Defend Less, Climb More

For numerous reasons we develop non-optimal breathing, posture and movement patterns. Anything from emotional stress to physical pain can change the length, tension, and potentiation of muscles, leading to compensatory patterns, injury, and ultimately loss of performance. When we return to more optimal patterns, we can breath again, sympathetic / parasympathetic balance is returned, primary muscles are responsive, compensatory patterns reduced, and performance maximised. More so if we can facilitate the nervous system stimulus to the primary muscles before warm-up and during training, we can improve the potentiation, neural adaptation, and training stimulus. — Tom Herbert (usefulcoach).

ResetSend - Climb Activated

Maximal climbing performance comes about through the use of the right muscles in the right sequence, immediately, and without compensatory muscle tension and leaking power into the neighbouring structures.

ResetSend is a mix of climbing specific breathing practice, manual stimulation, and movement drills that rapidly and effectively facilitate:

ResetSend tools are self-applied before climbing as a specific warm-up, between climbing attempts to “reset” your system to improve body-tension or specific muscle power, and afterwards to facilitate recovery. The power of this toolkit is that is easy to learn, self-administered, and requires no equipment other than your fingers and breath.

ResetSend is an evolving climbing specific toolkit developed by Tom Herbert (usefulcoach) whose coaching practice has been influenced by Douglas Heel’s “Be Activated” technique and philosophy, Reflexive Performance Reset™ (RPR™) a specific Strength and Conditioning application of Heel’s work pioneered by Chris Korfist, Cal Dietz, and JL Holdsworth, Dr. Evan Osar’s “Integrative Corrective Exercise Approach”, and Todd Hargrove’s “Better Movement” which itself has been influenced by Moshé Feldenkrais’ “Feldenkrais Method” and more.

Whilst this project is still being developed, please head over to to learn more about Tom’s continuing work and learning with climbers.

Page Updated: August 2017

Early “Be Activated” Sessions

Another great activation session, this time with Ellie May ( at The Arch Climbing Walls (@archclimbing) If you are defending, you are not performing. Think of it like this... If you are closed off and guarding (as we often are at times) you cannot perform to the best of your ability. Not only is the mind affected by the defending posture (lacking confidence, self doubt) your muscles are not at an optimal resting length (shortened or lengthened) What's in the mind is in the body, what's in the body is in the mind. Helping specific muscles to "wake up" and do their primary jobs, removes the compensatory muscle tension elsewhere. Posture improves and shoulders relax almost always after "waking up" your lower body. Quite amazing what happens when you start using your psoas and glutes. When you are open and relaxed, you are more confident, and performance improves. For more of this look down my Instagram feed. Also you can find me at #beuseful #beactivated #climbing #bouldering

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How do you feel after muscle activation? On Sunday I met up with 2016 British Bouldering Champion and The Arch Climbing Wall (@archclimbing) sponsored Matt Cousins (@mattcousins_) for a "Be Activated" muscle activation session. I am working with Matt in regards to performance and change nutrition, but wanted to explain and explore muscles and mindset. If you curious about all this, look down my Instagram page for the 4 square video of Louis Parkinson (@captaincutloose) which explains more about why, and what is muscle activation. Feel free to poke Matt or Louis about their experiences, and you can grab me at #beuseful #beactivated #climbing #bouldering

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Before and after muscle activation. Last Saturday I did a muscle activation session with professional climber Louis Parkinson (@captaincutloose) at The Arch Climbing Wall (@archclimbing) The purpose of the muscle testing and activation, is simply to understand whether the right muscles are immediately active when called upon. By stimulating the muscles in the primary order, allows the body to start working again within its optimal muscle length and tension relationship. For example if your psoas and glutes are not actively engaged, your hamstrings will attempt to stabilise your core, which means they will tighten, which means they won't work as hamstrings. And if your hamstrings can't do their function other muscles have to take over their roll and the dysfunction repeats. By getting the correct muscles to fire (and in the right order), provides immediate stability and thus the subsequent relaxation of other muscles previously and non-optimally stabilising. You do not need to stabilise your core by tensing your neck and jaw, or drive power to your quads by flexing your foot. Yet many people naturally brace like this. For example if I ask you to ready yourself to prevent me pushing you over, you may very well tense your neck and face in preparation. Why? You think your abdominals and lower leg musculature can't handle it? So by stimulating the right muscles, it removes that defensive closed posture, and opens the anterior (front) allowing more optimal breathing, movement, control and freedom. The posture photos show the most dramatic change, and the climbing video indicates somewhat more body-tension and control. This was our first session, and I am looking forward to seeing how Louis' movement and default relaxed posture changes. He said he felt really tall, and very light and springy in his legs. If you are interested to know what it was like, feel free to contact Louis. If you are interested in working with me, do visit: Always happy to help however I can. Also I will speak to The Arch Climbing about perhaps holding a self-activation workshop early this year. #beuseful #climbing #bouldering #beactivated

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