Archive for the ‘Power Up’ Category

Life At the Top

Thursday, August 21st, 2008

Life At the Top

I started climbing mountains at 16. Our art teacher Ed Cipriano decided to take out a bunch of boys who knew little of the world other than homework, exams and science projects. It was Mount Makiling in Los Banos where I got to appreciate the beauty of the outdoors. I had been hiking up to hills and caves, though, growing up in Mindanao . Makiling’s lush forest though was different. After that experience, as I entered college, I signed up for a camping class hoping to further my exposure to the outdoors, and in 1988 I got inducted into my mountaineering club, the UP Mountaineers.

Climbing mountains is rejuvenating at the top. The triumph at the peak after 8 hours of walking through log fallen trails, shallow streams and steep terrain is exhilarating! The feeling of accomplishment, reward and awareness of God’s creation all comes together at the top, and it’s all so great!

One can question though the sanity of the climber, looking at the amount of time spent at the top. A trek up Mount Halcon in Mindoro will be 2 days to the peak, hoping to arrive before 4 pm on your second day to reach the sunset. Just after sunset, you get back to work, preparing dinner then hitting the sack not too late in preparation for your 2 day trek down. The next day starts at 6am preparing breakfast, to then break camp at 8. So out of a 96 hour journey, 16 hours are spent on the peak, 80 hours on everywhere else… humorous. But mountaineers exist and continue to increase in number, so there must something valid in it all…

As I continued my quest for peaks in the outdoors, my climbing went into the steeper sides of the mountain, the cliffs and gorges. My exposure to rock climbing took my passion for the mountains into the love for movement in the vertical. Cliffs and river gorges present to the climber paths that you would never be able to see on a map. Flakes of rock, fist wide cracks and the mammoth body jams are all the hidden beauties of rock climbing. My favorites are the tree roots that dig deep into the rock that act as the perfect hand hold, smooth and round, an oasis from the sharp and jagged limestone that that we have in the Philippines.

Montalban, the nearest climbing crag to Metro Manila, presents to the climber these intricate details of rock climbing, from the roots of El Kanto to the exposed overhangs of Veranda.

Like in my trekking days, stories at the end of the day, when the team has all gotten together again, tell of the experiences that happened while on the way to the top. In trekking, its the lematic that got into his underpants… and in climbing, the lizard that nibbled on her finger as she went for that crucial finger pocket on the final moves to the top :) and the stories go on and on into the night …

In Mount Makiling , just before the peak is a 10 foot steep climb, to enter into a clearing. It’s dense forest all the way up, then the mountain finally exposes itself at the top.

All mountains have the same thing. Trees refrain from growing where the strongest of winds hit the mountain. The tops of the crag are the sharpest of bare rock, shaped by passing rains and winds. It is evident that life on a mountain; the trees and the wildlife, is actually sustained on its slopes… not at the top.

The mountain answers many questions and shows itself in the mountaineer, his life and I guess all of ours, as we all have our own mountains to climb. The mountain, the mountaineer, and life in general, are not about the peak…

More meaning comes from the experiences in getting there.

Happy climbing!

Joey C.

The closest climbing gym and a very convenient jump off to climbing in Montalban is Power Up in QC. To inquire about outdoor climbing, ask your instructors at both Power Up branches for details on the next scheduled trips. Or ask to schedule one specific for your group!

Power Up QC 9327273

Power Up Pasig 4747535

Weight Loss

Friday, August 15th, 2008

A 25 year old, 5′7″ male weighing 155 lbs will burn 598 calories in a 1 hour climbing workout…
Action & Fitness Magazine

This week’s journal was supposed to be about flexibility, but a topic that interests more people is LOOKING GOOD :)

Power Up has a tried and tested Weight Loss Program. For those of you into the details of training, it is a mixture of strength and endurance. Fact: A strength based program burns the most calories, with the burn extending way past the duration of the workout. As mentioned in the last journal, climbing is primarily a strength based workout. What we do is lower the intensity of the strength program, enabling the body to extend the muscle exertion over a longer period of time. The effect is a great Weight Loss Program with the benefits of Muscular Endurance. The side effect is a highly toned physique, cuts on the triceps, ripped forearms and a highly defined back.

So how does it go?

Warm up with light calestenics; jumping jacks, 10 minute jog or jump rope. Enough to break you into a light sweat.

Stretch the muscles to be used. Shoulders, lats, forearms, inner thighs, calves

Contract a belay partner willing to support you for the next 1 1/2 hours.

