Tuesday, 12 July 2011

The Weakest Link

Ten years ago I was lucky enough to attend a talk by Marius Morstad at the Boulder World Cup in Brum. During the talk, he stated that the Malc had perfect technique, which caused a sharp intake of air by many who attended, which was then followed by laughter from many who had assumed that it was a joke. Marius went on to explain how we could all achieve this same technique of being able to stay face on to the wall whilst performing burly moves between bad holds.

The long and short of it was that he believed you did not need steely fingers to perform hard moves, you needed steely core and posture (lower traps) muscles. The way to achieve this was either through simple floor exercises, or through climbing in Font. Most of the others in attendance weren't really interested in listening and started arguing with him to some extent or other and just asked him how to get stronger fingers (information that he was not interested in providing).

Anyway, I listened and acted, well, sort of. I went to Font for a while and came back climbing harder, so I had assumed that it had worked, although I was aware that I was still struggling with "open" moves, but put that down to them just not suiting me.

Some ten years later (in Feb this year) I decided to sort out my posture, since it would have positive benefits even if it did not make me any better on the wall. The catalyst that drove me to act was that in the BBC's this year I seemed to be the only competitor struggling with the big rockover moves that seemed to dominate the last move of many of the problems. I meant to blog at the time stating that I was going to start a new course of training to correct my posture and hopefully improve my deep lock/rockovers, but was not convinced that it would work, so I didn't. The thing is, is that it really has worked, indoors at the very least. My fingers are nowhere near as strong as they used to be a few years back, but my body (shoulders, lats, traps, core) feel good and strong. This new found strength is definitely getting me up harder problems than ever before and is making me feel worked in a very different way to how I used to at the end of a session.

I'm lucky I guess, since I have been able to find and exploit a major weakness. I suppose I should have listened more attentively 10 years ago so that I could have done something proper about this at the time, but hay ho, I had strong fingers then so didn't care.

The posture exercises are not a golden bullet and would certainly not work for those climbers who already display beautiful posture on the wall, or massive lower traps.

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