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The Japanese show that Power and Endurance are less important
  2017-09-15 00:00:00    
It seems like the new route setting mainly on volumes goes hand-in-hand with the recent extreme progress for the Japanese national teams. Previously, route setting with smaller holds and more obvious solutions, seems to more have favored power in Bouldering and endurance in Lead.

Climbing on volumes means instead that your technical, tactical and mental skills are challenged more. It is not good enough to be the strongest any longer. If there are volumes ahead of you, you need a bigger repertoire of moves and make intuitive decision how to find rests and clip in strange positions. It is about going for the next unknown hold dynamically, losing balance and just keep going, rather than doing an obvious hard lock-of static cross over closed crimp move and then rest for 30 seconds on some jugs.

In fact, the Japanese coaches have said that power and endurance are what they focus on least. Instead, they just to go for as many challenges as possible, having fun jumping around above the madras. This also goes along with the Japanese culture focusing on improvements and continuous cooperation. If the coaches see that an athlete lack a particular strength, they just build and recommend doing such moves rather than start lifting weights.

The sweat thing is of course that once all gyms around the world have more volumes and walls with more different angles, climbing will become even more fun to watch, we might see less closed crimp finger injuries for the youth and it will be more fun to train in order to become the Olympic Champion. (c) Eddie Fowke
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OffLine Bojan
  2017-09-13 12:41:36    
Volumes are cool, but I hate to see *too much* volumes. I like to see different types of routes/problems (volumes, core power, crimps, some jumps-stick power, slabs-balance, coordination etc.) so the climber must show different types of abilities in order to win.

Saying power is not highly important in bouldering in nonsense. Adding a lot of volumes actually adds to types of power (core, shoulders...) needed.

Also don't confuse "lack a particular strength" training on the boulders with non-specific training (e.g. on campus board). They could *both* be useful, but in any case you need a lot specific training on many boulder problems of very different types. Bouldering is becoming more and more technical, so you must be used to very different (also "circus") types of moves so a lot of technical training is essential.

> ... we might see less closed crimp finger injuries for the youth ...

Of course, if you eliminate crimping problems altogether, you won't see finger injuries. But I hope this would not happen (would be contrary to natural rock). However volumes have probably added to other types of injuries -- you probably remember what happened to Shauna in Munich last year?:
https://youtu.be/uIfNUbvTC_g?t=4419
OffLine Sune Hermit
  2017-09-13 13:24:23    
This "news" belongs in the right column, right?
OnLine Jens Larssen
  2017-09-13 14:50:33    
I think power is highly important in bouldering but with the new type of route setting with volumes, power has less importance compared to some years ago.

Overall, I think volumes means less finger injuries overall.
OffLine Bojan
  2017-09-13 15:10:53    
>This "news" belongs in the right column, right?

Good point :)
Here is the oldest video of IFSC comp I can find in a minute - ECh from 2008 (9 years ago!). Hm, quite a lot of volumes:

https://youtu.be/oYO2GcXemF8
OnLine Jens Larssen
  2017-09-13 15:38:29    
In bouldering, we have seen some volumes over the years but what you show can not be compared with the WC and Youth World Champion 2017. Further more, the big new thing is also more volumes in Lead.
OffLine bomberone
  2017-09-13 15:43:04    
What we see, is a kind of climbing which differs more and more from rock climbing.
OffLine Bojan
  2017-09-13 16:28:10    
> ... volumes over the years but what you show can not be compared with the WC and Youth World Champion 2017

Maybe not, but you were writing just about "the new route setting mainly on volumes". The boulders in the video from 2008 are "mainly on the volumes" as are in 2017... so no difference here.
OnLine Jens Larssen
  2017-09-13 16:32:18    
I totally agree. The only tings that are similar to comp nowadays is 3-D climbing on tufas and stalactites as well as up-side-down climbing in caves like in Flatanger.

It would be very boring if we tried to make competitions more similar to climbing on pockets on 30 m walls like in Céüse.
OffLine Bambam
  2017-09-13 16:39:00    
I think you shouldn't talk about more volumes being set but about the general setting style shifting to the circus-dyno-style.
Volumes can be used to resemble rockclimbing on plastic even better than without or to make the fancy run-jump-catch-moves we see nowadays. It's not comeing from using a higher number of volumes, it's HOW they are implemented into the route/boulder.

Regarding the topic i think that from looking at the boulders it just seems you have to be good at more different styles of climbing. Which includes being super strong, having good endurance AND being good in new-school-climbing. You could of course argue, that strength becomes relatively less important, when the other aspects get more important but imo you probably still need to have the same, if not a higher level of power/strength than in the past nowadays.

