A couple months ago I wrote that I have never been able to find a good training regiment that was commonly recommended for climbing. After all, the best thing to do to get better at climbing is generally…climbing. However, I had an injury that seemed to only surface whenever I climbed so I begrudgingly kept myself out of my home away from home.
My wife and I had some friends who had been going to a local crossfit gym and I had seen the transformation it had on them, so with some prodding from my better half, I decided to go check it out. I had always been skeptical about crossfit gyms as they seem to have a certain reputation that I wasn’t a fan of, but judging things by their reputations is not a good way to go through life.
And boy was I shocked by what I discovered.
I really like crossfit! The reputation of aggressive weightlifters that talk about eating nothing but meat and more crossfit was completely unfounded. In fact the coaches don’t even use terms like “box” or “paleo”. The first coach I met was super mellow and quite receptive to my newness to the crossfit world and quickly tailored my first basics class to my strengths and weaknesses. Being that I have an extensive gymnastics background and came from 10+ years of climbing we mostly focused on how to do the barbell movements and olympic lifts.
What shocked me the most was the family feel that the gym had that was so similar to my current climbing gym and climbing gyms of the past. In fact there seems to be almost more of a family centric feel since the crossfit gym doesn’t have college night, birthday parties, or boyfriends trying to get their girlfriends to “just grab that crimper!”. Less transients coming through means you mostly see regular members…a fact that seems to strengthen that family aura.
Now crossfit isn’t for everyone. I LOVE to work out and leading a life of fitness is a big part of who I am. For me crossfit is perfect for what I want in a workout regiment and once I figured out that all that crossfit is, is a bunch of people who really like to workout and be healthy, I was all in. Perhaps I’ve been lucky with some great coaches , but I think that I have found a sport/workout routine that I’ll stick with for a while.
But how does it fit with climbing??
Good question. I actually don’t know yet. Due to that climbing injury I mentioned, I’ve forced myself to stay out of my climbing gym which can be really tough to do. I’m sure that my climbing specific endurance is not good but I know for a fact that if I went out and climbed a moderate multi-pitch I’d have a lot more stamina. If you ever get to jump on a big wall, you’ll find out that 75% of your energy isn’t spent climbing but doing everything from hauling, jugging, and more. You have to be in shape if you want last on a big wall and I know that crossfit has whipped me back into shape fast.
Is crossfit for you? I don’t know but I encourage you to at least give it a shot. Even for just a workout or two.
As for me, I have some Yosemite plans this spring and I know I’ll be ready.