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Is Rock Climbing Really for me?

Rock Climbing - part 1
Rock Climbing - part 2

Rock Climbing Basics

After viewing the videos above, you may be interested in reading about some of the topics that will be covered in the LAM Climbing School; exact topics and details will vary, and much more material will be addressed in the actual course.  The following information is provided by "ABC of Rock".

 Basics & Backgrounds  |  Rock Climbing Styles  |  Techniques & Training

Rock Climbing Knots  |  Equipment Overview  |  Safety & Guidelines

"Online Climbing Coach"
(best for experienced climbers)

Your coach for these sessions is Dave MacLeod, a sport scientist, climbing coach, and pro climber based in Glasgow, Scotland.  You can find out more about him at his website.  Dave decided to start a blog to share all the information and experience that he carries around in his head, thus providing us with a good source of advice about training for climbing.  He dissects the latest research, analyzing and reporting news and other people's work on the subject, and provides links to good sources of information elsewhere.

Dave originally studied sport science to help coach himself, and to take his climbing as far as it could go.  His study helped him so much that he decided to make it easier for others climbers to access the same knowledge and apply it.

Is Rock Climbing Really for me?

A few short videos may help potential applicants to the LAM Climbing School decide whether rock climbing is really what they think it is.  "What is Rock Climbing" is self explanatory, and "Rock Climbing" parts 1 & 2 are good introductory instructional videos for all beginning climbers.


"Free Life" & Rock Climbing
What is Rock Climbing?


