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Week 1 & 2 – Getting into training

After roughly 10 years of climbing I’ve decided to try something new – training for climbing! I must say it feels really fun as well as quite odd to go indoors and pull on plastic when I live right in the heart of probably the best area for climbing on earth with only minutes to the closest sectors of fantastic Montserrat. Having just marginally improved half a grade or so per year with some periods of low motivation I’m right now really psyched both for climbing and for reaching a level that allows me to try at least some of these fantastic routes that I have around me.

Fall beauty Previously my indoors experiences have been ranging from bad to very bad. Being from the little city of Umeå in the north of Sweden meant that climbing indoors = climbing at IKSU, a fantastic sport center with pretty much everything. Everything except a good climbing wall. Biggest problem was not that the walls are small and crowded at night, no the biggest problem was that the hall was shared with other sports. Insane sound volume took away all fun from the experience for me. Add to that the walls are fairly vertical and the holds generally very small to reflect the granite climbing of the north – something putting a lot of stress on the fingers. I normally managed to do about 2-3 weeks of training before getting injured. Year after year. So I just gave up and instead used my flexible working hours to go climbing even during winter. This resulted in many hours skiing out to boulders, shoveling snow off said boulders, melting ice, warm up, get some tries in and ski back to the car. At -5 C the friction on granite is just amazing. The photo shows strong man Urban Duva hiking a 7a in -12 C… But all in all winters were for skiing and summers for climbing and then mostly crack climbing since I then didn’t suffer as much for my complete lack of finger strength.

Campus? Campus!Jump forward a couple of years and here I am in Catalonia in north east Spain. 45 minutes west of my village lives Chris Sharma. Ramonet, who became the European champion this weekend, lives in Barcelona 40 minutes away. Catalonia is the center of the climbing world right now, it is that easy. But it doesn’t really help me if I can’t climb the routes I want. So what to do? Enter David Macía, professional climbing trainer and author of the book Entrenamiento en Escalada Deportiva (soon in English in a shop near you!) and owner of the climbing gym McPlaf in the town of Esparraguera just 10 minutes from my house. Two weeks ago I drove down and talked to David and straight away he put me to work: “Do 250 moves and tell me how it feels. The next 3 weeks you will increase 50-100 moves every session and then you have a little base to start working from.” As I started my series I checked out the nice little campus (click on the photo for a closer look). I also had a good chance to see some fairly strong people training around me. Fairly strong? OK, I had the chance to see some incredibly strong climbers training around me. Some of the climbers training with David are Edu Marin, Andrea Szekely, Sara Aicart and many more young and talented. And then me. It is fair to say I’m by far the weakest person in the gym. A big change from other walls I’ve trained at is how steep they all are. The walls in McPlaf are ranging from steep to roof. The least steep wall is about the same steepness as the the hardest wall of the gym in my hometown. So instead of pulling little crimps I’m so far basically only using big, finger friendly holds. It’s great fun indeed!

About me:
Age: 35
Height: 190 cm
Weight: 88 kg
Hardest climbs: 7a+ sport, 7a on-sight sport, 6c+/7a trad, 7A boulder (check me out on if you want to)

This year I would like to do a 7b+ route and on-sight three more 7a.
I would like to do 7A boulder again this winter. I think I’m probably stronger now than before but have no boulder strength at all.

Weight goal:
I’m a big guy but I should easily be able to loose 5 kg of fat. So let’s say that I aim at 83 kg in 8 months. I want to loose weight slow.

Training goal:
My goal is to train 6 out of 7 days a week. About 4 days of climbing. I am using to monitor this. There I write in Swedish so if you understand that, check my log out.

Week 1
Tuesday, 205/250 moves. I couldn’t finish the 250 moves, after 200 jug moves my skin couldn’t handle any more. It was very warm, probably around 30 C in the gym.

Thursday, 300/300 moves. Some skin care and tape helped me through the 300 moves.

Saturday, sport climbing in Agulla de Sanglar, Montserrat. Had a horrible day, maybe due to heat? Finally got a better feeling and do a few laps on Tom Sayer, 6c, a pocketed slightly overhanging route.

