Top Ten Training Mistakes #1 - Quantity over Quality
published 12/19/2017 - Training for Climbing and Bouldering

The other day I talked to someone about his training and he proudly announced that he trains 6 days a week, only taking one rest day.
When I suggested maybe a bit more rest might be helpful to get stronger his reply was: „I‘ll rest when I‘m injured again.“

This certainly is one route you can choose to take...

Similar to the above a lot of climbers seem to judge their training based on the hours they put in at the climbing gym, the number of bleeding fingers they can show off at the end or how few rest days they can accumulate in a given period of time.

But is this a good measure of training efficiency?

Let‘s for example take a look toward the Pros in the game.
You may have heard Chris Sharma say he sometimes climbs 7-10 days in a row without a rest day.
You might as well have heard that Adam Ondra sometimes trains 6 days a week, sometimes even 2 sessions a day!
So if they do it, maybe it is the right way to go after all? We wan‘t to be as strong as Chris or Adam, so we better start training like them, right?

Once again it is not that simple.
The first thing is, that when people refer to the above examples, they tend to have a very „selective memory“ only remembering half of the story.
Because if we look at the context and the broader picture these guys tell, Chris for example says that he climbs 7 days in a row only when he is climbing „easy“ routes just for pleasure. When projecting something hard, he says he‘s usually doing 1-2 days on and 1-2 days off.
Adam on the other hand did say, that he trains 6 days a week, 2 sessions a day for a period of time. But he also said, that he follows this with a few weeks of very low intensity / volume to give his body a chance to recover and get stronger.

Another often made assumption is that the kind of training these guys are doing now is what made them get so strong in the first place.
What we tend to forget is, that they have been doing high level climbing and training for the better part of 20 years and this precise background only puts them now into the position to allow for such an intense training period without running into an injury!
So unless you have been exactly training and climbing like Adam for the last 2 decades, his training schedule probably isn‘t the right one for you.

And there also are other examples giving us a better idea what might be a different approach to training.
Jan Hojer for example stated last year that he only trains 3-5 sessions a week for about 2 hours (he subsequently won the overall boulder WorldCup that year).

So to avoid making one of the biggest training mistakes out there, the next time you plan your training, maybe try to focus more on the quality rather than the pure quantity.

Who knows, you might end up getting really strong without having to take a break because of that injury...

 

To find out more about what good training for climbing and bouldering looks like, check out The Book and stay tuned for the next article.

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