Date: March 28th, 2018
About Kyra Condie
Kyra Condie is a super strong climber from Minnesota who has bouldered V12 outside and frequents podiums at national competitions. She is 21 years old, but as a youth she earned 6 national titles in bouldering and sport/speed. This year she took 4th in speed climbing and 7th in sport climbing, which is saying a lot since she’s mostly a boulderer. She was also 3rd all around in the National Cup Bouldering Series this year.
As a serious comp climber, she takes her training seriously, and you may have seen videos of her floating around social media. Like this one on her Instagram of her doing 1-5-8 on the campus board – NBD…
So I wanted to chat with her about her training, her climbing style (she’s fast!), and her diet. This was possibly the most detailed description of a training program I’ve ever gotten from an athlete on the podcast. She does the same thing every week with climbing, finger training, campusing, and some other strength training, and she spelled it all out in this interview.
Kyra Condie Interview Details
- Her upcoming plans during her gap year before vet school
- How she does circuits on boulders in the gym
- The fingerboard routine that has definitely improved her climbing this year
- Her campusing routine and how she got to 1-5-8
- Other exercises she does for strength
- Her diet and how she approaches body weight
- How she stays calm during comps
Kyra Condie Links
- Instagram: @kyra_condie
Training Programs for You
Do you want a well-laid-out, easy-to-follow training program that will get you stronger quickly? Here’s what we have to offer on TrainingBeta. Something for everyone…
- Personal Training Online: www.trainingbeta.com/mercedes
- For Boulderers: Bouldering Training Program for boulderers of all abilities
- For Route Climbers: Route Climbing Training Program for route climbers of all abilities
- Finger Strength : www.trainingbeta.com/fingers
- All of our training programs: Training Programs Page
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Neely Quinn: Welcome to the TrainingBeta podcast where I talk with climbers and trainers about how we can get a little better at our favorite sport. I’m your host, Neely Quinn, and today is a special episode because it’s number 100 of the podcast.
I’ve been doing this since February of 2014 when Seth and I were living on the road climbing, and we were in Vegas at the time and I remember that I had recorded a bunch of video interviews with climbers. I had interviewed on video Carlo Traversi, Angie Payne, Paige Claassen, Jamie Emerson, and I was going to publish them as videos. I was just sitting on them and it dawned on me that maybe just the audio was a better idea since podcasts had become such a popular media outlet.
I decided to just publish them as audio podcasts and see what happened and I’m really happy that I made that decision. I think that it probably has reached a lot more people than if I had done videos.
I just looked at my stats and I’m actually at 1,738,000 downloads since I started the podcast back in 2014, which I’m honestly blown away by. I’m super happy that you guys have taken to this podcast and that people are listening to it and hopefully getting some good information from it. I know that I have personally learned way more than I ever thought I could know about training and I feel much more competent making my own training programs and helping other people with their training, and it’s been an honor to talk to all of these people.
I want to thank you for your support and thank you for listening and I hope that you’ve gotten something out of these interviews.
I do want to mention one thing and give you an apology for something, and that is the sound quality. I’ve recently gotten some feedback from people saying that in certain episodes the volume consistency hasn’t been great. My voice volume has been lower than my guest’s and it can be a little off-putting so I want to apologize and tell you that I am working to remedy that situation. Hopefully this episode will be good in that respect and every future episode will be better. Thanks for sticking with me through that. I know that that can be annoying and I’m doing my best.
Moving along, in this 100th episode on the podcast I have a super special guest, somebody who I really look up to an admire as a climber. That is Kyra Condie.
Last year I commentated at Bouldering Nationals and I got to watch her up close climbing and she is amazing to watch. She’s super powerful, she’s very fast. She’s a very fast climber. It was amazing. And, she’s confident and she’s efficient and I’ve also seen videos of her recently of her training, so it got me really curious to talk with her. That’s why I’m doing this interview, to really dig into how she trains.
Kyra is a super accomplished climber. She’s done V12 outside and in the comp scene she’s done extremely well. She was ranked third overall in the National Cup series this year and she did very well the year prior to that. She was fourth in speed at Nationals and she was seventh at sport Nationals, which is saying a lot because she’s mostly a boulderer. Overall, she’s done extremely well and she’s going to do some world circuit stuff. We’ll talk all about that and this interview, honestly, was one of the most detailed, concise descriptions of any pro climber’s training program that I’ve ever had.
Take a seat, take some notes, and I hope that this helps you understand the world of training for a super elite athlete. With all of that said, here is Kyra Condie. I hope you enjoy this interview and I’ll talk to you on the other side.
Neely Quinn: Welcome to the show, Kyra. Thanks very much for being with me today.
Kyra Condie: Yeah, of course. Glad to be here.
Neely Quinn: You are obviously a really great climber and a lot of people already know who you are, but could you just give us a little, brief description of yourself?
Kyra Condie: Yeah. I’m 21. I’m from Minnesota. I’ve always lived in Minnesota. Right now I’m currently based in Salt Lake but I’m going to be leaving here soon, actually. I’ve been climbing for about 10 years, competitively climbing for that entire time. I try to get outside as much as possible as well but my focus is definitely on bouldering competitions.
I’ve always competed at the USA Climbing Nationals and I’ve started trying to do more World Cups and stuff recently and World Championships so I’m trying to do that for the next couple years. Basically, that’s a little about me right now.
Neely Quinn: When did you start climbing?
Kyra Condie: I started climbing when I was 11, so 10 years ago. I think I was in either sixth or seventh grade, or kind of in between there. I joined a team at our local gym and that’s really how I got my start.
Neely Quinn: Do you feel like you immediately took to it or did it take a while?
Kyra Condie: It’s actually very funny and something that a lot of people don’t know about me. When I was 10 I was really into doing musicals, like musical theater. [laughs] I joined the team and then I got into a play and so then I quit the team at my gym to do this play because rehearsals were every day and I couldn’t do both. Once I was done with that play I missed climbing and then rejoined the team and that’s when I really, like, I haven’t stopped since then.
Neely Quinn: Huh. So you just had to get your priorities straight.
Kyra Condie: Yeah, basically.
Neely Quinn: I’ve actually heard that you had a back injury?
Kyra Condie: It wasn’t actually an injury. I had scoliosis, which you can kind of grow into. Mine was called Idiopathic Scoliosis which basically means they don’t know why I had it. My back had a 72° curve. It was an S-curve so I had three different curves. There was one kind of towards the top of my spine in the cervical vertebrae that’s 25°, the one in the middle was the main one and that was the 72° one, and then it was kind of a 45° one at the bottom. They all kind of balanced each other out so I didn’t actually look super crooked.
I needed a spinal fusion surgery to fix it so they fused 10 of my vertebrae, so T2 through T12. That’s how they fixed it. My spine still has a 25° curve now but that happened when I was 12 or 13.
Neely Quinn: That’s pretty intense. Does that affect – I mean, does that affect your climbing you think?
Kyra Condie: Yeah, in some ways. I never really noticed it more until recently. I think getting stronger and getting into harder or weirder moves I noticed my back a lot more engaged than other people because that entire section of my back doesn’t bend or twist, so I have pretty limited motion turning. Like, if I keep my hips straight, if I turn to the left or turn to the right, I only get a very minimal amount of rotation. That kind of comes into play a lot, like the weird moves in competitions where you’re in a corner and you have to bend your back, I can’t do and have to find a different way around them.
Outside sometimes, like if your hand is right next to your foot, that’s the only time that you bend in that middle part of your back so that’s when I notice it really.
Neely Quinn: So do you feel like strength training helps your back?
Kyra Condie: Well, I think in some ways yes and in some ways no. I think I’m kind of restricted on some types of strength training. Front levers are really, really hard for me. I’ve always been able to do one with one leg out and one leg in but I’ve never been able to do one for more than a second with both legs out, like a classic front lever challenge. I think that has something to do with not being able to engage that part of my back so all of the pressure and force lands on just the lumbar vertebrae because that’s the spot where I can actually bend. In ways like that it kind of does.
I used to think that I couldn’t do some of the core exercises, like the classic endurance core. Like, crunches are kind of hard because I can’t bend that part of my back and things like that. I think some things are getting stronger since I was 12, which was when I got the surgery. I’ve been able to do those exercises. They were just a different way of doing them.
Neely Quinn: Yeah, it sounds like you’ve kind of made your way around certain things.
Kyra Condie: Yeah, I think that’s basically what I’ve had to do.
