Blog and photos by Federico Ravassard

Blog and photos by Federico Ravassard

Blog and photos by Federico Ravassard

Blog and photos by Federico Ravassard

Blog and photos by Federico Ravassard

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Blog and photos by Federico Ravassard

Blog and photos by Federico Ravassard

Goal Setting

To begin, whether you are recovering from an injury (large or small), or in my case returning after pregnancy, goal setting is vital to staying motivated and excited. The level you used to be at might feel as far away as the moon, so instead of focusing on this point, it is essential to set small achievable goals. These goals could be as simple as a few pull-ups, or 5-minutes on the bouldering wall. Set your goals, at the right distance – hard enough, but attainable. In this way, you can celebrate each achievement and continually reset the bar, instead of falling short and becoming disheartened. Of course, the bigger dream - the one of returning to your former level will always be there, at least in the back of your mind. But treat this as a dream, maybe you'll get there, perhaps you won't. What matters, for now, are your small goals.

Next, it is important to listen to your body. I know this is not breaking news, but as you begin recovery, give yourself the time to build strength without causing further injuries. This part can be hard, as it is challenging to find the balance between stopping at every odd twitch and working through what is bound to be discomfort. But give yourself the time to start slow. In the beginning, your muscles are weak, your tendons are weak, and often your motivation is high. This combination is the perfect recipe for injuring healthy body parts. Focusing on your small goals can help ensure you aren't pushing past your limits too soon.

It is also important to pay attention to your psyche. I have found that getting fresh mentally can be the best part of recovery training! If you are feeling drained and your motivation is low, take a break. This will pay off tenfold in the end. Whereas forcing your training can quickly lead to lost motivation.


Your Training Metrics Are Irrelevant


Caroline Ciavaldini's Formula to Recovering Better, Healthier and More Motivated

Sitting on the floor of her home bouldering room, Caroline Ciavalidini starts laughing, and exclaims, "I can't believe how hard this feels, I know these moves are easy, but I can't keep my feet on the wall. I'm barely lasting 5 minutes in this manner."

This was the scene 1.5 months after the birth of Caroline Ciavaldini' and James Pearson's first child, aptly nicknamed Mini-Monkey. While she was able to climb through the early months of her pregnancy, she eventually took a forced break due to the natural effect of pregnancies, such as the tearing of abdominal muscles. This break has left her slowly working back into climbing in a way she "equates to coming back from a long-term injury." But the energy and excitement she has towards her current level of climbing rarely falter.

In hopes of helping anyone in the Wild Country community with their own recovery, we asked Caroline for some insights into her approach.

 Expectation Setting

This next part might be the most essential practice in my recovery - remove any expectations that you have around what your climbing should be. Think back to when you first began climbing. You didn't have any expectations, right? You didn't pressure yourself to climb at a specific level or meet a certain standard. You just wanted to progress as much as possible, you set goals one after the other, you learned, and you absolutely enjoyed it. So now, why don't you approach it as if you were a beginner? Remove your previous expectations and be curious to see where you will get each day. But of course, you now also have a secret weapon that will help you improve faster – your knowledge of climbing techniques.

 

Lastly, use your recovery training as an opportunity to remind yourself that strong in climbing is relative; difficulty depends on your style, your strengths, and your weaknesses, so solely chasing numbers is not a very accurate goal. Instead, focus on working specific strengths or weaknesses to help you return to the climbs you enjoy. For example, in the past, I chose climbs not off-grade or newsworthy ascents, but routes that draw me in with beautiful lines, curious movements, and above all, a particular historical aura. To be able to once again dedicate myself to these projects, my goal isn't fixed around a specific grade. Instead, it is on being fit, being able to project, try hard and focus on a route. This requires fitness but also on being mentally prepared and motivated.





"As I returned to climbing, I knew it was going to take a lot of work to get back to any familiar level. I had lost my core strength, my arm and finger strength was minimal, and I had not once in my entire adult life felt this weak. I wasn't deflated, though. I have learned a lot through climbing, and whether I am healthy or not, using this knowledge to stay motivated and enthusiastic is a continual practice."

Training Plan

To help you better understand some of my small goal setting steps, and I mean really small steps, I want to show you what I focused on for my strength training and the routines I put in place to accomplish these goals. 

