Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Silence on El Cap

OMG Christmas already?

Like it or not Christmas is nearly upon us.  It may seem like only yesterday that you banged down that last mince pie and vowed to work it off in the gym, all the while swearing to your self ‘this is the year I will master the one arm pull up’.  But the panicked look in the faces of those frantic shoppers doesn’t lie, Christmas cometh.  In the Westway this means we have been busy planning our Christmas party.  For those of you who don’t know this isn’t a the usual Christmas shindig, with what in 2012 will most likely involve drunken office workers doing the 'gangnam style'.  

No, the Westway Christmas party involves top climbers throwing dry tooling shapes on our outdoor lead wall, in the world’s only FigFour dry tooling lead comp.  The main event is a team competition with climbers competing from Alpkit, Lyon Equipment, La Sportiva and of course Westway.  Each team will be pitting their best climbers up against some of the most exciting dry tooling routes ever set in a competition.  There will be product demos from all the manufactures and a FigFour mega speed bouldering competition.  Along side all of this there will be an alpine BBQ, DJ, mulled Cider, a local brewery and you’re all invited. 

Andre taking time out on a route to snack on
an Up Raw

In the mean time there are some interesting talks happening at the Westway to keep you motivated.  The first is from Sol Fernandez who is the inventor and owner of a new sports snack called Up Raw.  Sol has based the design of his new sports bar on his unique ethos towards nutrition and healthy living.  Sol’s talk will be giving plenty of information on the right foods to eat to maintain a healthy life style and give you energy to train hard.  Sol is a devoted climber and personal trainer as well as a member of the fire service.  His talk should give us plenty to think about before we attempt to get our five a day by eating five Terry’s chocolate oranges.  That’s probably just me though.

 The second talk will be the story of our very own Andre Hedger’s recent attempt to climb the Nose of El Capitan in a day.  Andre’s tale starts during a trip to Mali where the seeds of the idea that he may be able to climb this 1000 meter climb in a day are planted.  For those who don’t know Andre he is one of the most self driven and audacious climbers you will ever meet.  His abundance of energy and positive outlook is incredibly infectious.  His talk will leave you motivated and inspired to get out there achieve those climbs that you have only dare read about in magazines.  Andre will be giving his talk in the function room just past the café on the 3rd of December, doors open at 19:30.

Last week the Westway hosted the first round of this years London Universities Bouldering Event or as UCL who organise the event like to refer to it, LUBE.  

A rang of emotions on the faces of spectators.  Happiness,
fear, curiosity and confusion.

Student pulling hard to send a comp

The event consists of a bouldering competition spread over 4 rounds with 29 universities competing in teams.  At the Westway we set 25 competition problems from V0 to V9 that would put even the most powerful student climbers to the test.  The comp was very well organised with some very talented climbers showing there stuff.  At the end of the day Cambridge topped the table with the most points.  The next round is taking place in Mile end climbing wall on the 1st of December.  The competitions problems are still up on the Oven bouldering wall so go give them a go during your next session.

The expert wall building team in action
 Out side of the wall, and I mean just out side the door we have built our latest climbing wall.  A small traverse wall has been built between Urban Rock and the gym for us all to warm up on. We all know how cold it can get during mid winter and even with a warm cup of tea by your side warming up to climb can be a tricky thing.  Now you will be able to stretch and traverse in the warm before plunging into the wall to crank.  For those of you with a monthly pass you can use the gym and get some traverses in at the same time.  In the wake of this new wall the rest of the sports center has been warned that if they don’t keep a close eye on there areas we will build climbing walls there.  So keep on the look out for other walls around the center.  That or we will be bolting the bottom of the A40.  We could possibly market the idea to Boris Johnson as a new eco transport solution.  Lead climbing your way to work.