Neely Quinn: So since you were 12 – obviously you weren’t training super hard when you were a little kid but you were climbing a lot, right? Like on teams?
Kyra Condie: Yeah, I was a part of the team and it was kind of a dream then to do competition climbing. I had done some of it. I’d been to Nationals by that point and so it was pretty devastating when I heard I had to get the surgery because I had no idea what that would mean for my climbing. I didn’t know if I would ever be good again, [laughs] you know? Things like that. But in the end it really ended up motivating me, I think.
Neely Quinn: Oh, how so?
Kyra Condie: I was kind of in that stage where it was like, ‘Oh, I don’t know if I want to go to team tonight or if I want to go hang out with my friends at the park,’ and things like that, because I was a middle schooler. I was like, ‘Is climbing cool?’ [laughs] Things like that.
Having this back surgery and having them be like, ‘Oh, you’re not going to be able to climb for four months,’ was totally devastating and made me realize how much I loved climbing. I think having it at that point in my life, like having climbing getting taken away from me, made it so that I loved it even more and I was just rearing to go when I got back. I’ve never had the burnout phase that a lot of kid climbers have.
Neely Quinn: Yeah, I mean you’ve never? Do you feel like you’ve always just been psyched since then?
Kyra Condie: Probably since my back surgery I don’t think I’ve ever had a time when I was like, ‘Oh man, I wish I wasn’t doing this.’ I’ve always loved it, ever since then.
Neely Quinn: It’s kind of like a blessing in disguise where you get the perspective that a lot of people never have.
Kyra Condie: Yeah, I’m definitely not mad that I had to get it done. I definitely think it’s a pretty cool story and it’s one that not a ton of people know. I post about it like once a year on the anniversary of my back surgery. Every time, everyone is like, ‘What the heck?’
Neely Quinn: [laughs] ‘You did what?’
Kyra Condie: Yeah, like, ‘That’s your back? What?’ So I think it’s kinda cool and since it doesn’t restrict me too much I really don’t mind, so…
Neely Quinn: Well, that’s great then.
So, I want to know about how your climbing has progressed over the years, how you feel about competition climbing as opposed to climbing outside, and things like that. Do you want to take me through the years?
Kyra Condie: Yeah, let’s see. So when I first started climbing, the wall that I started on is at a place called B2. It’s part of – there’s a chain of gyms in Minneapolis called Vertical Endeavors and there was one wall in one of the gyms that was the best wall ever. It’s still the best wall ever, in my opinion, even though I don’t climb there anymore. It’s a 45° overhang kind of transitioning to a 60° overhang and it’s about 30 feet long, I would say, so it’s not super big.
The people who would climb up there, and this is when I was 11, were all adult men. I learned how to hold my own pretty quick. They were setting pretty hard climbs and because it was so overhanging, I had to develop a pretty jumpy style for being small and not having the big muscles, being an 11 year old girl. I kind of learned how to jump around between holds and not be afraid to cut my feet and things like that so that’s kind of how my style started, because I think I still climb a lot like that. I use momentum to my advantage as much as possible and things like that.
I think as I’ve gotten older I’ve gotten a lot better at keeping tension because I still love climbing on overhangs more than anything else, but I think I’ve gotten better at it by keeping tension on footholds and grabbing worse holds and locking things off, but also being able to jump still.
Neely Quinn: Yeah, you’re pretty good at jumping. Everybody knows that.
Kyra Condie: It sometimes hurts me and I climb really fast, which I think might have something to do with it. It’s a personality trait more than a climbing trait. I don’t know.
Neely Quinn: That is interesting. I’ve definitely noticed that about you. When we were commentating last year, we were like, ‘She’s so fast! She finishes before most people start.’
Kyra Condie: I know. I don’t feel like I’m going that fast and then people go, ‘Gosh, it looks like you’re sprinting. Slow down!’ I don’t know. I feel like if I slow down I might mess up so…
The couple of times that I’ve overthinked on a climb [laughs] I mess up so I’ve just learned to try and not overthink as much as possible.
So yeah, I think that can both help and hurt me outdoors. It depends on the climb. Sometimes, outdoor style I think you need to be that more slow and controlled climber because the holds are less perfect than what you have in a gym. You have less ergonomic features and the movement is weirder. It’s not as good for my type of style, I think, so I think that’s been hard transitioning outside a little bit, but I’ve gotten a lot better at it, too, since I’ve kind of changed my focus from being just a competition climber to outdoor and a competition climber.
I’d like to climb outside a lot more. I’ve been to South Africa and I’m going again this summer, which I’m really excited about.
Neely Quinn: Yeah, and you’ve spent a lot of time in Hueco too, right?
Kyra Condie: No, actually. I’ve spent almost no time in Hueco, surprisingly. I won the Rock Rodeo last year.
Neely Quinn: Yeah, that’s why I assumed you spent a lot of time there.
Kyra Condie: Actually, I took a trip there probably five years ago now, four years ago, for six days and then other than that my only other day was the day of the Rock Rodeo, climbing things. I’d love to go back. The Rock Rodeo it was like 80° out. It was the worst weather for climbing. It was rough.
Neely Quinn: Why do you think you did so well in Hueco, without really having acclimated?
Kyra Condie: I’d actually say the Hueco style is a little better for me. I like incut holds, ones that you can actually feel like you get something out of. I’m not as good at – eh, I’m okay at slopers but not outdoor slopers. I haven’t had a lot of practice on them, to be honest, but I feel like I’m best at grabbing a better hold on a steep angle and being able to power through that rather than grabbing bad holds at a lesser angle.
Neely Quinn: Right. You’re not so much of a slab climber.
Kyra Condie: I’m definitely not much of a slab climber, but I prefer to have something that I feel like I can get some sort of bite on, like anything that’s a better hold but on a worse angle, like a steeper angle, is definitely what I prefer.
Neely Quinn: You do bouldering and sport climbing. What do you prefer?
Kyra Condie: I definitely prefer bouldering. I like sport climbing and I haven’t actually done really anything sport climbing outside. I went to the Red when I was like 12, before I got back surgery, and other than that I’ve climbed a couple days here and there at a place that we have near where I live in Minnesota and a couple of days out here in Utah. Not recently but a couple of years ago at a place called Maple Canyon. Other than that I haven’t really climbed outside sport climbing much at all.
Neely Quinn: It’s really surprising. I mean, maybe it’s not. This year you got fourth in speed, seventh in sport, and you’re pretty good at sport climbing.
Kyra Condie: Yeah, I’ve even won the Youth Nationals twice for sport climbing, too, but bouldering is just kind of what I love. It’s so much easier to get outside bouldering because you don’t need to find a belay partner and swap belays. Everyone gets to always climb when you’re bouldering.
Neely Quinn: Right, yeah.
Kyra Condie: I kind of like that about it, but I’d really like to get outside and sport climb some more. I really want to go to the Red maybe this fall and I’m maybe going to Spain in the fall. I don’t know. There are some things in the works so I’m hoping to get outside somewhere for sure, sport climbing.
Neely Quinn: You said that you’re in Salt Lake now. What are you doing there and what are your plans for school and climbing and all of that?
Kyra Condie: Yeah, so I finished with classes for my undergrad degree and I’m getting my undergrad degree in animal science, which is a pre-vet degree. I finished those this December, so in 2017, then in order to actually finish my degree at the University of Minnesota I needed 400 hours of work experience in the animal field so I decided to wait until I was done with classes so that I didn’t have to take any time off of training or climbing and come to Utah because I love Salt Lake City. I love all the people here and the training here is great. I just work in a vet clinic here to get those 400 hours done.
So, right now I’m finishing up my 400 hours at a vet clinic here in Utah, in Salt Lake City, and training at the same time. My hope is to go to vet school, probably in Minnesota if I can get in, and I’ll probably apply this fall to hopefully get in for the next fall so I have this entire year, so all of 2018, and all of 2019 until the fall, hopefully, to just climb and focus on climbing and training.
Neely Quinn: Yeah, okay. That’s a cool plan. So you have like a gap year.
Kyra Condie: Yeah. I never took a gap year after high school. I figured it was best to just go through, get the four-year degree done with and over and focus on climbing while I was doing that, and I think I did a pretty good job of managing to do both.
Neely Quinn: Yeah. So I have a couple questions about the vet school thing, because vet school is pretty intense and being a vet is pretty intense. That requires a lot of hours. Is it something where you’re kind of like, ‘Well, I’m just not going to climb as much after this year,’ or what are you thinking with that?
