Over the last two years, no boulderer has been hotter than PhysiVāntage Pro Drew Ruana.
Since January 2020, when he climbed Sleepwalker (V16) in Red Rocks, Drew has climbed thirty-nine V14s, fourteen V15s, and three V16s -- likely an unmatched "world record" of sorts for hard bouldering in just a 20-month span.
Drew recently took over the PhysiVāntage Instagram to answer viewer questions on hard bouldering, training, nutrition, and life as a pro climber. Following is a brief summary of tips, however, watch the video below to read the full sequence of the Q&A.
What problems (personal limitations) most hold you back as a climber? For me, the mental battle of hard projecting is harder than physically doing the climbs.
What muscle groups do you train besides pull-ups and fingers? Do more exercises to be well-round, like triceps, chest, and shoulders.
What is something you see a lot of climbers get wrong when projecting? What could they do differently? Break the climb down into sections and work the hardest first. I often send from the start in not too many tries because I wait to try from the start until I have it wired.
How do you balance school and climbing? The more work I have the more focused and diligent I become. Time management is an extremely important skill, along with staying on top of deadlines.
What do you value more...finger strength, core tension, technique, or pull-up strength? I don't think I have very strong fingers by the "how much (weight) you can hang" standards, but I make up with all-body strength. All parts of the machine gotta be oiled up and firing!
Any interest in the 2024 Olympics? Maybe, but I'm still burned out on comps--I prefer climbing outside! If I send a few V17s, which is a goal of mine, then perhaps I've have an easier time training (for comps).
What's your climbing philosophy? What are the things that give you meaning? I could spend hours talking about this...but for now I'll sum it up in one word: Progression!
Any tips for shorter climbers? I have loads of experience at that! First, go out of your way to try stuff that's hard for you because you're short. I did that for years and eventually it gets easier and your toolbox expands. Also, get stronger to compensate (core and pulling) and get good at jumping!
How do you train for body strength? Lots of weighted and unweighted front levers, one-arm pull-ups, bench press, and biceps.
Who's your favorite climber to watch? Probably @JakobSchubert -- he's a machine!
What time of the day do you prefer to try hard boulder problems? Definitely in the evening -- I can't try as hard in the morning.
What's your favorite core exercise? Front lever.
What's your skin care routine? Do you feel collagen helps your fingers? Supercharged Collagen makes my skin wear better and fingers stronger. I prefer taking collagen over normal protein.
What's the hardest individual move you've done outside? Probably a V12 single move.
How many days per week do you climb? Usually 4 or 5, but never more than 2 in a row.
What qualities do you think set you apart from other pro climbers? I think the volume of climbing I get done is better than most. In 2021 alone, I've done more than 30 V14 and harder boulders...with a bunch more projects ready to go!
What's a food you can't live without? Avocados!
What's your favorite crag food/drink? I drink EndureX at the crag -- it's easy on my stomach.
What would you say is your anti-style? I despise pinches! I have small hands so I can't get my thumb around many pinches--they turn into slopers!
How much do you think it helps to start climbing at a young age? The younger the better -- more time to train and get movement down; it also helps make your tendons more adaptable (stronger).
Any tips for transitioning from indoor bouldering to outside? It's gonna be hard at first -- get as much mileage under your belt as you can.
What PhysiVāntage Nutrition products do you take and when do you take them in relation to workout, pre, during, and post? Supercharged Collagen, EndureX and FLOW before/during and Powerplex plant-based protein post-workout.
What's the biggest factor or obstacle in taking the "next step"? It can be hard to believe that the next step is possible on an emotional level. It takes a ton of effort to break through...but once the flood gates open they are open! I like to set 2-year goals because they are possible but far enough out to really work for.
Do you think climbing V13+ has anything to do with genetics? Yes, but it's even more mental. If you're not willing to work V15-hard when you're at V10...then you won't reach V13. That being said, starting point (age) in climbing probably makes a big difference too.
Can you give an idea of what you eat in a day? Avocado toast. veggie stir fry and some protein, and some form of pasta.
What inspires you to try hard and climb at your limit? I'm addicted to progression! So I'll do whatever it takes to continue progressing.
Any advice for someone with good genetics, but a late start (age 21)? Don't hangboard too soon--finger pulleys take a long time to adapt. Climb for mileage--try to get a huge base under you.
Any tips for a solid V5/V6 climber trying to move into the V8/V9 range? Do tons of V6s and V7s before even trying a V8. The V8s will then feel easier.
Can you quantify your finger strength for us? I have hung on a 10mm with one hang for like 5 seconds. Once did a Beastmaker 20mm with 45lb for 5 seconds, but I can't do that now.
Drew is an enthusiastic (and daily) user of several PhysiVāntage products, including Supercharged Collagen, Endure X, Flow...and he often uses Powerplex plant-based protein to support post-workout recovery.
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