How to breach the "ceiling"

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Houdini
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How to breach the "ceiling"

Post by Houdini »

Hi all

I've been climbing regularly for about two and a half years now, and typically (like almost all climbers) the bug bit me immediately. In the beginning I climbed till my hands were wrecked, then I climbed some more. the first few months I excelled brilliantly. Mondays and Wednesdays in the gym, and Tuesdays and Thursdays on the wall (plastic unfortunately)

But lately, I cant seem to keep up the progress. The best i've sent thus far is a grade 24 (to give you an idea) But I cant seem to get past this. And its not that ive been climbing less, it's just this damn "ceiling" I cant seem to get past.

now with the combined knowledge of this forum I want to know how one can go about to improve?
regards :thumright


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justin
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Re: How to breach the "ceiling"

Post by justin »

Congratulations Houdini, you've plateau'ed :thumleft: Grade 24 is a respectable grade at which to have done this.

- To start with, take a break. Anything from 2 weeks to a month - find something else interesting to do in order to avoid frustration at not being able to climb.
- Something like Pilates / Yoga is good for strength and flexibility - which takes me to breathing (Pilates) - do you hold your breath whilst cranking?
- Work on your technique - Climb lower grades, try not to pull yourself up (i.e. use your arms sparingly), instead use them for balance and use your feet to push your body upwards (i.e. forget about your arms and concentrate on your feet).
- Overhangs (which could be where you are starting to fail?) footwork/body position is very important (see also drop knees, twisting).
- Watch other (good) climbers send routes that you also climb - note the differences in technique.
- As above watch how the girls climb (they have more natural technique than us guys and rely on it more).
- Get onto real rock.
- Climb with people who are stronger than you. **Avoid injury (build a pyramid of grades), continue to warm up, listen to your body, don't get cocky and blow a tendon because the 13 year old can do the move that you can't ;)

- If you are 'gym'ing' (i.e. cranking weights) then you want to avoid building 'mass' - lean, light and wiry is the objective.
- Start bouldering more - it builds power and you can work more endurance because you're not tying a rope or spending time belaying.

- Opinions on training will vary - I've kept it relatively straight forward / simple here. Others like Brian Weaver have serious regimes which they follow.

Good luck, be interested to hear any feedback on the above and also to know how things turn out in a few months time:?:
justin@CapeTownClimbing.com
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Houdini
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Re: How to breach the "ceiling"

Post by Houdini »

Duly noted, thanks Justin.
I'll follow your advice, relax for a while, surround myself with better climbers and check out the babes ;)
I do not gym (in some weird way I don't like the whole paying 400 bucks a month to exercise thing) but I do train, and I was wondering if any of you have a good climbing-training workout/program?
Andy Davies
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Re: How to breach the "ceiling"

Post by Andy Davies »

Your most important muscle is the one between your ears. Volition, Determination, Technique and Fear are so key to success and can all be worked on without getting a pump. Read up on some good sports psychology books, really focus on improving your technique and take a few whippers :alien:
AndyDavies
McJagger
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Re: How to breach the "ceiling"

Post by McJagger »

Loose weight and buy a finger board. So they tell me...
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Gustav
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Re: How to breach the "ceiling"

Post by Gustav »

http://www.rockandice.com/lates-news/tr ... 20Training

Finger boards really work (apparently). In my 25 odd years of climbing I have spent at least 2 days hanging from a board, I got bored really quickly and reverted to just climbing. It has been lots of fun.

Stop chasing grades, go for the stars. If grades are important to you, go out and do a couple of dozen 24's (it is a nice grade to climb and have fun with!). After this you'll find 25's are not that much harder, then continue onto the next grade. Be patient.
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Wes
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Re: How to breach the "ceiling"

Post by Wes »

This has been my experience:

1. Climb with people who climb harder than you and push you.
2. Climb regularly, once a week is not enough to see significant improvement. And climb outdoors as much as possible.
3. Don't be afraid to try a route above your current hardest grade, this will reduce the anxiety and fear towards harder grades.
4. Choose a route harder then what you have climbed before and project it. And as Gustav says, find a good quality route so that you will enjoy it, if you dont like the feel of a route, it is ok to just leave it and find a better one.
5. If you aren't psyched to climb, take a few weeks off and get the pshych back. We do it for the enjoyment.
6. My largest grade jumps have been when I have trained on the campus board and doing frenchies. (This might just be for me though)
7. But remember it isn't about the grades, it is about having fun and then pushing yourself.