Kyra Condie: I guess I kind of plan on being able to do everything. I don’t know if that’s totally delusional or what [laughs] but I think that I love climbing enough and it’s enough of a priority that I’d be able to do it all. I might not be able to travel to competitions as much but I don’t plan on getting weaker, I guess. Hopefully I’m not totally delusional but that’s the hope at the moment, that I can kind of do it all but we’ll see.
Neely Quinn: So you do still plan on competing. For how long, do you think?
Kyra Condie: You know, I don’t know. That’s a hard question. I really love the competitions and I love the people and I love the atmosphere so it’s hard to really say when I’ll stop. If you just look at Alex Puccio, she’s still doing it even though she said she was going to retire for like the last three years, so…
Neely Quinn: She’s definitely still doing it.
Kyra Condie: Yeah.
Neely Quinn: Okay, so what are you plans for – you said maybe going to Spain, you’re not sure – the next year and a half? Do you have objectives?
Kyra Condie: Yeah, I’ve got a bunch. We just finished with Open Nationals for sport climbing and so my next thing is I’m going to be doing a couple of the bouldering World Cups. The most I’ve ever done in a year, because the most I’ve ever done, is two of them. I’ve done the one in Munich and Vail and this year I’m going to go to the two in China and then there’s one in Tokyo and then there’s one in Vail, so I’m going to do all four of those.
Almost immediately after Vail I’m going to fly to South Africa and climb in the Rocklands for about a month and a half.
Neely Quinn: Nice.
Kyra Condie: Yeah, so all of July and half of June, so that will be really fun. I can’t wait to go back. That place is amazing.
Then, I’m planning on training for all of August when I get back because I get back at the very end of July, and focus and put all my energy into World Champs which is in Innsbruck in – whenever that is – September. I made team for all three events, the sport climbing, the speed climbing, and the bouldering, so it’s going to be kind of a nightmare trying to train all three at once but that’s the plan for August.
Then compete in September and then maybe try and do Adidas Rockstars if I can get an invite to that. I think that’s also in September, kind of around Innsbruck. It’s in Germany somewhere. I can’t remember where.
Then, I have an invite from a friend to maybe go to Oliana to try some hard routes there so I might go to Spain. That’s a totally up in the air thing but it might happen.
Oh, and I completely forgot that I’m going to Vietnam in a week. [laughs]
Neely Quinn: Woah, for what?
Kyra Condie: I’m going to do a deep water soloing week there with one of my sponsors. That will be really cool, totally unrelated to competing but that will be really fun.
Neely Quinn: Yeah, that’s a really diverse year that you have coming up.
Kyra Condie: I know. It’s crazy. Home base is still going to be Minnesota, mostly because there’s not really going to be a home base doing all of that.
Neely Quinn: How do you do this? I mean, you don’t have to get into details but I feel like climbers in the United States are underfunded because we don’t have the money that European climbers do, for instance. Do your sponsors take care of you or how are you going to do all of this?
Kyra Condie: Yeah, I have some really great sponsors that really help me a lot and then also, just with the number of competitions that I was able to do last year and I was able to get second or first at a lot of them, not all of them, obviously, but enough that that actually funded itself pretty well. Between staying at friend’s houses or splitting hotel rooms, that’s not a very high cost. Then if you can get any of your plane tickets reimbursed or just win enough money that it covers the plane ticket, you’re basically profiting on the weekend.
Neely Quinn: Perfect.
Kyra Condie: So that ends up helping a lot, for sure.
Neely Quinn: Cool. Can we talk about your training for a little bit? I’m really interested in what you’re doing right now and I’m also really interested in knowing how you plan on training for all three disciplines before the September competitions. Let’s start with right now. How are you training right now?
Kyra Condie: Right now, well, right before this I was focusing on sport climbing because of sport climbing Nationals coming up, but while I was training for sport climbing Nationals I was really focusing on trying not to lose any of my bouldering strength so basically I’d sport climb for most of my session and then at the very end I’d go through and try to do all of the boulders at the gym that I’d already done.
Neely Quinn: Really?
Kyra Condie: Yeah. One of my biggest things that I’ve done in the past year is just trying to repeat climbs that I’ve already done, even if they were hard or especially if they weren’t my style because I think that’s really beneficial. Climbing things like – if I don’t like a climb, I’ll try to re-climb it anyway, even if I hate it, which is so hard to get myself to do sometimes because I feel like I must hate it for a reason, you know?
Neely Quinn: [laughs] Yeah.
Kyra Condie: Like, ‘I must be bad at something in this climb so I should redo it just for practice and getting that strength or specific movement,’ anything about it. That’s one thing that I’ve done a lot.
Right now I’m focusing on kind of power and finger strength because I think those are the two main things behind bouldering, in my opinion. I do a lot of campusing and I do a lot of hangboarding and then I do a lot of just straight up climbing.
Kind of what I do on a day-to-day basis is I go to the gym and I warm up climbing because I think climbing is the best way to warm up for climbing, you know? As I get warmer I try to get to a level of 80% max, so say you’re climbing V10 you would get up to V8, and then I immediately go into whatever workout I want to do, as soon as I’m completely warmed-up in that way.
Say I’m going to campus. After I warm up with a half an hour or 45 minutes of climbing, I’d go straight up to the campus board and I would do my entire campus workout, which I can get into later. Or, if it’s a hangboarding day, I’d do the same thing and then go and hangboard. Then, if it’s just a climbing day, I just climb. I warm up normally and then I do my session, but a normal climbing day is I either try to do power endurance in that day or I try and do what I call a ‘circuit,’ which is just all of the boulders, you know, not necessarily in [laughs] any sort of order or in any sort of time period, but say there’s 11 V10s up at Momentum Millcreek right now, which is where I’m training. I try and go through and repeat all of the ones that I’ve done and if there’s one that I haven’t done I try and project it a bit.
Momentum Millcreek, for example, right now has probably around 11 V10s up and I think I’ve done them all. I have to think about that for a sec. Then there’s two V12s that I haven’t done and there’s a V11 that I can do. I try to go through and do all the V10s, the V11, and then some of the 9s and 8s anyway, just to get a ton of climbing in during the day.
Neely Quinn: With how much rest in between?
Kyra Condie: I don’t usually time the rest but you get distracted at the gym, too, like you talk to your friends and things like that. I try to get on the next boulder basically as soon as I feel completely rested from the last boulder so it’s usually three minutes.
Neely Quinn: That’s a good question. How do you feel when you feel like you’re completely rested?
Kyra Condie: It’s basically as soon as I can – you know, sometimes your skin hurts, basically for a sec after climbing or your fingernails feel kind of pressured. I feel like it’s in my hands more than anything, is where I feel tired, or maybe my shoulders. As soon as they feel like they’re ready to fire again, that’s when I get back on the wall.
Neely Quinn: I think that that’s a really good thing to know about yourself, when you’re ready and when you’re not.
Kyra Condie: Yeah, I know a lot of people who time it. I’ve definitely done that outside where I’m like, ‘Okay, I need to rest seven minutes,’ and sometimes you get too excited around minute three and you get back on the wall and have just a terrible attempt [laughs] so I’ve had to set a timer and do that before, but I don’t usually do that in a gym.
Neely Quinn: So in a bouldering session you’ll usually just do all of the hard boulders.
Kyra Condie: Yeah, and I try and just do that no matter what. That’s something that I kind of came up with earlier this year. Me and my friends in Minnesota actually built a new wall called The A and it’s a classic woody spray wall. We just covered it in holds and they’re all old and they’re super slippery and you have to squeeze really hard and it’s great. It’s just really good at building strength and we have a bunch of – it never changes. We try and keep it the same, you know, so we’ve made up all of these boulders that are really good and a lot of them are really hard. Every time I would go in I would try and repeat a lot of the boulders and make up new ones.
I had a list of 26 boulders that were all my favorite hard climbs and some of the ones that I hated, but it’s good to do the things you hate, [laughs] as I was saying. That was kind of something that I came up with this past year, just repeating those hard boulders and then adding harder ones as you go and as you send them. You have kind of a list of projects and a list of hard boulders and then always repeat the hard boulders and always do the projects. That’s something I kind of did.
Neely Quinn: That’s a really cool way to quantify, basically, your progress.
Kyra Condie: Yeah, and it’s kind of crazy to be like, ‘Wow, this climb felt so hard before but now I can repeat it daily, easily.’