This is of course all purely based on random assumptions and observations of someone who doesn't do any competitions at all.
Jens, maybe ask some long-term competitors, what they think how the different demands for top-athletes developed with the change in routesetting-style and rule-changing.
OffLine Robert Kasper
  2017-09-13 17:04:09    
It's just the way the Sport has evolved indoor lately.

But i think power should still be a more important Benchmark in competitions. Otherwise i can watch american Gladiators.
OnLine Jens Larssen
  2017-09-13 17:11:22    
Power is still important but it is has shifted from mainly forearm strength to the whole body. Previously you could be the best by mainly train circles in very small walls. This is how many slovenians have done but as we could see in the YWC, this mainly physical training does not suit the route setting style of today.

The biggest change in Lead comps are the number of volumes that are used. When it comes to Boulder, it is also more volumes, involving more coordination jumps.
OffLine nschenks87
  2017-09-13 19:31:26    
I don't necessarily have a problem with these changes but I do see indoor and outdoor climbing diverging more and more. I think we'll see more and more gym/comp exclusive climbers who never go outside (or go mainly as a fun break in between comp seasons as we see with some of the younger boulder and lead competitors). I think at this point it is somewhat inevitable that indoor climbing becomes its own sport, in a sense. Outdoor climbing won't die, but I think you'll see a lot of youngsters face a choice of whether they want to focus on indoor climbing or outdoor climbing as the styles continue to diverge.

Because let's be real: indoor comp climbing resembles outdoor climbing less and less every year. I think this is more pronounced in bouldering but you see it a bit in lead as well. Some great examples are climbers who excelled at comps years ago but struggle in the modern style (Ramon Julian, Daniel Woods). Some of that is age and lack of indoor focus, but you can't discount that part of it has to do with the style. No more can you climb exclusively outside and then train a few weeks before an indoor comp and expect to do well. There are rare exceptions like Ondra, but even he is not a sure bet in comps these days. (Side note: the interesting thing is that exclusively indoor climbers seem to crush outside the rare times they go on trips)
OnLine Jens Larssen
  2017-09-13 22:00:29    
The problem for the youngsters as outdoor and indoor come more apart could be that young competition climbers could get more frustrated going outdoors, losing their interest.

If your main focus is competition, most likely you will stop climbing if your results are not good enough.

I do think that all competition climbers should make their athletes to also climb outdoors. This is the only way you will make sure you will help the kids to have long life climbing interest.
OffLine Mika Br
  2017-09-14 06:31:12    
Interesting interview with Jakob Schubert on this topic:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EWrOx6x4reA
OffLine André Gundersen
  2017-09-14 07:16:12    
"climbing will become even more fun to watch"? Do not agree, more circus and parkour and even more distance from outdoor climbing, doesn't necessarily make it more interesting
OnLine Jens Larssen
  2017-09-14 07:47:56    
With old style route setting...everyone is doing the same move and there is no excitement.

Climbing on volumes means different solutions are possible.

I have been talking to many coaches and athletes and almost all agree that competition climbing is getting more fun. It will also be more fun to train for. Instead of just doing circuits you need to train your creativity invent and perform strange moves.
OffLine Bojan
  2017-09-14 11:08:39    
>Interesting interview with Jakob Schubert on this topic...

And there is another one from Petra Klingler
https://youtu.be/qI6oZ-EvyfE

Probably agree with her bouldering is fast changing sport. Wall and especially holds/volume producers are working together with route setters trying to make a sport more 'interesting'.
One problem of this is the danger (for me at least) climbing indoors become much different from outdoors.
The other one is that probably this kind of development is 'driven by' volume producers. If you are looking at small nations, there is a problem finding financing for a great amount of different holds and volumes from different producers (climbers must get used to different shapes and also different textures of surface to train specifically for the next comps). And you also need several, creative route setters, who know the latest development and must be payed a lot of money to set a lot of different styles boulders for every day technical training. So if you don't have that money you are probably out of the game sooner or later.
One last problem, I thing must be dealt with, is the problem I would call 'A route setter may decide a champion' -- so a capable setter, who know the strengths and weaknesses (in different boulder styles, single moves, volume/holds types, body size etc.) of medal candidates, may (unconsciously or consciously - e.g. home country/nationality bias or favoring specific athlete) 'produce' a (WC, WCh, olympic...) champion.
OffLine Emanuele Pellizzari
  2017-09-14 12:45:12    
I checked all last comps for my job (designing climbing shoes). Yes, the route setters, are really setting in a different way. I don't understand the sense. A big volume, means you need less precise footwork since you step on those massive volumes. I wonder, were I a route setter, if I would place that tiny foothold at the olympic games and will stop to see how they get up on that!