Wes
vinceB
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Re: How to breach the "ceiling"

Post by vinceB »

A lot has already been said here.

I would add that grade 24 is definitely a ceiling and many climbers won't manage to climb harder than that. Basically, depending on your morphology and natural abilities, a regular practice will bring you to plateau around that grade.

If you want to climb harder than that, lead climbing/Top rope is simply not enough. Above grade 24, bouldery moves are starting to appear, sequency moves are becoming usual, tricky moves (e.g. knee bars, toe hooks) are entering the game, endurance routes are becoming really pumpy.
So you'll need about two sessions of bouldering and two sessions of core training per week (depending on how hard you want to climb). Hangboard, moon board, finger board are your friend! A session of sport climbing can be there to relax your muscles from the previous boulder sessions :)

BUT

Be careful to warm up before each sessions, hydrate your body at all times during your sessions (especially when doing board training), vary the training to avoid using your fingers too much and getting bored quickly.

In addition to what has been said before, I would say: Train hard at what you're very good at". And try a lot of different types of climbing to get better at what you're average in.
Finally, I know no-one loves slab climbing around but it's a key type of climbing if you want to build up quickly some solid technical climbing skills. Paarl Rocks is right in your backyard!!

Good luck!

Vincent
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tygereye
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Re: How to breach the "ceiling"

Post by tygereye »

Grade is just a number. Go for the quality routes.
Build on your pyramid.
Training is overrated.
Get on routes you have no business being on.
Just climb.
And, yes, your grey mass is your biggest limitation.
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Houdini
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Re: How to breach the "ceiling"

Post by Houdini »

great Great GREAT responses from you guys! Thanks a lot.
I have to say, collectively, from the reply's I have deduced the following:

1) If you're the best climber in the group, you're in the wrong group (not to sound arrogant but you get what I mean)
2) get the bouldering on-sport alone Isn't going to cut it
3) Finger/campus boards (I have to agree with Wesley here this has always given me improvement and even greater forearm pain!)
4) Get on real rock as much as possible
5) Climb your "plateau" a bunch of times and don't be afraid to venture higher
6) Get your mindset right (I'm not sure the brain is a muscle Andy :wink: :wink: )
7) And enjoy!

But hey... whats more enjoyable than setting a new PB :)
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henkg
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Re: How to breach the "ceiling"

Post by henkg »

vinceB wrote: If you want to climb harder than that, lead climbing/Top rope is simply not enough. Above grade 24, bouldery moves are starting to appear, sequency moves are becoming usual, tricky moves (e.g. knee bars, toe hooks) are entering the game, endurance routes are becoming really pumpy.
So you'll need about two sessions of bouldering and two sessions of core training per week (depending on how hard you want to climb).
Echo. Spend a season at Rocklands/strong bouldering crowd.
You may still be here tomorrow, but your dreams may not. Cat Stevens
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Gustav
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Re: How to breach the "ceiling"

Post by Gustav »

Google can help you, psyche and inspiration is key and can be drawn from others (or from Google: http://eveningsends.com/climbing/the-da ... den-5-14b/)

Above all: get off the forums, get onto rock!
Gustav
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Houdini
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Re: How to breach the "ceiling"

Post by Houdini »

Gustav wrote: Above all: get off the forums, get onto rock!
Haha will do... heading to Boven the 26th :thumleft:
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Rastaman
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Re: How to breach the "ceiling"

Post by Rastaman »

Fairly good advice above but I would recommend the following:
1 - Get a Tattoo
2 - Tape your fingers up with finger tape before you climb regardless of injuries
3 - Climb with a couple if trad pieces on your harness at all times
4 - Refuse to belay anyone at anytime
5 - Only eat vegetables and a tiny amount of nuts at the crag (stop at Mac D's on the way the though)
6 - Get another Tattoo
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Johanm
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Re: How to breach the "ceiling"

Post by Johanm »

7.) Climb shirtless or at least wear a vest.

