Let’s begin with some introductions: tell us about yourself and explain to us what speed climbing is.
I am a national sports climber and a member of the national team for speed climbing. Currently, I hold the new Korean record for speed climbing, completing the 15m inner wall climb and touching the top touchpad in just 5.434 seconds. In the global rankings, I am currently placed 21st.
Speed climbing is a one-on-one tournament where the objective is to climb up the 15m inner wall as fast as possible and hit the touchpad at the top. It's similar to a climbing track and field event, where the winner is determined based on who completes the climb the fastest. The competition is in the round of 16 tournaments, and the mental battle between opponents is crucial. Even a small error could cost the victory, which is why a high level of concentration is necessary.
Why did you start speed climbing?
There are three main types of climbing: bouldering, lead, and speed. I spent the first eight years of my 10-year climbing journey as a leader. However, speed climbing was recently split into separate events and has become a popular discipline in the Asian Games and Olympics. Therefore, I decided to focus on speed climbing to achieve better results.
What I love about speed climbing is that it is very objective, and I can see my progress numerically. Each time I surpass a previous record or target, I feel a great sense of satisfaction and joy. The thrill of pushing past my limits motivates me to continue challenging myself.
Lead, bouldering, speed climbing, what's the difference?
The main difference between the three types of climbing is how you use your body. Lead climbing demands a lot of endurance and is performance-driven. You have to maintain control and pace as you navigate the route one step at a time.
In bouldering, you must solve problems within a four-minute time limit. To do this, you must simulate the route in your mind beforehand, using excellent judgement to solve problems quickly.
Speed climbing, on the other hand, is a simpler discipline. Unlike lead and bouldering, where the route changes every time and requires different training methods, the official route in speed climbing remains the same. Although weather conditions such as wind can affect the climb, the sport is less burdensome than others since you can focus solely on your performance.
This is perhaps why new records are being set in Korea, with some reaching the early 5-second range, while the world record is getting closer to the 4-second mark. In fact, climbing 15m in 5 seconds requires moving as if your body is following a pattern learned through practice, rather than thinking and moving consciously.
Do you do any other exercises that can help you with speed climbing?
I focus on solving problems with agile movements, which is why I prioritize body mobility over strength training. To achieve this, I engage in aerobic and resistance exercises using bands, as well as mobility exercises that increase joint strength and flexibility.
For my workouts, I use equipment like Kettlebell and Landmine, as well as incorporating bare body exercises and stretching. Additionally, I take special care of my hands, which are crucial in climbing. If I experience throbbing pain or injured finger joints that prevent me from sleeping, I use a paraffin machine to help with recovery.
In summary, I prioritize body mobility over strength training to enhance my problem-solving ability through agile movements. I use various exercises, equipment, and techniques to achieve this, including taking extra care of my hands.
Do you have any mental strategies for competing in climbing?
Strangely, the bigger the international competition, the less nervous I become. Being overly nervous can negatively impact your ability to perform at your best, even if you have prepared extensively for the competition.
To prepare for the competition, I follow a routine. The night before, I go to public baths, saunas, or jjimjilbangs to sweat a little and then sleep soundly. I wake up seven hours before the competition and go for a light run. I prioritize eating well, resting well, and getting good sleep.
As a member of the national team, I have a particular mindset when it comes to competitions. I treat it as being on stage, and as a part of that mentality, I neatly place my uniform on a hanger the day before the competition.
What do you think about WaveWear? Please give us an honest feedback.
I often felt exhausted after exercising due to the strain on my body, such as stiff knee joints and tight calves. However, after incorporating leggings into my workout routine, I noticed a significant reduction in the burden on my body. This is especially noticeable in my lower body, which is typically weaker than in other areas.
I wear leggings during every practice session, and I've noticed that my lower body has become faster and more flexible as a result. Even during aerobic running and lower body strengthening exercises, which can be challenging, I can maintain stable control, which helps me feel less tired and recover more quickly the next day.
In the past, the other leggings I used were uncomfortable and made me feel stuffy, but the WaveWear L20 leggings are much better! They present a mesh treatment on the back of the knee, which helps prevent sweating during activity. Additionally, they play a crucial role in protecting against injury during practice, where even a small mistake can have serious consequences. I've personally experienced the benefits of wearing your leggings and highly recommend them.
What are your future goals in climbing?
I have competed in around 10 international competitions to date, and my most memorable achievement was setting a record of 5.5 seconds and breaking the official Korean record at the tournament in Salt Lake City, where I ranked ninth. The feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment was overwhelming, and I aim to experience it again.
My nearest goal is to participate in and win a medal at the 2024 Paris Olympics next year. I aspire to achieve good results, but first, I must qualify to participate.
As the competition is crucial, my primary objective is to stay healthy and avoid injuries or illnesses. My physical condition was not ideal last year due to frequent injuries, so this year, my top priority is to train safely and consistently. Your support will be greatly appreciated.
Shin Eun Cheol - Favorite Products