La performance dépend de la somme des compétences du grimpeur. La préparation physique générale consiste à créer ou entretenir de bonnes bases : elle est donc la garantie des performances.


L'hygiène de vie est la première base à entretenir. Une bonne hydratation, une bonne nutrition et une bonne récupération sont les facteurs principaux de la progression, de la performance et de la longévité dans l'activité.


Gainage versus Mobilité

gainage-ying-yang-mobilit Gainage, gainage, gainage. Abdos, pompes, tractions, renforcement musculaire.
Pour certains, la recherche de performance ressemble trop souvent à ça.

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Study on mental imagery in climbing

  A lot of sportsmen and sportswomen use mental imagery in their activity. This skill is often a factor of performance; that is to say, this factor and performance are interdependent and therefore, it highly deserves to be granted priority for training...

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A lot of sportsmen and sportswomen use mental imagery in their activity. This skill is often a factor of performance; that is to say, this factor and performance are interdependent and therefore, it highly deserves to be granted priority for training. During climbing competitions for example, mental imagery is widely used to picture the moves mentally. However, imagery also has other uses. Understanding this skill and knowing why and how to use it is therefore essential; this is one part of mental preparation.

The concept of mental imagery contains several notions: visualization, mental practise, mental rehearsal… Anyway, “imagery is the fact of using all senses to create and reproduce an experience in one’s mind” 1. With that skill and closed eyes, you can for example imagine a cake, its shape, its colour (visual), its smell when taking it out of the oven (olfactory); you can imagine that you are biting into it (kinaesthetic), hearing how it crunches (auditory) and tasting it (gustatory) without having that cake in front of you. Mental Imagery allows then to reproduce past experiences but also to create new ones that have never belonged to the perceptive past. It is possible, as well, to imagine oneself under two angles: either in one’s own body, or by seeing oneself doing something as a spectator of oneself; this presents several points of interest. In sports, mental imagery can contribute to the good training, preparation and correction of moves as well as to the setting up of strategies; it makes it possible to modify one’s cognitions, to manage one’s awakening, anxiety and emotions. Numerous studies have showed the effectiveness of mental imagery in sport.

Presentation of the study: 
A climber can imagine: moves; climbing strategies; objectives of results; they can picture themselves mastering the situation and controlling their emotions. These examples illustrate quite simply the five possible functions of mental imagery according to Paivio 2. My study consists in comparing the frequency of use of these five functions by climbers of different levels: inexperienced (≤ VII+/VIII-; n=50), certified (= VIII; n=59) and experts (≥ IX+/X-; n=75).These assessments were made from a survey composed of 30 questions; 6 questions for each one of the 5 variables where those who have been questioned must evaluate on a scale of 7 points if they rarely or often use the described situation of mental imagery.


Results of the study: 
- The frequency of use of the 5 functions, considered as a whole, differs very significantly between inexperienced, certified and expert climbers.
- The higher the climber’s level is, the more common mental imagery of the moves is.
- Inexperienced climbers imagine strategies less frequently compared to confirmed and expert climbers.
- Expert climbers imagine themselves controlling the situation more often compared to confirmed and inexperienced climbers.

If you wish to evaluate your frequency of use of the 5 functions of mental imagery when climbing, you can answer this survey; your results will automatically appear on the second spreadsheet. To go deeper into the subject, find here my dissertation, my data and other interesting articles availablehere.
Références :

1 Vealey, R., & Greenleaf, C. (2001). Seeing is believing: Understanding and using imagery in sport. Dans J. WILLIAMS, Applied sport psychology: Personal growth to peak performance (pp. 247 - 272). Mountain View: Mayfield Publishing Compagny.

2 Paivio, A. (1985). Cognitive and motivational functions of imagery in human performance. Canadian Journal of Applied Sport Sciences.

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Tendinopathies (prevention)

hydrat After having presented the specific aspects of the different tendinopathies and their general care, here are some healthy lifestyle tips to prevent these injuries.

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Jocelyn-William LOUBRIAT

Bad hydration considerably favors the development of tendinopathies. When the body gets dehydrated - which is already the case when the sensation of thirst appears – the tissues are less drained. The metabolic waste can accumulate, and some of it is harmful for the tissues. The risk is all the higher as the tendons are low irrigated areas.

In practice: 
- drink regularly during the day
- during effort, drink small amounts (2 sips) every 10-15 minutes
- increase these amounts when practicing at high altitude and when it is hot or cold

While some nutritional elements favor tissue reconstruction, others can keep an inflammation running.
Therefore, it is in general advisable to adopt foods rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Carotene, Silicon, Zinc and Selenium. These elements are mainly found in fruit, vegetables and grain. A varied diet rich in fruit and vegetables, including the daily intake of vegetable oils and a regular intake of fatty fish (for its amount of omega 3 and 6) is, therefore, essential.