Serious now, I lost my motivation at grade 24. Back on max 20's now.

Of all I think climbing with people that climbs better than you will definitely be your biggest help.
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Xharlie
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Re: How to breach the "ceiling"

Post by Xharlie »

You should also consider buying some Prana clothing and bracelets made out of odd material (string or para-cord are apparently the best). Taking off your shirt helps and you can compound the effect by wearing a beanie.
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Rastaman
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Re: How to breach the "ceiling"

Post by Rastaman »

Can't believe I forgot the vital no shirt rule!

Also wearing your harness (and quickdraws) on the walk-in will make a significant difference.
McJagger
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Re: How to breach the "ceiling"

Post by McJagger »

Free solo climbing and live streaming it via the Periscope app! Awesome way to push grades :jocolor:
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Houdini
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Re: How to breach the "ceiling"

Post by Houdini »

Rastaman wrote:Fairly good advice above but I would recommend the following:
1 - Get a Tattoo
2 - Tape your fingers up with finger tape before you climb regardless of injuries
3 - Climb with a couple if trad pieces on your harness at all times
4 - Refuse to belay anyone at anytime
5 - Only eat vegetables and a tiny amount of nuts at the crag (stop at Mac D's on the way the though)
6 - Get another Tattoo
:lol: :lol: 7-climb shirtless
8 - scream on EVERY move... Regardless of the difficulty
Andy Davies
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Re: How to breach the "ceiling"

Post by Andy Davies »

Yeah the climbing without a shirt thing really helps. No ways you can crank hard covering up those rippling muscles. And Tony Yaniro said "get a tan, ever seen strong guy without a tan?"
AndyDavies
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Rastaman
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Re: How to breach the "ceiling"

Post by Rastaman »

I would also consider upgrading your chalk bag to a bigger one.
Full it up before every climb and remember to chalk both hands twice before each move and once during each move.
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Houdini
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Re: How to breach the "ceiling"

Post by Houdini »

Didn't want to start a new thread so I'm just posting here

After all the advice I started hitting the gym, working power endurance, jogging, etc. (climbing shirtless and screaming)
And I could honestly see the improvement. I was able to send 24's consistently within a few weeks and 25 wasn't far away.

But now I've been struck with Hepatitis and haven't been climbing for 3 weeks! (bored s*itless)
Just want to know how this (possibly longer) break will affect my climbing. Must be a bunch of you here who've had to "take a break"

Cheers
Chris F
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Re: How to breach the "ceiling"

Post by Chris F »

You are just following Justin's advice;
To start with, take a break. Anything from 2 weeks to a month - find something else interesting to do in order to avoid frustration at not being able to climb.
It all depends on you, and how much the illness has affected your overall health.
Warren G
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Re: How to breach the "ceiling"

Post by Warren G »

Which Hep, and where have you been climbing? Yes, this affects my life
Sandbagging is a dirty game
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Houdini
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Re: How to breach the "ceiling"

Post by Houdini »

Warren G wrote:Which Hep, and where have you been climbing? Yes, this affects my life
Luckily just Hepatitis A, and I've lost 4kg in 3 weeks (which is quite kak), and I don't know if thats part of Justin's "taking a break" suggestion.
So how much do you guys reckon this will set me back?
Don
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Re: How to breach the "ceiling"

Post by Don »

When your climbing becomes process focused, it becomes more enjoyable and the ceilings won't matter. I don't set goals in climbing, it's the one part of my life that is not goal orientated. Instead I climb for the shear movement.
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