For those of you who would rather read than listen, today we have an excerpt from the transcript of the TrainingBeta Podcast Episode 138: Marina Inoue on Short Person Training and Body Image Issues. You can find the entire transcript and audio on the episode page. In the interview, Neely talks with Marina about how she trains to overcome being a short climber, how she deals with getting shut down because she is short, and some of her struggles with body image and weight.

If you identify as a short climber yourself, you already know: Being a shorter climber can be physically, emotionally, and mentally challenging. However, Marina has a way of overcoming these obstacles that is really genuine and realistic. For her, there are no secrets, no magic diets or easy ways out– She practices internally transforming the perspective through which she sees her climbing and focuses on making an effort to keep a positive attitude.

In this excerpt, Marina talks about:

  • How she navigates her ego at the cliff when she gets shut down on a route
  • How she keeps a positive attitude and finds routes that suit her better
  • What she has trained to overcome being a short climber

Be sure to check out the full episode or transcript! If you’re interested in training for climbing, check out our Route Climbing and Bouldering Strength and Power programs.



Transcript Highlight Episode 138


Marina Inoue: It’s just different as a shorter person, I think. You have to be able to take pride in things that are maybe not grade-wise so hard but just physically difficult. I get excited about those things, too, you know?

Neely Quinn: Yeah, overcoming a big challenge. I think it’s difficult sometimes on your ego to be like, ‘Well, everybody else can do this and I can’t so there must be something wrong with me.’ How do you navigate that? Or do you ever feel like that?

Marina Inoue: I definitely feel like that. I’ve gone through a lot of different phases where it’s just a bit of a different game. No matter how much stronger I get, things are still going to be different and hard because of height. You see somebody who’s taller and maybe not as good of a climber, or weaker, just be able to do things and I have to do something so complicated and difficult through it but at the end of the day, if something takes me more tries or even if I just can’t do it, honestly, other people doing it doesn’t actually have anything to do with me.

It’s so mental. I go through a lot of different thought processes and also, you have to allow yourself to be frustrated. Yes, of course you want to think, ‘Okay, I can’t do this. It’s too hard so I’ll get stronger and maybe be able to do it,’ which definitely is the case but also, in the moment, I’ve had to take a step back and be like, ‘It’s okay for me to be angry and frustrated and feel bad about this,’ because otherwise I’m just pushing it down and not really allowing myself to feel frustrated.

Neely Quinn: Right. So will you take a moment at the cliff or the boulder and feel that for a moment? Or is this something that you do on your own?

Marina Inoue: In general I try to have a good attitude as much as I can all of the time. I think faking it till you make it is actually helpful, especially at the cliff. I don’t like to have big sads climbing outside. At the end of the day I’m still lucky, you know, but I definitely will take some time like walk away or just be quiet for a little bit and then try to reflect on it a little bit more later in the day if it hasn’t passed.

Neely Quinn: It’s tough sometimes.

Marina Inoue: It is. It’s frustrating. How tall are you? You’re shorter than I am, I think, right?

Neely Quinn: I’m 5’0”-5’1” with a -1.

Marina Inoue: So you get it. It can be very frustrating for sure.

Neely Quinn: I get it, yes. So we could sit here and talk about how frustrating it is all day [laughs]. I’m sure people love hearing about that. They’re like, ‘Shut up.’

Marina Inoue: ‘We get it. You’re short.’ [laughs]

Neely Quinn: Right, but it seems like you use a positive attitude. Some people would just be like, ‘I’m too short for this. I’m giving up.’ Or, ‘I’m too short for this. Screw this and screw whoever put these bolts like this,’ or whatever but what other kinds of things do you feel have helped you get through this, whether it’s training or just thinking outside of the box and stuff like that?

Marina Inoue: Well sometimes I think it is okay to say, “Screw this route.” I’ve gotten shut down a lot at a lot of places. Two places that I find that I don’t ever get shut down at because of my height are the Red and Rifle, because there’s so many options. But the New and – I went to the Bow Valley this summer, which is still limestone but much less featured than Rifle – I’m in Utah right now, in the Utah Hills, and it’s also less featured. I’ve gotten on a lot of routes that are definitely grades that I’ve climbed before where I just haven’t been able to figure out the boulder problem. I’ll try 3-4 times and if I can’t figure it out, I just move on to the next route.

I find that if I’m getting shut down on a 13a or 12d or 13b or whatever, it doesn’t mean that I can’t climb that grade and I’ll never climb it again. It’s just that that’s not the route for me and that’s okay, I think. Then I’ll get on another route that’s the same difficulty or technically grade-wise speaking, harder, and be able to do it so it’s just a matter of finding something that suits me a little bit more as far as climbing outside goes.

I have spent, in the last year, a lot of time training. I guess two years now. I did not train for the first six years of my climbing career and then I started training a lot and a lot of the things that I did made a huge difference as far as overcoming issues of being on the shorter side.

Neely Quinn: How’s that? What did you do?

Marina Inoue: Besides just doing fingerboarding, which really helped me as far as finger strength goes, I did a lot of movement exercises to help me become a more dynamic climber and more confident being dynamic. I used to only be able to do high foot, lockoff. Maybe I could throw myself at a dyno every once in a while but training my movement really helped me an incredible amount. Now I am confident doing big deadpoints or even just straight up double-clutch, all points off dynos. I’ll be willing to try them nowadays, which I wouldn’t even know where to begin confidence-wise before. I feel a lot more comfortable and that’s opened up a lot of doors for me.

Full Episode/Transcript: TBP 138: Marina Inoue on Short Person Training and Body Image Issues


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