7.11.2012

Coherence

The most challenging thing about rock climbing, at least for me, has been maintaining the momentum that seems so easily built but so problematic once present. Specifically, I can remember a number of times where I seemed to have reached another airy pinnacle in my personal development as a climber, only to lose focus somewhat without really putting all that hard-earned fitness and skill to the 'true' test. Perhaps the real problem here is that hindsight inevitably skews what this 'true' test really is; maybe my actual accomplishments comprise that test and my expectations are at the root of any doubts? I'm sure that's part of it. But the inertia experienced after a down-cycle of training or an injury can be downright paralyzing, despite the fact that rest and even sometimes the healing process can be vital to maintaining the desire to be active and to push oneself.

To wit, much of the derailment of the aforementioned momentum has, at least of late, been due to injury. I've realized that my approach to climbing harder objectives has become somewhat inadequate now that I'm 31 and my invincibility shield has all but worn off. My approach really has amounted to no more than simply trying hard and expecting to get better. Generally speaking, it has worked and I've been able to reach many goals that I've set for myself. But not all of them have come to fruition and besides just simple laziness, I blame a bad attitude towards real training. The philosophy of most coaches I've either read or talked with as well as the data point to the value of a different strategy: training smarter, not harder. This means, in part, using some of the tools of the modern trade. Having always eschewed finger boards and other such vehicles of boredom and self-flagellation in the past, I now feel myself being pulled inexorably by promises of a 'safe' solution to preventing finger injuries. This, of course, is nonsense given that many of these training regiments are actually pretty risky. Campusing is probably the worst since the 'negatives' (dropping back down) are an eccentric movement and can be pretty hard on joints, ligaments, tendons, etc. The undeniable advantage is the amazing strength gains most people experience from using the campus board.

So the important thing is judicious use of these potential gold mines of burliness. That's why I've built a Bachar Ladder to take with me while I work for the next month. A Bachar Ladder, as shown in this image that I stole from somewhere...


...is a rope ladder with wooden rungs.

You hang it at about a 15 degree angle and do lock-offs and campus workouts on it. It's one of the most effective generators of tendonitis if used carelessly but also a great portable training tool (and the one I built in about two hours is about 16-20 feet tall, bigger than 99% of all boulder problems!). More important to me, however, is the use of a hangboard to attempt to build some level of finger strength. If hanging on holds in a controlled manner isn't enough to ward off these constant ligament injuries, I don't know what the fuck is. Whether a good training regime will be my talisman or yet another tepid failure for me remains to be seen. The fact that persists, of course, is that I always want be strong enough to send the gnar-gnar badoonga; as long as that's still the case, I might as well try to make sure I'm firing on all cylinders. Now that I've crafted a sentence that makes almost no sense when parsed with the English language in mind, to bed I say! I've a long drive tomorrow and some wooden rungs to bust my elbows on.

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