It is my opinion that the best way to train for hard climbing is to climb on the steepest angles you can find. Nothing boosts your power and develops your core like pulling long moves on a vicious overhang.
Where can I find such an overhang, you might ask. Well, on the second floor of RJ1 of course! Constructed during the boulder remodel of 2009, the Candyshop (so named for the wide assortment of brightly colored holds that adorn the wall) is a great training tool for building power, finger strength, core strength, and the mythical power endurance so many Rifle climbers speak of.
How do I use the Candyshop, you might ask. Well, it’s pretty easy. The wall is plastered with holds, which you are free to use at your discretion. All climbs start on one of the three blue start jugs, and each color and type of hold is its own climb (such as the yellow Teknik finger buckets or black e-Grips mini-jugs) that you can do either with open feet on the yellow jibs or tracking only. The tan e-Grips mega-jugs is the easiest at V2, followed by the aforementioned black e-Grips mini-jugs at V3. Blue Teknik finger buckets is probably V6 and the green e-Grips comfy crimps is solid at V9. Make up problems on your own or try to send a pre-set testpiece (yellow Teknik crimps is the hardest on the wall and remains undone…)! At first it might be annoying that the padding is so close to the wall, taking away the rockstar dynos and foot-flying heroics, but keeping your feet on the wall will increase your core tension and body awareness exponentially. And bring a friend! Epic games of add-on are best enjoyed in the quiet comforts of the Candyshop.
When I’m in training mode (much different than project mode and definitely not the same as project takedown mode…more on those in a later post…) I aim for climbing on the Candyshop for two hours at a time two or three times a week. Generally, I warm up downstairs on easy boulder problems for half an hour or so before heading upstairs to get serious. Once at the Candyshop I run through my warm-up circuit, which consists of eight boulder problems that increase in difficulty by about a grade each. When the warm up circuit is done and I’m primed to pull hard, I will try a project for about an hour. Usually I keep three projects lined up that I’m able to do moves on but are near my limit. After an hour of trying projects (occasionally sending them) I’m feeling gassed so I’ll spend half an hour or so making up problems that I can do in a try or two, focusing on specific moves or techniques that I know I need to practice (for me: toe hooks, heel hooks, and pinches). Next I run through my warm up circuit again, this time in reverse order, to cool down. After some stretching and a chocolate milk, I’m out the door, feeling tired but accomplished.
As always, individual results may vary…