4 advice for your training by Natalie Bärtschi

Natalie Bärtschi competed in her first climbing competition at the age of eleven and came second straight away. The occasion was followed by the inclusion in the regional team for Eastern Switzerland and thus an increasingly intensive training. We are happy that Natalie reveals her personal formula for a balanced and motivating climbing training here on LACRUX.

Natalie Bärtschi
After my first climbing attempts at the age of 7 years, I was mostly on the rocks. Whether sport climbing, multi-pitches or via ferratas, the main thing outdoors in nature. With 11 years I participated in my first competition and began to train regularly and performance-oriented. Once a week there was a lot more training and I spent countless hours on the train training three times a week with the Regional Squad Eastern Switzerland in Zurich. There was no corresponding infrastructure near my home in the canton of St. Gallen back then.

When motivation decreases during training

My achievements allowed me to attend a sports gymnasium in Zurich and my whole life was now only about training. I never found this fact annoying and I was always looking forward to climbing. Previously, I had tried a few other sports, but I could hardly inspire for the respective training. It was very different with climbing, I could not get enough. But there was also a time of doubt. The international youth competitions did not go according to plan and despite enormous training effort stagnated my performances. I was not far from giving up and throwing everything.

Between plastic and rock

Luckily, I started to climb out more and realized quickly that my passion for climbing was never lost, rather my confidence in training. Climbing is about so much more than just competitions and difficulty levels. Even if I finish my competitive career someday, I will not stop climbing. No way. I love this sport too much. This insight has changed my training attitude fundamentally. Instead of struggling with specific exercises, I simply climbed as often and as hard as possible. I focused on the many reasons that make my fascination with climbing: the diversity of movement, being outside, the community, the feeling of being able to mark off a project. All this helped me discover my strengths and weaknesses and I learned to listen to my body. Suddenly the success was back. In retrospect, this is probably the main reason why my trainer supported this form of training instead of giving me a fixed training schedule. For this understanding and trust I am incredibly grateful to him and on this basis we can still build today.

The balance between training and climbing

With the beginning of my studies in chiropractic medicine at the University of Zurich, my understanding of the human body and thus my interest in training grew. Slowly I began to train again regularly and reasonably structured. Not because I had to, but because I wanted. I had reached a point where climbing did not help me on my own. To improve myself, I had to work on my weaknesses, especially my finger left much to be desired. Probably, I wanted too fast and too little repetitive minor injury kept me from fully exploiting my potential. Of course, I knew that balance and stabilization exercises are important, but only then did I realize the important role they play in injury prevention. After getting through these small but frustrating injuries, I enjoyed climbing again to the fullest. Simply being able to give the best, without ifs and buts, felt incredibly good. This resulted in some heavy rock walks and an 14. Place at the Boulderworld Cup in Munich. My best competition result ever! My motivation is higher than ever and I finally found my balance between training and climbing.

4 training advice from Natalie Bärtschi

  1. Listen to his body - Recovery is an essential part of training and your body is pretty good at signaling you when to take a break.
  2. Compensation exercises are part of the training - They shouldn't just be done on the side, but should be integrated directly into the training. My shoulder exercises are a fixed part of my warm-up program and I also try to do specific compensatory exercises about twice a week.
  3. Working on its weaknesses AND its strengths - Working on my weaknesses usually involves exercises that I do not really enjoy doing because I am not good at them. But that's the only way to get stronger and the progress is often all the more gratifying. However, in my opinion, maintaining your strengths is almost as important. It strengthens self-confidence and gives you an advantage in competition or on the rock. Here are my three favorite exercises as well as my "hate exercises". Strangely, the exercises pretty much represent my strengths and weaknesses 😉
    1. Favorites: campus, muscle-ups, box-jumps
    2. Dislikes: static loading, blocking / persistence
  4. Have fun! That is the most important point from my point of view. Training can be very tiring and tiring, but even the most boring exercises can be fun with someone sharing your passion. At least once a week I still just go free climbing and do what I feel like now and then, sometimes only in sneakers. This year's training was pretty intense but I'm happy about the progress and even though sore muscles are my constant companion at the moment, I can not wait for the next training!

Text: Natalie Bärtschi - onsight.ch, Image: © Vladek Zumr


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