Neely Quinn: Yeah, it’s hard to do that in a regular gym. How do you quantify your progress in a regular gym where they’re always resetting?
Kyra Condie: You know, that was kind of one of the harder things to come to terms with moving to Salt Lake was that I wasn’t going to have my wall to kind of keep my strength up. The setting here is really good and there’s a couple different gyms, and there’s actually a home wall that I’ve climbed on. Not my home wall but it has a similar feel to the wall that I was climbing on in Minnesota and so I’ve spent a lot of time there. I’ve spent a lot of time at the gym and the gym is really good at setting climbs that are hard so that’s one of the biggest benefits.
Neely Quinn: Yeah, that’s good. There’s probably more hard climbs there than there are in Minnesota at the gym.
Kyra Condie: Yeah, for sure.
Neely Quinn: How many days would you say you just go in the gym and boulder?
Kyra Condie: Like just boulder and don’t do any other things?
Neely Quinn: Yeah, or boulder as opposed to hangboard or campus.
Kyra Condie: I probably do that, if I only boulder and do not do campusing or hangboarding, it’s maybe twice a week I would say. Is that right? Yeah. I usually do three days on, one day off, three days on so that’s about a week so seven days. Within one time in every three day cycle, I do only climbing. Within one time in every three days I do hangboarding and climbing, and then I do campusing and climbing.
Neely Quinn: Got it.
Kyra Condie: And then I just kind of repeat that.
Neely Quinn: Question: how did you come across three days on, one day off, three days on?
Kyra Condie: I think it’s the best way. Sometimes it has to vary, like today is actually – I did two days on and today is the one day off. It kind of depends on skin and I try to listen to the body. If it’s hurting on day two I’ll go, ‘Okay, maybe I should rest tomorrow.’ Three days on, I think, is a really good way of being able to get the most out of the week, I guess is how I kind of came up with it?
Neely Quinn: Yeah, it also seems like it’s probably good for competition, like to really learn how to be strong on day two.
Kyra Condie: Yeah, I think day two is usually the day I feel the strongest anyway because it kind of activates the muscles the first day on. I don’t know if that’s just me.
Neely Quinn: I know I’ve heard other people say that but I’ve never experienced it myself. I’m just going to trust you.
Going back to the campusing and the hangboard, do you mind going through a campus session for you?
Kyra Condie: Yeah, so I’ve tried to explain campusing by talking before and it was kind of difficult, but basically for anybody who doesn’t know, you have the numbers on the campus rungs and they are standard spacing apart. It’s 22 centimeters, I think. I like the board to be 15-20° overhanging but I’m a total nerd. [laughs] Just that way your body doesn’t drag against it.
Anyway, I start usually by doing a couple warm-up pulls where I do a less maximal pull. My max is 1, 5. Both hands starting 1 and then going one hand up to 5 and then pulling through from there. I do a less than maximal warm-up so I do 1, 4 and I usually do 1, 4, 6, so it’s easier for me and I focus on really the pull and not pushing with the bottom hand, if that makes sense. I do two sets of those with two minutes of rest in between and a set is on each arm, so I’ll go matched on the first one, right hand up, left hand up, and then I do matched on the first one, left hand up, right hand up. That’s one. I do that twice, usually.
Then after that I go into the big-move boulder – that’s what I call it – that’s the maximal pulling through as far as you can. For me, that’s 1, 5, 8 is the best that I’ve done. Kind of the famous one is 1, 5, 9 and that would be a life goal but that’s a ways away.
Neely Quinn: You’re not really that far away.
Kyra Condie: It’s surprisingly far. I always laugh at people who comment on my videos, ‘When’s 1, 5, 9 happening?’ I’m like, ‘Not soon!’
Neely Quinn: Is this something where you work on 1, 5, 8.5? Do you have an 8.5?
Kyra Condie: 8.5 really helps. I’ve never done 1, 5, 8.5. I’m still working on getting consistent on 1, 5, 8.
Neely Quinn: I’m assuming that’s how you got to 1, 5, 8 though?
Kyra Condie: Yeah. A year ago I couldn’t do probably 1, 5, 7 I think. Part of it is getting better at the technique to campusing and then part of it is getting stronger.
I usually do, as I was saying, a set is doing a pull on each arm so right hand up first then left hand up first and I rest maybe 10 seconds in between each one there. I do three sets so three sets of 1, 5, 8, basically. It’s essentially six times but it’s three times on each arm.
Neely Quinn: Right. Okay.
Kyra Condie: In between I set a timer and I rest for three minutes in between each one. Then I do a set of ‘smaller move pull-through’, is what I call it, so that’s doing 1, 4 to max. I think that does a good job of generating power when your hands are closer together, which you’re not always full span on moves while you’re climbing. For me, I do 1, 4, 7 is what that one is. I do the same thing three times, three minutes rest in between.
Then the rest of it – those are the two that I always do and then the rest of it kind of varies. Sometimes I do doubles so both hands at the same time when I do that on a smaller rung. There’s usually multiple rung sizes and I always do my big pull-throughs on the biggest size rung.
Neely Quinn: Oh really?
Kyra Condie: Yeah, of the small, medium, large of that sizing. I don’t do less than a large rung.
Neely Quinn: Why is that?
Kyra Condie: The reason why is that I don’t want campusing to be limited by finger strength. Campusing, for me, is focused on the power and the strength part and not the finger strength part. That comes with the hangboarding. When I’m campusing I don’t want to be limited by my fingers giving out so if I’m doing it on the smallest rungs I definitely can’t do it on 1, 5, 8. Then it wouldn’t be as beneficial in some ways.
Neely Quinn: That’s really smart, actually, and I’ve never talked about that with anybody. That’s really smart.
Kyra Condie: Yeah, and I think it makes campusing have – it’s less injury prone that way, too, and you have a better longevity in it. You can do it once in every three day cycle if you do it on the big rungs, in my opinion.
Neely Quinn: Right. So many people have finger injuries while they’re campusing.
Kyra Condie: Yeah, I’ve had a lot of people be like, ‘Oh, I don’t want to campus because I don’t want to get injured.’ It’s like, ‘If you do it right you might not get injured.’
One of my favorite campus exercises that’s really hard and I don’t think people really realize how hard it is, is I call them ‘the snatches.’ This one I do on the smallest rung that I can do it on. Basically, I jump one-handed from the ground to a rung and then I try to pull through without putting my other hand on. I jump up with one hand and try to pull through with my other hand and grab a rung.
Neely Quinn: So it’s almost like one-arm training.
Kyra Condie: It’s like a one-arm hanging/training, yeah. It works a bunch of things. It’s really good for contact strength, especially. They’re really hard but they’re really good.
Neely Quinn: What do you usually do? Like, you grab the first one and what can you pull through to?
Kyra Condie: It kind of depends. It kind of varies. Sometimes if you don’t grab it as well, if your fingers are a little stacked or something, you can only match the hold, you know?
Neely Quinn: Yeah.
Kyra Condie: But sometimes if I grab it right I can pull through two, like skipping one. It kind of varies but it’s really good.
Then I also try and do just straight up ladders on the smaller rungs. That’s just going up skipping one rung the entire time and not matching any.
Neely Quinn: Why do you do that?
Kyra Condie: That one I mostly do because it’s just the classic campus exercise. Occasionally I’ll do it to failure, like you keep going and then it’s kind of a power endurance thing, but it’s kind of miserable to do till failure [laughs] so I don’t always do that one.
Those three, the snatches, the big move pull-through, and the small move pull-through are what I always do. I usually try to do six different exercises and those other couple kind of vary. The doubles with the ladders and I’ve seen a couple of things recently where people will go down a rung and then up a couple rungs, if that makes sense. They’ll go down double and then go up a couple double.
Neely Quinn: Yeah.
Kyra Condie: That’s a way of pre activating your muscles or something. It stretches them. I don’t know much about it but I’ve heard that’s a really good way to build power as well so I’ve tried to do that a couple times. It’s not my favorite one but it’s a good one, I think.
Neely Quinn: So when you’re doing doubles you’re just going up?
Kyra Condie: Usually, yeah.
Neely Quinn: That’s a pretty good workout. How long does it take?
Kyra Condie: I usually allot an hour to campusing because I do rest three minutes in between and I think that’s a really good way to get the most out of campusing, is having that rest, so then it does take a little while. It’s really good.
Neely Quinn: So this is once every three days.
