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By Jake Jones
From Richmond, VA
Jan 27, 2012
Me and the offspring walking back to the car after a day of cragging.

So, I've been reading a lot of threads about training lately. I've never implemented a training program and I'm looking for some general explanations and advice about training.

Before I get flamed, I actually have researched other threads and obtained as much information as I can, so hopefully not much of this is redundant if any. If it is, I apologize in advance.

First, some background. I've been climbing a little over a year and a half. I started leading easy bolted routes (inside and out) about six months in. I started leading easy outdoor gear routes after about a year- with a few 5.5 and 5.6 short multipitch. Currently, I'm about at 5.7 for gear routes (I'm less willing to push my physical limits until I get more experience on gear) and my physical limit leading bolted routes is in the low .10s.

I climb twice a week for about two to three hours per visit. I stretch, warm up on something easy, then get on routes slightly below my level and start working up. I've been stuck in the low .10s for a few months now. So I have a few questions.

Is three months a plateau?

Is it too soon to start training (i.e. are my tendons ready for it after climbing only about a yr and a half)?

If so, could I restructure what I do in the gym to make better use of my time in the interest of progression; and how?

When you start a training program, is all your climbing restricted to just that, or do you hop on routes (not specific to your program) during that period as well?

This may come off as dipshitery, but I get a little confused when I look at all the training terms; especially when considering how and when to incorporate them into a program.

ARC- Climbing (slight pump maintained but nowhere near failure or exhaustion) or non-climbing (jogging, biking, etc.) Seems like a dumb question, but I've actually run across people that say they do one or the other, or both.

MaxR vs. PE vs. Hyp vs. Anaerobic endurance- seems to me that some of these things overlap in definition; again, it may seem obvious to some, but to me it's important to learn how (if) they are alike, different, and what each one means exactly.

Considering the amount of time I've been climbing, my current level, and the number of days I can get to train (2) a week, are there some of the above-mentioned components that would do me more good than others? Any I should avoid completely until I'm climbing at a higher level?

My goal is to bump a full number grade by the end of the summer- at the very least two or three letter grades.

I am admittedly a complete noob when it comes to this, and my hope is that some of you more experienced guys won't mind helping me clarify a few things so that if I can implement a training program, I'll be able to devise one that will help me reach my goal. Thanks.


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By Brian S
Jan 27, 2012

Welcome!

Three months is not a plateau.

It depends on what you mean by "training." There is a difference between just climbing, structured climbing, and "training." If just climbing isn't working for you, try structured climbing. "Training" can wait.

I would structure my gym session as minimally as possible to see improvement. In your case, try to complete the following the route pyramid 7 x 4, 8 x3, 9 x2, 10a x1. It might take several gyms sessions to complete that pyramid.

I would avoid routes that are more difficult than in the above pyramid. If you are bashing into a brickwall, it helps to take a couple of steps back to jump over it.

Don't worry about the terms or jargon.

I would set a specific inspring goal, like sending your area's best 10b by 08/01/12.

Have Fun!


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By slim
Administrator
Jan 27, 2012
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.

i think one of the best pieces of advice that i have seen (i think from mike a) was something along the lines of 'if you dont send a route try to get back on it as soon as possible' - basically pull the rope and try it again.

i think a lot of people, espescially outside, will just walk away from the route and do another one. if you try it again, the reasons why you failed on it will likely still be fresh in your mind and you will be able to put effort into focusing on correcting those mistakes. also, you will probably feel more relaxed because you won't have as much fear of the unknown.

i've had a lot of experiences where i absolutely butcher my first attempt on a route and think it will be hopeless. luckily, i have partners who heckle me into trying it again - and a lot of the times i will end up sending on the 2nd or 3rd try.

strike while the iron is hot!


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By Adam B
From Wheat Ridge, CO
Jan 27, 2012
Middle St. Vrain

How does the pyramid scheme work for someone who climbs mainly outside? I would love to go out and climb 10 routes in a day (Brian S example "pyramid 7 x 4, 8 x3, 9 x2, 10a x1.") ending with the hardest (for me that is like 10b on a good day), but I feel like I don't have time, or strength for that.

Is this something that can be done over a period of time? Should I go out this weekend and climb a bunch of .7 and .8 pitches, and try to get out a few day later to do fewer, but harder climbs? Or should I just get on stuff at the edge of my ability and flail? I want to use my time efficiently.


