Lightner said that he owes his ability to master difficult sequences to his “climbing IQ,” or his ability to “figure out different sequences to the best of your ability given your body type and options on the wall.”
“Being able to figure out which technique to use, when to rest, how to keep the pressure in your feet” can be the difference between a silver medal and a gold one, he said.
And keeping your cool is crucial, too. "I think about 60%-70% of competition climbing is mental," Lightner said. And he believes that although climbing requires a certain kind of physical fitness, to be among the best in the world, it's your mental game that makes you a champion.