Kyra Condie: Well, once in every three-day cycle so it’s kind of in every three or four days.
Neely Quinn: Oh okay, so once every four days. That’s intense. Would you ever do this on a day when you climb outside?
Kyra Condie: No. If I climb outside I count that as my straight up climbing day.
Neely Quinn: Could you take me through a finger training day?
Kyra Condie: Yeah, so I usually try and do campusing first day, just climbing second day, and then hangboarding third day and that way you get the most rest between the climbing-specific workouts and then a rest day and then you campus again. Like that.
What I normally do is I’ll warm up, like I was saying, to 80% maximal and then I like to do one-arm hangs. I think they’re the best thing I’ve found so far to improve – it’s the thing I’ve found the most to be directly noticeable in my climbing. Campusing you kind of feel stronger and more powerful and maybe my campusing has been helping my bouldering, but with this one it’s like, ‘Wow. I could not do this move before I started hangboarding like this.’
What I do is I do one-arm hangs and I use the Beastmaker, I think it’s 22-millimeters. I don’t know. They don’t have them labeled, but the Tension board has it, too, and they have all of theirs labeled which is cool. It’s a flat edge, it’s not incut, and it has a rounded edge which is just nice for the skin. I like the wood hangboards for this. I don’t know, I’m partial to the wood hangboards, I guess. I started by having to take off weight. I couldn’t hang with one arm at first and I worked up to adding weight with one arm.
I grab it with all four fingers, which I think is really important. Pinkies are key [laughs]. I hang it for as long as I can. I try and aim for six seconds. Say I’m hanging with 20 pounds and I can hang it for 10 seconds, I add weight because 10 seconds is just kind of excessive, in my opinion. You don’t need to hang it for that long. I think the best gains happen when you’re hanging it for six seconds so that’s kind of how I judge how much weight to add or to take off.
Say someone could only hang it for two seconds with body weight. I’d say that they should take off a little weight and then you’ll slowly gain.
One of the things I’ve done is I’ve tried to slowly and consistently add a little bit of weight. Say my first week of three days on, one day off, three days on I was doing five pounds on the first time and then I was doing five pounds after the rest day as well. The next week I would try and make it seven pounds. That’s really how I’ve managed to add a bunch of weight to my hangboarding routine. People are like, ‘Oh my god. How did you get up to…’ I was able to hang 30 pounds not too long ago. I kind of lost it a little bit.
Neely Quinn: Oh my god.
Kyra Condie: It varies a lot. Conditions kind of depend but how I did that was you just keep adding weight, even if you think you can’t. A pound you barely notice so if you’re at 15 pounds you make it 16 pounds. You can probably hang basically the same amount of time but if you make it from 15 to 20 you’ll probably notice a big difference. If you slowly just keep adding that weight to it you can do it faster than you think you can and then you can make the improvements really fast.
Neely Quinn: Yeah, you’re just kind of tricking your body into doing it.
Kyra Condie: Yeah, I think basically that’s kind of how it works. That’s what I did since this last fall.
Neely Quinn: I’m imagining – when people think of one-arm hangs, I don’t know that everybody has an idea of what that looks like because you imagine just being straight onto the board but what ends up happening is your arm is sort of – why don’t you just describe what your posture is.
Kyra Condie: Basically, I bend my arm just slightly. Otherwise, it can aggravate your tendons. I get some tendonitis so I bend my arm and that makes it not happen. Slightly bent elbow and I’m in a half-crimp position, but I think the best position is whatever feels the best for the hangboarding workout. Then, basically I try to stay as square to the board as possible because that’s the position that you’re in while you’re climbing. If you spin under the board you’re in more of an undercling or chin-up position, which isn’t very specific to climbing.
Neely Quinn: Right, so how do you do that? How do you make sure that you don’t twist like that?
Kyra Condie: Sometimes I tap the board to make sure I stay square with my other hand, so whatever is the free hand, but as I’ve gotten better at these my – I think it’s the shoulder stabilizers have gotten stronger and I’m able to stay pretty square a lot of the time.
Neely Quinn: Yeah, so just through doing this exercise your shoulders have kind of stabilized.
Kyra Condie: Yeah, I think it’s really helped, actually. It’s kind of a little PT in there, too.
My system or what I do is I usually aim for six seconds and I do one warm-up-ish one with no weight. For some people that might be taking off weight. I do one where I hang six seconds or maybe a little longer, 10 seconds, without weight on each hand and then I rest four minutes for hangboarding. Then I do five sets with weight. A set is each arm so left arm then right arm then rest. Sometimes I switch it up and do right arm then left arm then rest but usually I end up getting into a pattern and then it feels weird to start with the other hand so I just start with the same hand.
Neely Quinn: So you’re not really taking any rest between right hand and left hand.
Kyra Condie: Right hand and left hand, no, but then I rest for four minutes afterward.
Neely Quinn: So you’re just doing five sets total?
Kyra Condie: Five sets with weight and one without to kind of warm up. When I was doing without weight I was always doing six sets, or when I was taking off weight it was six, but I think with the weight it’s heavy. It’s heavy hangboarding so I think five is plenty plus the warm-up one.
Neely Quinn: So this doesn’t take you – it probably takes you like 30-45 minutes or something?
Kyra Condie: Yeah, I think it takes about 40, usually.
Neely Quinn: That’s not bad.
Kyra Condie: No, it’s not too bad at all, actually. Then I’m able to have – the glory of doing the hangboarding and the campusing before you actually climb is that you’re able to climb a full session basically. Usually after I do this I climb for at least two and a half hours.
Neely Quinn: Oh, so you’ll warm up climbing and then you’ll do a session, either campusing or fingerboarding, and then you’ll climb for a whole session.
Kyra Condie: Yeah, and what I found is really good about it is if you were to climb before you hangboard, like have your whole two hour session and then you go and hangboard, which a ton of people do, I think it makes you more prone to injuries because you’re just tired and you’re used to a certain ability on the hangboard maybe but your body is not ready for it and that’s when you get injured. Also, I think you see the most gains this way because you’re able to actually perform to your highest ability when you’re just warmed-up and ready.
Neely Quinn: And, you’re not doing repeaters. You’re not on the hangboard for like two hours which some people are.
Kyra Condie: Yeah, repeaters are are not my favorite exercise. [laughs]
Neely Quinn: Have you experimented with it?
Kyra Condie: A little bit. My old coaches used to make us do it for sport climbing season to gain endurance. I have a couple friends who swear by them and love them but they’re just not my favorite. They’re kind of miserable. People hate hangboarding because of repeaters and they have this horrible idea about hangboards.
Neely Quinn: It’s true.
Kyra Condie: I agree with it. That’s why I don’t do two-handed hangboarding, because you just have to strap on too much weight at some point that it’s just painful and kind of miserable.
Neely Quinn: Yeah.
Kyra Condie: That’s another reason why I like the one-handed ones. You only need to put on 20 pounds. I think the best guys in the world who can hang with one hand is maybe 80 pounds, which is what a lot of people have to do with two hands. It’s a lot less miserable, in my opinion.
Neely Quinn: Yeah, because when you have that much weight on you it kind of changes your posture and it’s really hard to stay clean.
Kyra Condie: Yeah, it’s hard on your back and it makes your core sore and it’s harder to climb. It’s all these things.
Neely Quinn: So you feel like this is what you really notice the difference in your climbing with?
Kyra Condie: Yeah, and I think before I started doing this – you know, every once in a while you have a move where you have to grab a crimp or a hold, it doesn’t really matter what it is, and you have to move your feet and let go of your other hand and then only hold onto that hold. Maybe it’s moving kind of laterally to the side and not always up. Sometimes your hand will just fail on that hold and since doing these, I rarely have my hands fail on a hold.
Neely Quinn: No big deal. [laughs] That’s a pretty good endorsement for this.
Kyra Condie: I know. I tell so many people that this is, if you’re going to do something, train this. Especially strong climbers who it would really benefit. Nobody listens. [laughs] I think Sierra listened to me.
Neely Quinn: That’s good. Did it work for her?
Kyra Condie: You know, I haven’t talked to her about it in a bit but I know she’s been doing it. I was psyched. I was like, ‘Yes! I convinced somebody.’
Neely Quinn: Yeah, be careful. Don’t tell too many people.
Kyra Condie: I know.
Neely Quinn: Too late.
Kyra Condie: Just broadcasting it to the world now. Maybe people will listen.
Neely Quinn: This is once every four days too, right?
