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Breaking Through Climbing Plateaus: Unleash the Power of Cueing

Breaking Through Climbing Plateaus: Unleash the Power of Cueing

Breaking Through Climbing Plateaus: Unleash the Power of Cueing
byPeteron Jun 26, 2023
training for climbing

What Is Cueing?
Harnessing the Power of Intention Cueing is the implementation of specific intentions during physical performance, a concept gaining traction from a body of research highlighting its immense potential. Essentially, it involves creating specific mental prompts that guide your physical actions, thereby improving your performance.

Cueing can be as simple as thinking 'crush the hold' on tricky pinches, or as complex as visualizing our precise muscle engagement and spatial orientation on a climb, so thoroughly that our body learns the movement without even being on the wall. The magic lies in directing our attention towards specific internal sensations or outward to external targets, thereby changing our approach towards overcoming climbing challenges.

In essence, cueing acts as the practical way to apply a specific intention. As climbers, we've likely heard a myriad of tips and tricks, but remembering and applying them in practice can be tricky. Cueing simplifies this process by helping us identify the specific problem we're facing, crafting an intention that could resolve it, and developing a cue that puts the intention into action.

Types of Cueing
Internal vs. External Cueing can be broadly categorized into internal and external cues. Internal cues promote greater bodily awareness by consciously controlling aspects of our body that we usually wouldn't. By focusing on engaging specific muscles during a dynamic move, we can achieve better body tension and precision in our actions.

On the other hand, external cues create an outward intention, encouraging greater movement efficiency by allowing our body to take the reins and achieve the goal. For instance, thinking 'get my chest to the bar' during a pull-up can naturally improve our form, without having to micro-manage every aspect of our physical motion.

Overcoming Plateaus 

The Revolutionary Power of Cueing The beauty of cueing lies in its potential to overcome the dreaded climbing plateaus. It reintroduces us to active, intentional practice, shifting us away from passive repetition and stagnation.

To grasp this, let's delve into the science behind how humans learn, especially movement learning like climbing. This process heavily relies on specific intentional practice. Without intention, our capacity to learn is hindered, causing us to plateau. By reintroducing intentional practice through cueing, we unlock our potential to learn and improve.

Practical Example

The Importance of Cueing Let's take an inverted row, an exercise that can quickly become a shoulder and bicep exercise, or a mid-back exercise, depending on the cue used. If the aim is to increase mid-back strength, you'll need a different cue, like having a 'proud chest' at the top of the motion or 'squeezing a pencil between your shoulder blades'. The outcome can completely change based on the cue. It's not just about working harder; it's about working smarter with intention.

Finding Your Perfect Cue So, what kind of cue should you use? That depends on your goals and what part of your climbing you're trying to improve. Internal cues are ideal when you need to focus on specific muscle engagement. External cues are beneficial when you want to optimize overall performance and fluidity in movement.

Moreover, internal and external cues can be used together for further improvements. You could use an internal cue to hone in on specific muscle activation, which could then help you master an external cue on the wall. The key is to allow some variability but adhere to these general guidelines.


Cueing for Climbing Progression It's time to move away from relying solely on intuition for climbing progression. Incorporating the concept of cueing into your climbing and training sessions can offer vast benefits. Whether it's improving your strength, speed, coordination, endurance, or skill acquisition, cueing can play a vital role. Film yourself during your sessions to identify issues and find potential fixes. Remember, the aim is to train, climb, send, and repeat—with intention. Harness the power of cueing and take your climbing to new heights.