Furthermore, you must see to an acid-base balance of your diet. In fact, modern eating habits tend to be too acidifying for the body whereas a diet should be neutral. You should therefore limit, among others, your consumption of red meat and dairy products. 
For further details, the website examines food with special care and details for you their contents.

No weariness to repeat this: warming up is essential to prepare your body for effort. The increase of temperature of the body and the blood rush ensure better sliding and vascularization of the tendinous tissues, just as many factors limiting the risks of undergoing a lesion.
The warm-up includes 3 phases: general, direct and specific - each one of them being important. For more details, see the corresponding article.

Tendinopathies partly result from a rupture of the natural destruction/reconstruction balance. Logically, if practicing a sport favors destruction, reconstruction will be favored by recovery. Chronic lack of sleep may, therefore, promote the appearance or the maintenance of tendinopathies. On the contrary, sleep and naps are periods of time when the body can fully regenerate, and they should therefore not be neglected.

Articles liés :

Pathology : Tendinopathies
Cares : Tendinopathies (general care)

References :
BRUCHARD A., DUEE T. : Tendinopathie, nutrition et micronutrition. Profession Kinésithérapeute n°21, 2008.
CHANUSSOT J.C., DANOWSKY R.G. : Traumatologie du sport, Ed. Masson, 5ème éd., Paris, 1999.
ROUSSEAU V., CASCUA S. : Alimentation pour le sportif, de la santé à la performance. Ed. Amphora sports, 2005.
HAUSSWIRTH C. et coll. : Fiches pratiques pour la récupération en sport. Ed. INSEP 2010.

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La bière de récupération

bire On pourrait parler de tradition, pour fêter une perf' ou juste pour le plaisir à la fin d'une bonne journée de grimpe : déguster une bonne bière fraîche tout en pensant, pour se donner bonne conscience, que c'est bon pour la récup'…

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Nutrition et performance

salade-fruits75x75 La nutrition du grimpeur répond à des règles simples qu’il faut connaître afin de profiter pleinement de ses capacités.

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hydrat Recovery is an essential element of any sports training because it plays an essential role in performance. Training is not only an accumulation of workloads; it requires good fatigue management of the various strained tissues to favour what we call overcompensation.

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Jocelyn-William LOUBRIAT

Recovery is an essential element of any sports training because it plays an essential role in performance. Training is not only an accumulation of workloads; it requires good fatigue management of the various strained tissues to favour what we call overcompensation. 
Two types of recovery can be distinguished: immediate recovery and secondary recovery.

Immediate recovery

It is the recovery between two efforts during the same training session, for example between two qualification routes or between two tries in natural surroundings, etc.
The aim is to favour an optimal return of the energy stocks at muscle level.
Therefore you need to act on bloodstream and nutritional intake.

Action on bloodstream:

  • The active recovery consists in making moderate cardiovascular efforts, like slow running (or cycling) to maintain a moderate heart rate (between 80 and 120 pulse/min depending on everyone’s resting rhythm, which can vary between 50 and 70).
  • Immersions of arms and forearms in cold water (about 15°C) 2 or 3 times during 5 minutes alternately with a few minutes of rest showed good results in a study carried out at the University of Lille 2 but seem to be quite difficult to execute except in rock climbing when a river runs at the bottom of the rock.
  • Electrostimulation by active recovery programs does not show conclusive results according to the same study.

Action on nutritional intake:

  • Rehydratation is an obvious fact. You must drink during the recovery time. Drink small amounts repeatedly rather than a great quantity at once. For example 2 or 3 small sips every 5 minutes.
  • Quickly assimilated carbohydrate intake should be favoured. This intake may be contained in the drink taken for rehydration. You can buy energetic drinks, they are “isotonic”, if you follow the doses, and help the carbohydrates absorption without compromising performance. (Too many sweetened drinks may provoke too strong insulin secretion and cause a glycemic shock. Therefore avoid sodas and other energising drinks like Red Bull).

Secondary or late recovery

It is the recovery between two training sessions. During these phases, you want to try encouraging waste elimination and repairing micro-lesions, to restore a balance of the muscle tensions and to rebuild the body’s energy stocks.

