Progression and Future Training

I enjoy training quite a lot and I’ll do it just for the hell of it with no lack of motivation. However, I’ve always been told to set more specific goals than “get stronger” in order to stay motivated so last year I somewhat arbitrarily set a goal to climb V10. Last week I finally achieved that goal.

I put in a few end of the day attempts last year on a problem called Equinox, then about a month ago I finally was able to put a full session in on it (that session was in the rain however!). I got really close but the crux revolves around a tricky toe hook and I could never get it to stick. I knew I could do it and just had to have that one magic attempt where it all came together. With psyche super high I went back and fairly quickly dispatched my first V10! It’s so great to see progression in your climbing and I’m so excited to see how the rest of this season goes!

On the training side of things, Team of 2 recently announced their disbandment, which means I’m now left to my own devices to figure out my training. I’ve decided to really streamline my training and really only focus on hangboard and a few other exercises. I’ve adopted this philosophy partially after listening to TrainingBeta’s podcast with Adam Macke and in conjunction with Kris Hampton’s High/Low approach. Typical periodized training includes strength, power, and power endurance phases. I’ve basically decided to eliminate the power and power endurance phases as I think they’re the least useful (in my case; I’m naturally a powerful climber and gravitate to 1-5 move boulder problems) and although all three are very intertwined as means to improvement, I think strength is the easiest way to progress systematically. Also, power and power endurance are almost just skill sets. Power is mostly about knowing how to generate momentum with your body and power endurance is partially the mental ability to keep pushing your body under exhaustion. Admittedly, I’m sure there are physiological changes from training them, but they still root from strength.

So my training per week will consist of two hangboard (hb) sessions, two climb sessions (inside or outside), two sports specific strength (3s) sessions, and two injury prevention (pt) days. Here’s a likely schedule

hb, 3s
hb, 3s

This is also flexible and may change depending on conflicts or motivation. Basically I want my plan to be so simple that as long as I’m getting in my two heavy load days in a week, I’m good.


The hangboarding will be as described in Steve Maisch’s literature review on isometric training. The only modification is I will do an actual one rep max test at 9 sec instead of a 13 sec test with training with the same load for 9 sec.

I’ll be doing single rep 9 sec hangs at 80% of max for 4 sets. I’ll be doing four hold types: full pad edges, quarter pad edges, and slopers. Ideally I’d like to do these all one armed with assistance so I can focus on each hand individually and also reduce the overall load on my body, but I haven’t quite figured out how that will play out. So for each hold type it looks like:

  1. 9 sec hang left hand, 9 sec hang right hand

2. 3 min rest

3. repeat 4 times

Sport Specific Strength

I’ve done so many different exercises as part of my training: endless amounts of core, pull ups, deadlifts, shoulder workouts, arm workouts, etc. and I’ve never really felt or noticed any benefit. Of course this is just for me though. If pull ups are hard for you then you could definitely benefit from working on them! Although I’d always feel worked after doing them, all these workouts felt like a bit of a waste of time so I’ve done away with most of them and boiled down to a few high intensity exercises that I think will directly work on a few weaknesses that don’t revolve around handhold size.

  1. Heavy underhand rows (3 sets of 5). Doing hard moves even on good underclings is definitely a weakness of mine.
  2. Chest Flys (3×8). Should help with compression problems
  3. Front Levers( 3×4). Body tension to the max! Someone once told me front levers are the key to hard bouldering in Squamish :).

That’s it! Just three exercises that I’ll add on after hangboarding. Quick and easy and hopefully effective. Well I guess not easy…

Injury Prevention

Injury prevention is so important and really if you take nothing else from my plans, take this section! Again I tried to boil down my PT workout to what I felt are the essentials. These workouts are super light weight and high reps (3×15) so their perfect for off days. The focus is on the shoulders, forearms, and elbows. Also they can be done with therabands and household objects so I don’t even have to leave the house to do them.

  1. IYT.
  2. Rotator Cuff series: internal rotation, external rotation, elevated external rotation
  3. Forearm series: wrist rotation (at home you can use a hammer or a skillet), wrist extension
  4. Push ups

And that’s that! Hopefully this plan will cover my bases and help me continue to improve.


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