Updated: Dec 1, 2022
by Christopher Schafenacker
Winter is coming and with it the end of the outdoor climbing season. For many, this is a tough blow that often finds expression in lagging motivation. What’s the point of training if you’re not gonna get back on your proj. until spring, right? How can you get psyched to pull on purple plastic after spending every weekend out in nature on real rock?
For many, signing up for a friendly comp or series is the answer. After all, there’s nothing like a little dose of trying to outdo your homies to boost your psych. And yet, if you don’t want to be left sputtering excuses—yes we know, you’re a rock climber; you’ve never done a double-dyno in your life—you need to adapt your training to the task. Here’s how.
3 Tips for Getting Competition Strong
1. Learn to Route Read
In competition, it doesn’t matter if you’re twice as strong as everyone else if it takes you three times as long to send. Unlike outdoor climbing, competition climbing is bound by a time limit and your number of attempts detracts from your final score. This means that your ability to decipher beta is nearly as important as your climbing strength.
Competition boulders increasingly prioritize acrobatic moves and contorted beta—things that make for a good show—which means you need to do the same in your training. All those problems you look at and think oh, hell, no… Yep, those are where you need to be.
2. Train Power Endurance
Speed and efficiency are crucial comp skills but so too is your ability to execute numerous burns in a row. When competing, you not only need to quickly get back on after falling from a boulder, you need to do this over and over. Like everything else in our sport, you train this by doing. To gain the sort of power endurance required of competition climbing, make 4x4s on your home woody or spray board a part of your routine.
3. Grasp the True Meaning of Try-Hard
Often the result of a competition comes down to the number of attempts needed to send the designated boulders. Doing one of those half-ass pulls where you’re not truly trying to stick the next move isn’t going to get you on the podium. Success is determined by your ability to give your all on every burn and this, of course, is easier said than done. Trying hard is a skill and mastering it takes practice.
If you have the luxury of a home wall—or any wall on which you’re able to set your own problems—you can train try-hard by setting moves at the very limit of your ability and then trying to link these moves into a longer sequence. Think boulders of the style: hard move, hard move, limit move, hard move. If you know you can do the moves if you can only conjure 100% effort, practicing doing so will make you much better at just this.
Featured Climbing Training Gear
Maverick: The on-the-go, bring it anywhere hangboard. On a family road trip to keep your fingers in shape. We like to bring this to the crag with us to keep our fingers warm—without losing skin on mediocre warm-ups—at that steep, thuggy sport crag.
The Rocket Wall: Available in 6’ and 8’ widths, it’s been tough for us to keep up with the demand for this innovative home climbing wall solution. Slightly overhanging, the Rocket Wall is big enough to set routes on, or to build a systems board.
The Rock-Stah: Our handcrafted version of a traditional hangboard, with curving crimp rails to help alleviate unnecessary strain on your pulleys. Because ain’t no one got time for a finger injury…
The Rocketeer Wall: our free-standing adjustable solution for those who can’t mount a hangboard anywhere in their home or apartment—or who are limited on space. The Rocketeer gives climbers the additional option to set specific climbing holds. Recreate the crux holds of your proj and get ready to send, bruh.