Been a little while since my last post! I’ve been extremely busy the past couple months. I’m finishing school in June and have been writing my thesis pretty much nonstop. I’ll be taking some time off once I finish school and before I start working so I’ll hopefully be more active on here! I have a lot to write about: dealing with low back problems, a climbing app I’m helping a friend build, and some other things. For now, I’ve been keeping busy with a new training plan.
A little over a week ago I finished a 5 week online training plan with Will Anglin of Tension Climbing. A friend recommended it and after seeing his progress I was psyched to give it a go. I was not disappointed. Before creating the plan, Will had me do an extensive physical assessment, testing things like maximum weight added on hangboard, maximum weight added for pull ups, max number of pull ups, etc. The resulting plan was actually pretty simple: hangboard, some weights and ring work, and a couple bouldering drills. What set it apart though was the scheduling. It didn’t repeat weekly, but instead more or less repeated every three days. So instead of doing the same thing every Tuesday or Thursday (like I’ve always done in the past), the schedule was two days on, one day off. Doing so compacted the schedule without it feeling like it was overloaded. I had mixed feelings about this actually. I think it was very effective since it meant I ended up doing 11 hangboard sessions vs. 9 if I had just scheduled it as twice a week. However, the inconsistency of my schedule week to week was kind of bothersome and meant I couldn’t always climb with my friends.
Let’s just get right to it. Results are what really matter, right? The two exercises I saw the most progress in were weighted hangs and weighted pull ups. For the hangs I was doing three sets of half crimp, 6 seconds on, 10 seconds off, six times on the small edges of the Beastmaker 1000. I also did two sets of open hand with the same interval but I’m not going to go over those too much. I’m hypermobile in my fingers and was having issues open handing on a flat edge. So at the beginning of the plan I started with an added weight of 35 lbs and it felt pretty close to my limit. 5 weeks later I was doing 50 lbs. Even more impressive, I actually gained a couple pounds between those two sessions, so my total weight for the first session was 181 lbs. My total weight for the last session was 198 lbs. A percent increase of 9.4%. Not too shabby, considering +50 lbs used to be my one rep max on the small edges!
I saw similar gains in the weighted pull ups, going from +45 lbs (191 lbs total) to +70 lbs (218 lbs total), a 14% increase. I’m not sure how effective weighted pull ups are for climbing but I’m still impressed with the progress.
Overall, I was very happy with the program. It was very effective in increasing my finger strength. It did however require full commitment which was hard since I’m a weekend warrior and skipping a day outside to train feels sinful. I have to confess I did sneak outside a couple times (sorry Will). It was worth it though, I finished two projects with relative ease: Goicoechea (V9/10) and Cotton Pony Dyno (V9). Once life settles back down, I look forward to working with Will again.