  • Hydration and nutrition: between two training sessions, you should drink 1,5 or 2 litres of water per day and eat in a balanced and varied manner. Fruits, vegetables, starchy food.
  • Stretching exercises: the goal is to stop possible contractures and restore a balance of the tensions. This also favours a return to better tissue vascularization. It should be done with distance to the training sessions according to the principles exposed on the page “Stretching exercises”.
  • Massage: not everybody has a physiotherapist at his or her disposal between each training session; however you may allow yourself professional help at certain moments of the season. A massage works as much on your bloodstream as on muscular relaxation.
  • Sauna: by increasing heart rate, vasodilation and sweating but also for the general relaxation it generates, sauna is a non-neglectable way of recovery. Be aware of contraindications: circulatory and/or respiratory disorders (if in any doubt, ask your doctor).
  • Relaxation: learn to let go, to know your body in another way than during contraction and effort, to control your breath but also to let it go… so many elements that enable the body to recover. Yoga, Qi Gong, Eutony, Relaxation therapy…
  • Sleep: the accumulation of fatigue with a sleeping debt impairs performance and favours all the more injuries. Refreshing sleep and possible short naps – the most favourable hours for sleep are between 11 pm and 7 am and between noon and 3 pm. These are the keys for good recovery.

References :

- Heyman E, DE Geus B, Mertens I, Meeusen R. : Effects of four recovery methods on repeated maximal rock climbing performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2009 Jun;41(6):1303-10.
- GUYON L., BROUSSOULOUX O. : Escalade et performance, Ed. Amphora sports, Paris, 2004. 
- ROUSSEAU V., CASCUA S. : Alimentation pour le sportif, de la santé à la performance, Ed. Amphora sports, 2005.

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Stretching exercises

cdfms Stretching exercices are essential for recovery but also to prevent from injuries. Many videos.

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Jocelyn-William LOUBRIAT

The following stretching exercises should be done after each training session as a recovery tool. They can be done immediately after the training or a few hours later. However, after hard training sessions or competitions, it could be better not to pull too much immediately after effort – you’d better wait until the next day.

The goal is trying to find the best slackening possible of the muscle: make the contractures, that block the good vascularization of the fibres, disappear. The aim here is not trying to gain amplitude “to be more supple”. Stretching is used for recovery, which guarantees better performance and prevents microtraumas.

Above all, during a stretching session, you must listen to your body. You need to pay attention to your sensations and take the time to learn to feel them. You should not reproduce a mechanical movement; everybody needs to adapt his or her position according to his or her feeling.

To carry out a stretching exercise:

1. Take a position to put the muscle under tension and take time to adopt the right position.

2. Once the right position is found (and only when you get it), slightly heighten the tension without jolts (do not mix up tensioning and torture. It must not be painful. You should not make faces while stretching).

3. Breathe calmly, without forcing. In the same time, concentrate on the slackening of the stretched muscle while maintaining a constant tension during 15 to 20 seconds.

4. Slowly loosen the tension.

Methodology of the session:

In order not to forget any muscle and to make your stretching session become automatic, try to do it methodically by adopting a logical order like the one I suggest below:

Start at one end, 
Stretch one side, 
Then the other, 
Do it 2 more times,

Then take the muscle back up progressively by stretching one muscle and then its antagonist.

The short movies below start with the hand, continue with the upper limb, then go down the trunk and finish with the lower limb. The last movies show stretching exercises of musculo-aponeurotic structures.

Upper limbs and trunk


Interosseous muscles are located between the metacarpals of the palm of the hand. They are highly strained in our sport, so it is important to stretch them regularly to keep an optimal mobility of the hand.

[{avrpopup type="lightbox" id="lecteur_01"}voir la vidéo{/avrpopup}]
flex_dgt Finger and wrist flexor
Located in the forearm, these muscles are the “key” muscles of our sport. We stretch them intuitively but not always in the right manner. Here is how to do.
[{avrpopup type="lightbox" id="lecteur_02"}voir la vidéo{/avrpopup}]
ext_dgt Finger and wrist extensors
Also located in the forearm but at the back side, they are highly strained too when practising with climbing holds, especially when pinching tufas.
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Biceps brachii and anterior deltoid
The biceps is one of the big muscles of the elbow flexion; traction and blocking are its main functions. However it needs to preserve a maximum of its “liberty” to accomplish its other role: the lowering of the head of the humerus.
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triceps Triceps brachii and teres major
The triceps enables the elbow extension, which is useful for low blocking and dynamic movements. The teres major is a muscle of the “rotator cuff”; it is an internal rotator, contractures of this muscle are common. 
[{avrpopup type="lightbox" id="lecteur_05"}voir la vidéo{/avrpopup}]
deltpost Posterior deltoid and rhomboids
Located at the posterior side of the shoulder and between the shoulder blades, this region is always used a lot.
[{avrpopup type="lightbox" id="lecteur_06"}voir la vidéo{/avrpopup}]
gdpect Pectoralis major
It is located in the chest area, it is much strained for slope and tends to lock the shoulders forward – regular stretching may avoid getting kyphosis.
[{avrpopup type="lightbox" id="lecteur_07"}voir la vidéo{/avrpopup}]
gddorsal Latissimus dorsi (broadest muscle of the back)
It is a very strong and highly strained muscle that also contributes to kyphosis. It is the last one of the 3 big muscles (teres muscle, pectoral and dorsal). Trio of the internal rotation and of the lowering of the arm.
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gddroit Rectus abdominis muscles
Six packs are “nice” but it should not limit your mobility. Improving muscle strength and exercising abs should not be done at the expense of mobility, otherwise your will lose effectiveness.
[{avrpopup type="lightbox" id="lecteur_09"}voir la vidéo{/avrpopup}]
oblique Abdominal external oblique muscle
“abs” have straight (see above) and crossed fibres. The latter enables the torsion of the trunk and also need to keep their whole amplitude.
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lombaires Paravertebral lumbar muscles
These muscles of the “low back” are sometimes overworked. Relaxing them regularly is very important.
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Lower limbs