Warming up is a subject that feeds allot of discussion in climbing centers.  Some people will do a couple of press ups and then jump straight onto some easy climbs, while others spend an hour preforming an entire Yoga routine before even touching a hold.  I have been in some gyms where warm up routines have gotten competitive.  One person will be stretching a ham string when suddenly the person on the mat next door will stretch their leg over the back of their head.  The original stretcher will then retaliate by standing on their head all the while the rest of us have sacked it in and gone climbing.  You have to be careful that competitive stretching doesn’t get in the way of your climbing.  At the Westway we are lucky to have a resident physiotherapist who is always ready to give advise on the best way to warm up.  Cristiano Costa has been treating people’s injuries at the Westway and has also agreed to contribute his expertise to the blog. He has started by writing a little information for the blog on the different types of stretching that climbers should be aware of.

Get your stretch on as part of your climbing warm up and warm down

Clinical Climbing by Cristiano Costa

I will be writing a series of articles that will be based on my professional knowledge from theoretical and clinical experience, acquired over the past eight years as a musculoskeletal physiotherapist.

I thought it would be interesting to start by talking about stretches and try to demystify such a topic.  ‘What is the best kind of stretching?’ is a question that I am constantly being asked when I am down for a session in at the Westway.

Therefore I will start by writing a few lines about the different types of stretches, which will be followed by its benefits and the reasons why we should do it.
I truly hope you enjoy it and that it will shed some light on this rather controversial subject.

Types of Stretches

There are four different types of stretching: ballistic, dynamic, proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation, and static stretching.

Ballistic stretching is a rapid bouncing stretch in which a body part is moving with momentum that stretches the muscles to a maximum. Muscles respond to this type of stretching by contracting to protect itself from over extending.

Dynamic stretching is a walking or movement stretch. By performing slow controlled movements through full range of motion, aimed at reduce risk of injury.

Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation, or PNF, stretching is a type of stretch for a particular muscle/muscle group, so resistance should be applied, then the muscle should be relaxed.
Static stretching is a type of stretch whereby a person stretches the muscle until a gentle tension is felt and then holds the stretch for a period of time without any movement or bouncing.

Stretching should not be painful and always carried out under control.  It is critical for a person to perform stretches properly to protect their muscles from injury.  Dynamic and ballistic stretching should be performed before a workout in order to increase blood flow, strength and power and to reduce tightness.  However ballistic stretching should only be preformed by experienced climbers who know the limits of there own individual flexibility. 

PNF stretching should be performed during rest days to specific muscle groups or/and before a work out as part of a warm up regimen.  PNF stretching techniques are more commonly associated with clinical applications but are very effective in helping athletes improve performance.  The stretching techniques in PNF are considered far safer than those in ballistic stretching and over short periods of time can result dramatic gains in range of motion.

Static stretching should be performed at the end of a workout in order to increase the extendibility of muscle tissue and remove the lactic acid build up. Stretching properly and in the correct time frame of one's workout is vital for gaining all the benefits from these stretches.Ÿ

Cristiano Costa has been a devoted climber for 22 years and is a practicing physiotherapist. He has worked in both the NHS and private sector with years of experience treating sports injuries.  He is available to treat patients at the Westway so if you have a niggling injury get it seen to the next time you’re in for a climb.

Ondo and its rock ready for new routes

Over the next couple of weeks Liam Halsey will be busy getting ready for a special climbing trip.  He and other prominent climbers from the UK have been invited to Nigeria for this years Mare festival.  The festival is organized by the Nigerian government to help boost climbing tourism in the country.  The Mare festival takes place in Ondo State in Nigeria’s southwest. 

Wooden holds bolted to rock and then climbed bare foot

 Liam will be looking to spend some time opening new routes in the country and the Westway will be providing the hardware to help him do just that.  We will hopefully have some news on his progress just before Christmas.   

I hope this edition of the blog has left you psyched to get out there and climb.  Just to let you know that the 8c on the comp wall still hasn't had a first ascent.  I don’t understand what’s taking you all so long.  Get in there and send it people.

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