Things Learned Outside of Climbing

I think it was in a recent patron podcast episode that @njdrolet and @Kris were talking about the value of learning things outside of climbing and that they might apply in surprising ways. Curious what other people have learned from activities outside of climbing that they find applying to their climbing.

Recently I learned to roll a kayak. My friend who was teaching me did a really good job of breaking down the movement into its constituent parts. My experience was that I started by focusing on the movement of my legs and hips before adding the paddle stroke. I realized that this would apply really well to learning weird or hard moves but I’ve never done it intentionally before. So far it’s been really productive!


Haven’t listened to the podcast yet, sounds really good!

I used to do martial arts and a crazy amount of things seem to translate, especially in terms of generating power. But also in terms of training.
Also, most mental skills would probably transfer really well from any other activity into climbing.

But in terms of applying things from outside of climbing in surprising ways, here’s a fun story. I can’t do the crux move of my project, but lucky for me my work keeps my up to date on new tech. I managed to 3D scan the holds using the LIDAR on my phone, and I’m currently in the process of turning the 3D scan into a negative mold so that I can pour resin into it and then create an exact replica of the crux dyno :slight_smile:

Oh and my ex mentioned a relation between singing and keeping tension. I think if you’re mindful, there will be applications everywhere. As Jacky Chan puts it, everything is kung fu.


Strength training with kettlebells and barbells taught me a bunch of stuff that I translated directly into climbing - how to brace (which I actually do on the wall now for certain climbing moves), how to exert a maximal effort (what maximal actually feels like), how to psych myself up before an attempt.

I also noticed that sometimes you transfer bad things from other activities. For example, I did a lot of yoga when I was younger, and during a typical flow you often exhale when you bend forward. When I started deadlifting, that really got me in trouble. I would lose my brace when lowering the bar and ended up tweaking my lower back a couple of times when doing so. It felt really uncomfortable to bend all the way forward while holding my breath, and it took a lot of deliberate practice to break that habit. I added braced forward bends to my warmup (which I still do, since I found it was a good way of getting the hamstrings moving), and did touch-and-go deadlifts for a few weeks.

I bet there’s a whole bunch of things like that - unconscious breathing or movement patterns - that we carry around with us.