Leading ladyClimbing Jain Kim may be smaller than the competition, but the world’s best female climber trains away her disadvantage.
“Logically, I really shouldn’t be a World Cup winner,” says Jain Kim, reigning global champ in lead climbing. “I’m only 152cm tall.” Lead climbing is the toughest type of all, because with no top ropes, all upward motion has to be generated by body and limbs. It’s also the most dangerous, with greater potential for falls (competition climbs are on indoor routes up to 20m long.) “I have less range on the climbing wall than most,” she says. “That’s a big disadvantage.” Yet it’s pushed the 25-year-old South Korean to more than make up for her height with years of training. “I put my body through a training drill for five hours a day, five days a week,” says Kim. “I do weight training for dynamism, stretches so that I can twist and turn smoothly on the wall, and lots of endurance. For example, you climb the same route over and over again until you no longer can. It really hurts, but you’re incredibly happy if you can make it up one more time than the day before.”
Increase your core strength
“Climbing is a sport that gives your whole body a workout,” says Kim, “but core strength is particularly important as it takes the strain off other muscles. I do a lot of my endurance training on the floor.”
Get a grip
“Strength in your fingers is vital for climbing,” says Kim “The stronger your fingers are, the tougher the routes you’ll be able to climb. The Gripmaster is a quick way of increasing the power of your finger muscles. It’s also good for warming up before a competition.”