Online Climbing Coach
Wed, Mar 7 2012 - 1:53 PM
Injuries: The problem with Lay-off
A traditional approach to a tendon injury such as commonly experienced by climbers is to include an extended lay-off of several weeks or even several months. There are several good reasons to consider a lay-off, and several not to lay-off at all, depending on the circumstances. The basic rationale for lay-off is to allow the tissue some rest and a chance to recover from it’s severely compromised state. There are quite a few assumptions built into the decision to completely rest the tissue....
Thu, Feb 23 2012 - 2:21 PM
Distracted from the task at hand
After my last post, Toby commented: “I'm 25, been climbing for about two years, and am about to embark on a long road trip. I've quit my job and... ...I've had a whole spate of minor injuries crop up in the last eight weeks...It definitely helps to see you acknowledge the realities of being injured and managing those injuries. I look at some of my friends who train six days a week for months on end with no ill effects, and I curse my body for not being able to stand up to that sort of load...
Thu, Feb 23 2012 - 9:11 AM
Injuries in young climbers - learn the hard way?
When it comes to injuries, the vast majority of sportspeople learn the hard way. They learn how to take care of their bodies by getting injured repeatedly and cursing their misfortune until sheer frustration prompts them to look more closely at what’s going on and realise there is something they can do about it. For youngsters, it’s even harder. They aren’t so used to thinking strategically and anticipating problems as real athletes do. They just go at it with training as keenly as they li...
Tue, Jan 17 2012 - 5:38 PM
Learning errors? come back fresh
The story behind this new problem from yesterday is on my main blog here. But I wanted to share a couple of lessons I learned from a few sessions trying this rather technical eliminate: First, while trying it after a summer of trad when I was weak I went backwards on it. I couldn’t understand why at first. I had an awful session when I couldn’t even do the swing move at all. My raw finger strength was still there - I could feel it in how hard I could pull on the holds. But the move wa...
Wed, Jan 11 2012 - 7:11 AM
Confidence de-training
I went bouldering outdoors for the first time in two months yesterday. Lochaber deluge enforced indoor training regime. I was shocked at how tentative I was and worried about bad landings after so long falling onto big friendly climbing wall mats. Note to self, and anyone else in the same situation: Too much time above big mats destroys your boldness and ability to fall properly outdoors on poor landings. Not much you can do about this other than be aware of it and take care to give s...
Tue, Jan 3 2012 - 5:48 PM
Through the whole move
I’ve just spent the week staying with family in Glasgow and visiting the fantastic new TCA bouldering centre as often as muscles allow. It’s obviously a bit different from most bouldering facilities, being the biggest in the UK, and this brings many new benefits for training, as well as some new ptifalls. Some observations on these: The first observation I made which was very heartening, was the notable absence of people complaining about being too short, or the moves being too reachy. Obv...
Wed, Dec 21 2011 - 7:18 AM
Training the ability to try
If you see people in action during training (it’s easiest to observe in a traditional weights/cardio gym), it’s not hard to notice that theres a massive difference between the majority who are having a ‘light’ session to say the least, and the much smaller proportion who are really working their bodies hard. As an aside, If you do see those people in the gym who look like they aren’t trying - don’t scoff inwardly (or outwardly!) at them - not everyone goes to the gym to work hard. Some peo...
Sat, Dec 3 2011 - 8:34 AM
Technique learning - noticing things
When coaching climbers I’m constantly trying to encourage them to set up a routine both in themselves and as a group of peers climbing together of recording the details of their climbing movement and tactics and discussing the feedback and experimenting with different ways of doing everything. Examples of this might be: how does the move change if you lunge a bit harder, or pull more with the right toe, or use that other foothold instead? The criteria for for success on a move isn’t just i...
Sat, Dec 3 2011 - 8:10 AM
Leading confidence - a worthy enemy
Recently I’ve been coaching a lot of sport climbing and spent lots of time trying to get climbers to recognise that leading confidence is placing a huge barrier in the way of improving almost any aspect of their climbing. What I’ve noticed is that climbers with leading confidence issues are desperate to avoid tackling it despite appearing quite highly motivated to make changes in most other areas of their climbing skills. Taking the first step in attacking leading confidence just feels so ...
Thu, Nov 3 2011 - 2:54 PM
The importance of being not normal
Following on from my last post about learning technique, another thought following my recent travels. I was speaking about risk and decision making in bold climbing at the SAFOS seminar at EICA Ratho. One of the other speakers was Mark Williams who gave an excellent lecture summarising some of the fascinating research on skill learning in sport right now. Mark talked a lot about practice, it’s importance, just how much is necessary to reach your potential (a LOT) and crucially, what good p...
Thu, Nov 3 2011 - 2:26 PM
Coaching observations
I’m just back from various coaching sessions around the UK. After a little break from coaching over the summer, I’ve come to it with fresh eyes after digesting a lot of variety in watching and doing climbs of many different types. It’s amazing how your perspective widens. There are always some patterns to observe. Older climbers who have been going 10-20 years don’t go for the holds with nearly the same determination as the young angry lads. The young angry lads are too busy going for the ...
Sun, Sep 25 2011 - 8:03 AM
The limiting factor - setting
The limiting factor in your rate of improvement can sometimes be something that never changes throughout your climbing career. That’s not to say they are inescapable, just that folk simply never take the bull by the horns and change them. ‘Permanent’ limiting factors are things like only climbing a couple of times a week, avoiding overhangs, never learning how to try hard or focus, or being scared of falling. Other limiting factors are more often important for part of your career. Things s...
Tue, Apr 19 2011 - 4:14 PM
For climbing coaches : “In a Hurricaine…
...even Turkeys can fly”I go on in my book and this blog a lot about influences and their importance on how well we climb. The above quote, reminded to me by a CEO talking about economics, made me nod and agree.In a social group of climbers, like a group of friends, a climbing wall scene, a club etc there are some who are the beacons - they have so much energy and drive that it radiates onto everyone else nearby and helps them learn more, have that extra attempt, try that different foot sequenc...
Sun, Feb 20 2011 - 2:21 PM
For young wannabes playing the lottery
As a climbing coach who is always trying to understand and communicate the ingredients of becoming really good at climbing, I spend a fair bit of time observing other disciplines like art and business. An idea I read today looked at the lotteries we play as wannabes in whatever field.Not the ‘actual’ lottery, but the lottery of getting picked by a talent scout, signed by a big record company or featured in a TV programme. Most people get to show some raw, unrefined talent as youngsters. It’s no...
Sun, Feb 13 2011 - 7:35 AM
Clean and messy performance
Climbers who are into training or pushing themselves are often trying to keep everything ‘clean’. Clean in this sense means without complication - black and white, yes or no, all or nothing.This is good, but it can backfire. It backfires because real life performance in sport (of life etc) is messy, always. Well, OK not always. If you’re a bit older, you’ll look back on a handful of moments, maybe only one, where everything was clean for a fleeting few minutes on a climb. Sometimes that’ll be d...
Sun, Feb 6 2011 - 11:00 AM
For skinny female climbers
Comparing general performance characteristics between male and female climbers is always interesting, especially when coaching in a group session. The common finding is that the guys can often at least throw for the holds, but fall trying to hold onto them. Meanwhile, the girls can hold on for ages but fall trying to move between the holds. The basic reason is that guys have much more muscle to throw their upper bodies around at extreme joint ranges. A lesser appreciated reason is that girls ar...
Sun, Feb 6 2011 - 10:20 AM
Golfers/Tennis elbow etc - what eccentrics do.
I’ve been asked a lot about eccentrics which are a really big part of successful rehab from tendonosis, in climbers that’s usually Golfer’s or Tennis elbow. What to they do? How do they work to heal the tendon?There are no definitive answers, in fact, right now the various teams around the western world researching such things are arguing more about this subject now than they were a few years ago. Here is a little discourse on where things are right now.The protocol of eccentric wrist curls was...
Mon, Jan 3 2011 - 5:25 AM
Base training detail
I was just talking on my main blog about my own training over the past few weeks, building a base of strength and addressing various fitness/physiological issues at the start of the new year. Various folk have asked I elaborate a bit on this. The normal progression of a new macrocycle is generally to begin with high volume, low amplitude work (with oscillations within smaller cycles) and gradually progress to higher intensity work with more rest as you get closer to when you need the fitness fo...
Tue, Dec 28 2010 - 10:38 AM
New year message for your training plan
As another year draws to a close think of all the training/climbing wall/ crag sessions you’ve done in the past year.Now think of the grade increase you’ve made in the past year. Not your ‘best ever’ grade when everything came good, but your day-in, day-out regular climbing grade. What do you warm up on; 6b or 7c? What can you onsight 100% of the time? What can you always redpoint in a day?Odds are it’s pretty much the same. But even if I has risen by half a grade or more, try dividing that grad...
Sat, Dec 11 2010 - 1:05 PM
A rehab story
A Rehab Story from Jacob Fuerst on Vimeo. Nice story of Josh Wharton coming back from a serious injury. For me this is a nice reminder that the diligent work of rehab exercises, no matter how much of a drag (swimming with old folks!), pay off. Also, the rehab is just as much about overcoming the psychological challenges as the physical/practical ones. Like myself in the past and lots of others, it strikes me that the injury ends up making you feel more positive about your climbing in the end.


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