Psoas muscle
Hooked on the anterior side of the lumbar column and in close relation with the latissimus dorsi, it is a highly strained muscle and its power represents a nasty hindrance for our mechanism.
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Gluteus muscles
If they are highly strained during the approach to Céüse, so are they during dynamic climbing where you need to push strongly on your legs.
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This anterior muscle of the thigh inserts in the pelvis and conditions its position. The liberty of the quadriceps is essential for a good liberty of the pelvis and therefore of the spinal column.
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Antagonists of the quadriceps, hamstrings also help positioning the pelvis. Maintaining their mobility reduces the risk of pulling the muscle during a heel hook.
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Hip adductors

Internal muscles of the thigh, they are mainly strained in approaches and of course in all activities of walking or running.
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Triceps surae muscle
The “calf” is a triceps, that is, a three-headed muscle. Two of the bundles of muscles stretch with the extended knee; the third one, called Soleus, stretches with the knee bend and should not be forgotten.
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Tibialis anterior muscles and extensors of the toes
The tibialis anterior is highly strained during running, in particulardownhill running.
[{avrpopup type="lightbox" id="lecteur_27"}voir la vidéo{/avrpopup}]


Flexor digitorum longus
The muscle structure of the foot is highly strained when climbing. Stretching exercises but also self-massages allow a positive relaxation.
[{avrpopup type="lightbox" id="lecteur_28"}voir la vidéo{/avrpopup}]


Stretching of the myoaponeurotic system

Flexion and closing systems (upper limbs)
Tensioning the envelopes of the anterior muscles (aponeuroses) of the thorax and the upper limbs.
[{avrpopup type="lightbox" id="lecteur_41"}voir la vidéo{/avrpopup}]


Extensions and openings (upper limbs)
Tensioning of the posterior aponeurosis of the thorax and the upper limbs.
[{avrpopup type="lightbox" id="lecteur_42"}voir la vidéo{/avrpopup}]


Lower limbs flexions and trunk extensions
Tensioning of the posterior aponeurosis of the lower limbs and the trunk.
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Lower limbs extensions and trunk flexions
Tensioning of the anterior aponeurosis of the lower limbs and the trunk.
[{avrpopup type="lightbox" id="lecteur_44"}voir la vidéo{/avrpopup}]

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Cardio-respiratory workout

cardio There are plenty of ways to develop the cardio: running, cycling, cross-country skiing, rollerblading, swimming, hiking, using the stepper, the rowing machine

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Jocelyn-William LOUBRIAT

There are plenty of ways to develop the cardio: running, cycling, cross-country skiing, rollerblading, swimming, hiking, using the stepper, the rowing machine etc. No matter what you do, the important thing is the way you do it. You should enjoy it. So if you hate running, do not do it. Some people may prefer the mountain bike, others the cardio training in a gym. Sometimes people have no choice, not everybody has a parc near their house where they can run or cycle.

The main thing is stimulating the cardio-respiratory system in an appropriate and regular manner. Good planning also increases the benefits.

We consider the use of a cardio frequency meter as essential. It makes it easy to evaluate the work required for your body. Thus a small investment of less than 30 euro permits you to not strain the heart while you want to strengthen it.


Long term endurance workout

The objective is performing a moderate effort over a long period.

The cardiac frequency must be maintained between 120 and 140 heartbeats/minute for 1 hour or more.

Running, on-road cycling, cross-country skiing, rambling, cross-country rambling, snowshoeing, swimming or working out in a gym are appropriate exercises for this.


Interval training

Exercises and relative rest are alternated with the objective of achieving a short increase in the heart rate followed by a decrease to avoid putting strain on the heart

Cycling with a bike or a mountain bike, cross-country skiing, rollerblading or running are natural ways to do this type of workout, however only if the route chosen alternates between uphill and descents. You can also vary your speed.

