Motivation for isolated training

Motivation for isolated training

Many of us have heroes we look up to and admire – wish we could be as fit as them, as strong as them, or as good looking.

Wishing we were something other than we are is seen as negative by mindfulness gurus, yet comparison with others has pushed the human race to compete and achieve great things. 

In sport we often talk about healthy competition – training with a partner you often feel you perform better. I ran a 10km personal best trying for most of the race to catch up with the guy in front – just out of reach – I never caught up with him, until after the finish line, but as he was running just slightly faster than my usual pace I completed a much better time than usual. Running on your own you have to dig deep for that competition. It comes from within. This can be hard to find!

The negative side of comparison or idolism is mainly avoiding enjoyment of and focus on “the moment” or “the now”. Striving to constantly be different, better, or somewhere else. Setting unattainable standards is both exhausting and makes us miserable. Residing in a virtual concept of what we are not, rather than focussing on and giving thanks for who we are now and what we have in this moment. 

Training at home in isolation you can keep a log, but is that enough to spur you on? Doing more reps than last time. Pulling on a thinner edge. Adding another 2.5KG to the dumbells. Another 10 reps of excruciating core exercises, comparing your progress to the last workout and unsure how to measure the improvements. Climbing alongside a friend with similar goals is definitely more fun.

Tom Randall Lattice Hang
Hanging solo – Tom Randall from Lattice Training

The majority of us have been in lockdown now for just over 2 months – for many of us the schools closing on 13th March was the true start of lockdown, though many businesses had started earlier still.

Although this was an ideal time to train at home, I have had zero motivation for training for climbing. Getting out for a daily walk was easy enough, and a run here and there. In previous years by late March and April I would have been getting psyched for the spring and the return of the trad season, and this is usually a massive motivation to get fit, with the goal of getting back on the rock, and would usually trigger a surge of home finger-boarding and a switch to endurance training at the wall.

A walk in my local woods

With the far-off end of the isolation period and social distancing in sport, bringing the ability to climb with others once more, getting psyched has been and still is a challenge.  

I continue some mobility training following the Movement 101 guys who I find brilliant. Lots of free content as well as reasonably priced programmes. I found I had very low desire for any training for climbing for the first two months. 

The last couple of weeks I have experienced a clear change in attitude. A friend suggested we do online finger-boarding sessions as a regular meeting. Using webcams and video conferencing we have connected twice a week and trained together. This has given us both a real boost – being able to work out and share feedback as well as to chat in our rest periods has been massively rewarding.  

Here are a few more ideas for staying psyched between now and the lift of restrictions:

Local coaching – online 

Michael Duffy is offering online coaching and this is proving popular. With a free initial assessment and a reasonable prices for follow-on sessions for some this will be ideal.  

Michael is also offering help with design and construction of a home board as well as his tailored training programme and 1:1 coaching. 

Online coaching with Michael Duffy

Michael Duffy – 087 909 7133 –  

Ambrose Flynn is offering online coaching for rock climbing skills and also navigation and has a wealth of video instruction prepared to support you. Courses are currently free of charge with a suggested donation to Mountain Rescue.  

For details and a sign-up page see Ambrose’ site here:

While the idea of online coaching “feels” strange, one conversation with either of these experienced coaches will give you the boost to advance your training plan with whatever equipment you have at home already, even if it feels like you have nothing! – Ambrose Flynn – 085 770 7019 – 

Navigation skills 

Mountaineering Ireland have put out some useful videos for skills development. 

Lattice Training 

 Home Training Work Out – Minimal Equipment! 

There are a whole range of these videos, and several are focussed on the isolation theme, training at home and how not to overdo it on the fingerboard. This is the link to the channel to browse all their videos. Of note is their latest returning to climbing after lockdown 

I find the Crimpd app from Lattice very helpful as well, and it is a good idea to test your finger strength before you start a period of training then test again at the end to see your improvement. Strength test is on the app and also explained by Tom Randall here 


For home workouts focussed on climbers, Shauna Coxsey has a few good video’s on youtube: 

Core for Climbers – Part 1 

Core for Climbers – Part 2 

These are in a light-hearted style and with options to decrease or increase difficulty as required. 

Shauna Coxsey demonstrates a model Plank
Shauna Coxsey – Core for Climbers workouts

Good luck with getting ready for the delayed start of this year’s trad season! 


A few thank yous to the IMC Whatsapp community for sharing some of these useful links to enjoy through lockdown: 

Thanks to Juro Ondrejicka for these core exercises

Thanks to Roni Buckley for these links: 

Great form for bodyweight exercises 

App for HIIT workouts

Uphill athlete thanks to Dermot Shiels

MI skills  thanks Colm Peppard 

Sore back prevention thanks to Jon Smith: 

Avoid Back Pain

Psyche for climbing – movies and audiobooks 

Thanks to Kevin Byrne for the Kelly Cordes Cerro Torre audio book 

Thanks to Niall Berkery:

Vertebrate Publishing books 25% off everything at present

Learning how to Crack climb from an arm chair

Build a crack climb at home – thanks to Phil Smith 

Jon Smith for My therapy Link 

See the @mytherapyphysio Instagram page (this link was for a Facebook live event so may be hard to find now) 

Jeremy Kooyman for sharing How to climb 5.13 with us

Keith Johns for reminding us a rest is as good as change!

And finally….

Thanks Edgar Morgenroth for helping you to worry about your dyneema!