Kyra Condie: Yeah, basically.
Neely Quinn: What about when you’re projecting something. Are you still training like this? How does it change throughout the year for you?
Kyra Condie: Well, I guess I haven’t had a project, like a hard outdoor project, in a long time. I was in Rocklands and I had projects there but when I was there I was focused on climbing outside and I wasn’t training. There wasn’t a gym to go to on bad weather days or anything. Bad weather meant you rested when I was in Africa so I guess I don’t really have a good answer to that.
I haven’t had to much experience with it, especially because being in Minnesota I have to travel kind of far to get to my projects. Basically my training would be leading up to going to try and climb something.
Neely Quinn: What do you think you would do if you were like, I don’t know, in Hueco and you did have access to a hangboard and a campus board and you were there for two months?
Kyra Condie: You know, that’s kind of a hard – I don’t know. I think that climbing outside best equates to a hangboarding day, I guess is kind of what I would say. It’s just your fingers get strong, especially in climbing in places like Rocky Mountain National Park or Hueco.
I know I’ve talked to Alex Puccio and she says her fingers never feel stronger than when she’s been climbing outside a lot. I think that’s true for me, too. When I came back from Africa, that’s when I was finally able to hang on the hangboard with one hand without taking weight off. It was the only thing I was better at when I got back.
Neely Quinn: Yeah.
Kyra Condie: It’s hard to transition from outdoor climbing to indoor climbing but that was the one thing where I was like, ‘Woah, this improved!’
Neely Quinn: Out of curiosity, how much weight did you have to take off in the beginning?
Kyra Condie: I wasn’t actually using a pulley system. I was either holding onto a rope with the other hand or putting my hand against the wall and just using friction, so it was probably somewhere between, when I first started, maybe 15 pounds and then it got down to 5 pounds. Our hangboard is kind of set up about a foot away from the wall on this station that kind of stuck out from the wall, so I could put whatever my other hand was on the wall and just take a tiny bit of weight off that way.
Neely Quinn: That’s kind of a convenient set-up.
Kyra Condie: Yeah, and it worked out really well. The wall was textured, too, so it was kind of like smearing.
Neely Quinn: Perfect. Are these the main things that you do? Actually no – I have another question before we move on: I don’t know who’s going to listen to this and I know that you’re not a trainer, but do you have any recommendations for who should do this and who shouldn’t?
Kyra Condie: Yeah. I think campusing, one of the biggest things that I’ve always heard and kind of my opinion is that you really shouldn’t do it until you’re at least 16. Basically because the growth plates in your fingers and stuff are still open and campusing can be really rough on growth plates. I fractured both of my growth plates when I was 12 from just climbing a lot. I know a lot of people have done that.
Neely Quinn: Really?
Kyra Condie: Yeah, you just start pulling the growth plate away from the bone. I think campusing would not be the best for that and I think just campusing and hangboarding in general you should kind of stay away from them until you’re kind of older. That’s kind of my opinion.
Neely Quinn: Yeah.
Kyra Condie: I don’t know. I’m not an expert but it’s kind of what I’ve always told people when kids ask me what they should do. It’s like, ‘Just climb! Focus on climbing.’ Especially when you’re at that age, because you just improve so fast.
Neely Quinn: What about abilities of climbers? Like, who do you think can benefit from this and who do you think should just give it some time?
Kyra Condie: I’d say campusing on big rungs, like I was saying, you don’t want it to be finger strength limited and I don’t want to go around saying, ‘V2 climbers should be campusing 1, 5, 8,’ but trying to throw in some campusing, even it’s on climbs, is not a bad idea. Getting that pure strength is important.
People tend to focus on getting better technique first, which I think is really good and a good idea because that’s how, in my opinion, somebody will improve from V2 to V5 the fastest. It’s basically all technique. If your max is V4, the difference between you and a V2 climber may only be you know how to use your body and how to climb but once you get to kind of that V4/V5 level I think that’s when you can start trying to improve strength-wise and that’s when you see the improvements between V5 to V10.
If you start climbing a lot and focused-climbing a lot, focused-ly, if that makes sense [laughs] and not just going into the gym and kind of talking to your friends and occasionally climbing, which is what a lot of people do. They’re like, ‘How do I get better?’ Well, you’ve got to focus a little bit and try hard. Trying hard is kind of one of the biggest things.
Neely Quinn: Maybe bring a stopwatch in.
Kyra Condie: We have a saying over at the gym we made in Minnesota, the one I was talking about called The A. It says, “You suck. Try harder.” [laughs] It’s written on the wall. Spray painted.
Neely Quinn: It’s shame. So shame works.
Kyra Condie: It’s shame but it’s try hard. No excuses. It’s a good motto to tell yourself, while you’re climbing at least.
Neely Quinn: It is.
Kyra Condie: Even though it’s a little negative.
Neely Quinn: I mean trying hard is sometimes the hardest part.
Kyra Condie: Yeah, for sure. I see kids doing it all the time who want to get better. It’s like, ‘You just totally gave up on that climb. Just try not to give up.’
Neely Quinn: How do you feel that you got good at that? You’re clearly good at trying hard.
Kyra Condie: I think it’s a little of a personality thing. I think as a kid I was kind of tenacious anyway and so if I couldn’t do a move I’d be like, ‘Oh, I can’t do that. I need to keep doing it.’ My coaches would actually get mad at me all the time because I’d be like, ‘I can’t do it,’ and they’d be like, ‘Don’t say that.’ It’s kind of a part of my process of failure, to be like, ‘I can’t do it. I need to be able to do it,’ and I’d just keep trying it. I think that’s kind of where that came from.
Today it’s probably almost the exact same thing as it was 10 years ago. I don’t like getting thwarted by a move, you know? I want to figure it out.
Neely Quinn: Does that carry over in the rest of your life, too?
Kyra Condie: Probably. I guess climbing is most of my life so…[laughs]
Neely Quinn: Alright. Do you have any other training things that you do or is it basically just these three things and climbing?
Kyra Condie: I would say those are kind of the core things and I do climb a lot. I think people think I only train because it’s what I post to Instagram or things like that but most of my session, if it’s a four-hour session at least ⅔ or ¾ of it is just climbing.
I also do some strength training. I try and do front levers, planches – I can’t do a planche, I do them assisted – and one-arm pull-ups with assistance sometimes, sometimes without if I can do one on that day. It depends. I try and do – what else is there?
I’ve been trying to do pushing exercises because I feel like I’m getting imbalanced. Push-ups or dips. I can’t do a muscle-up on rings. I’ve been trying but I can’t. I swear it’s a back thing. I don’t know.
Neely Quinn: That’s totally your back.
Kyra Condie: That’s my excuse for the moment. I’ve been trying to get better at stretching, but those are the other things I’ve been trying to add in. And, I have extremely weak legs and I’m unable to heel hook because I break my knees. It’s bad. I actually sprained my LCL. I’m not positive and I haven’t gotten it diagnosed, but it was competing at SCS Open this last weekend.
Neely Quinn: Uh oh.
Kyra Condie: Yeah, so I really need to work on getting stronger legs so that I can heel hook. It’s one of those super important skills to have so that’s another thing that I’m trying to focus on.
Neely Quinn: Like doing squats and things like that?
Kyra Condie: You know, I want to do just the stabilizer things not even with weight but kind of body weight exercises then also some one-legged squats is what I was doing a lot of, kind of adding weight there. A lot of stabilizer, PT-type things.
Neely Quinn: Are you okay? Are you injured?
Kyra Condie: No, I’m not injured. I would not say that. I can still climb. It hurts to kind of toe in on an overhang at the moment but I’ve done this before. It’s annoying but it’s not at all debilitating.
Neely Quinn: Okay.
Kyra Condie: Especially because I never use heel hooks [laughs] so if someone uses heel hooks and they hurt their knee it’s super bad but I literally never use them because they hurt me. It should be okay.
Neely Quinn: That’s another reason you’ve probably gotten good at jumping around.
Kyra Condie: Yeah, for sure, and strangely toeing into things I’m quite good at, too. It’s a weird skill.
Neely Quinn: Do you do any core work?
Kyra Condie: That’s what I was saying with the planches and the front levers. Those are the main ones I probably do because I think they’re most transferable to climbing. If you’re climbing on a roof you’re basically in a front lever.
Neely Quinn: Yeah.
Kyra Condie: Then planches, I don’t know. They’re just really good. They work my core almost more than anything and I think they get your shoulders really well.