Below you will find two types of structured sessions that can be realised by running, but it can also be adapted to the others activities. It is real work that requires the will to do it properly.


Session of short interval training

Jogging (rhythm between 120 and 140 heartbeats/min) 10min
6x 30-30: 30 seconds of fast running (but not maximum speed) - 30 seconds of very slow running (or even fast walking)
5 minutes of jogging for relative recovery
6x 30-30
5 minutes of jogging for relative recovery
6x 30-30
5 to 10 minutes of jogging for relative recovery.

This example can be modified in the following way: 10min warm up / 8x 30-30 / 5min recovery / 8x 30-30 / 5 to 10min recovery.
Everyone is to adapt the session according to the training time available.


Long interval training

Jogging (rhythm between 120 and 140 heartbeats/min) 10min
Fast running for 1km or from 3 to 4 min if you have no calibrated course. Attention, the running rhythm is fast but not at the maximum because you must be able to maintain it over the whole distance (or the fixed time) such as for the following routines.
Rest 2min30 (slow walk, recovery)
Fast running (same distance or fixed time)
Rest 2min30
Fast running
Rest 2min30
Fast running
Rest 2min30 and then jogging for recovery 5min

Attention, at the beginning the start is generally to fast, but once you are used to it, you will be able to adjust the running rhythm perfectly. During the last parts of the routine, the cardiac rhythm increases a lot, monitor it and note it in a training journal.



To optimize the work of your cardio-respiratory capacities, vary the sessions.

For example: 
If you have scheduled 2 sessions per week,
Week 1: 1 session of endurance work 1 session of short interval training.
Week 2: 1 session of short interval training and 1 of long interval training. 
Week 3: 1 session of endurance work and 1 of long interval training.

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hydrat Water represents 60 to 70% of the body’s weight. 90% of the blood plasma, 40% of the bones, 70% the muscles consist of water. It seems that drinking not enough water is the cause of some repetitive conditions: strained muscles, tendinitis.

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Jean-Philippe SAMEL


Did you know that when you feel thirsty, your organism already has in a deficit of about 1.5 litres of water? Did you know that a loss of water of 2% that is not compensated (i.e. 1 litre for a person of 70 kg) causes a decrease of 20% of your performance?
Hours of training are of no benefit just because you have not drunk enough before, during and after the physical effort. 

Therefore regular rehydration is essential.

It has a physical role
Water represents 60 to 70% of the body’s weight. 90% of the blood plasma, 40% of the bones, 70% the muscles consist of water. It seems that drinking not enough water is the cause of some repetitive conditions: strained muscles, tendinitis.
It has a functional role
Water is the most fundamental food.
It is the solvent of most foods and waste that may transit by osmosis through cell membrane, which enables the cell to feed and eliminate the waste.
It has a thermo-regulatory role
I move so I’m warming!
The mechanical performance of the “muscular motor” is of about 25% and goes with a production of warmth (75%). This increases the body temperature that is regulated thanks to the perspiration and then the evaporation of sweat which cools down the body.
This mechanism can lead to a very important loss of water.
With an air temperature of 28°C, a long distance runner can lose up to 2 litres per hour in order not to explode due to the heat!
It has a role that is necessary to enzymatic reactions
Water permits biochemical exchanges (synthesis, degradations, oxidations, reductions, energy transfer, etc.). All the enzymes are proteins and all the cellular proteins must have enzymatic activity: thus, the main protein of the muscle, the myosin, is an active enzyme, the ATP (adenosine triphosphate).
It has a shock absorber role
When a fall is unavoidable, the cerebrospinal liquid serves as “crash-pad” and prevents your brain from hitting strongly against the cranium. Therefore it is better to maintain the liquid level…

Definition of dehydration
Dehydration is the reduction of the quantity of water contained in our bodies.

Water divides into 2 systems:
2/3 of intracellular water, rich in potassium inside the cells
1/3 of extracellular water, rich in sodium in the liquids: blood, bile…
The intra- and extracellular environment are separated by an osmotic membrane permeable to water and impervious to mineral salts.

If the concentration of mineral salts is modified, the liquid of the less concentrated solution spreads to the more concentrated solution creating problems in the metabolism that can be more or less serious: this is the phenomenon of dehydration.
The mechanism of dehydration
dehydration by water loss in the extracellular sector.
Most of the time, this has happened when your shirt is soaked.
Filling up (with water) is usually done by natural instinct.

dehydration by loss of salt without water loss:
The water moves directly from the extracellular sector to the cells with circulatory troubles occurring.
Salt intake may be necessary depending on the advice of your doctor.

