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Wanna Climb Better? Just go to Sleep.

I was climbing the 30 Wall the other day on a high-gravity day. I was flailing; failing hard. You know those days when you can’t seem to get your footwork quite right? When the skin on your finger-tips is shredded down paper thin and your arms are pumped after a few attempts? One of those days.

I was climbing the 30 Wall the other day on a high-gravity day. I was flailing; failing hard. You know those days when you can’t seem to get your footwork quite right? When the skin on your finger-tips is shredded down paper thin and your arms are pumped after a few attempts? One of those days. But I continued climbing through it anyway, thanks to some sage advice from our Head Routesetter, Phil.

The V4s were taunting me. I kept getting halfway through or close to the end, but the top of the wall kept eluding me. Again. And again. And again. Frustration started to set in, and I kept slamming the mats on my ass, and then again with my hands out of irritation.

I had to remind myself to keep breathing I ended my session defeated, and that night I went home not having sent any of my projects. The content of my dreams that morning was predictably about climbing – not surprising for a climber:

You know, just trying to solve problems in my sleep. And in the glossy, surreal-like manner only a dream setting can provide, I gleefully sent that yellow & orange V4.

When I woke up, I didn’t think that much of it. But later that day I went in to face the 30 wall again, during a with Luke. I tried the yellow V4. I sent it on the first attempt – just like in my dream (and thanks to coaching from Luke)! And again on the orange. Done. Problem-solved. Maybe the easiest step to becoming a better climber is the one straight into your bed – you just have to start dreaming about rock climbing.

lucid dreaming climbing 2
Route setter Will, projecting in his sleep in the cave at BKB.

The step beyond that is lucid dreaming – which has been quite popular in the news lately for it’s purported benefits. Consider the evidence that proves lucid dreaming quite useful for the sport of climbing:  writes The Atlantic in The Ways to Control Dreaming. Studies also suggest that which may allow for a more practiced study of physical movement.

And most compelling: in a more recent study published in the Journal of Neurophysiology, it was found that “s,”. Essentially, just imagining performing physical activities can benefit your muscle memory – and what is dreaming other than an exercise of the imagination?

So the next time you feel frustrated from that off-day, just go to sleep. And start dreaming.

 


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