Neely Quinn: Yeah, I’ve been doing those during handstand workouts. Well, I’ve not been doing those but trying to even do the beginning motions of a planche but yeah.
Kyra Condie: Yeah, that’s kind of what I’ve been doing, too.
Neely Quinn: Anything else that you do? Have you ever worked with weights much?
Kyra Condie: I don’t know enough about it and I guess I haven’t looked enough into it that I feel comfortable doing deadlifts or anything like that so no, not really. The only things I do is I do some calf raises with weights but that’s a pretty easy one. Otherwise I don’t really use weights. I do weighted pull-ups occasionally but no, I don’t do free weight stuff very much at all.
Neely Quinn: Do you have an opinion about all of that?
Kyra Condie: I think that in the right way, they absolutely can help. I’m a little afraid to do them because of my back. I know people who have hurt their backs a lot doing deadlifting and things like that, especially with wrong form. I don’t even know if I’m capable of doing the right form with how my back is fused so I kind of just stay away from it. If I had somebody who was working with me and told me specifically how to do it and if I was doing it right then I would for sure be down to try it, but yeah, without that I’m a little afraid so I kind of stay away from it.
Neely Quinn: Okay, cool. It sounds like you have a pretty well-rounded training schedule.
Kyra Condie: Yeah, it’s been working pretty well. I’ve basically been sticking to this for the last – not even year, probably. Since whenever I got back from traveling last summer. Since September of 2017? I feel like I’ve seen a lot of improvement, even just this year, so I think it’s been really good.
Neely Quinn: Yeah, it will be cool to see what you do outside.
Kyra Condie: Thanks.
Neely Quinn: Do you ever do any cardio?
Kyra Condie: I wish. [laughs] I’ve tried to like running so hard. I’ve really tried and it’s just never worked out for me. I just hate it. [laughs]
Neely Quinn: Good enough.
Kyra Condie: I’ve done those cardio classes occasionally with friends and that’s kind of fun, like miserable but fun because you’re with people, but I find it hard to get motivated to do by myself. It’s almost not useful at all for rock climbing.
Neely Quinn: Yeah.
Kyra Condie: It just doesn’t transfer. Maybe if you want to lose weight to get better at climbing it could be better, but as far as climbing strength, it’s not useful at all. Climbing is totally anaerobic so…
Neely Quinn: Yeah, I think it’s both but that’s what all the trainers have said to me on the podcast, too, is “Don’t run,” basically. Not if you’re trying to climb hard.
Kyra Condie: Yeah, it’s not necessary.
Neely Quinn: So, a couple questions about body weight and diet. I like to ask all of my people this. How do you feel about your body weight and how your body weight has affected your climbing? I don’t know if you’ve ever fluctuated at all but if you have, what have you noticed?
Kyra Condie: Well, I’m pretty young, I guess, in the scheme of things. I’m 21 so I try not to focus on body weight at all. It seems like a lot of people just get an unhealthy obsession with it and it seems like that’d be pretty easy to have that happen if you are always checking it and always noticing, ‘Oh, I’m climbing pretty hard right now but I’m five pounds lighter than I normally am.’ That just seems like a dangerous road to go down. I pay attention to it occasionally. When I see a scale I’ll get on it and just kind of be like, ‘Oh, this is how much I weight right now. Okay,’ but I try to not think about it too much.
The only real thing I do with diet is I’ve been a vegetarian since I was about eight. It kind of goes hand in hand with the want to be a vet. [laughs] That’s really the only reason. It’s because I love animals. There’s really no other reason why I’m vegetarian. I’m not trying to avoid fats or anything like that.
But yeah, I try not to pay attention to it. I think eating healthy is important and it in some ways in mentally good, because you’re like, ‘Ooh, I’m eating healthy, I’m training hard, I’m getting better.’ You’re just in that mindset of training hard and focused on climbing and that’s kind of what the best thing I think a diet can do.
Neely Quinn: Yeah. That sounds really healthy. It’s refreshingly healthy to hear you say these things.
Kyra Condie: I’m glad.
Neely Quinn: As a vegetarian, what kinds of foods do you eat? I’m sure there are a lot of vegetarians listening to this.
Kyra Condie: I eat a lot of quinoa and then I have a few meals that I just kind of rotate between. I really like making coconut milk curry and I have it with cauliflower, spinach, broccoli, coconut milk and kind of that’s it and I’ll put it on rice with curry. It’s really good and I put almonds on it and stuff.
I’m not vegan so I get a lot of my protein from milk and I occasionally supplement with whey protein or vegan protein. From what I know, whey protein is just the superior source of protein for supplements but I’ve tried both and I like them both. I kind of go more with what I like, taste-wise, because I just need to get the protein into my body. If it’s a less good source I don’t really care as long as I’m getting enough, you know?
Neely Quinn: Yeah.
Kyra Condie: So I’ve been focusing on trying to get more protein and so I supplement. It’s just hard to get enough, as a vegetarian especially. I can’t just add salmon to my meal or things like that, which is what a lot of people I know do, or chicken or something like that.
I eat a lot of rice. I eat a lot of quinoa. I eat a lot of noodles. I would literally die if I went carb-free.
Breakfast has been protein packed pancakes. They’re amazing. This is not an ad. They do not pay me.
Neely Quinn: Oh, that’s an actual brand?
Kyra Condie: Well, they’re called Kodiak Cakes but they’re freaking awesome.
Neely Quinn: Oh yeah.
They’re really good. They just taste like normal pancakes but they have triple the protein of any other pancake so I’ve been starting my day with chocolate chip pancakes, basically every day.
Neely Quinn: They’re like eggs and almond butter or something?
No, it’s just a normal pancake mix and it can be just add water or it can be milk and egg, like you can put milk and egg in it, and then it’s like 23 grams of protein per serving, I think. They’re really good. They taste normal.
Neely Quinn: Oh. Does it have whey protein or something in it?
Kyra Condie: I think they add whey protein, yeah.
Neely Quinn: That’s cool. That’s great.
Kyra Condie: Yeah, like I said I’m not sponsored or anything. They’re amazing. They’re super good. It’s a great way to start off the morning with chocolate chip pancakes. [laughs] In the middle of the day I usually make noodles or something but I usually have a big glass of milk to try to add some protein.
Quinoa jambalaya is one of the things I make the most.
Neely Quinn: Ooh, nice.
Kyra Condie: Yeah, it’s really good.
Neely Quinn: It sounds great. Sounds like it’s really varied and delicious and you know what you need and you give it to yourself.
Kyra Condie: Yeah, and I cook a lot. That’s another big thing. Just being vegetarian, eating out there’s not many options a lot of times so I cook most of the food that I eat. That’s probably one of the other things.
Neely Quinn: Do you eat eggs?
Kyra Condie: I do but I don’t really like them. I’m trying to like them and I do kind of but they still kind of scare me as far as foods go because I didn’t like them for so long.
Neely Quinn: I mean, when you think about eggs they’re pretty gross. They’re just like mucus.
Kyra Condie: Yeah, they’re kind of gross and restaurants kind of undercook them, in my opinion, a lot of times and it freaks me out. I do eat them. I am not a huge fan of them.
Neely Quinn: Got it. Last question about that: what kinds of food do you bring climbing with you outside?
Kyra Condie: Peanut butter and jelly, classic, or tortillas with peanut butter and jelly because that’s just a really good source of you get the fats, you get the protein, you get the carbs, and that’s kind of everything you need. The fats keep you full, the carbs keep you going, and the protein is good for recovery and stuff. That’s kind of one of my go to’s in the middle of the day.
I like Clif bars or really any type of bar. I found that Nutrigrain bars are delicious. [laughs] I rediscovered them recently from my childhood and they’re amazing. Then, I’ve lived through a phase and I’ve kind of stopped doing this recently and I need to restart making those rice cakes that Allen Lim, the guy who started Skratch Labs, has in his cookbook. He has these portable snacks. It’s for cyclists or something. Again, not sponsored, but they’re really good. They’re sticky rice and you can put fruit or chocolate. I think he has savory ones which are bacon or something. I don’t eat those so I don’t know, but you can make them and they’re delicious. They’re easy to eat. Sometimes a bar is heavy and you don’t really want to eat it and it’s kind of dry but they’re really delicious so those are a good thing to have, too. I need to start making those again. They’re really yummy.
Neely Quinn: Yeah, that sounds great.
