As you probably already know, at coup d'barre we lovetriathlon, but what you might discover today is that we have started to take acloser look at climbing. In this article, Henri will talk about the advantages he has found in climbing in winter and how it relates to the sports we alreadydo. He will try to answer the following questions during this article:
How can climbing help you overcome the monotony of your sports, especially in winter?
What are the different possible links between differentsports we already practice and climbing?
How can the benefits of climbing help you to improve in these sports?
Coup d'barre going climbing
Personally winter is a bit of a time when I generally struggle to motivate myself to do sport, it's cold and the weather is awful (especially here in Brussels) and I feel more like wrapping myself in my blankets than preparing for a marathon. Especially since running and cycling indoors is not very motivating. I then have the bad habit to take a huge winter break as a mountain bear. However, this year, I decided to be tempted by a friend's proposal to push me out of my comfort zone. Rather than moving horizontally, I had to move vertically. I went with him to a bouldering gym, a discipline of climbing where you are not belayed, which reassured me as much as it terrified me, I didn't have to learn a whole bunch of complex knot combinations and belay methods (in hindsight it's really not that complicated). Nevertheless I would be uninsured, which, even if it is designed to be safe, is still very impressive. Although I was initially unconvinced by the exercise, climbing seemed to me to be a sport reserved for an elite group of primates, my first session went very well.
Neophyte or expert, everyone can enjoy
In fact, the popularity of bouldering has been booming in recent years, and climbing gyms are very beginner friendly, with everything designed so that a complete neophyte can have fun, understand and even, progress rather quickly, at least at the beginning. Indeed, the first session having been more than I expected, I decided to repeat the experience, several times even. I was pleasantly surprised to see how quickly I progressed between each session and without noticing it as my sessions became more and more frequent. Furthermore, the piece of advice of my climbing buddy, even if rather basic, helped me a lot. The well known "keep your arms straight", "use your legs more" or even "lean more on your toes" and so on. You will find a lot of advice from people much more experienced than me directly in the boulder Gyms.
Much more than just a sport...
Which brings me to my second point, the atmosphere in the rooms I visited is super chill. People are very open and even if you go by yourself, it's not at all difficult to find help to solve a problem or even help on basic postures. It's also quite common to meet nice people during the sessions who you can laugh with during the frequent recovery time. It is then logical that bouldering gyms have a bar or refreshment room, climbing is a very social sport where it is fun to bring friends or even make new ones.
Climbing and swimming?
After some research into this, I also realized that climbing could have benefits for my progression in some of the other sports I was doing. For example, the really toned core and explosive back muscle groups seem to really help with swimming. Conversely, swimming as a complement to climbing is a good complement as swimming helps to relax the back which can be particularly tense after climbing sessions where the vertebrae muscles will be particularly strained. In addition, the flexibility that swimming requires is beneficial for certain explosive movements in climbing. Finally, the stamina, improved by swimming, is essential to get the most out of these climbing sessions.
Not only good for swimming
As for running, climbing involves several muscle groups that are also interesting for running but not necessarily easy to work without complementary sports such as the deltoids or even the abdominals. It also works other muscle groups essential to runners such as the harmstrings, quadriceps, and calves. Finally climbing helps to develop coordination, balance and flexibility, a real asset to feel more comfortable when running.
What I thought would be a small climbing session completely convinced me and I see a lot of different percs for the sports I already do, especially in winter. I can only encourage you at least to try it out.
And when you go, don't forget to bring some ravitos with you, you wouldn't want to climb on an empty stomack.