Dehydration due to an equal loss of water and salt often happens in hot countries and during endurance training over several hours. There is a weakening of the saline concentration in both sectors that must be compensated by 3 to 4 g of salt/litre of water.
Causes of dehydration
The length and the intensity of the physical effort condition the water loss.
One session of physical rock climbing will “pump” differently than a sequence of a steady route of 6 lengths in the mountains.

The climatic conditions, the sun and the wind play an essential role on dehydration.
Be aware of false impressions created by a nice refreshing wind …

Take into account:
- the air temperature, especially cold air which dehydrates as effectively as heat but less evidently.
During an indoor competition, a badly air-conditioned gymnasium may quickly become a real oven. 
Do not forget to water the climber so he “cooks” slowly without getting dehydrated!
- the humidity of the air (hygrometry): the more humid the air , the more difficult is evaporation; and the more the body heats up, the more the body dehydrates to compensate. A challenging and vicious circle!
- the altitude in the mountains. Dry and cold air “burns” the lungs and provokes important evaporation of water with each breath.
The lack of filters (dust, CO²) increases the intensity of the sun’s rays and causes the heating-up of the rocks which may reach 60° at 4.000 m…

Clothes must permit the body’s evaporation and at the same time protect the body from air temperature variations.
Get rid of your airtight suit, the one used “to sweat more and lose more fat”, which is a rather harmful aberration. If you can, use synthetic fibres that evacuate perspiration perfectly and dry quickly.

Health concerns: high temperature, diarrhea, dysentery, traverler’s diarrhea provoke quick dehydration.
Consequences of dehydration
Generally speaking, the effects of dehydration on an athletic person are usually the same as on a non-athletic person:

Muscular and tendinous incidents: cramps, strained muscles, tendinitis
Increase of the interior body temperature
Increase of the heart rate
Decrease of the volume of systolic ejection (bloodstream)
Problems of the urinary system (stones)
Bad supply of blood to the small blood vessels (risk of frostbite)
Digestive problems
Feeling of illness, tiredness and the urge to stop

Decrease of the performance during a non-compensated water loss:
With 2% of water loss (i.e. 1L for 70kg), the performance decreases by 20%
With 3%, the duration of the effort decreases by 20%, the heart rate increases by 5%
With 4%, VO2 max is reduce by 20%
With 5% (i.e. 2,5L for 70kg), the duration of the physical effort decreases by 40%, the heart rate increases by 10%...

Never forget that the privation of water leads to death faster than the lack of food

The right amount

The daily ration of water is obtained by:
50% in solids (40 to 60% of water in meats, 60 to 85% in fruits, 40% in bred)
and 50% in drinks (preferably non-alcoholic ones…)

The hydric ration depends of the total caloric intake.
It can be expressed by the formula: 1 ml of water / 1 burnt calorie (3 L / 3000 cal.)
However that formula should be adapted to the type of activity and the climate…

A person needs 2,5 litres / day without performing any physical activities.
However, 6 litres of water (100% liquid) are essential in summer in a desert, without doing strenuous efforts, otherwise the amount would even be higher …
Drink before the activity
During the warm-up, the level of hydration must stay at the right level to avoid exposing your “muscled passages” to a state of dehydration.
Therefore you should drink slightly mineraled water (waiting ration).
Drink during the activity
It is essential to drink small quantities every 10 min to compensate the regular water loss: 0,5 to 1 litre / hour.
The water can be slightly salty (a pinch) to compensate the loss of mineral salts (sodium). Add also carbohydrates (honey, 25g / litre) to prevent hypoglycaemia.

When it is cold, drink hot drinks!
It is better to use up your energetic fuel for the activity rather for the fight against the body’s cooling.

It is easily said, but not always easily done!
For easy drinking at the belay station of the 3rd length, it is the best to use the water pocket (2 litres) with a flexible straw that you put in your backpack, or the more expensive solution: the Camelback type.

In winter, when climbing in crags or bouldering: taking a thermos for hot drinks is a good solution.
Drink after the activity
Every water loss of more than 3% of the body’s weight (1,5 L for 70 kg) has to be compensated within 24 hours.

At the end of the activity, you must drink mineraled water until you are full and at mealtime, a soup may help to compensate de hydric loss.

Recommendations to instructors of people who train occasionally, beginners and/or children.
You have now been informed about the benefits of correct hydration.
That principle, which is part of the healthy lifestyle of an athlete, contributes your performance and helps to prevent injuries.

Encourage the people close to you to take plenty of fluids (as yourself!) during your athletic activities.

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electro Electrostimulation is a technology that is used for physiotherapy and has applications in sport.

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Jocelyn-William LOUBRIAT


Electrostimulation is a technology that is used for physiotherapy and has applications in sport. 

