Transcending the Category: Bouldering and Sport Climbing
Transcending the Category:
Bouldering and Sport Climbing
For a long while I considered myself a "boulderer".
Naw dawg I don't want any extra gear. All I need is shoes, chalk and a crashpad. The simple life.
Not interested. I didn't really enjoy cub scouts.
I can just climb highballs bro!
I was stuck in a stagnant cycle of only returning to the gym to try one or two hard problems. Sessions had become so one dimensional that I started to succumb to injury, develop a negative mindset and lose track of the process. The biggest issue here stemmed from comfort and repetition, which in turn caused stagnation and a big ol plateau. Growth was put on hold by a metaphorical "Roundup" spray for climbing progress.
A common pitfall I see in Bouldering and Sport Climbing is the unwillingness to take a step back after an attempt and critically think and problem solve. We are so quick to hop straight back on the route or problem before we're ready. We're all insane!
This quote is used constantly but it rang true to my Boulderer only woes:
Road to Balance
So… How did Sport Climbing help me become more balanced? Let’s separate it into a few different key points.
2. The Process
3. Switching Gears
5. Aerobic Climbing and Injury Prevention
Breath - Sport Climbing is the discipline that allowed me to develop the BRAVE Method. Sport Climbing forced me to be more engaged with staying calm and confident - keeping the awareness in the body, even when the mind wants to take control.
The Process - Through this new discipline, I gained a new appreciation for being focused on effort and keeping learning as the overall goal. This new outlook kept me from becoming frustrated and discouraged and allowed me to stay curious even in times of repeated failure. Long term projecting opened my awareness to the route reading process: Discovery, Strategy, Solution. Projecting is now a very engaged and enjoyable process for me… often no matter the outcome!
Switching Gears - In Sport Climbing there is a constant fluctuation between the percentage you’re exerting physically and what breath stage you’re utilizing. A climb may go from a 100% exertion boulder problem, to a 0% hands free rest, followed by a 70%, 30 move power endurance sequence. This is the idea of changing states or switching gears. It also brings about the importance of Tempo. Which I tend to describe as the ideal combination of the breath and movement.
Resting - Along the same lines of switching gears, but here we’re talking about active recovery as well as passive recovery. Passive recovery is stationary resting without having to hold on. Active recovery is the ability to recover on route on holds. Sport Climbing allowed me to appreciate restful holds. It taught me that often times I would just try to race to the top. Once I applied pause and rest to climbing, my red point ability shot up!
Aerobic Climbing and Injury Prevention - Simply put, this is the idea of climbing to work your cardio and technique. Climbing easy, but climbing well. Gaining the ability to remain present on sub-maximal terrain was such a blessing bestowed upon me by the wonders of Sport Climbing. Mixing in these less strenuous climbing days also kept me limber by allowing me to stay active even on rest days, thus preventing overuse injury in the long run.
Well… there you have it. That’s my short story of transcending the category.
Are you ready to transcend yours?