• Ask Sean McColl

    Ask Sean McColl

    World Champion Climber. Future Olympian. Canadian.

ask “Sean McColl”

Thanks for all the questions, keep them coming! Make sure you read the “FAQ” (Frequently Asked Questions) which can be found here. Note: I’ve limited the number of comments per page to avoid having to scroll very far down the page. The newest question that was answered will be at the bottom. You can always find older questions by clicking “older comments”

Comments (1914)

  • Avatar

    Brian

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    Hey Sean,
    I’ve been watching some of the world cup lead and boulder competitions and was wondering what grade level they set the routes/problems at?

    Good luck today at Rockmaster!

    Reply

    • Avatar

      Sean McColl

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      Bouldering is too random to tell you the grade, they range from 7B+ to 8A. As for lead, the semi finals is usually a hard 8b with the finals usually coming in around 8b+/c. I will not be competing in Arco, but my next comp is in Paris for world championships!

      Reply

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        Brian

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        Thanks answering my question!

        Good luck at the World Championships…5 days of climbing is a lot! Go Canada!

        Reply

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    JH

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    Hi Sean McColl,

    I require some climbing before I am really climbing at my standard. However, during competitions, there are no climbing walls for me to warm up on, and i usually get to do only stretching. This is holding me back as i can’t climb properly during comps. Any warm up for bouldering that doesn’t involve climbing? Thanks for reading!

    Reply

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      JH

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      Also, on competitions, do you use any products like Red Bull or energy gel?

      Reply

      • Avatar

        Sean McColl

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        Yes, if I feel like I need to wake up a bit, I’ll drink a RedBull before going out to climb.

        Reply

    • Avatar

      Sean McColl

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      Unfortunately, I would say that without a bouldering wall, you cannot warm up 100%. It should be against the rules to not have a bouldering wall for warm up I think…

      Reply

  • Avatar

    Question

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    Hi Sean,
    I would like to know how to campus 1,3,5. I am currently able to campus 1,2,4 but the latter eludes me. How do I train to be able to do this?

    Thanks!

    Reply

    • Avatar

      Sean McColl

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      I think it will come down to finger strength and just straight campusing. The work on this, you can try doing 1-3-5 with one foot on the wall so your muscles get used to the movement with just a little less weight. Then slowly, you should be able to just take your foot off.

      Reply

      • Avatar

        Question

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        Thanks Sean,
        I’ll try this at the local climbing gym.
        I appreciate the time you’ve taken to answer.

        Reply

  • Avatar

    mg

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    hey sean recently i have been training for a project im trying to get this fall the crux move has a very difficult body tension move on about a sixty degree overhung wall . i cant seem to link the move. do you have any tips or training techniques to work on my body tension? thanks man

    Reply

    • Avatar

      Sean McColl

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      There’s lots of exercises you can. I did a few in my training movie, also you can do rocks while laying on your back (banana boats), or sit-ups. Anything where you are engaging your abs will work on this.

      Reply

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        mg

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        thanks man! ya i used your routine the other day for the first time and it was great thanks again sean. how often would you say to do this a week i am at three times a week now is that to much or to little?

        Reply

  • Avatar

    Jakob

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    Hi Sean!
    I’m really impressed by your climbing and training. Carry on like that! I especially like your detailed writing about the climbingevents. Of course I’ve also a question. Do you know the feeling of complete weakness after a longer break, lets say two weeks, and how do you deal with it?
    All the best

    Jakob

    Reply

    • Avatar

      Sean McColl

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      I don’t feel much difference by not climbing for two weeks. I might feel a bit strange on the first couple of moves, but that’s about it. If I took one month off, I might feel more of a difference. I would deal with it, by just resuming my normal training, and knowing that over time, my strength would get back to where it was before based on the length I took off. Take for example that I was in Singapore for the last two days and I only climbed twice during that time. I went training yesterday, and felt the same as I did before I left. Sometimes a much needed break is good for training!

      Reply

  • Avatar

    Bobby

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    Hi Sean

    I hope you can help I created a website 2 months ago I am already getting a lot of hits I have a pro climber section which i would like to have a feature about you in it. I was wondering if you could answer some questions for me?

    please email me on the address with this post and ill send some questions over It would be great to have your personal take on life.

    Thanks
    Bobby
    madaboutclimbing.com

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Chop

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    Congratulations Sean! You deserved the title World Climbing Champion, because you are the most complete climber in the world nowadays. So little stopped you from podium in bouldering, i think 2013 will be your year in bouldering and lead competitions!

    All the best 🙂

    Reply

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        Michel Rogers-Vallée

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        Congratulations Sean! You’re making us proud. You’re the best all around climber because you love it and it shows! We are with you all the way for next year!

        Reply

  • Avatar

    Jeff

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    Hi Sean,
    i saw you in Bercy yesterday and there is one thing that impressed me!
    How you manage your rest, what are your secret to recover your power for the next day ?
    I live in Arbonne la foret (a little village inside the forest of font), and i climb 3-4 times in a week.
    About my diet, usually the two days after a session i take care to eat a meal with proteins (eggs, fish etc…) and one day before a big session i eat more glucide like paste to have lot of power the next day.
    How do you manage your diet ?
    Before living in Font, i trained in a gym with a sauna, i felt a better recovery after a sauna. Do you use this or other things to recover your power ?
    Is there type of massage to recover fastly?

