Many climbers are sad when they don’t see any improvements in their skills, and that keeps their motivation on a low level. When our motivation is low then we can’t get much of our workout and that cycles around until we fix it somehow. It’s hard to measure our climbing skills other than doing personal records based on the climbing grading system. That’s why we are here to help you and provide the answer to “Why am I not improving at climbing?”, so keep reading.
Most climbers are checking if they are improving at climbing by looking at the grades of the problems that they are completing, you have to know that the better you are at climbing the slower your future development can be. People make the biggest skill improvement at the beginning, and over time it’s getting slower and harder to improve. Also, the grades on the boulders are there to simply give you a hint of what to expect rather than the exact level of that problem. Routesetters are also just humans, and they are making “guesses” when they are grading the problem that they have created.
Why am I not improving at climbing?
It’s hard for a climber to be honest with yourself, that’s why we are not good people to judge our own skills, but there are some ways that you can check it for yourself, and we will later describe them but for now, let’s focus on “not improving” topic.
Ask yourself if you are doing a good job at your climbing sessions. Some climbers are there just to meet friends and they spend most of the time talking with each other rather than training, and I bet that you have seen many people doing that in your climbing gym.
Maybe you are not leaving your gym tired enough, or you simply don’t eat enough protein after your workout that is a common problem because that destroys your gains. While you are climbing then your muscles are tearing apart, on a microscopic level, and they need something to repair themselves, and that is called protein. Remember that your muscles are growing while you are resting, and only after a workout and not during the workout.
Even if you are gaining muscles and knowledge about climbing, you can still increase your total weight, and that can be hard to overcome. Your body fat can really slow your progress as a climber, and that is why most climbers are very skinny. Check if you did really gain some additional body mass over time.
How to measure my climbing skills?
There are many ways to check if you did improve but most of them can be very misleading, that’s why it’s necessary to understand them properly and pick the right one for you. But what does it mean the “right one”?
Measuring by problem’s grade
If you measure your climbing skills by looking at grades then you should always try to aim for the same route setter and the same type of problem that you want to compare yourself to in the future. Most problems are signed by the route setter who made it.
About the type of the problem, you have to know that some climbers are better than others in specific types of problems. Someone can have a better grip for crimps and the other can be a good crack climber, so for example if you try to complete a problem based on pinches which are estimated to be 6B by John Doe and you can struggle with it, but when you try a problem that is based on slopers you can easily top the 7A.
That’s because everyone has different strengths and weaknesses. That’s why it’s important to always check yourself at the same type of routes. You can also think about personal records, for every type of route. That way you will see if you have improved on a specific type of problem rather than overall climbing skill improvement.
Asking friends about skill improvement check
Some of your friends watched you climb many weeks ago, and they are good people to judge your skill improvement because they didn’t see you for some time. On the other hand, your friends that are climbing with you at almost every session won’t see much improvement, because they are spending too much time watching you. Always when a person can see something after a longer period of time, so he or she previously had an image of you in their head, and now that gap is huge and easy to notice.
That is related to almost everything in the world when people can’t notice the small changes but then they can see something after a long time, it gives a huge impact due to the gap between previous remembered things and what they can see now.
Measuring easy things on a hangboards
In climbing, we have a lot of things that can easily be counted like the pull rod, or the hangboard. You can check how long can you hang on the pull rod, and see if you improved. Also, it’s similar to a hangboard, you can check how much stronger are your fingers.
There is also something called a hangboard ladder, you can check how far you can go with it. You can check how many reps you can do in a minute, or how far you can go with one swing. That can be a great way to measure your skill improvement in climbing.
You are not a great judge to measure your own skill improvement, but you can try the methods that we’ve described above. Also, check if you didn’t gain any additional fat and if you are eating enough proteins after your climbing sessions. You can try out protein drinks, and change your diet a bit to lose some body weight.
Don’t worry too much and give yourself time, because you won’t improve over a week. You could see the fastest improvement while you were at the beginning, but if you are getting better then it’s harder to make a huge improvement.