A low intensity electric current is applied with electrodes taped on the skin surface. According to the nature of the current (variation of the frequency, of the pulse width, of the form of the current, etc.), the goals differ: 
muscle relaxation,
muscle recovery,
muscle strengthening,
pain relief.
In any case, the current stimulates the nerve that stimulates the muscle or the nervous system (analgesic current). 

The concerned public

The regular climber, who climbs without real training and who wishes to gain muscle bulk, but has no material means for weight training, will certainly took advantage of combining his or her climbing sessions with some sessions of electrostimulation.

The efficient climber, who already integrates classical weight lifting into his or her training, will also find advantages of electrostimulation at certain periods of his schedule as it can be a real timesaver.

The competitor will optimise his performances thanks to a smart use of the machine for strengthening and recovery. 


If there were only one reason justifying the use of electrostimulation then it would be the beneficial effect of this technology for recovery.

Better relaxation, good venous return and improvement of the arterial supply are possible thanks to the stimulation provoking short muscle twitches. The muscle eliminates the wastes resulting of the muscle contraction more easily.

There are several programs:


To be used in the hours following the effort, between two rounds (qualifications/semi-finals/finals), between two training sessions in the same day.

Active recovery:

To be used in the 8 to 24 hours following the effort for a faster recovery after a competition or a hard session. (Can be used between two rounds if your machine does not have a relaxation program.)

Muscle relaxation:

If the effort has provoked contractures, use this program to make them disappear quickly. (To be avoided between two rounds because of the diminution of muscle tone)

Muscle strengthening

The second important advantage of electrostimulation is the strengthening.

The electric stimulation enables more intense muscle solicitation thanks to a higher recruitment of the number of fibres. That really means that the muscle stimulated by the electric current contracts more than when contracted voluntarily.
Thus, while a traditional session of muscle strengthening causes the general fatigue of the sportsman with an under maximum stimulation of the muscle fibres, the specific electric stimulation of one or more muscle groups causes only the fatigue of these particular muscles, and with a higher performance. 

In addition, depending on the frequency of the stimulation, we are able to target the muscle fibres we want to work out: fibres of endurance, resistance, maximum strength, and explosive strength.

Endurance :

Endurance programs develop the capacity of the muscle to provide an effort of moderate intensity during a very long period (several dozen minutes and several hours = big routes).

Resistance :

This program develops the capacity of the muscle to maintain a sustained effort on an extended length (several minutes = cliff, traverse)

Maximum strength:

Enables the development of the maximum strength of the muscle, that is, the capacity to mobilise (or maintain) a maximum load on a short length. (some seconds = bouldering)

Explosive strength:

Develops the capacity to provide an instant effort with an important strength and a maximum speed. (dyno, bouldering)

In climbing, the energy pathways are quite complex because even during an effort that could be classified as endurance (big routes), you may need to provide an explosive effort for a dyno. In the same manner, during a bouldering competition, we seek a lot of strength, but also notions of resistance and endurance, that is, the capacity to recover quickly to succeed in the following tries or the following boulders. 
Therefore, it is not enough to strengthen the major pathways of the discipline practised; you should also train the others. 

Other programs

There are other programs on the electrostimulation machines:

Warm up:

In climbing, the warm up is too often neglected. 
Use the program on the forearms before a trial of the type “difficult”. With 15 to 20 minutes of electrostimulation before going on a route, you can specifically warm up your forearms without straining them too much. The blood circulates better, the oxygen boosts your cells, you climb higher than the others and thereby you reach the top of the podium.


Increase the vascularization of the muscle and thus increase the number of capillaries (small blood vessels) at the level of muscle fibres. To be effective, this program must be used regularly (several times a week). The increase of the muscle vascularization improves the capacity of resistance and endurance.

Analgesic currents or TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation)

These currents stimulate the nerve to disturb the pain message. The principle is to inundate the main nerves, which have the priority over the nerves carrying pain, and so the painful information does not reach the brain. It consists in a symptomatic treatment – the cause of the pain is not treated. Therefore, if the pain persists, please see your doctor.

Muscles to be stimulated

Here are the main muscles to be strengthened for climbing

Finger flexors: enable to grip holds. By working out mainly on strength, resistance and endurance, the last two programs as well as the capillarization can limit the inconveniences of “tetanization” during the effort.
Biceps Brachii: the main muscle of the closing of the arms. It requires strength and resistance in priority.
Latissimus dorsi: very important muscle for blockings; strength and resistance. 
Quadriceps: muscle of the thigh, very big and strong muscle, of which the explosive strength is very important for dynos, but also of which the strength is essential when performing on one leg in slab climbing (You know the slab is always part of competition in bouldering!!! The one you lose regularly!!!) 

