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Briefly- Ankle Wrap, Moving past the Plateau, etc.

It’s no secret that I often sprain my ankles (1, 2).  Here’s a quick and simple way to wrap an ankle before climbing:

1.  Grab your chalk and tape.

2.  Begin wrapping the ankle with the tape STICKY SIDE OUT.  Wrap around the ball a few times, then around the bottom of the foot a few times.

3.  Cover sticky tape with chalk.

4.  Climb.

Disclaimer- This is what I do because it’s quick, and doesn’t require anything special (such as medical pre-wrap).  I also don’t need a ton of support, so the wrap is pretty basic.  For “real” medical wrap instructions, search google (or try this).

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Last Sunday I had one of those days… Everything clicked and I climbed really well.  This felt great!  The last year I’ve basically plateaued in my climbing (physically and mentally), and now I’m finally moving past that plateau; here is why…

Core strength.  After I stopped training with Dave, I got lazy.  Doing core exercises is so easy to avoid, but it’s so important.  It’s only now that I started doing them again that I realize how much more I can control my body.  No barn-dooring, better on slopers, better force transfer from feet to rest of body…

Footwork.  Much of this is related to core strength, but I’ve also made a conscious effort to improve my footwork.  You’d think after 7 years climbing, I would have my technique dialed, but this is really making a difference.

Partners.  I was recently reminded that I don’t have climbing partners, I have friends that I climb with.  And lately, I see those friends much more.  It’s amazing that our Friday night social activity is literally working out at the gym.  How many other sports can you say that with?

Amy is my main belayer, this is wonderful; I’m comfortable getting on really hard routes and hanging a lot.  I know she wants me to improve, and doesn’t mind a little hang time.  On a related note, I’ve started doing a “pull test” on the belay system every time anyone leaves the ground.  I think this is a great habit to start, and it removes ANY question about the safety system while climbing.

Consistent Training .  When I was working, it seemed that I’d get have to work late or on the weekend at least once a month.  For me, this makes it harder to stick to a climbing routine.  I know people who can juggle it all very well, but not me.  I’m excited to train again, and seeing results.

Body composition.  I’ve been about the same weight since freshman year of college.  Coming back from Christmas, I gained 2-3 lbs.  Well, I recently lost that weight, and another couple pounds… And it feels great!  Considering we literally lift our bodies every inch up a climb, a couple pounds really matters.  For those interested, my BMI was 21.5  before christmas, 22 after christmas, and 21.1 now- All within the healthy range.  You can calculate your BMI here.

It is a shame that a man in our culture that decides not to have dessert is automatically questioned about an eating disorder.  It took me a couple years to get over the stigma associated with drinking Diet Coke (“Is he gay?”, “Why doesn’t he want to bulk up?”).   End rant.

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I recently contacted the BRC with some constructive criticism.  I’m pleased to announce they implemented two of my suggestions.  They recently purchased a weight vest for climbing/ training, and they have begun setting harder routes on the flatter walls.  In related “news”, I signed up for a year membership there.

E

lizzil - O knowledgable, Eli: Two questions…what core strengthening do you suggest? yoga? bouldering? horizontal shimmy? actual exercises? and what’s this belay test you speak of? Also how much couch time do I need to balance all this with?February 8, 2010 – 5:14 pm

Eli - The main two exercises I do are the bridge and the plank, both outlined here. Yoga is also good.

A pull test is a simulated fall on the belay system, basically just pulling on the rope. Ah yeah, couch time is needed in a 3:1 ratio with core exercises to allow for muscle recovery.February 8, 2010 – 5:20 pm

Matthew - Good to hear you’re pullin’ hard Eli!February 9, 2010 – 9:41 pm

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