Friday, December 5, 2008 by Daniel


There is a consequence of climbing a lot, or of climbing particularly hard: your arms die. Particularly your forearms. They become these weak little useless appendages, and things like opening jars or getting clip collars on oly bars become extremely difficult. I call this state of being "T-Rexing," after the tiny little useless forearms on the otherwise-massive-and-strong infamous beast.

Today, I am T-Rexing something fierce.

It started at Ironworks, where I embarked on the journey to get my lead card by MOCK LEADING. Oh, yeah. It's on.

For those who don't know: most gym climbing is top-roping, where you climb on ropes and anchors semi-permanently set by the staff. Lead-climbing is advanced stuff - it is when you bring the rope up with you, and clip into quickdraws on the route. Out in the real world, it is very useful for setting anchors, as it allows you to climb in places where access to the top of the climb isn't really an option, or just a pain in the ass. It is something I desire to do. In order to do it at Touchstone gyms, I need a lead card, of the shiny orange variety, which means I need to be able to lead and belay a 10c climb. The first step on this path is "mock-leading," which is just like leading, only you're also on a top-rope, and nobody is belaying the lead rope. Basically, it let you practice clipping into the quickdraws without the danger of taking a real whipper if you screw up.

So, today:

ML10a(o), ML10a(o), ML10a(f)

It was harder than I expected it would be. In my head, I was thinking, "it's really not all that different from chalking up, and I do that all the time!" But the truth is that I don't actually chalk up every four feet, and chalking up doesn't require finding a stance and then holding it with one hand while the other hand fiddles with a dangling carabiner out in space and a length of rope that gets increasingly heavy and difficult to manage the higher you go on the climb, which is perfect because that's also where you get more TIRED. Oh perfect. To cap it all off, when you get to the top and you're at your most exhausted, you need to clip through TWO biners, and you need to be sure their gates are facing opposite directions.

After a (very) little while, it BURNS. Think about ring rows. Easy, right? OK, now do a one-handed ring row, using only three fingers (no thumb!), and lock it off at the top. Now, with the other hand, do some little fidgety thing that's easy with two hands but kinda tricky with one, like, oh, twist off the cap of a full bottle of water. 5-7 times. That's kind of maybe the experience.

So that, combined with last night's 11a adventure, pretty much killed my arms. But it was fun! And I'm very excited to be on the road to lead climbing. roar!

But wait, there's more! This is turning into a rather long post.

Tonight we went to class, which was 3x3 Back Squat and Press (separately, not in a complex.)

3x3 Press: 95(f)-85-95
3x3 Back Squat 135-155-175(PR!)

I just started to high with the press, I think. It's been a while since I've done this, and I messed up the form a bit, and then I got tired. Or something. At any rate, I went down to 85, which was far too easy, and then tried again at 95 and it was no big deal. So yeah, this was a deficiency in technique.

I'm very pleased with the Back Squat, though. I'd never actually gone higher than 145# in my 5x5's, so I was curious to start pushing the upper limits. 3x3 at 175 was hard enough to make me a little light-headed when I was done, but it didn't feel like the upper limit, and (more importantly), that's bodyweight. So another Level II skill checked off! I don't know if, when or how my bench press will ever catch up.

1 comment:

brian said...

Congrats on the lead climbing! Welcome to the pump-fest.

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