Sunday, long route in Montserrat. Mentally challenging more than physical. 8 meters between the bolts felt long. Then I learnt that I should have brought some friends…

Week 2
Tuesday, 400/400 moves. Did some moves on a harder wall (blue) and could start doing longer links on the easy (yellow) and medium (green) walls.

Thursday, 500/500 moves. This took some effort and that I went to the kids/beginners wall (only 10 degress overhanging) to finish the last 100 moves.

Saturday, 300/300 moves. Yep, went indoor on a Saturday. Some rain and some work stress and I could enjoy an hour and a half alone here. Really good sensation, did fewer moves but linked some harder boulders.

Sunday, sport climbing in Agulla de Sanglar. Had to go back to the same sector as last weekend, it is just so good! Warmed up and could then easily do the 6c Tom Sayer placing the quickdraws. Then quickly found a solution of the hard start of the 7a(+?) to the right of it and did loop after loop on the pocketed upper part on toprope before heading down to Bar Anna and the FC Barcelona game.

Well, that was all for now. Tomorrow – 550 moves in McPlaf! A muerte!

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7 Responses

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  1. Andreas says

    Good on you! I’ve been doing about just the same, or shock your system. I read this really nice blogpost about; “when you get stuck then you need to change all your habbits/training methods/mindsets. Shock your system. Oppose it to things that your body is not used to. That’s how you’ll get progress”.

    Anyway, just a question; These moves you are talking about… how are they done? Are you talking in total? Is it a form of endurance-drill? 5x30moves á set, then 2-4 sets? Or? and also; what’s the walls like that you train on?

    Just curious… looking forward to your next post!

  2. Pär says

    Thanks for you comment Andreas! I will try to outline what kind of exercises I’m doing as the training evolves. Right now I simply try to do as many moves as possible on each section to finally reach my goal of the day.

    McPlaf is divided into 4 colors:

    (Kids section, 10 degrees overhanging)
    Yellow – easiest: Here I do 20-40 moves in a row.
    Green – medium: 10-20 moves in a row.
    Blue – hard: up to 12 moves in a row, normally 5-8.
    Red – too hard: here I haven’t really tried anything.

    To do 500 I did:
    100 yellow (20-25 moves each set)
    100 green (10-20 moves each set)
    50 blue (5-12 moves each set)
    100 green (10-20 moves each set)
    50 yellow (20-25 moves each set)
    Then my skin hurt so much so I went over to the kids wall and did more vertical traversing on a lot smaller holds that didn’t hurt as much for the final 100 moves. Here I can do 30-50 moves straight.

  3. Andreas says

    Takk! I will try that one… although I’m aware of the same skin issue…

  4. Pär says

    Velkommen! Fun to get feedback!

    Today I did 600 moves and it felt fairly easy. Now off to climb outside for 3 days over the weekend and then back to the next part of the training on Tuesday.

  5. Simon says

    Hej Pär!

    Your post really held a mirror up to me 😮
    – I’m 35 y/o
    – 190cm, 86kg
    – started climbing in 2002
    – RP max 7a, if you don’t count Railay 😉
    – living just 45min from the center of the Frankenjura
    – not able to climb the most inspiring routes there
    – only gradually improving, half a grade per years fits almost perfectly

    For this winter I also decided to have a little more stuctured approach instead of just doing this & that in order to set a new peak at 7b next season.
    I wonder if you are planning to do any roped climbing for endurance training or if you want to rely solely on bouldering. From my experience boulder traverses or circular boulders (laps) are no real substitute for long upward climbs.

    I’m looking forward to your progress/updates.

    Greets from Tyskland,

  6. Pär says

    Hi Simon! Yes, sounds we are in exactly the same position here! Good, maybe we can try to inspire each other? Are you writing about your climbing somewhere?

    My gym is just about to finish some small but steep (of course…) rope-walls so I assume I will climb on those as well. I will also climb outdoors (roped) at least 2 days a week all winter. I love climbing on rock and since there is a 12-month season here I can easily choose a crag that is in the sun for winter.

    I have never done boulder traverses or laps before but I felt really strong this last Sunday when I was out on rock again. And since the other people training in my gym do up to 9a+ it seems to work… 🙂

  7. Simon says

    Hi Pär,
    I sent you an email. If you like we can continue our discussion that way…

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