Choose a wall that you can stay climbing on for the next 30 minutes. Climb continuously, upward and down ward, with your belayer giving you slack as you climb down.

Towards the 15th minute, when the work out seems to get boring, while at the bottom of the wall, unclip and clip into a steeper wall. BE CAREFUL not to choose a wall that is too hard for your level that might cause you to fall. Climb this harder wall now for just 5 minutes. It being harder might cause your forearms to burn and pump. Upon recognition of the PUMP, quickly shift back to the easier wall.

You will be relieved that you’re back on the easier wall :) and the last 10 minutes will pass much faster.

After your 1st 30 minutes, it’s your turn to belay your partner for his or her 30 minute session of laps on the climbing wall.

Then repeat the session. The work out consists of 2 sets of these 30 minute climbs.

After the climbs, a long and slow head to toe stretch will give you a great cool down.

The boons and banes of this work out:

This is a work out for everybody, climber or non climber. So if your hands don’t gave the gorilla texture of the climbers’ palms, grab some weights gloves, full finger is best. This will allow you to stay longer on the wall, working your muscles, without the pain of the raw skin that most non climbers will feel.

Same goes for your toes. If you opt not to use the tight shoes that climbers wear, go ahead and use regular sport shoes. Court shoes ( with gum soles ) are best for providing ample grip on the holds. Kindly just clean your shoe soles before using them on the wall, for the cleanliness of the holds which you will also be holding as you climb.

The work out is not time efficient, you have to belay your partner twice for 30 minutes, Making it a long 3 hour stay at the gym. You actually only have to rest 15 minutes in between climbs. If you don’t have the luxury of time, and have the budget for a personal belayer/trainer, then this is the best solution.

If you don’t want other clients getting into your way at the wall, choose an off peak hour. 2 to 6pm is best on weekdays.

You will sweat profusely :) bring a towelette you can use so the sweat doesn’t get on the rope.

And yes, as mentioned, the climb can get boring. An mp3 player can solve this problem.

For best results, do this workout 2x a week, with your 3rd session the standard MAXING OUT IN 2 HOURS, from the previous journals. This will allow you to still improve on your technique while burning A LOT of calories.

So you have 2 weeks before the BER months, and 3 months before the season of eating. Mag baon na tayo ng payat… in English, put thinness into you lunch box (?)

See you all at Power Up… happy climbing!

Joey C.


Wednesday, August 6th, 2008


When asked about improvement in climbing, the question more often than not goes, “What will make me a stronger climber?” Strength is one of the favorite topics and stages in the climber’s training program. Benefits are easiest to measure, thus giving the “new and stronger” climber more rewards for the achievements felt.

Two journals ago, it was explained how strength is one of the keys to opening that next room full of new engrams. True enough, a stonger pinch will allow you to execute the crossover to its fullest. A stronger side pull will allow you perfection with the gaston. A powerful upper body created with pullups will allow you height when lunging for holds beyond static reach.

In climbing, specifically the upper body muscles, there are two groups that will benefit the climber if made stronger: The dynamic muscles which pull to the full range of motion, and the static group, which at the most locks into position at the moment’s calling.

The dynamic group: Lats, shoulders, biceps, back
This will give you height in reach. Height in reach not only gives you a higher hold, but will allow you to position your body in a manner that maximizes the positive direction of that hold. Grabbing an undercling is nearly impossible if taken with the body way below the hold.


Pull ups. Pull ups are the standard in increasing your strength to weight ratio. 3X a week. Monday and Friday: 5 sets of 70% of your maximum. Wednesday: Pyramids 5 sets 60%,80%,100%,80%,60%. This is best done after a light work out OR on non climbing days ( can be done on a bar or pull up board at home )

Boulders on steep walls with holds that cause you to fail in 6-8 moves. Create problems that are climbable at your limit for at the most 8 moves. Do not get carried away in your bouldering to create “project” problems that cause you to fall in 4 moves. Remember, your main goal is to build on strength.

The static group: whole body with special attention to the forearms

Dead hangs (or weighted dead hangs). On your pull up board, find a grip position (sloper, finger pocket, etc). Hang 6-10 seconds as 1 repetition, rest 10 seconds, repeat 4 more repetitions. Rest 1 minute. repeat for 4 more hand positions. If you’re not achieving failure after 10 seconds of hanging, wear you harness and slip weights on. don’t over load to achieve failure in less than 6 seconds

Lock off training. Choose an easy route. Climb the route HOLD by HOLD. Each time you move up for the next hold, get your body position as high as possible and hover your reaching hand as high above the target hold as possible ( sometimes the hold will be at the level of your elbow or arm pit already ). Hold that position for 3 seconds. Then relax, grab the hold and move again into the next locked position. This will allow an alternation of left-right-left-right body positions.

