Its been a good week for strength training this week, with a good session of 1.5 hours of intensive rock climbing at my local leisure centre with a frriend who was an experienced climber. As egos do, the competition got going, seeing who could climb a certain wall or part with the least number of moves, or time. We stuck to a new aspect of rock climbing thats growing in popularity lately called bouldering, which means to climb without harnesses or ropes.
Often the rock faces one climbs are not anywhere near as high as when rope climbing due to the fact that the risk increases and so its not safe to climb too high. At certain leisure centers they have bouldering areas which have a padded floor so that when and if you fall from the wall you will have a soft landing, though if you don't land on your legs and upright then the fall still can be quite dangerous. I chose this form of rock climbing as it allows a much greater sense of freedom and flexibility in where and how one can climb. This is very appealing to me from an athletes point of view as i would be able to challenge myself much more and work my body much more holistically than with just conventional climbing.
After a short while it didn't take long for the lactic acid to build up in certain areas and it became much harder! I love this feeling, as its the moment you have to mentally and physically push yourself even harder, because you are now at a disadvantaged position or weakness. Its that challenge I crave so dearly and can only be met by a activities and exercises such as these. I also practiced traversing, which is climbing sideways across the rock faces, utilizing totally different muscles groups again, and encompassed a whole new set of challenges. No matter which path one takes when bouldering, the hardest part is the fact you can't take a break!
As you have no harnesses or ropes to hold you up, if you let go then it's a 15ft -20ft fall to the ground or more in some cases. It's quite an adrenaline rush some times, and the higher you go the more it intensifies! I not being a small guy by any means, struggle with the aspect of this. In that, if I hang around up there for too long then my arms get tired very quickly trying hold up my body weight and so I can't hold on any longer. The trick is as i'm reliably informed to try and move as quickly, smoothly and efficiently as possible, that way you don't tire out the arms and hands too much. It's easier said than done I can assure you to anyone who hasn't done it before.
The last aspect of this training session was to attempt to perform some body weight exercises to work the larger muscle group and develop a bit of strength. So me and my climbing partner, set challenges to climb up a medium level difficulty rock face and we had to grab hold of two rocks at the top hieght of where we were allowed to climb to and then do as many pull ups as we could and climb back down again. This really got the blood pumping! Because my muscles were all ready tired by the time I had gotten to the top, so trying to perform multiple pull ups was a challenge, but I love challenges as I say so I gave it my all. In the end after an 1.5 hours of this I was exhausted, I finished off with 45minutes in the pool of cardiovascular and some sprint work and that was me finished.