    And last question(s) 😉 why you manage this (rest) during period of big train (like your last movie) and how do you plan/calculate your overcompensation to be ready for competitions? What is the time to overcompensate after a period of big train?

    All the best !
    And say me if you come in Font (winter is coming ;))) i can receive you and show you interesting boulders !

    Jeff

    Reply

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      Jeff

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      PS sorry for my english…

      Reply

    • Avatar

      Sean McColl

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      Jeff,

      I manage my rest by making sure I’m back at my hotel doing absolutely nothing. People think that even walking around the city is resting, when in fact it’s not. Resting is sitting on a couch doing absolutely nothing. For the first few days, I didn’t actually do very much climbing, so it was manageable. By the 4th and 5th day, fatigue is inevitably going to start setting in. As for what to eat, I eat a lot of carbs and protein before and during the actual competition. I try to eat bigger lunches than dinner as I don’t need as much energy sleeping as climbing during the day.

      As for a sauna, I have never used it for recovery. I’m sure there is a type of massage to recover fast, although since Canada never has a physio, I’m the wrong person to ask. I know that the French, Austrian and Swiss teams all have active physios at the competition who are always doing some sort of massage for the athletes.

      For the training as in my movie. That is usually to be building power, or just if I have nothing better to do. If I start to get sore (fear of injury) I will stop doing that exercise. All the things in the exercise are very hard because you’re doing them all in a row. Individually, the exercises aren’t that hard in my opinion. It all depends on how you feel, and I’m a big fan of letting my body decide what to do, and when to stop…

      Hope it helps!
      And always, thanks for the support.

      Sean

      Reply

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        Jeff

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        Thanks a lot for the time you’ve taken to answer!
        I like your approach of your train!

        See you in Font!

        Jeff

        Reply

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    Maxime

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    Hi Sean !

    First, congratulation for Bercy !
    I’m a huge fan of your personnality, your style of climbing, etc. You are a king of model.

    I’m really impressed by your strength and your resistance. How do you do ?
    I climb 3 time by week, since two years and I don’t feel any improvement in resistance since one year… What do you do ? What have you done to be one of the best climber in the world ?

    Stupid question, but have you got some fears about falling when you climb ? Despite the fact that I’ve forced me to fall when I climbed, I always have this fear. My dream is to succeed in a 7a but since I’ve started to climb (2 years) I am in 6a/6b :s. I think it will be difficult.

    To finish, I would like to know if you climb all the time with mathilde beccera or with another person? I climb with my girl friend and it’s really cool to share this passion but as we have different levels, it’s difficult to progress. Have you ever been faced with this kind of thing ?

    Thanks a lot for your futur answer and for the show you made us at bercy and everywhere !

    Maxime

    PS : Sorry for my english, i’m french.

    Reply

    • Avatar

      Sean McColl

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      It’s mostly about motivation and people that you train with. You say you’re climbing 3 days a week, but do you TRAIN 3 days a week. You have to go into the gym thinking and knowing you want to get stronger. It starts there, then slowly, you can train more and more. Breaks are nice as well, for the mind and the muscles as well.

      As for being afraid to fall, no I do not have this. This is something very important to get over before getting to the next level. If you’re always afraid of falling to the crashpad in bouldering, or in lead, you will not be 100% focused on your route. As for training this, keep falling, and will get used to it. You have to also have confidence in your belayer, knowing that they are keeping you safe…

      I am almost all the time training with my girlfriend Mathilde Becerra yes. I train with other climbers as well as much as I can. I spent almost 2 months training with Romain Desgranges from France while in Chamonix. Training with him made me a much better climber as it’s always nice to watch someone train that has different forte’s than yourself. Even if you are much better than your girlfriend, she can always make routes for you, and her motivation has nothing to do with her ability to climb.

      Hope it helps.

      Sean

      Reply

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    Maria Taroony

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    Hey Sean! Congrats wth the World Championships, doing so well in both lead and bouldering is really impressive and inspiring. I just have a couple of questions about training. Me myself I climb about 5 days a week bestween 1.5- 3 houres a day. (Sometimes I split the training in 1 houre campusing in the morning and 2 houres of bouldering or endurance in the afternoon). My future goal is to compete in the World Cup and don’t end up placing last… Currently I am still a junior and I am in school so have to balance my time between school and training.. The last year I feel like my training has stopped paying off and I dont relly see much improvement. Do you have any tips on how to cycle the training so to continue to have improvement? Do you have any specific excercices which you recomend in a workout? I do both bouldering and lead climbing but sometimes find it hard to train for both diciplines at the same time. Do you hve any tips on how to manage this? Thanks!

    Reply

    • Avatar

      Sean McColl

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      Balancing time to train with school was one of the hardest parts of my training. I forced myself to climb Tuesday and Thursday after school, Saturday (twice) and Sunday night. I’d use the other days to catch up on homework and try to get ahead as much as I can. Start with a training program as it is the biggest key to success. Also, try to remain motivated whenever you’re at the gym. There’s nothing worse than being unmotivated to climb, and staying like that throughout the session. Overall, it’s useless. Check out my training video posted below for some new ideas while training. You don’t have to do all of them, but could try to make some easier if you can’t do them all. Do it 3 times after an hour workout, or just do it 3 times and do some bouldering after.

      One of the biggest things to re motivate yourself is to change up your program. Make some fun drills and don’t forget to have fun as well! Good luck in your training, I hope it pays off!

      http://youtu.be/H0vOH_XGWFU

      Reply

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