 

1st Goal Routine

One week after Mini Monkey was born, I began a series of arm movement exercises as one of the few things I could safely do. My goal was to work on the different stabilizer muscles in the shoulder, bicep, and triceps at low intensity. I did 6-reps of Butterfly movement with a 0.5kg weight, resting 2-minutes between each set. It was taking about 20-minutes to complete, and if possible, I would do this 2-times per day. 

 

2nd Goal Routine

When I got the green light from my doctor that I could start climbing, about 1.5 months post-birth, I began a small routine on my home wall. My goal was simple, stay on the wall for 5-minutes doing movements. If I felt up to it, I would try to do this for 5-sets with 10-minute breaks between sets. I mostly climbed on the less steep parts, but occasionally, I ventured onto the steep wall for a few short moves. Overall, this recruited all of my body's muscles and really got my core started again. My core was so weak that at the beginning, this was difficult to do.

 

3rd Goal Routine

When I began to feel solid again around 4-months post-pregnancy, I started a pull-up, pushup, and dip pyramid routine. My goal was to allow myself the time and space to start simple, and I began with pushups on my knees and pull-ups with an elastic band. I strived to flow between each exercise, working my way up to 6-reps and then back down again. Each number increase was a set, and I would rest for 2-minutes between sets. Eventually, I could do the routine without aids and worked my way up to 10-reps, which left me very satisfied!

 

The Final Stage

It has been one year since the birth of Mini-Monkey, and this has added a beautiful addition to my learning process. As for my recovery training, I feel strong. Just as with any goal, though, my idea of strong is about setting expectations. I am pretty sure I won't be returning to my competitor's level; I won't be able to do finals and podiums in Lead World Cups, and that is fine by me! I am not interested in training 5-hours every day anymore, and mainly, other goals make me dream big!

A current goal I am working on is to explore more bouldering. For sure, this is the most accessible climbing discipline with a baby. But also, I have never made the time to focus on bouldering. It is something I have wanted to do for a long time, and I have a lot to learn; it is exciting! So this is where my climbing goals are right now.

I hope you have found some of these tips helpful, and always remember, be patient with yourself and enjoy your climbing; it should be fun. After all, isn't that why we do it?


Your Training Metrics Are Irrelevant


Caroline Ciavaldini's Formula to Recovering Better, Healthier and More Motivated

Sitting on the floor of her home bouldering room, Caroline Ciavalidini starts laughing, and exclaims, "I can't believe how hard this feels, I know these moves are easy, but I can't keep my feet on the wall. I'm barely lasting 5 minutes in this manner."

This was the scene 1.5 months after the birth of Caroline Ciavaldini' and James Pearson's first child, aptly nicknamed Mini-Monkey. While she was able to climb through the early months of her pregnancy, she eventually took a forced break due to the natural effect of pregnancies, such as the tearing of abdominal muscles. This break has left her slowly working back into climbing in a way she "equates to coming back from a long-term injury." But the energy and excitement she has towards her current level of climbing rarely falter.

In hopes of helping anyone in the Wild Country community with their own recovery, we asked Caroline for some insights into her approach.




Caroline on Recovery Training

"As I returned to climbing, I knew it was going to take a lot of work to get back to any familiar level. I had lost my core strength, my arm and finger strength was minimal, and I had not once in my entire adult life felt this weak. I wasn't deflated, though. I have learned a lot through climbing, and whether I am healthy or not, using this knowledge to stay motivated and enthusiastic is a continual practice."

Goal Setting

To begin, whether you are recovering from an injury (large or small), or in my case returning after pregnancy, goal setting is vital to staying motivated and excited. The level you used to be at might feel as far away as the moon, so instead of focusing on this point, it is essential to set small achievable goals. These goals could be as simple as a few pull-ups, or 5-minutes on the bouldering wall. Set your goals, at the right distance – hard enough, but attainable. In this way, you can celebrate each achievement and continually reset the bar, instead of falling short and becoming disheartened. Of course, the bigger dream - the one of returning to your former level will always be there, at least in the back of your mind. But treat this as a dream, maybe you'll get there, perhaps you won't. What matters, for now, are your small goals.

