I started bouldering in Oktober 2018 after I moved back home to Osnabrueck and wanted to hang out with some long missed friends. Some of them were already bouldering since a few years and although I always was afraight of heights, I went along and tried it out. On my first session I went with my sisters betrothed and some friends. And that was when the passion began. After many years of trying this and that sport (sword fencing, capoeira, gym stuff, running etc.) I felt a passion for a sport I didn’t have since I stopped playing water polo some 10 years ago. Soon I started to go the bouldering gym two to three times a week and after the first few weeks I even bought my first pair of climbing shoes because I felt a connection to the sport. It clicked for me and I realised that I constantly became better and after a few weeks could climb routes I didn’t dream of tin the beginning.
It was in December 2018 when I first realized that I had to pay a tribute for constant training and progression. My body clearly tried to signalize me that I might have overcooked it. My wrists and shoulders started to aich, the pump in my forearms came earlier with each training session and sometimes it took days or even a week before I could climb on a previous Niveau again because the pain hinderd my to do hard climbs. It was at the beginning of January 2019 during a session with my girlfriend when she realized that I couldn’t do a single move without pain anymore. She immediatly sent me to shower, took me home and took care that I would rest for at least 3 or 4 days before I would go climbing again.
At that point I realized that she would probably be right. It was no use to abuse my body and eventually get hurt very bad.
Guess what? It helped! I took a rest of 4 days before my next session. It hadn’t taken such a long brake in between climbs for the last few weeks. But my body needed it and was thankfull for it. The payback I got was one of the best bouldering sessions I had in weeks! I was painfree (or nearly…) and my muscles regenerated enough to take me through a very productive climbing session. I learned different things from this lesson:
1. Listen to the signals your body gives you. It knows best when it’s done!
2. Take rest days, when needed. Listen to you body to find out how long you need to rest.
3. Don’t give yourself to strickt a training regime in the beginning of your climbing career. It hurts more than it helps.
4. Listen to your climbing partners, sometimes the see things you don’t.
There are different good reasons to take some days off. Mine was to finally let all my muscles heal. One thing to know when starting with climbing is that your muscles will grow much faster than your sinews. Therefore it’s important to reign yourself in to let your sinews grow to par with your muscles. The strongest biceps does not do much when attached to weak sinews. Also, I learned that starting with e. g. a pull-up and/or campus board routine is not strictly bad but can weaken you more than it helps your strength. I tried to put in some pull-up and campus routine like once a week before climbing. But I realized that it weakened my climbing because my muscles were already sore when I finally got to the wall. And at the beginning of climbing there is nothing as important as getting in a serious amount of time on the wall. Also, a good resting routine does help a lot. When I wrote this article I was on a routine of 2 rest days in between climbing days. Therefore I could climb e. g. Mo-Wed-Sun in one week but only Wed-Sat in the next week. To stay fit and help the body regenerate I can recommend to pick up a routine of endurance training in between climbing days such as running, swimming or biking. Something that trains your body and endurance but trains totally different parts of your body.
To summarize my experience I can say the following: if you want to become better, train hard but not to hard. Rest good, but not to long. Diverify your training. Or in other words: Train hard, Play hard.