365 Days of Random

Random musings about nothing at all

Strength or Skill

Today my BF, Squeaks and I went climbing… in the gym as my BF doesn’t yet have his own shoes and has to rent from the gym. It was a great morning…. But something very strange has happened over the last month or so…. I seem to be LOSING strength not gaining it. I still climb at least once a week… generally twice. I’ve been playing softball two or possibly three times a week… so it’s not that I am not getting any activity and therefore decreasing my fitness levels. I will admit to gaining back a few pounds of what I’d lost this past year… and I am probably not eating as well as I could be these days….. but still…. I feel WEAK when I am climbing… and I haven’t felt like that in a very long time.

One interesting thing that I noticed today is that even though I feel incredibly weak after only a short amount of climbing my overall skill and technique is still improving. In some cases that’s the only thing getting me up the wall… that I know how to MOVE and don’t need the strength. When we first started climbing one of our instructors insisted that skill in climbing was much more important that strength and that climbers (especially women climbers) who focus on skill and technique will inevitably become much better, more graceful climbers. Since this is definitely what I aspire to I am not really all that worried right now. But it does seriously suck to not be able to get up routes that I’ve climbed in the past simply because I can’t execute the one or two STRENGTH moves involved. While not worried… I am not a fan of this situation at all.

So, I think next week it’s time to get back to a serious strength training routine. I need to start eating better (more veggies and less chocolate)… I need to start PUSHING myself to do harder stuff and really working my muscles again. With one softball team done for the season Monday nights will go back to being a regular workout night and I think it needs to be a series of cardio and strength (both core and upper body) exercises. Before softball started this spring my BF and I were working out Monday’s and Friday’s and definitely starting to see significant increases in our strength. It’s time for me to just push harder and get back to that place…. and maybe even lose those few pounds again.

Another thing I am seriously considering is taking a class at my climbing gym that’s called “FX”. It’s basically cross fit for climbers. It runs every Wednesday night at 7pm I think. It’s and additional cost per week (about $10) but it’s supposed to be one of the best things you can do to increase strength and unlock climbing abilities. A couple people I know at the gym took it for only 3 or 4 weeks and increased their strength and skill dramatically. The only catch is that they said they wanted to puke at the end of it…. so that’s a bit scary. But I think in the end it will be really good for me. So, I may try it this coming Wednesday….. or maybe I will start off with a Yoga class… when it’s a good instructor it’s a great strength and flexibility builder as well. Although Squeaks told me once that it was a tough yoga class… doing headstands and the like… which for me is just never going to happen… I’d be the idiot in class that broke their neck.

Regardless… I am publicly announcing my goal to get back into serious shape and I am expecting those few that read this on a regular basis to hold me accountable to it. My goal for this year (in January) had been to see some extreme increase in my climbing abilities …. to be successfully climbing 5.10s and starting to break the 5.11 barrier. I have not really been successful there yet… I am still struggling on 5.9s (and some 8’s too)…. I’ve managed to get up one 5.10… but only one and I fought hard to get up it… and struggling regularly on 9’s doesn’t help me get to 10s. I realize I still have half the year to go… but if I don’t restate my intentions I fear I will just continue to lose strength and see my climbing abilities decline rather than increase.

So, I think FX on Wednesdays… cardio and strength on Monday’s and Fridays and normal climbing on Tuesday’s and Saturday’s may just be the ticket. This will be the plan starting this coming Monday. Wish me luck… and if you notice me slacking give me a virtual kick in the butt.


June 11, 2011 Posted by | Challenges, Climbing, Health & Wellness | , , , , , | Leave a comment