Advocate Q&A: Gwyneth Uttley

Gwyneth Uttley

Could you tell us a bit about you & your story?

I am 22 and I have been competing for the GB team in climbing since 2014. I am in my final year studying for a Master's in Chemical Engineering at the University of Sheffield but I am originally from Bristol. I got into climbing at a birthday party when I was 8 and haven’t stopped since. 

In terms of where I’m going, hopefully I shall get reselected for the team this year and get to compete in some Climbing World Cups all around the world. There are also so many places outdoors that I still have yet to explore which is super exciting!

What initially got you into climbing & what is your favourite thing about it?

Climbing is just so different; it uses every part of your body and makes you think as well. There are never two climbs the same, which I love. You also get to travel to such beautiful places and meet such like-minded people. The diversity and lifestyle of the sport makes it stand out for me!

Talk us through a typical training week…

So I climb probably 5 times a week and this will be a mixture of endurance training, such as circuits (going round and round a board), board climbing (short and powerful moves) and competition style climbing (lots of jumping around).
Then I do 3 to 4 gym sessions a week, which include weight training, antagonistic training and a lot of pull ups! I try to do mobility or yoga sessions at least every other day, with special focus on my shoulders as they seem to get the tightest.

What does your routine look like before a typical boulder/indoor/outdoor session? How do you warm up differently for the different disciplines? Are there any things you do consistently across them all?

Before every session I do some resistance band work and dynamic stretches to open out my hips and warm up my hamstrings. I do shoulder shrugs and pull ups on a bar and fingerboard to warm my fingers up. Before an outdoor session, I take extra care to warm my fingers and shoulders up because inside I do easier boulders to warm up as well, which I am less likely to do outdoors.

Do you do anything differently pre-competition?

I take much longer making sure every part of my body is warm, I have an extra long dynamic stretching session before competitions. I also do more coordination boulders to warm up mentally because if you have a fun warm up you feel more confident going into the competition.

When do you tend to use active recovery sessions & what do you normally do in these?

I do a lot of self-massage using both a roller and ball to really get into all the tight muscles in my shoulders and hip flexors.

Do you implement any specific injury prevention strategies?

If my fingers or elbows feel tired, I ice them with a bowl of ice cubes in water. I've also really got into my cold water swimming. Fingerboarding also helps to keep your fingers strong.

Where do you typically do your warm up/ mobility/ recovery sessions?

I warm up on the wall but like to do longer stretching/ mobility sessions in front of the tv.

Thank you. Where can people find more about you?

Intstagram @gwynethuttley