Kyra Condie: The rice cakes are some of my favorite things to have midday out climbing.
Neely Quinn: And you feel like that keeps you full?
Kyra Condie: I think so, yeah. I think it’s hard to eat when you’re outside climbing and you don’t even notice that you’re hungry a lot of times. You’re in the outdoors and you’re focused on climbing and things like that, but the peanut butter and jelly is kind of the classic go to.
Neely Quinn: Yeah. Easy, simple, and like you said it has protein, carbs, and fat.
Kyra Condie: Yeah, exactly.
Neely Quinn: Great. I have one last question for you. That is: what did you think about Nationals this year, both sport – well, sport, speed, and bouldering?
Kyra Condie: Let’s see. Speed is easy because it’s always the same so it was great. They did a good job. Oh, the only thing is they need autobelays. The boys almost died I think, a little bit. Not actually but they’re so fast now that the old school way of belaying where you have two people and a Grigri and one person pulling down, one person pulling out – they can’t keep up anymore. The boys are so fast so they need the autobelays. That’s what the World Cups use so that’s kind of the only thing with speed I guess, but otherwise it went really well.
I was excited to get fourth and I had a PR. It was my best time ever so…
Neely Quinn: Yeah, that’s amazing.
Kyra Condie: I don’t practice speed very much, really at all. I did two days I think because I was here and there was this 15-meter wall.
Neely Quinn: Woah.
Kyra Condie: I haven’t really practiced it since I was in Youth. Even then I could only do it when I traveled so I did a pre-Nationals camp and I practiced speed then for two weeks before Nationals so those are the only times I’ve really practiced.
Neely Quinn: Woah. Your power must be really up if you’re that fast now.
Kyra Condie: Yeah, I think getting stronger in bouldering definitely improved my speed climbing. I just need to work on the beta. I’m just not as coordinated on it as a lot of people are because I just don’t do it as much. I still have the muscle memory but not nearly as much as the people who do it all the time and practice it. It’s really impressive, those people, too. I think speed climbing is cool. Other people disagree with that.
Neely Quinn: I think it’s cool.
Kyra Condie: It’s really admirable, too. Anyway, then sport climbing I thought the climbs were really good. I thought finals was too easy which is kind of disappointing. I think everyone wanted a chance to fight on our finals route and get a chance to win but the way that they did it, they just counted back to semi-finals which is too bad.
I personally prefer when the climb is much harder. In semi-finals we had a really hard route and I got third on it and then finals was too easy and I got seventh because I kind of messed up down low and it kind of made me tired for the top and I guess I misread the beta at the top, too, because you were supposed to use this last volume and I just went for the dyno because that’s what we read it as from the ground. I just committed to that and it kind of came back to bite me but yeah, it was a really fun route. It was really cool but a little too easy, in my opinion.
Bouldering was really well-rounded, of course. I was pretty disappointed not making finals because that’s kind of the big – not disappointed. Usually if I make finals then things kind of go however they can go in finals so I was pretty sad about that because I felt like I was the strongest I’ve ever been and didn’t really get the chance to show it on the semi-final boulders.
I wasn’t even that disappointed on the semi-final boulders. It honestly ended up coming down to the climb that I didn’t do. That a lot of us didn’t do, actually. I took too many attempts to get to a certain hold. I had two tops and I flashed both of those climbs but then there was one climb that I took too many tries to get off the ground and that’s what it came down to. That was kind of sad.
Neely Quinn: Yeah, that is. Do you know what you could have done differently?
Kyra Condie: Yeah, I do actually. The first climb I knew a lot of people had topped and it was really not my style. It was a slab and I think my back was kind of hurting me on it. It sounds like an excuse and I don’t really like it [laughs] but I think it was. That kind of got to me.
Then, the second boulder which was the hardest boulder of the entire round and only Alex and Ashima did it, I should have been able to get to my high point on my second try but I think I was frazzled from that first climb and it just got to me. I was not being able to do the first move and I just kept trying it over and over and over again, so it took like five attempts when it should have taken like two. It was just because I was frazzled from that first climb and I shouldn’t have let it get to me.
As soon as I was past that and after the third climb, then I flashed the last two. I think that’s what it was.
Neely Quinn: Yeah.
Kyra Condie: Which is my bad. I needed to get out of my head.
Neely Quinn: Yeah, so do you think that there was anything you could have done differently?
Kyra Condie: Yeah, I think I definitely could have done the second boulder. Not done it, like maybe not topped it, but I definitely could have not taken so many tries to get off the ground which is what it came down to.
Neely Quinn: Yeah, like mental training to have not gotten so frazzled or what do you think?
Kyra Condie: You know, I don’t get frazzled too often so I don’t really know. I’m not a huge component for myself for mental training. I think it helps a ton but it’s never been something that I’ve particularly had a weakness with and so I don’t really want to mess with it, I guess is what I kind of think.
One thing I have done is I’ve stopped listening to music. It used to be that if I could hear how people were doing I’d get freaked out so I’d listen to music super loud and not know how anyone was doing and I just decided that was probably not the best way of going about it, so I stopped listening to music while I was waiting.
Neely Quinn: Interesting. Do you think it’s done anything negative to you?
Kyra Condie: I don’t think so. I just think I’ve gotten used to being like, ‘Okay, people are topping that one. Whatever.’ You know?
Neely Quinn: Yeah. I mean, that takes a lot of strength I think. A lot of mental – you have to stay really grounded to do that.
Kyra Condie: Yeah, and some people it helps, like, ‘Oh, people are topping. I have to get to the top,’ and then some people it hurts. It’s like, ‘Oh, people are topping. I’m not going to top.’ I’m kind of in between, like, ‘Ooh, people are topping. Okay.’ [laughs]
Neely Quinn: So Zen of you.
Kyra Condie: I try to be Zen. I don’t think anyone is as Zen as Nathaniel Coleman or something. He’s the Zen-est person I know. That’s cool.
Neely Quinn: Yeah. Well, that’s all the questions I have for you, honestly. You’ve done a really great job of, just like your climbing, quickly and efficiently answering all of my questions.
Kyra Condie: Great.
Neely Quinn: Yeah, so thank you. Is there anything you want to add or any last words?
Kyra Condie: No, I think I covered everything I figured I would share in a training podcast.
Neely Quinn: Yeah, people are going to be really psyched that they got this information from you. I know there are going to be some people who start doing one-arm training because of you.
Kyra Condie: Sweet.
Neely Quinn: So thank you very much and I wish you luck on your gap year and everything you have going this year.
Kyra Condie: Alright, thanks. Thanks for having me.
Neely Quinn: Yeah. Talk to you later.
Neely Quinn: Alright, I hope you enjoyed that interview with Kyra Condie. I really enjoyed that interview. I thought it was super interesting to hear from her about her exact training plan which not a lot of people really have. Like, she actually has stuck with this for a long time and it’s proving to be really effective for her.
I want to just reemphasize: we talked about it a little bit, about who should be doing this kind of training and I don’t think that it’s a good idea for novice climbers/novice trainers, meaning people who have just begun training or people who haven’t hangboarded a lot yet. I don’t think you should be doing one-arm training and I definitely don’t think you should try to aspire to do what she’s doing on the campus board. I would take it slowly. She’s trained constantly for like the last 10 years to be able to do these things safely so just use your best judgement. Most of all, I think most of us can take this interview as something to aspire to at some point in our lives, including myself.
Anyway, that’s Kyra. You can find her on social media @kyra_condie and hopefully we’ll hear about her in the news in the climbing news this year on her gap year.
Coming up on the podcast I have another interview with Jared Vagey, coming up, and then hopefully I’m going to do an interview with Sean Bailey tomorrow, so some good stuff coming up.
If you want any help with your training program, if you want something that’s super clear cut that tells you exactly what you should do when you go into the gym, you can go to TrainingBeta and we have a ton of training programs on there that have helped thousands of people get stronger really effectively. Sometimes in a really short amount of time.
If you go to www.trainingbeta.com there is a tab at the top called ‘Training Programs’ and you’ll find everything in there including our subscription programs which, one is for route climbers, one is for boulderers, and you get three unique workouts every week. We take you through cycles of power and strength and finger strength and everything you need to be a great climber.
I appreciate you listening all the way to the end and you can follow us on Instagram @trainingbeta, on Facebook at TrainingBeta, and you can always follow the blog and everything else that we’re doing at www.trainingbeta.com. Thanks again and I’ll talk to you soon.