Motivation and Tactics

7 Habits of Highly Successful Climbers

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The last few years have seen a big focus on training for climbing and a great interest in the specific methods top athletes use to improve their strength and conditioning. Although this has been good overall, I still go back to the belief that strength and endurance should be the last thing you worry about…

Triangle of Constraints

The 90 Percent That Matters

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By Steve Bechtel You wouldn’t read this if you didn’t want to get better at climbing. Many of us are on a constant search for a new training program, a new tool, a secret formula that somehow someone figured out that makes it all easy. Getting better isn’t complex, it’s simple. It’s simple, not easy.…

Route Climbing Performance 1

Why Am I Stuck?

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Oh, the glory days when we used to actually get better at climbing! I remember well doing a 5.6 one weekend, a 5.7 the next, a 5.8 and so on up. That whole first year, things just got easier and easier and the grades rolled by. The next year, progress slowed. The next, I had…

Recovery Training

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We get good at pushing hard into training. We all have been in that super-pumped zone or so sore we can barely move the next day, or so exhausted from a week’s training that we stay on the couch the whole weekend. As good as learning to go hard is, there is a critical Yang…

Hacking the Zlagboard Contest

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If you’ve never done a 20mm edge static hang to absolute failure, you’re missing out. This pleasure cruise of forearm endurance is not to be missed. I had the chance to try out the Zlagboard Contest a couple of years ago. The contest involves one simple test: grab the “medium” sized edges on the board…

Minimalist training, 3 Kettlebells on the floor, B&W, Photo by Mei Ratz

Effective Warm-Ups

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Training is the thing that makes you stronger. Warming up right is the thing that makes training work. For most of us, warming up has an intuitive “feel” to it – we start easy, and after a few minutes of gentle activity we feel ready to go. Younger athletes do, and need, less warming up.…

Steve Bechtel Dead Lift with Barbell, Photo by Mei Ratz

“Two set of two?” and Other Questions

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by Steve Bechtel It’s funny the questions you get after an interview. At the end of 2015, I had the great honor of talking to Neely Quinn at Training Beta for a second time, and had a good chat with Kris Hampton for his new podcast that summer. The format is challenging and I felt…

Get It Exactly Right

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by Steve Bechtel You’ve heard it many times – when someone sends their hardest it feels effortless. We talk about it as the “flow” state or as having an out-of-body experience. No matter what you call it, it’s a performance state you’d like to recreate as often as possible. We usually see ourselves get to…

Math Leading Sport Climbing B&W

Go Medium, Then Go Home.

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by Steve Bechtel There are any number of statements that tell you that you’re not trying hard enough. From “Go Hard or Go Home” to “Compete Every Day”, we are fed the message that in order to progress, we need to set records each and every time we are in the gym. The truth, thank…

Alex Bridgewater Hardstyle Plank b&w, Photo by Mei Ratz

Adaptation

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by Steve Bechtel On an intuitive level, we all understand the basic principles of training. These principles include specificity, individuality, and overload, among others. Most basic of all the principles is the idea of adaptation; we adapt to the demands placed upon us. Sports science has logically followed the lead of Hans Selye, who put…

Jared Hang Chalking Up while Climbing

Problems With Projecting

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By Steve Bechtel Project climbing – trying a very hard route over and over with the goal of eventually climbing it in one push – is one of the most fundamentally rewarding facets of rock climbing. It drives us to higher grades and teaches all sorts of valuable lessons. But like anything beneficial to us,…

Climbing Notes in Notebook with Pen

Write It Down – The Value of a Training Log

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by Steve Bechtel When I first sit down with a new athlete, the first thing I ask them is where they want to go. The question usually goes like this: “In six months, what do you want to have accomplished?” That part is easy for most of us – the dreaming is not hard to…

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