The Power of Breath

I want you to picture a sports car. It doesn’t matter which one, whatever gets your fancy. Now think about the engine. It’s basic purpose is to take fuel and turn it into something (energy) that the car can use to propel itself, and the joyful driver down the road. Now, I know all cars do this, but the reason I wanted you to picture a sports car, is because it’s high end. I’ll get to the point of that in a minute…

McLaren-MP4-12C

Now I want you to think about yourself when you’re climbing. Your breathe is the equivalent to the engine in the high end sports car. It allows your body to take fuel (glucose) and turn it into energy (ATP). You need to think of yourself as a high end sports car, no matter what level you climb at.

Wolfgang Gullich

The process in which your muscles use oxygen to produce ATP energy is called cellular respiration. As you breath, your body obtains oxygen which enters the blood stream and is carried to your muscles. Some of the oxygen is used immediately, and the rest is stored by a protein called myoglobin. Since your muscles have to work harder during exercise, their demand for oxygen increases. This is the reason your breathing and heart rate increase, to pull more oxygen into the bloodstream. So what happens when you hold your breath when you climb or don’t breathe properly? Power output drops, and fatigue sets in.

An exhausted Flo!

This is why it’s so important to learn how to breath properly. To allow us to use our bodies like high end sports cars and perform the way we want to perform.

So how do you breathe properly you ask? Try and always breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth. Next, make sure that you are filling up your tank fully – start by filling the diaphragm (it should feel like your stomach is filling up), followed by the chest. You want to exhale when you make moves, and when you are resting, make sure to take a few deep breaths and exhale fully.

Master your breath, and you’ll find a whole new world of performance possibilities open up.

Evolv Nexxo Shoe Review

I was excited to get these shoes, as I’ve always loved having a slipper, but have never been terribly thrilled by the ease of which the heel can pop off. Enter the Nexxo – Evolv’s solution to the age old problem of heel slippage, with the added bonus of a downturned asymmetric toe.

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Straight out of the box, this shoe felt great, and I knew that with a little breaking in, it would feel phenomenal. Soft and comfortable, yet precise and aggressive. You have the ability to aggressively pull on steep climbing, and then switch to a delicate slab all in the same shoe.

The single Velcro strap allows for fine adjustments while also aiding in keeping the shoe on the foot while aggressively heel hooking. The rand is thicker around the toe, giving the ability to toe hook without the feeling of destroying your toes. All this combined with Evolv’s super sticky rubber, and you have a shoe you never want to take off!

The Elbow Cue

This isn’t the first post on elbows, and it probably won’t be the last, but because it’s such a key factor in efficient climbing technique, it’s worth saying over and over again. So here’s the cue to remember – elbows in.

I know that before I’ve said elbows down, but the cue “elbows in” encompasses every hold type, so it’s an easier one to use. I want you to look at the following three pictures of strong, famous climbers.

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What do you notice? All of their elbows are either pointing down or in towards the wall. This is because the direction that your elbow points equals the direction of pull.

Want to increase your contact on slopers? Point your elbows down and into the wall. This will create a pull straight down onto the sloper instead of out and on the same angle as the slope. Want to make a side pull feel more positive? Change the angle of your elbow from pointing out away from the wall to in towards the wall and pointing towards your body.

Next time you’re climbing, test the theory out for yourself and see how much better, how much more positive holds feel to pull on them when you change the direction your elbows point.

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