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It’s the day of the competition and your nerves begin to set in. There is a large crowd, many strong competitors, and the spotlight is on you. You breathe, relax, and remember that you’ve worked hard for this moment. It’s time to trust in your training and leave it all on the wall.

The Key

As someone who has competed in climbing from a young age, I am well acquainted with this feeling and the process of getting there. Although my training has varied significantly over the years, I have found the simplest and most overlooked aspect to be consistency.

Whether training for a competition or for personal improvement, it’s easy to lose consistency and motivation without some form of accountability. As a youth climber, I didn’t understand the concept of accountability. I routinely attended team practice and climbed additional days for fun. However, in college, life became busy, and I found myself training less and less.

It seems that we all reach this point in our relationship with climbing. Despite our passion for the sport, some aspect of life takes us away. After about two years of fighting this reality, I decided to do something about it.

The Plan of Attack

It started with a familiar statement: “I’m too busy.” This thought rang over and over in my head until I began to believe it was true. In reality, I wasn’t too busy. I was simply not making the time to climb.

When I realized my lack of improvement was of my own accord, I began writing weekly schedules. First, I wrote down the necessities: school, work, studying, etc. With the leftover time, I allocated a minimum of two consecutive hours per day for training.

On some days, I was indeed too busy to go to the gym. Those became my active rest days which included a short body workout or yoga session. I went from 1-2 long sessions per week to 5-6 short sessions per week with 1-2 active rest days. It was only a matter of time before I started seeing serious improvement.

The Specifics

Training looks different for every individual and depends on personal goals. On a day to day basis, I incorporate a few key elements into my personal training:

  1. Body Exercises
  2. Stretching
  3. Time on the Wall
  4. Strength and Conditioning
  5. Cardio

When training for a competition, I follow a 3-2-1 Training Cycle from Eric Horst’s book, Training for Climbing. This 6-week cycle includes workouts that range from 2-4 hours per session:

  • Phase 1: 3 weeks of maximum-strength and power training
  • Phase 2: 2 weeks of strength and power endurance training
  • Phase 3: 1 week of tapering to peak in strength, power, and endurance

Throughout my years of competing, both day-to-day consistency and following the 3-2-1 Training Cycle prior to a competition have proven to be the most effective and efficient ways to train with a full schedule. Regardless of your commitments, take a step back to evaluate how you spend your time. Try finding short gaps in your day to climb, workout, or simply stretch. Whatever your personal schedule and goals look like, strive for consistency and you will see the results.

Try these techniques as you train to compete in this year’s So iLL Showdown.

Jessica Capalbo

Author Jessica Capalbo

Jessica Capalbo is an avid rock climber who has been climbing and competing for nearly 13 years. She is passionate about growing the sport by coaching youth athletes and offering private instruction. Throughout her career in the climbing industry, she hopes to inspire a lifetime of adventure and opportunity for others.

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