Thursday, 22 November 2012

Training with Schmoolz

Schmoolz, for those that don't already know, are a really fun and interesting way to train for dry tooling indoors on normal plastic holds with no sharp pointy things to hurt anyone.
Ive been using these for a couple of years now and my dry tooling ability has come along quite well. 
I'm not really one for proper structured training so I won't try and try and give a detailed training plan, but here are a few of the things I try and practice with my Schmoolz.
1. Holding axes: The best thing about schmoolz in my opinion is how similar they are to a proper ice axe, compared to other similar products out there. Holding an ice axe is a pretty alien thing to do at first and efficient use of the finger rests is an important thing to master. If your used to just squeezing your axe because there isn't a trigger then your going to do that on an ice axe and get pumped. To be fair I should point out here that there is a flaw with Schmoolz here. The triggers are just a bit too narrow, which hurts your little finger a bit. Ive been told this is getting sorted though.
2. Moving smoothly: To make your axe stick on marginal holds you need to try not to move the axe whilst matching and reaching the next hold. This is sometimes harder said than done and what better way to practice it than by doing it!
3. Accuracy: It quite hard to be accurate with an ice axe. Trying to do big moves on schmoolz gets you used to putting your axe in the right place to stick the next hold.
Going big
4. Fig fours: Fig fours, and fig nines, are probably the least natural and hardest to understand of all dry tooling moves. Sometime its hard to understand why they may be useful and how best to move between fig fours and nines. Schmoolz are perfect for practicing this.
5. Get pumped!: Schmoolz are an amazing way of just getting pumped. Say what you like but I quite like getting pumped. It makes you feel like your doing something. 

I find that trying to climb routes only using the holds they have been set with is a good way of practicing many of these techniques. As routes are generally set with hands in mind it isn't always possible to use all the holds. This means that you may need to use marginal holds,make big moves or just get into odd positions to complete the route, which you may not do if you make your own routes up.
Getting into weird positions (sorry about the bad photo)
I will add some more pictures when I get some.
Happy Schmooling!

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