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By dorseyec
Jan 27, 2012

ab527 wrote:
How does the pyramid scheme work for someone who climbs mainly outside? I would love to go out and climb 10 routes in a day (Brian S example "pyramid 7 x 4, 8 x3, 9 x2, 10a x1.") ending with the hardest (for me that is like 10b on a good day), but I feel like I don't have time, or strength for that. Is this something that can be done over a period of time? Should I go out this weekend and climb a bunch of .7 and .8 pitches, and try to get out a few day later to do fewer, but harder climbs? Or should I just get on stuff at the edge of my ability and flail? I want to use my time efficiently.


I think you should just enjoy climbing outside and leave the structured climbing plan for the gym.


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By rob pizem
Jan 27, 2012

The only way to improve at anything including climbing is to try hard. That means failing and falling and then trying hard again. That means giving everything that you have to each effort. One other thing, be sure to watch the climbers who are climbing the harder routes. Make mental notes of their body movement, techniques, and strengths. Figure out how to add those to your skill set.
Don't worry so much about training, just make sure that everytime you climb (whether it be indoors or outdoors trad/sport/bouldering)that you are trying hard. You will move through the grades. If you are at the gym twice a week, continue your warm up and then try the upper tens and lower elevens, learn the moves, figure out and master the cruxes and work them until you send. The journey is the fun and the send is the icing on the cake! Eventually you will hit a wall, everyone does, that is when a specific training plan will really assist you and your climbing.


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By Brendan N. (grayhghost)
From Salt Lake City, Utah
Jan 27, 2012

muttonface wrote:
I climb twice a week for about two to three hours per visit. I stretch, warm up on something easy, then get on routes slightly below my level and start working up.
Warm up, then stretch. Cold stretching can lead to injury.

muttonface wrote:
Is it too soon to start training (i.e. are my tendons ready for it after climbing only about a yr and a half)?

Your tendons are not ready for a hang board or a campus board.

muttonface wrote:
If so, could I restructure what I do in the gym to make better use of my time in the interest of progression; and how?

Yes. You can read this: Getting Better Without Training

muttonface wrote:
When you start a training program, is all your climbing restricted to just that, or do you hop on routes (not specific to your program) during that period as well?
It depends on how OCD you are. Me=alot.

muttonface wrote:
ARC- Climbing (slight pump maintained but nowhere near failure or exhaustion)
Correct.

muttonface wrote:
or non-climbing (jogging, biking, etc.)
Incorrect.


muttonface wrote:
MaxR vs. PE vs. Hyp vs. Anaerobic endurance- seems to me that some of these things overlap in definition; again, it may seem obvious to some, but to me it's important to learn how (if) they are alike, different, and what each one means exactly.
See link above, or buy The Self Coached Climber

muttonface wrote:
My goal is to bump a full number grade by the end of the summer- at the very least two or three letter grades.

Totally doable, goals are awesome.


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By Tico
Jan 27, 2012

When I stopped reading/posting on rec.climbing, my onsight level went up 2 number grades. Try not reading mp for a couple months and see what happens.


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By Finn the Human
From The Land of Ooo
Jan 27, 2012
Mathematical!

I'm no training guru, but I do have a general plan for improving my climbing. I try to figure out my weaknesses and focus on those, rather than putting together a comprehensive training regimen. One day I hope to be at a level where a detailed workout plan will benefit me, but for now I think that's just overkill.

For the past year or so I've mostly been bouldering, and it's worked wonders for building strength. Unfortunately, it's also jacked up my elbows and shoulders a bit, and my endurance has suffered from the lack of route climbing. I also know that if my core strength was better I would climb better all around (both bouldering and routes). I've decided to focus on these three areas for the next while.

For me its pretty simple: I do a handful of PT exercises for my elbows and shoulders, I have an ab routine (that I should be more consistant with...), and I'm building endurance simply by climbing more. Right now the best thing for my endurance seems to be a high volume of easier routes (similar to the pyramid described above, but less organized, haha). Climbing easy routes pushes my endurance abilities without aggravating my elbows and shoulders. Eventually I'll reach a point where an ARC phase will have its benefits, but, as I said above, for now it mostly seems like overkill.

Anyway, there's my 2 cents. I think that for a relatively new climber it's best to try and pinpoint your weak spots and work on them. Aside from that, just climb as much as you can (within reason, of course. Don't injure yourself. Trust me, tendonitis blows donkey nuts).


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By Rob Gordon
From Hollywood, CA
Jan 27, 2012
Tough Mantle Problem.  Haven't sent yet...

