Monday, 24 June 2013

Do you feel the pain?

How many times have I come back in bits after a long session outdoor? Why is it that my body aches so much after just a few problems? More interestingly, why does it ache so much more than it would after a similar - or more intense - indoor session?
I’ve often wondered and attributed this pain to the consequences of various factors: 

1. Conditions

It’s cold outside. Colder than inside. So my muscles contract more, hence more pain the next day. That and Her Ladyship, Ms Dampness. The humidity factor definitely has an impact on the repeated intensity when working on a problem. Don't you know the famous Irish saying "it's getting dampish, pull harder!" 

2. Focus 

I tend to push myself more when outside because I really want to send those (un)established problems while I don’t really care about indoor pink resin problems that will eventually be stripped from the climbing wall. Furthermore, I’m not distracted when outside because there’s no music on, no other people to watch, no clock on the wall, no signs of human presence - or so much less. 

3. Shock absorption 

I don’t notice it but I hurt myself when outside. I keep knocking my elbows and my knees. I have a mat but it’s very small compared to the big blue bed laying at the bottom of an indoor climbing wall - why is it they are always blue? - which means that in the end, added together, all these little outdoor jumps represent a bigger resistance force applied to my body structure than that of those indoor jumps, because less shock absorption is taking place.

But it actually hit me. It’s not that, it’s the rock itself. 

When I pull on resin, the overall elasticity of the body+climbing wall system is bigger than that of the body+rock system, because there is a lot of elasticity taking place in the connections between the resin hold, the screw, the wall timber panel and the wall structure.

Whereas the rock, well, it’s not known for being particularly elastic (apart from that flake at the start of Superswinger, but that’s an exception really).

(I thought I could sketch these properly in 3D on computer but I prefer to use my spare time for climbing sessions these days)
So, in the case of rock-climbing, as opposed to resin-climbing, more of the elastic absorption is done by my muscles and my skeleton. Hence the pain.
It's kind of obvious now that I think about it and I’m sure this must have been studied somewhere by someone but my climbing readings are scarce at the moment. 
So anyone feeling the pain? 

1 comment:

Pedronaut said...

Interesting theory Pierre. There has to be some truth to it but i would still think the bulk of the reason for hurting more outside is a combination of other factors, such as the ones you mentioned.
Can't really comment though as i've never tried hard enough to feel the byrne.