or style of climbing you enjoy or desire to improve in this site will help you to focus on the specific skills you need. As such we have divided the book into the four major components of sporting performance (Technical Skills, Tactical Skill, Physical Training and Psychological Training), with a broad underlying focus of safety. In order to use this book, it would be worth first visiting the Goal Setting Section, where we can help you with no only identifying your weakness but also developing a plan to focus on some of those weaknesses by developing strategies to develop those areas through using the activities suggested. As such there are 6 stages to the process of improving your climbing:
- Reflecting on you strengths and weaknesses.
- Completing a mind map or performance profile to self-identify those weakness or employing a coach to help you identify your weakness for you.
- Developing a 4-week/one month plan, focusing on around 5 of these weaknesses.
- Engaging in active practice and training for 4 weeks to address those plans
- Assessing the effect if that plan after 4 weeks
- Returning to the start.
There are more advanced ways to go about this and instead use a set 14-week periodised training program that has a holistic approach that helps to focus on all of your weaknesses over that period. This format will prevent you from continuing to focus on the physical aspects strength, endurance, strength endurance for longer than advised. For instance a focus for months on Strength will likely lead to injury, due to outgrowing your own strength, whereas prolonged focus of strength endurance will eventually lead to muscle wastage as you bathe those muscles repeatedly in lactic acid.
Whilst there are simply hundreds of thousands of individual climbing movements. There are a few climbing fundamentals climbing techniques climbing that will help give you a strong foundation when it comes to developing your climbing skill.This section includes a series of articles on rock climbing technique, with both exercises and activities for you to carry out to improve your technique or those of whom you coach.
Essentially we are going to initially focus on the 3 B’s of climbing – The Boot, the body and balance. After that we shall look at different handholds, as well as refining our footwork to develop hands off rest. We will then look at more advance skills to climbing specific types of features or shapes that we can commonly find when rock climbing.
List of Sub-sections for Climbing Technique
This section contains some article on how a tactical approach to climbing a route can improve your performance, with exercises and activities to help you develop good climbing habits. Some of these tactics are competition specific whilst others are for redpointing, on sighting, trad or sport specific. Above all though these tactical approaches to climbing are a really good way to focus on a part of your performance which can be changed in what can seem like a minor way but have a major impact on your climbing.
Much of the improvements in this area come down to increasing the efficiency of your climbing rather than increasing your physical ability. As such many of these exercises and activities can have an immediate effect on your climbing. Which can mean that you can either climb at your max grade with less effort or occasionally lead to an increase in the grade you climb.
These new tactful behaviours we suggest often need to be repeated many times ion routes below your grade so you can repeat them enough times that the new behaviour overwrites old habits that may not be as efficient. As such it is best to start trying to apply these tactics on route that are easy for you, so you have some cognitive space to consciously apply them to several pitches before they become ingrained behaviour.
List of Sub-sections for Rock Climbing Tactics
This section contains a series of articles on how to improve your physical fitness for rock climbing. This includes an overview of how and what to train, different types of training and exercises and activities that help you target climbing specific fitness. Whilst this is often the avenue climbers follow to improve their rock climbing, for me as a coach it is the end of the line, and something I only focus on during the winter months or in the build up to a trip.
Any results from physically training to improve your body as a engine that drives you up climbs take time. As such many people will loose motivation and not adhere to their training programme. The trick is to be strict and monitor you performance over an extended period, like a weekly or monthly check-in against a benchmarked route, boulder problem or exercise. The gains are often very marginal and often it is best to have a longer term view when it comes to training.
There are some underlying principles you need to apply to any physical training, and these include the application of overload to your training, identifying the energy systems you want to work and ordering them appropriately through periodisation and finally understanding that you need to rest and recover between trainman sessions.
List of Sub-sections for Training for Rock Climbing
This sections includes a series of articles aimed at improving your mental skills for rock climbing by introducing sport psychology concepts with exercises and activities to flex your mind. Some of these exercises can be practiced away from the rock face, whilst other will require you to implement them at the crag. Either way just like the tactical and technical sections, these cognitive skills need to be practiced at first on low stress easy routes so you can get the basics ingrained before trying to use them at your limit.
The general list of mental skills we cover to help performance are Relaxation, Imagery/visualisation, Focus, Motivation, Fear and performance, coping with fear, Self-talk, Enjoyment and goal setting. Although some topics overlap or link themes, each of these is a distinct mental skill that through deliberate practice can enhanced your performance and help you to overcome specific issues that might be holding you back.
Despite climbing being a high risk sport where mental control is paramount to not only success but at times out safety, rock climbing instructional manuals have often been woefully thin on real help. The author studied Sport Science and Sport Psychology to Master’s level and offers up real mental skills advice from a background of evidence based interventions from a whole host of sports. As such these lessons are among the best advice available.