We are delighted to introduce to you Imke Burger (yes, like the sandwich!), a 17 year old up-and-coming competitive climber in this EXCLUSIVE interview.
Imke has come back from an injury sustained just before lockdown stronger than ever. You can expect to see her in competitive action very soon.
You can follow Imke on Instagram here for some fantastic climbing content.
Welcome Imke! How did you get involved with climbing?
After losing my love for swimming, I went on a journey for a sport that was better suited to me. I stumbled across climbing and immediately fell in love with the challenges it presented, but also the satisfaction you get from completing a super hard climb! I remember constantly begging my parents to take me to the climbing gym (much to their disgust) and just climbing and climbing until I got too tired to carry on, or hungry of course. I guess not much of that has changed now.
We can see that you also do some sailing in your spare time, is that a hobby or something you could see becoming another sporting venture?
I would definitely love to explore that further! Being out in the middle of the ocean with only the fishes for company is by far one of the best feelings you can experience. I think that everyone needs to give it a try at least once in their lifetime.
We’ve seen on your social media that you train at a lot of different walls, do you have a favourite?
Being a competition climber I get the privilege of climbing at some of the best walls in the country. There are SO many that I would class as my favourites. My number one has to be the Barn Climbing Wall down in Devon, mainly because they have the cutest dog ever, Paddy, but also the best atmosphere. That’s what really makes a great wall.
How did you find balancing climbing training with completing your A-Levels?
Honestly, climbing will always come before studies. I am a strong believer of doing what makes you happy, if that means putting your life on hold for a while, then so be it! Saying that though, studies are still very important to me. I am hoping to make it to university next year and realise that to get there little sacrifices might need to be made to achieve big in the long term!
We see that you had a slight injury lay off in the past 12 months, can you tell us a bit about your recovery training?
As much as I wish it never happened, my injury sort of came at the right time. After tearing ligaments in both my back and right shoulder, a lot of my rehabilitation was something I could do at home over lockdown. Having everywhere closed also stopped me climbing, giving my body chance to recover which I definitely wouldn’t have managed otherwise! My recovery training was mostly focused on regaining strength and re-stabilising everything, lots and lots of resistance band work too.
How much did your training change in regard to the Covid-19 outbreak? Did a lot of your training move in-house?
My training during lockdown was so much more intense than usual! I was focused on coming out of the pandemic as a better, stronger athlete, and with so much free time why wouldn’t you. Lucky for me I had already built a mini training area in my garage, it was like I predicted it coming. Every morning started with 50 pull ups and 50 push ups, never missed a day! My family thought I was crazy, but I could see the good it was doing me, both physically and mentally.
You have incredible strength and power in your arms, what exercises do you recommend for others to achieve the same thing?
Pull ups, pull ups, pull ups!! Until post-lockdown I had never been to a gym in my life, never lifted a single weight. All the strength I have built has come purely from days spent on the pull up bar. Simply climbing also has a great effect on the muscles that you attain. The best advice I can give to a beginner or even someone struggling to get strong is keep climbing! Climb as long as you can, climb till your arms just can’t hold you anymore. You’ll feel the results the next day!
What are your personal goals going forward for the year 2021? (Covid-19 permitting!)
Outdoors! Over lockdown I have spent more time climbing outside, establishing new projects and places I want to explore. With uni fast approaching I really want to get these ticked off so I can set new goals when (if!) I get there. But also get back into competing again, it has been dearly missed over lockdown!
And finally, have you unearthed any TV shows or movies that are simply unmissable?
When it comes to climbing shows I could go on forever. The Dawn Wall and Freesolo are two that definitely need to be watch, climber or not. There are also SO many important documentaries that I feel everyone needs to watch over on the Patagonia YouTube. Climate change is real. There are so many other issues the world is currently faced with that most people are unaware of! Check them out.
Thank you so much for chatting with us, Imke!