Last fall, after a long absence, I started coaching competitive youth climbers again. It’s exciting to see how youth competitions have developed in the past 14 years; the number of competitors is fairly large, as is the number of coaches. I’d guess that preparing youth for competitions is probably the largest source of coaching revenue in the US, and correspondingly it’s a task that a great number of coaching hours are spent on. Yet public discussions, and published material regarding youth competitions are almost non-existent. So, I think it would be great to start a discussion on how we prepare young athletes for bouldering competitions. (more…)
Archive for the ‘Science & theory of Training’ Category
In this post I want to flesh out some of the details of body tension that I have not described yet, I also want to take a stab at defining the sub categories of body tension and I hope to do this through analyzing specific moments in the video of Dave Graham on the Island (V15) that I mentioned in an earlier post. (more…)
Sorry that I have been silent lately. Going into the Thanks Giving holiday I got really disorganized and stopped making time to blog. Anyway lets get back to body tension. This is a video I made that provides a number of basic joint actions and the vocabulary used to describe them. I am putting this up now because I think it will make understanding the video analysis of body tension a lot easier.
Some may ask why we need to know and use such a specialized language. The first answer is because it’s far easier than the alternative in which people just make up their own terms and there is no precise and universal way to talk about body movement. Second this language is very helpful in a variety of settings such as when talking to sports doctors concerning injuries or movement problems. If you can describe what causes pain in these terms it will be easier for a professional to understand what you are telling them. Finally, correctly understanding and labeling movement is the way we accurately identify what muscles contribute to that movement which is necessary for a number of reasons including movement analysis and the development of conditioning programs.
Concerning further posts on body tension I am taking g’s suggestion of sub categories seriously and I think its possible to describe perhaps three subcategories so I am working on these descriptions and hope to have them completed soon.
After describing the forces at work on hand and footholds as well as the function of kinetic chains we can now see how these features are at work in body tension. (more…)
This is the second post in which I lay the ground work for a full understanding of body tension. The next post will tie everything together.
The concept of Kinetic Chains is fairly important to climbing, but its not often discussed among climbers. In simple terms there are two types of kinetic chains, open and closed. Open kinetic chains describe movement situations in which (more…)
I have not posted on the blog in the past two weeks because I have been doing a lot of study / writing about body tension, as well as coaching and course setting which has been a lot of fun. Anyway, I think I have come up with a good mechanical description of what body tension is; but this description is getting long and it includes several concepts not commonly discussed in climbing circles so I need to lay some groundwork prior to getting down to brass tacks. I am dividing my lengthy description into several posts. The first two posts provide the background for the later posts. If I can get the writing done I hope to have all the posts up by early next week. (more…)
Some folks may have already seen this but I just noticed it yesterday so I thought I would put up the link for those who are late to the party such as myself. Its a post on locking-off in climbing where (more…)
I actually started this series of posts out of order by describing the joint actions and muscles at work in the front lever, an exercise often described as an excellent way of developing body tension. But I didn’t define what body tension is. We are looking for a functional definition, one that is (more…)
Front levers are popularly advocated in the climbing literature as a “core workout” or for training what we call body tension. In this post I will offer an analysis of the front lever describing what muscles are at work in order to perform this demanding activity. In another post I will present an analysis of (more…)
Two days ago I got Steve Bechtel’s “Power Endurance” in the mail. It’s a 60 page booklet on interval training for climbing. My overall impression of this work is very positive. Bechtel’s emphasis throughout the book is on maintaining high quality of movement in all aspects of training and he is adamant about not working at such a high level that movement suffers. This is a rare perspective and its really nice to see someone writing about fitness but keeping the emphasis on the quality of movement. Other authors pay lip service to this idea but Bechtel means it. Also, Bechtel has clearly spent a lot of time experimenting with different interval structures for climbing (more…)