Lacking Kraft to do your project or carry your UH pack? Then Gimme Kraft is the book that helps you develop the power you need to send your next problem.
Kraft, die [kraft]: Vermögen, Fähigkeit zu wirken; [körperliche oder geistige] Stärke / Kraft is German for power, force, strength
It’s not about power, it’s about technique was my bouldering teachers opening line to our group of eager students. And seeing him - a thin and tall guy - climb several rounds upside down in our boulder cave, it’s easy to agree. We went on to learn proper boulder technique, first indoors, then took it to the rocks of Vaasa. But of course some Kraft does help, especially if you already have a good technique. However, Kraft does not magically appear from going climbing - that much I have learned in the three odd years since I have rekindled my passion for the art. Kraft comes from training. Being dedicated in developing a training routine, sticking to it and mixing it up as needed, that’s what this fine book from one of Germany’s best climbing gyms, Café Kraft helps you do.
When you pick up the book you realize that here people were writing who know what they’re talking about. The authors have worked with athletes like Alex Megos, Mayan Smith-Gobat, Stefan Glowacz, Sasha DiGiulian and many more, and have sat down to write this fine training book. It’s bi-lingual in English and Deutsch and comes with a DVD where the exercises can be viewed, as well as extra footage of Wolfgang Güllich training. The book starts out with an introduction to effective climbing training - you get a password to download the full 16 page introduction pdf online - and then sets out with dozens of exercises. The exercises are divided into different categories, like the Bouldering Wall, Pull-Ups, Rings, Floor & Minibars, amongst others.
This really being the first time I set out to train (apart from many years of Kenjutsu) I adhered to the books tips to do most of my training as climbing. In the Bouldering Wall chapter there’s several good exercises which not just train you, but also help you to improve your technique. At home I do the floor exercises and train on the two Metolius Rock Rings, though I will need to switch the exercises up soon (the book recommends you change up your training routine at the latest every six weeks as otherwise you’re stagnating). I definitely have seen an increase in power, stamina and also feel like I climb better since I started to work out, and as the book is small and light I also usually carry it along to the boulders to see if there’s a new exercise I could try.
One critic I have about the book it’s that they put the video instructions on a DVD. Living in a household without TV (and DVD Player) and also all our computers being without DVD Drives, I have no opportunity to watch the videos. I’d rather would have seen the videos being available online to stream or download, which makes a lot more sense than a DVD.
Other than that this book really is great, and not just for climbers - though they obviously will benefit the most from reading it and doing the exercises. If you’d like to get more Kraft, get this book, make a personal training plan, stick to it, and see how your climbing and power will improve. Then take it out to the rocks and send your project!