This review first appeared in the latest issue of Irish Mountain Log.
GIMME KRAFT! Effective climbing training
By Patrick Matros, Ludwig Korb & Hannes Huch
Published by Cafe Kraft GmbH (2013)
Gimme Kraft is a bilingual (German and English) book about training for climbing. As the name will suggest to those with a little German, this book is all about power.
The book describes over seventy different exercises designed to build strength and power. Ordered by the equipment they are performed on (bouldering wall, pull up bar, gymnastic rings, campus board, peg board, slingtrainer, floor and minibars and sloper rails), each exercise features a text description and a four photo sequence. The book also comes with a DVD that shows the exercises in action.
Spread through the book are brief quotes from some of the top climbers of the day. These are a little vague and lack insight. Do we really need to be told “Power is one of the most important aspects of climbing, without power you are weak and can’t do certain moves…”, thanks Sasha for that.
By naming the exercises and suggesting appropriate reps and sets Gimme Kraft! formalises what many climbers have been doing for years. The book reflects the movement in training for climbing towards a more balanced approach. The physical act of climbing creates massive muscle imbalances which, if left unaddressed, lead to injury. So any sensible training program must dedicate some time to strengthening these antagonistic muscles. In this book a lot of the exercises are general exercises, not that climbing specific, but very useful to build all round, balanced strength and injury-proof the climber.
The A5 landscape format suits this book which places the photo sequence on one side of the spread while the accompanying text goes on the other. The layout is modern and will appeal to younger hipster climbers.
Bilingual books can be a little cumbersome to use and navigate but in the most part this is handled well. The real problem with this book is the translation from German to English. While it may accurately reflect the German content, it reads horribly. Weird phrasing, lots of mergingwordsfornoreason and hypens-every-where. Here is an example from the introduction, “When performing a strength-training with the goal of a long-term improvement of performance (at least this is our philosophy) in a specific kind of sport, various basic principles need to be taken into consideration.” And while you nearly always know what they are trying to say, it is frustrating.
I wouldn’t recommend this book to someone looking for a general text about training for climbing as the scope is a little too narrow. However, in spite of its problems, this is a good book and it will be of huge interest to the aspiring hard climber.