In general, you can also do a weight training program, focusing on strength building. Your local weights gym trainer can help you out there.

The crucial point though in building up on strength is applying it to the perfection of your movement on the wall. Strength can be your pillar or your stumbling block. I’ve said it once and i’ll say it again… the best climber is not the strongest, but the one who can save the most strength

Happy climbing at Power Up! For questions on applying these exercises, ask your friendly gym instructor ;)

See you at the gym.

Joey C.

Climbing is Movement

Saturday, July 26th, 2008

Climbing is Movement

Climbing is movement-centered. Faced with a route, whether defined by bolt-on holds or by chalk marks on the rock, the climber must visualize his or her way up the wall. This is the first step of getting that movement into your system. Proper visualization involves the tensing up and relaxing of the specific muscles in the proper order as defined by the route. Going through this “mental” motion puts into action what you have just read. With the body having “felt” the route once, muscle memory comes into motion when the actual climbing is done.

Movement involves the entire body. Climbing is not just following a hand sequence. It’s also a lot about footwork, outside edges, inside edges, twisting, drop knees, flagging, back steps, mantles and yes, dynos. And all of these are not about arm strength alone, and therefore will not survive being read through a hand sequence.

When on the wall, allow your body to act out what your mind has just said you can do. If you have an idea of what you are capable of doing, this shouldn’t be a problem. Execute the movement to its fullest, as doing this makes your climb efficient. Cutting short the entire movement puts unnecessary strain on muscles that normally should still be enjoying a relaxed state. As the way the route was read, climbing was not about a tensed up body all through out. Walking, as an analogy, is about a tensing and relaxing of thighs, hams and calves in a smooth alternating motion. Try walking with straight legs and see how far you’ll get :)

Making the most of your climb therefore does not mean having to work more on the pull up board, but rather safeguard your movement against saboteurs, such as panic and that dreaded pump.

You slip on the wall, and whoa! Your whole body tenses up! Get out of that mind set before its too late. Panic is the worst enemy of movement. It stalls the entire system and forces the body to act on instinct, grabbing everything and anything in sight. Take a deep breath… then take another one. Things should slow down now, allow movement to come back in. Climb on!

Then alas, lactic acid in your veins has just about clogged up blood flow. That dreaded pump has caught up! For most climbers, this is where the power of the mind takes the stage. Failing of a muscle group, in this case the forearms, will definitely impair your movement. Shake off and make the most of whatever juice you have left in your system! Without a good arm, instinct will dictate you to go for the nearest hold, step on whatever you can get your shoes on. Fight that urge, clear your mind and follow the route! You know what to do, you’re better than your instinct!

That’s why they say climbers are powerful people. Every time they engage in a route, they deal with struggle and more often than not, succeed. In the end, recognizing that movement rules the body in any climb gives the climber a bigger chance of making it to the top.

I liken this to life in a weak body, so easy to fall into instinct, so easy to fall off the right path. But with Movement as a center, you can fight to stay on route. Make GOD your Movement, He’s mine.

Joey C

Discover Movement on the Climbing Wall at Power Up. Our instructors will be more than willing to help you out. Personal or group coaching is also available. Just approach the counter for existing rates.

Power Up Quezon City 9327273
Power Up Pasig 4747535


Monday, July 14th, 2008

Engrams… new term? These are the stored moves that you’ve tried out on the climbing wall which your body has confirmed to be an effective way of getting to the top.

For example: The next hold which you have to grab with your right hand is kinda above and over where your left hand hold is at. So you lock you left arm, reach over with a stretch, but keeping your center of gravity over on the existing foot holds… effectively done by arching your back in a sideways manner. With this, you effectively get past that section and your body says… Whoa, i can do that again! So it stores up the move as an engram.

Our objective as climbers is to continuously build up engrams. In effect, climbing veers away from powering your way up the wall, to efficiently moving from body position to body position, depending on what the route on the wall calls for.

In last week’s journal, we talked about the crucial 1st 45 minutes of work out at the climbing gym, which is best used for engram building. Retain doing this as you visit the gym on a regular basis.

