Andrea Kümin has been in the Swiss national team since 2011 and successfully participates in national and international competitions. In today's post, she gives tips for training and introduces exercises from her everyday training routine.

A contribution by Andrea Kümin for Bächli Bergsport

What I really like about climbing is the variety. I can climb the rock or in the hall, I can climb the rope, bouldering or even speed climbing, I can climb on a slab, in the vertical or in the strongly overhanging wall: Climbing has extremely many different facets and the requirements are repeated different. Of course, strength is an important prerequisite, but mobility, technique, tactics and mental strength are also important factors. In order to do justice to this diversity, the training should also be correspondingly varied and varied.

Below I introduce you to some exercises from my everyday training routine. You can use these exercises well in your training. It does not matter what level you climb. The exercises relate to the areas of strength, agility, technique and tactics.

This is how you train your body tension

When climbing, the body tension is very important. The power transmission to the kicks and handles succeeds better when the hull is taut. Therefore, trunk and tension exercises are an integral part of my warm-up. I do the exercises before climbing, because I can warm up and train the core muscles at the same time. Exercises such as sit-ups, planks static or dynamic with foot lifting, and the more demanding exercises of toe-to-bar, slope scales and flags are part of my routine.

From time to time I also practice tension exercises directly on the climbing wall. A very efficient exercise is the so-called persistence. With this exercise, I not only improve the whole body tension, but also the blocking power.

Exercise persist

training goal: Body tension and blocking force
Requirement: Find a moderate boulder for you (or a similar route). The wall should be slightly to overhanging and the boulder should not contain any dynamic features.
implementation: You unleash every boulder climb as usual. However, as soon as your hand is over the target handle, you remain in that position for three seconds before loading the handle. You will feel that in this exercise you have to stretch the whole body extremely. Try to breathe as normally as possible.
Method: Find three different boulders in your training session and climb each boulder three times with persistence. Take a break between the boulders.

Andrea at the Boulder World Cup in Meiringen 2019

More power endurance thanks to these exercises

I also like to train strength endurance on the boulder wall, as you can climb many hard moves one after the other in bouldering. Thanks to the short break between the boulders, you can relax a bit and be able to climb more hard moves one after the other than climbing a rope. This form of strength training is highly recommended if, for example, your project route has many very hard moves or a tricky key point at the end.

Exercise strength endurance bouldering

training goal: Strength endurance
Prerequisite: Find a challenging boulder. You should be able to climb it several times, but still be challenged.
implementation: Climb the Boulder four times in a row. You can chalk in between for about five seconds. Then take a longer break of about three to five minutes.
Method: Climb four different boulders four times each.

This is how you work on the technique

Much maximal strength and strength endurance alone are not enough to climb well. Strong climbers are characterized by an outstanding technique. There are many technical exercises. Personally, I find the foot technique very important when climbing because I can save a lot of energy with good footwork. If I walk with precision and stand well, I can relieve my arms. Climbing is an integral part of Boulder World Cups and I regularly practice kicking and kicking. I even built a small wall for it at home. But not only in competition, but also on the rock, it is very helpful if you stand on very small structures and can change your foot in any situation.

Exercise foot change

training goal: Footing technique
Prerequisite: Find a wall where you can traverse. The kicks should be small or bad.
implementation: Climb on a traversing track and "walk" on every step. You stand on as small kicks as possible. If you're looking for a bigger challenge, climb a plate boulder without using your hands.
Method: Travers to warm up twice every now and then.

Climbing is a matter of the mind

Climbing legend Wolfgang Güllich once said: "The most important muscle in climbing is the brain." I like this statement because it does not emphasize the power, but puts the mental aspect of climbing into the center. Of course, strength and technique are important, but especially when climbing on the personal performance limit, the head is often the deciding factor. I've gotten into the habit of entering a boulder or a route only when I have a clear idea of ​​how I want to do the individual climbing moves. So I can climb fast and save a lot of power. Another step is to visualize the boulder or the route, especially in competition: I close my eyes and climb the Boulder or the route in thought. The youtube video Silence The first 9c route by Adam Ondra shows the visualization very impressively.

Tip: Take your time before you start climbing and take a close look at the boulder or the route. Think about how you want to climb and then try to put yourself in the position and feel how the movements might feel.

Flexibility is central

My last tip concerns mobility. Personally, I stretch before and after training. Thanks to a good mobility I can climb less forcefully. I bring my hip close to the wall, can stand up and put heelhooks over my head without any problems. But that's just one aspect. Stretching also helps me to recover better and faster after a hard workout. Good mobility also reduces the risk of injury.

Tip: Heat up your body in full body, for example with five minutes skipping rope, and stretch actively-dynamically before climbing, trying to stretch your muscles with slightly bobbing movements. Do not forget your hands and fingers! So you can prepare your body for the high loads on the climbing wall.

After training, you stretch passively, which means that you stay in the respective position for at least 30 seconds, exhale well and try to relax. After the workout, I especially stretch the forearms and upper arms as well as the chest muscles. I hope you enjoy climbing and training!

You want to know more about the training?

Find more Training tips can be found here.

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Credits: Cover Picture Caroline Gloor