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Review: How to Climb Harder

Written by Fiona October 07 2010

Here’s proof that men are simply boys in the disguise of men! The G-Force is/was a keen climber. In the time before he met me he would climb once or twice a week at Glasgow Climbing Centre or the EICA at Ratho. Then he started bagging Munros and cycling and running and doing triathlons and he spent more time with me doing all of these things and so his climbing has gone by the wayside.

The G-Force is also of the opinion that if he can’t become really good at something then he’d prefer not to put himself through the mental and physical torture of being so-so at a sport on occasions. I can understand this to an extent but since I’ll only ever be so-so at all sports I am just happy to keep going with most of them.

And then the G-Force’s pal, Super-A suddenly developed a desire to go climbing. Super-A is well known for taking sports head on and was once a Scottish swimming champion, before becoming a Scottish cycling champion. Apparently he is still an awesome cyclist and also an amazing runner. I’ve never seen him in action but the G-Force tells me the Super-A is still as good as they come, for someone in his age group!

Of course, Super-A has now declared he wants to become very good at climbing. This is good news for the G-Force because he’s been looking to get back into climbing and he needed a climbing pal. (I quite enjoy climbing but not enough to make it a weekly outing.) But after just one climbing session, the G-Force appears to have  turned into a competitive wee boy! And so does Super-A.

Just last night the G-Force reported that Super-A had been training all week doing sit ups, pull ups and strengthening his fingers on his brand new finger board. A fingerboard is essentially a small finger hold board that you attach to a wall at home so that you can improve your finger and arm strength. He’s also bought a hand grip training gadget. “He’s been pumped all week,” moaned the exasperated and clearly very jealous G-Force.

Then I produced a review copy of How to Climb Harder. I suggested that the G-Force lent this to Super-A. Not a chance! For the last few days the G-Force has been avidly reading this inspiring new book. As I said, I’m not a climber but I realise that to get good you need to practise hard and do some training. Until now the G-Force said he’d gleaned training tips and hints from other climbers and articles but he had never come across a book dedicated to assisting climbers to become better and stronger.

The book includes sections on simple techniques to help erase bad habits and how to  to train for the hardest climbs. There are lots of exercises from simple to more complex movements that can be practised at local climbing walls, crags, boulders or at home to improve all aspects of your climbing.

According to the G-Force; “This is a really good book. It’s easy to read and full of lots of tips, exercises and hints. I’ve found out lots of new things and had other tips and ideas that I’d heard about from other climbers confirmed to me.”

“So you’ll let Super-A get a look will you then? If it’s got so many tips for beginners as well?” I asked.

“No way,” said the G-Force. “Oh and I’ve got a finger board on order, too!”

The pair of competitive school boys are off to the climbing wall tomorrow. Let the battle of the G-Force and Super-A commence!

If you want to learn more about how to climb better  then  you can buy How to Climb Harder: A practical Manual by Mark Reeves for £15.99 from all good bookshops or online at Pesda Press I’d have suggested that the G-Force give you a loan of the book but I can’t see him letting go of this for a second!

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