Practice makes perfect: If you fall at a certain level because you can’t execute the move, chances are that your forearms have exhausted themselves just getting to that spot. So after falling, do not come down. Tell your belayer to just keep you locked at that level. Stretch your forearms and shake away the pump. In 2 or 3 minutes, try that elusive move again, repeat maybe once or twice then come down to rest longer if you still haven’t connected. This is called “hang-dogging” in climbing jargon.

Once you’ve connected the route together, aim for “red point”, meaning climbing the route without stopping to rest, or falling.

As time will progress, your body and mind will begin to exhaust all the techniques possible given your present physical stage… and seemingly, your learning begins to slow down. In actuality, this marks a milestone and signals your readiness to LEVEL UP.

Moving up to the next level in climbing will mean exposing yourself to the whole new set of engrams in the level above you. How to get there:

1. Strength. If you can pull harder, then you can reach that higher hold. If you can grip better, you can use that pinch which you always wanted to skip

2. Flexibility. If you could open up your hips better, then that elusive move on the exit of the overhang could be perfected.

We’ll tackle these two points in the next post. In the mean time, keep climbing. We at Power Up will guide you step by step in making the most of your climbing session with interactive weblog like these.

On going Promos to keep climbing on a budget:

1. 555 - Sign up for a 555 frequent climber card, and invite 5 friends (cummulative, no time limit) to receive 1 free session. BUT ACCUMULATE 5 of these unused free sessions and we’ll give you 5 WEEKS OF FREE CLIMBING. So 555 is more than a can of sardines… SIGN UP NOW ON YOUR FIRST VISIT TO POWER UP, sign up your friends and climb away to weeks of free gym sessions!

2. Ladies night, 50% off on the climbing fee for all lady climbers, every Thursday

3. Gabi ng Lalaki. 50% on the climbing fee for all men climbers, every Tuesday

Power Up QC 690 T Sora Ave,Old Balara, QC. 9327273
Power Up Pasig, Silver City Mall, Frontera Verde Drive Cor Julio Vargas (behind SM HyperMarket) 4747535

Power Up your climbing work out: Maxing Out in 2 hours

Monday, July 7th, 2008

Hey Climbers!

In these days where time efficiency is everyone’s goal, we at Power Up would like to help you make the most of your work out while at the climbing gym. The goal of this work out is CONSTANT IMPROVEMENT with no given period for Peak Performance, meaning you will not be training for any specific competition our rock trip.

Thus you can do this work out format everytime you visit the climbing gym, with the variation being in the walls or routes of choice.

Warm Up: 5 minute traverse on an easy wall or until you break into a slight sweat

Muscle Specific Stretch: Stretch the muscles most used in climbing to avoid injuries from pulling on cold and stiff muscles; neck, forearms, lats, back, inner thigh, calves

First 45 minutes: Expand your repertoire of moves. Identify routes that you can barely accomplish, falling maybe at the upper half or upper third of the way. While your muscles are fresh, take the chance to learn new engrams and push yourself while executing moves in proper form. After each climb, rest a full 10 minutes to allow full muscle recovery, thus priming you for your next attempt. Try and make 5 solid attempts at your project route.

Next 45 minutes: Muscle fatigue will start to set in, unless you’ve mutated already like the other climbers in the gym :) Shift from working hard routes to accomplishing volume on the wall. Shift to easy routes BUT minimize rests in between climbs to 5 minutes. Routes should be all top out. If your muscles are tiring out really fast, then shift to easier routes, or no routes at all. The Silver City wall height is guaranteed to push your muscle to the max, route or no route :) For TS, try climbing down and extending. Note you can either do a lot of easy climbs OR 2 sets of Non stop climbing for 15 minutes per set with a 10 to 15 min rest in between. The objective is the same in each, accomplishing CLIMB TIME.

LONG STRETCH to cool down. Head to toe, 8 counts per muscle. On muscles that matter to climbing flexibility, push the stretch to 2 sets of 8, being careful to NOT HOLD YOUR BREATH on the stretch. Inner thigh, hip turnout.

And you’re done :)

That should be a 2 hour work out.

Keep Climbing!

Joey Cuerdo
Power Up Climbing Gyms

Note: These are suggested workouts and do not guarantee physical prowess and your entry into the next X Games, but will definitely reward you with faster improvement and thus a more satisfying workout the next time around.

Approach your friendly climbing instructor for more details on this workout.


Your ideas, comments or the effects of the workouts posted will be much appreciated.