About the comment of Petra Kinger. Most route setters are bit "dull", or, they are driven like she said, 'driven by' volume and holds producers. Choose what you prefer. A decent routesetter, to make a real challenge for comps and "level the field" among compatitors, has a lot of cheap cheap options:
- buy some holds today, to use in 10 years. You do not many, you need 20 in color Black!
- use holds of 15 years ago, that they stored. You need 20 in color Black! It comes in mind some old Freestone, Franklin Climbing, Nicros, some companies out of business
- beg some guys that have old holds in good in good conditions, to borrow them for a comp.
- shape holds by themselves. Shape volume by themselves with a texture they custom make.

If they do this, no competitors knows the texture, nobody knows the shape... and they are all "equal", no matter the money.
It is not rocket science...
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OffLine Gonzola
  2017-09-14 13:45:04    
The title of the article resembles the new way of titling articles that is used on social media for only making you click and getting numbers, "You won't believe what the japanese climbing team just did!"....
OnLine Jens Larssen
  2017-09-14 14:05:02    
On 8a, you do not need to click to read the articles...

All gyms are making good money and I am sure they have the possibilities to invest in some more volumes. If not, some of their clients will move to other gyms :)
OnLine Jens Larssen
  2017-09-14 14:13:07    
On 8a, you do not need to click to read the articles...

All gyms are making good money and I am sure they have the possibilities to invest in some more volumes. If not, some of their clients will move to other gyms :)
OffLine Steve
  2017-09-14 15:14:12    
Concerning people saying that comp and rock climbing are diverging more and more, it's interesting to see that athletes are actually able to climb real hard stuff on rock. And not just the old established athletes...
OffLine Emanuele Pellizzari
  2017-09-14 20:28:31    
Not really Jens.

Come down where the weather is good and there are few gyms (not making money)... then check if they can buy new volumes every week for you to train. If you live in certain countries (not town, countries), you can't compete anymore.
Do you like it?
It's unfair.
OffLine Bojan
  2017-09-14 20:50:32    
>All gyms are making good money and I am sure they have the possibilities to invest in some more volumes

Yeah, right, maybe in Sweden. In half of the world a single volume costs more than a monthly wage.
OffLine J. Smith
  2017-09-14 22:30:52    
This IFSC sport climbing is going in the direction of American ninja warrior. The problem is that ninja warrior is more attractive than IFSC climbing. If somebody is searching attraction and circus, American ninja warrior is a clear champion.
On the other side all new rules, other changes and ideas are increasing the costs. Ideas like multitude of volumes and several speed routes aren't reachable for all gyms and all organizers. Exact time measurement systems synchronized with the streaming are also not affordable for everybody. Increasing costs and loosing real climbers as the audience is probably not the best way. Few have written that they don't watch IFSC competitions any more. I'm also one of them. IFSC decided to go this way and they will also be responsible for the consequences.
OnLine rai
  2017-09-15 13:36:01    
@J.Smith: very good analysis...
OnLine Jens Larssen
  2017-09-15 19:34:23    
I have never heard about a good size gym that are not doing good money. The gym owners should make thei gym as attractive as possible and I think a shortcut is bying volumes. Yes they are expensive but the return on investment is good.

It is not fair that some can buy the best and most expensive gear in Any sport but this is how it is. We can not stop the development of competition climbing just to make it fair.
OffLine J. Smith
  2017-09-15 21:55:47    
Climbing in gyms started to make affordable replacement for rock climbing. Gyms normally concentrate on recreational climbers. Many gyms never organize competitions.
The number of climbers is increasing. The number of competitors is somewhere even decreasing. Recreational climbers prefer similarity with rock climbing. It's hard to imagine recreational climber enjoying on volumes.
Investing more to make less pleasure for the majority of customers doesn't seem to be the best move for gyms.
The only exception will be gyms concentrating on competitors. This will be possible only in areas with many competitors or a lot of money to invest in pure training and competition facilities.
OffLine Emanuele Pellizzari
  2017-09-15 22:12:21    
@J. Smith: I agree, beside that volumes get dusted very quickly and are very temperature dependant.

@Jens: go, try to invest YOUR money in a gym where the sun shines for 150 days a year. Then come back with the "not doing good money".
OnLine Jens Larssen
  2017-09-15 22:24:21    
Even without comps, climbers will enjoy more in general climbing on volumes especially when it is sunny outdoors :)