An interview with the Maw brothers for their new book
Hi Mike and Bass, You have just released a book called “The Mawem Brothers Training Book” which details 85 climbing exercises categorized by: warm-up, endurance, strength, explosiveness, vertical jogging.
What motivated you to create this book?
In recent years, we have witnessed a very strong development of rock climbing. But we realized that for most climbers this development did not go hand in hand with access to training and progression. Moreover, attitudes are changing. Nowadays, people want to be more and more independent. That’s what we wanted to bring with this book: a self-improvement tool for people who don’t have a coach.
What advice would you give to someone new to climbing?
The first tip we give is a systematic warm-up to make the sessions effective. Then, the second “secret” is climbing regularly. Once those two bases are in place, the climber can begin to progress in good conditions.
What advice would you give to someone who has been climbing for five years but can no longer progress?
It is essential for all climbers at one point or another in their progress. It’s normal: the more you progress in practice, the more progress is difficult to achieve. You have to accept it. Therefore, they will play on small details. In order to overcome this stage, it is necessary to identify its shortcomings and work on them. In other words, train smart. If you have the opportunity to train with a trainer, he will be able to help you plan appropriate training cycles. For the rest, for whom we made this book, we will have to build sessions targeting their weaknesses with the exercises we have created. At each training session, the climber will do an exercise depending on what he has to work on. Let’s say he has a slight lack of strength in his fingers. After the warm-up, and before the start of training, they will do a strengthening exercise on this topic. They will be able to repeat it or choose a different one in the same topic in each of their sessions. We stick to this principle: we warm up, when we are warmed up, we do one of the exercises from the topic being covered and then we start the session.
Any advice for avoiding injury?
We repeat, but it is very important: you must take the time to properly warm up all the different parts of the body. That’s why we insisted a lot on this point in the book with more than 30 targeted warm-up exercises: mobility, arms, fingers, proprioception.
A classic mistake is to warm up only the large muscles on routes with large tanks and then attack the session with routes consisting of very small movements that put more stress on the fingers that will not necessarily be warmed up enough. There is a risk of injury.
Then hydrate well: drink regularly before, during and after the session.
Finally, eat well. If you’re going climbing right after a day at work, don’t forget to provide a small protein bar.
More specifically, how are you managing your diet?
Nutrition is indeed a very personal matter and must be adapted to the needs and practices of each individual. It is important to have the right energy supply at the right time. For most people, a balanced diet with a little energy before training (a protein bar for example) is sufficient. With our practice, we have great needs, that’s why we use nutritional supplements. Because it is not easy to always have tupperware with chicken.
All the exercises in the book have an original name, which gives the book a playful side. How did you come up with the name?
We worked according to what the movements inspired us to do. Sometimes our movements were inspired by an animal, a movie or something similar. It was important that the names were easy to remember and that they described the movement well. Okay, our friend Williams Belle gave us a bit of a crack at giving some exercises weird names, but we warned him!
With all the demands you get, how do you manage to save time for training?
It’s very simple, climbing and competition remain our priority. If we ever feel that a request might intrude on our climbing time, we delay or decline the proposal.
At work [Mika et Bassa gèrent une salle d’escalade à Colmar], it’s the same, training is a priority. If we have to train, our team knows we are not available, we warn them beforehand.
But the truth is that today we are on all fronts, our days are very long, every day they start at 7 am and end at 10 pm. We rest a little on Sunday.
Do you ever climb outdoors? What is your favorite place?
We climb very little outdoors. Rarely when we go there, it is to take advantage of the environment, the warmth and the scenery, but the goal in this case is not performance. We’ll be back there for fun when we stop competing.
Our favorite place is Orpierre. It’s not high level, but the environment to spend a week is superb. The village has a good atmosphere with a lot of climbers and mountaineers, nice little restaurants. We would like to go to South Africa one day.