Monday, 9 April 2012

Turn The Volume Up!

The 2nd part of our multi-pitch training I wanted to talk about revolves around volume. Not the volume of your music on the crux pitch, but the number of routes you can do in a day before your body says “no no no!” This can be split into a further 2 parts, muscle and skin. Luckily, both can be trained by one remarkably simple method... go forth and climb, climb as many routes in the day as possible, going past your usual stopping point, to the place you really need to dig deep to complete the routes.

The difficulty of the routes should be dependent on your personal level, and the level of the multipitch you want to attempt. The closer together these two numbers are, the more training you will need to do. Try to imagine the route you would like to climb andre-create it from pitches at the cliff. Dont just choose hard pitch after hard pitch, try to mix up the level, as well as the style, including some easier pitches for the rests, and don’t forget to include something tricky at the end of the day, to simulate that heart breaking sting in the tail.

After a few weeks of this you will notice significant improvements. The routes will not only begin to feel easier as your general fitness increases, but you will find your decrease in ability as the day drags on becoming less and less. The one thing this method wont prepare you for however, is the hours spent sitting in a harness. Being able to lower off and walk around makes an incredible difference to your recovery rate between pitches. Apart from getting up in the air on some easier longer routes, there is not much you can do to work this aspect – I think we would all agree spending your day clipped into the first bolt at the sport cliff would look a little strange. I suggest you invest a little money in a very comfortable harness, or even better, a belay seat.

Before I sign off, there is one last thing I would like to point out. Dont take things to destruction, it is not as beneficial as you might think. If you continue climbing (and manage not to split your skin) there will come a point where your muscles glycogen supplies run empty. You will know when this happens, it is the point when even pulling on the biggest jugs feels close to impossible, when even after resting on a bolt, you feel completely pumped after 2 moves.

When you deplete the glycogen in such a way, it takes the body much longer to recover than if you had stopped earlier, perhaps only one route before. Try to learn your body’s signals, to know the difference between working hard, and doing too much. Finally, after each session, try to eat a good supply of carbohydrates as soon as possible. There is a small period of around 2 hours where your muscles re-uptake of glycogen is twice as efficient as normal – take advantage of this time to give your body the best chance to recover for the next session.

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