However it is not useless to stimulate other important muscle groups: 
Triceps brachii: important for mantles and to hold on very low blockings, 
Triceps Surae (calf): important muscles during dynos (slight overhang or vertical wall) (explosive strength), but also for long slabs (endurance).

Do not forget that the principle rule of any weight lifting workout is to avoid a loss of balance between antagonist and agonist muscles. Let me explain it to you: if you strengthen too much the finger flexors without training the extensors, you will disturb the balance between these two muscle groups located on both sides of the forearm, and this is not good! Ditto for biceps/triceps, quadriceps/hamstrings, etc.

Which machine should I choose? 
Choose a machine that is easy to use and that disposes of enough programs to cover all muscle groups that need training.
Cheap products can produce mediocre currents and have lower functionalities (products from supermarkets or teleshopping). 
We work regularly with Electrofitness, a specialist in the sale of electrostimulators for sportsmen. They will give you information and advice about the kind of machine that best fits your needs. You will also find valuable explanations on their website.


For more information about it:


L'Electrostimulation dans l'Entraînement du Grimpeur (Electrostimulation in climbers training)
By Jocelyn-William LOUBRIAT

Small French how-to book bound to accompany climbers who use or wish to use electrostimulation in their daily training. 

Available here for 14,99 € - Kinescalade Editions

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Warm up

cardio Warming-up is essential before any physical exercise, in particular when the goal is physical performance.

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Jocelyn-William LOUBRIAT

Warming-up is essential before any physical exercise, in particular when the goal is physical performance. A quality warm-up favours and conditions it and also avoids numerous injuries (an injury being the worst contra-performance).

The warm-up must be divided into 2 or 3 phases. The first phase is the general warm-up and it should never be omitted. Unfortunately, that phase is neglected most of the time.

The general warm-up
The goal is to increase the body temperature, essential precondition for a good sliding of the tendons in their sheath, under the pulleys and for good muscular contraction.
Omitting that phase is very harmful to your organism.
The only time loss you will have is the one spent moping about the various injuries that could have been avoided.

You must achieve an increase of the heart and respiratory rhythm, as well as a state of minor sweating and maintain this for about 10 to 15 minutes.

Indoors: rope jumping, running, flexing-straightening up, jumping on the spot, knee bends, heel to buttock, etc. Remember that your bike is an environmentally friendly means of transportation and that it can also be used for general warm-up on the way to and as active recuperation on the way back.

Outdoors: If the way to take is at least 15 minutes and if you have sweat a little, it is your general warm-up and you can go to the next phase. Otherwise: a short run around the climbing area, flexing-straightening up, jumping on the spot, knee bend, heel to buttock, etc.

The direct warm-up
The aim is to stimulate progressively all joints and muscles, to stimulate their sensory sensors, and to prevent injuries.
This work can only be done after a general warm-up.
If a phase has to be sacrificed, than it should be this second phase. However only as an exception.

Movements of flexion-extension of the fingers
Working up fingers with the help of a ball or kneading clay
Rotations of the wrists
Flexion extension of the elbows
Rotation of the shoulders (small circles, big circles, reverse rotation: one arm in one direction and the other arm in another direction…)
Movements of the head: attention, no sudden movement, make slow movements with a moderate amplitude in one direction and then in the other direction…
Rotations of the ankles

Repeat each exercise about 20 times.

The specific warm-up
The aim is to pull progressively on the structures that will be used (not to say mistreated) during trials at maximum level.
The human tendon is not supposed to support the body’s weight on its own. That remains true for everybody, whether at ease in a 6a or in an 8a.
Start climbing without warm up at a level up to 6b is allowed for those wishing to stop climbing before retirement (attention, it is forbidden to complain, you have been warned).
Respecting as much as you can the three phases of the warm up is essential if you want to continue climbing for a long time.

Hanging on big holds.
Traverse by taking all the holds.
Climb at a lower level compared with the maximum without needing to overdo in the first routes.
Increase progressively the difficulty over 3 routes minimum.

Example: maximum level 7a:
1st route: 5a
2nd route: 5c
3rd route: 6a+
4th route: 6c

Example: maximum level 7c:
1st route: 5c
2nd route: 6b
3rd route: 6c
4th route: 7a+/7b

(the examples are specifically chosen on high levels because the “strong” climbers are most of the time the one who neglect that progressiveness and so give a bad example).

If the aim of your session is to realise trials at your maximum level, you can start by realising these trials after a warm up of 45 to 60 minutes. It may seem long, but 10 to 15 minutes of general warm up + 10 minutes of direct warm up + 20 minutes of specific warm up = 40 to 45 minutes, without counting the rests between the different phases.
However, at a closer look: If you have walk or ride your bike to your favourite climbing hall, you start climbing only 10 minutes after having arrived at the location!

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