New Year, New You: Tips For Increasing Climbing Fitness In 2021

The New Year is here & Climb Base5 has brought together five expert climbers to bring you tips and tricks to elevate your climbing fitness and skills.

Sonnie Trotter (he/him)

Sonnie is an international climbing icon. In his 25 years of climbing he has climbed all over the world on all types of rock at the highest level. At 40 Sonnie is in the process of establishing a business and has a heart as big as his accomplishments which include being the first person to climb Cobra Crack 5.14b, multiple 5.14c and 5.14d sport climbs  and boulder v13. Regardless of all Sonnie’s accomplishments, what brings him the most satisfaction is to open new routes for others.

“I’ve been running a lot these days for a myriad of reasons, some of them being that it’s time well spent outside, which I need pretty much everyday, it’s quiet time away from others, which I also need.  I can do it literally from my front door, and back again, and I can choose my level of exertion based on how much time I have or how I’m feeling.  I don’t need to coordinate with anyone, I don’t need any equipment or a car, I just open the door and start running.  I don’t go fast and I don’t go far, the plan is to elevate my heart rate for 30 min, and feel good enough in my body to run 5 days a week.  I mix this with hangboarding and that’s pretty much it. This keeps me fit enough to hike to any crag in the summer multiple days in a row and not feel too tired.”

Check out more content from Sonnie on Instagram: @sonnietrotter

Michelle Ang (she/her)

Originally from TO, Michelle was forced to settle down in Squamish. Due to unforeseen circumstances travelling and Van-Life will have to wait until after the pandemic. Michelle’s climbed almost 11 years and started climbing right after grad school. In that time Michelle has managed to boulder V7 and climb 5.13.

“My favourite way to stay in shape is to continue to climb indoors as much as possible! I also include training days when I can at the gym, although the pandemic has limited the ability to do this effectively. This year is my first year living in the mountains, so I’m also sampling all the outdoor winter sports here as well. 

I pick areas of weakness and make sure to work them in the offseason. Specifically for me, I am a very static climber. However as a shorter climber it’s very important to become more dynamic. I’m focusing on trying to become “poppy” this offseason. I pick routes that I would normally avoid due to the arm-span required and try to isolate the movements. Some campus board work, but I’ve had many many finger injuries so I’m careful not to overdo it.”

Check out more content from Michelle on Instagram: @michyllica

Tosh Sherkat (he/him/climber)

Tosh is 22 years old from Nelson (tum xúla), BC. He’s been climbing (get this) 18 years. His most challenging ascents to date are 5.13d and V11/12.

I find a very effective way of developing myself in the off season is by keeping my mind sharp through watch climbing videos! This mindless entertainment can be converted by studying climbers into an analytic activity focusing on movement, tactics, and visualization. I will compare notes of climbers against each other on the same boulder, or notes of the same climber on different boulders. My takeaway is often a new perspective on my own strengths and weaknesses, and a new found toolbelt of strategies for tackling hard moves/hard training/hard projects.

Check out more content from Tosh on Instagram: @tosh_sherkat

Sabrina Chapman (she/her)

Sabrina is born and raised in Hamilton, Ontario and now lives in Toronto. Having climbed for 14 years she has accomplished climbing 5.13d and V8. Sabrina recently collaborated with a filmmaker to bring attention the challenges people of color experience pushing the pursuits of elite climbing. In her quest to complete Titan 5.14a the movie demonstrates her unlearning required to meet the mental and physical barriers required to unlock the sequence for success.

In the off season I focus on my strength training for my specific project. Right now one of the best exercises I’ve been doing during the (Covid) lockdown has been the Turkish get up. One arm is held over your head in line with your shoulder while you’re on the floor, and your arm stays in that position while you eventually get into a standing position. @muscleandmotion has really helpful animation that illustrates the biomechanics of the entire action. Start with bodyweight and take a video of yourself to make sure everything stays in line properly. The “get up” is great for climbers because it works shoulder strength/stability, mobilizes the hips, upper back and strengthens your legs. I absolutely recommend!

Check out more content from Sabrina on Instagram: @sabrinachapman80

Andy White (he/him)

Andy White resides in the Okanagan and at 40 years old has climbed for 20 years. Andy has developed superhero like strength from climbing on gneiss (a type of granite) which targets core strength and the ability to hold onto small flat edges. Andy has countless first ascents to his name on his journey to establish the Okanagan as a world class bouldering destination and for his bouldering guidebook. Lastly his proudest moments come from   his relentless training enabling him to complete several V14’s.

“The beginning of my off season begins with a few weeks of low intensity climbing to let the body recover from the demands of outdoor projects. Following this I start to intensify my training. For the rest of the winter I climb 3-4 days per week mostly on home walls and training boards doing high volume/moderate intensity or moderate volume/high intensity. In the past years I’ve really enjoyed training with one or two people training for  specific boulders and very hard moves. This includes making very hard moves on very small holds while maintaining tension through a stretched body.  It’s demanding but fun and prepares us well for projects, trips and climbing in the Okanagan Valley.

Check out more content from Andy on Instagram: @andywhite.bouldering

A Word From Daniel Poggi, Owner, Climb Base5

This article is inspired by my own love of climbing and training. Whether or not you are a professional athlete, an olympian or a weekend warrior there is something very fulfilling about accomplishing a goal. The experience planning is the same regardless of the difficulty of the goal. I have asked each of these athletes to share what they do in the off season to stay in shape and continue to develop their skills. I hope you can use some of their methods to gain inspiration and make your goals for 2021.

Let me know who you’d like me to interview or what your goals are by sending your comments to our Ig handle climb.base5 and #goals2021.

Check out more content from Climb Base5 on our Instagram: @climb.base5