The Mind is Primary

  • What do you do when success in the gym does not transfer to the mountains?

    The concept of training being "functional" covers all aspects, psychological included. If the physical and psychological training isn't transferable to the actual task it isn't functional. The tendency of the "physical" individual will always be to over-emphasize the physical. I think most climbers and skiers - my former-self included - fit into this category. Unfortunately, given adequate attention and self-discipline, strength and endurance are easy to come by so when we start getting positive feedback from our physical experiences we can easily trick ourselves into imagining these unrelated achievements are transferable. Even when the truth is staring us in the face. Positive feedback in the gym or similarly controlled e...

  • After an injury, the idea of getting injured again has plagued me in (and out of) the gym

    This is a tough one. The fighters and ball sports guys we work with have all been injured, and all returned to the sport. But I consider these fairly basic injuries and the only risk is that bad movement patterns develop during the injury, rehab, and recovery phases that carry into the future and set the player up for another injury. The psychological effects are not as great as those that come from taking a big fall and confronting mortality on top of the injury. Seeing Steve come back from his fall on Mount Temple has been eye-opening, makes me wonder if he will recover the fire that fueled his best ascents or if the spark faded on that ledge. So, of those two ends of the spectrum the former, "lesser" requires patience during recovery...

  • Is the only way to become more confident to simply do the thing that makes you doubt yourself?

    There was a time when I thought "wooden swords" were bullshit. I thought the only true way to develop was to do so while confronting serious consequences. In "Assault on Lake Casitas" Brad Lewis described a friend who thought using a saw guard led to sloppy work, "Better to work without a net, without a saw guard. The intensity was greater, more concentration, total commitment, better results." Now however, I understand there is a time and place for the safety net, that you might actually go further, beyond yourself when you have the net. As long as you are well aware that the net can just as easily keep you from going beyond because doing so isn't necessary. In his (1979) book titled "Zen In The Martial Arts" Joe Hyams wro...

  • What are some recovery practices that I can include in my daily routine?

    Here are five tools that you can add to your routine that will facilitate better recovery. Remember that "training = work + rest". Incorporate these and your recovery status will be much better. These can be done daily: 1) Cool Down: Post-workout recovery is a second only to sleep in the recovery hierarchy. A post workout cool-down speeds short-term and long-term recovery (defined as a return to a pre-training state) compared to not cooling down. Moving is preferable to static stretching because it supports circulatory activity (limb movement assists circulation so the heart doesn’t have to do it all on its own). Use a low-impact method like cycling, rowing, or walking. To flush the muscles move easily for 4-5 minutes and then “sprint” fo...

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