Next, it is important to listen to your body. I know this is not breaking news, but as you begin recovery, give yourself the time to build strength without causing further injuries. This part can be hard, as it is challenging to find the balance between stopping at every odd twitch and working through what is bound to be discomfort. But give yourself the time to start slow. In the beginning, your muscles are weak, your tendons are weak, and often your motivation is high. This combination is the perfect recipe for injuring healthy body parts. Focusing on your small goals can help ensure you aren't pushing past your limits too soon.

 

It is also important to pay attention to your psyche. I have found that getting fresh mentally can be the best part of recovery training! If you are feeling drained and your motivation is low, take a break. This will pay off tenfold in the end. Whereas forcing your training can quickly lead to lost motivation.

Expectation Setting

This next part might be the most essential practice in my recovery - remove any expectations that you have around what your climbing should be. Think back to when you first began climbing. You didn't have any expectations, right? You didn't pressure yourself to climb at a specific level or meet a certain standard. You just wanted to progress as much as possible, you set goals one after the other, you learned, and you absolutely enjoyed it. So now, why don't you approach it as if you were a beginner? Remove your previous expectations and be curious to see where you will get each day. But of course, you now also have a secret weapon that will help you improve faster – your knowledge of climbing techniques.

 

Lastly, use your recovery training as an opportunity to remind yourself that strong in climbing is relative; difficulty depends on your style, your strengths, and your weaknesses, so solely chasing numbers is not a very accurate goal. Instead, focus on working specific strengths or weaknesses to help you return to the climbs you enjoy. For example, in the past, I chose climbs not off-grade or newsworthy ascents, but routes that draw me in with beautiful lines, curious movements, and above all, a particular historical aura. To be able to once again dedicate myself to these projects, my goal isn't fixed around a specific grade. Instead, it is on being fit, being able to project, try hard and focus on a route. This requires fitness but also on being mentally prepared and motivated.

Training Plan

To help you better understand some of my small goal setting steps, and I mean really small steps, I want to show you what I focused on for my strength training and the routines I put in place to accomplish these goals. 

 

1st Goal Routine

One week after Mini Monkey was born, I began a series of arm movement exercises as one of the few things I could safely do. My goal was to work on the different stabilizer muscles in the shoulder, bicep, and triceps at low intensity. I did 6-reps of Butterfly movement with a 0.5kg weight, resting 2-minutes between each set. It was taking about 20-minutes to complete, and if possible, I would do this 2-times per day. 

 

2nd Goal Routine

When I got the green light from my doctor that I could start climbing, about 1.5 months post-birth, I began a small routine on my home wall. My goal was simple, stay on the wall for 5-minutes doing movements. If I felt up to it, I would try to do this for 5-sets with 10-minute breaks between sets. I mostly climbed on the less steep parts, but occasionally, I ventured onto the steep wall for a few short moves. Overall, this recruited all of my body's muscles and really got my core started again. My core was so weak that at the beginning, this was difficult to do.

 

3rd Goal Routine

When I began to feel solid again around 4-months post-pregnancy, I started a pull-up, pushup, and dip pyramid routine. My goal was to allow myself the time and space to start simple, and I began with pushups on my knees and pull-ups with an elastic band. I strived to flow between each exercise, working my way up to 6-reps and then back down again. Each number increase was a set, and I would rest for 2-minutes between sets. Eventually, I could do the routine without aids and worked my way up to 10-reps, which left me very satisfied!

 

The Final Stage

It has been one year since the birth of Mini-Monkey, and this has added a beautiful addition to my learning process. As for my recovery training, I feel strong. Just as with any goal, though, my idea of strong is about setting expectations. I am pretty sure I won't be returning to my competitor's level; I won't be able to do finals and podiums in Lead World Cups, and that is fine by me! I am not interested in training 5-hours every day anymore, and mainly, other goals make me dream big!

A current goal I am working on is to explore more bouldering. For sure, this is the most accessible climbing discipline with a baby. But also, I have never made the time to focus on bouldering. It is something I have wanted to do for a long time, and I have a lot to learn; it is exciting! So this is where my climbing goals are right now.

I hope you have found some of these tips helpful, and always remember, be patient with yourself and enjoy your climbing; it should be fun. After all, isn't that why we do it?