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Tuesday Training Update: Campus Workout, Dips, and Sticky Hands

Sara Lingafelter
Sara Lingafelter
2 min read

In another half-assed attempt at imposing some order on my blogging, I’ll make a stab at posting a training update on Tuesdays. One of my climbing partners and I have been reading up and studying up on climbing-specific training, including campus board workouts and hangboard or fingerboard workouts.

The disclaimer — I didn’t even start sport-specific training until now… just around my fourth anniversary as a climber, because I didn’t have the tendons for it until just now. Before you do any sport-specific training, read up, learn how to do it right, and make sure that you’re doing exercises that are appropriate to your fitness level and climbing experience.

Last Friday I did my first proper campus board workout. One, properly performed ladder move (basically, 1-3 on the biggest boards) on each side, up and down, lead to failure (if I could even finish the “back down.” It was AWESOME. It’s as much mental as physical, since the first time I tried it (less fatigued) I was way weaker than the last set (more fatigued). I’m going to carefully campus train about once a week, on a day where I can take a solid rest for a couple of days after.

I also added dips into my workout a couple of months ago. We have a dip bar at the gym that I use, but I’m pleased to see this is something else I can do with my rock rings, according to that link. I had been doing lightweight, high rep benching, and pushups, but wanted to mix up the routine. Climbing Partner swears by dips, so I started to try them. My first few attempts were pretty pitiful… but now I’m up to three sets of ten. They feel good for everything from my back to my elbows, and my upper back is definitely stronger for them. I try to do my dips at least once a week, but some weeks I focus more on pushups or bench… it just depends.

In addition to the physical training (I think I forgot to mention that I’m also climbing a ton in the gym)… I got some great technique feedback on Friday from Climbing Partner. He observed that I spend a lot of time repositioning my hands when I’m climbing hard. I exert unnecessary energy to get my hand position *just right* when I should be placing my hands confidently in the right place instead. I did some “sticky hands” drilling, where I had to “stick” each hand placement, without adjustment them, right where I placed it on first touch of each hold. After just a couple of moves, my climbing speed went up, and I suddenly felt the benefit of the momentum I’d been losing by climbing so slowly. My movement felt much more efficient, and more dynamic… like I was flowing up the route using my momentum, instead of moving from hold to hold. Just by climbing more efficiently with my hands, I was able to complete a route on toprope that has been my nemesis for the last couple of months — making it my newest lead project. I made an effort to apply the same principal to my bouldering this evening, and felt a big difference.

I’ve never (before climbing) been a very good athlete, but that’s definitely changed. I actually really enjoy training for climbing… the hardest part is forcing myself to take rest days.

How’s your training going? Chime in, by commenting below.

Sara Lingafelter

Sara (Grace) Lingafelter takes steps forward and backward toward a right-sized life on a daily basis.