You might benefit from an increased focus on bouldering. The hardest move in a 5.11 is usually somewhere around the V2 maybe V3 range (this is debatable I know), so if you can get up to a solid V3 bouldering level and still work your endurance once a week or so, you should be able to push past the 10s and into the 11s fairly quickly. As for hard 11s and up... Well then, systematic training is probably necessary.


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By Benjamin Chapman
From Small Town, USA
Jan 27, 2012
old 1/4" bolt.

Muttonface....try Nicros.com and check out the training link by Eric Horst. Eric Horst is the reigning training guru. Also, take a look at Horst's books; Training for Climbing & Condtioning for Climbers. Through the Nicros site you can also ask Horst questions....He's very good about responding to training related queries.


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By Rob Gordon
From Hollywood, CA
Jan 27, 2012
Tough Mantle Problem.  Haven't sent yet...

Well if that's the case, then you either have an endurance or power endurance issue. So once a week climb two to three times as many routes as you usually do (start a little lower on the difficulty scale at first). And once a week climb 4x4s starting with a V3,V1,V2,V0. Make sure you can do all the problems, but that they aren't one move wonders or gimmicky. Only take a rest between sets. Drink chocolate milk thirty minutes after while watching TV.

Focus on being efficient (use your feet, dont overgrip) and breathing/staying relaxed. Learn how to rest on the rock.

The great thing is endurance can be pushed a lot further than strength without the same injury risks.

You'll be crushing 11s in no time. Also if you have any extra weight, get rid of it. Instant upgrade.


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By Jake Jones
From Richmond, VA
Jan 27, 2012
Me and the offspring walking back to the car after a day of cragging.

JLP wrote:
How many routes, feet of climbing? V2, V3 is good. That's an 11+ crux, but in a 30' gym it's generally about the upper limit of a well set 12-. Most 10- climbers I see spend most of their time in the gym doing nothing, the rest maybe 10 routes. 10 routes is a 20 min warmup, not a 2-3 hour climbing session. That's why their endurance sucks. Consider adding at least another 2-3 hour session during the week as well.


When I'm at the gym, I climb a route, then belay a route. I have one partner. After about 4 or 5 routes apiece, we take a short break, drink some water- whatever, then begin again. I would say I'm climbing a little less than half the time I'm there. So for three hours, I probably get in 15-20 routes. The majority of them are 40-50ft routes. I've been thinking about adding another day for a while now. I just have to move some of my schedule around. Thanks for the advice.


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By Nathan Scherneck
From Portland, OR
Jan 27, 2012
He took the whipper while trying to place his #1 Stopper.  So sad.

+1 on the route pyramid. Maybe bouldering 4x4s on easy problems as well. You're at the level where a high volume of climbing will help improve your technique and continue to condition your body for harder climbing.

As for all the jargon, those are terms that come from a slew of different training books and articles. If you're interested in training I recommend reading them all. Eric Horst's 'Training for Climbing' and 'How to Climb 5.12', Hague and Hunter's 'Self Coached Climber', McLeod's '9 out of 10 climbers make the same mistakes', Anderson brother's article 'The Making of a Rockprodigy', etc. There are also some good blogs out there and a wealth of info here in the training forum.

But the thing to really remember, and most of the above mentioned writings' agree, is to stay away from the fingerboard and campus board until you're really ready for them (you're not yet). I made that mistake myself and it sucks. Dealing with a plateau is way better than couch time due to ruptured finger tendons.


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By Jake Jones
From Richmond, VA
Jan 27, 2012
Me and the offspring walking back to the car after a day of cragging.

Nathan Scherneck wrote:
But the thing to really remember, and most of the above mentioned writings' agree, is to stay away from the fingerboard and campus board until you're really ready for them (you're not yet). I made that mistake myself and it sucks. Dealing with a plateau is way better than couch time due to ruptured finger tendons.



Thanks for the input Nathan. I pretty much had an idea that specific training like that was further down the road, I just wanted to bounce it off some people with more experience to make sure.


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By slim
Administrator
Jan 27, 2012
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.

i would suggest also keeping a small log book of what you climb and how you did at the gym. it doesn't have to be that elaborate, just to give you an idea of what you did. after about 4 or 5 routes, jot the stuff down real quick, grab a swig of water, and then get back to climbing. here's a brief example:

10a, vert face, OS (OS means on site lead)
10a, roof, OSNO - 1 fall (OSNO means did not onsite lead)
10b, slab, TRF (top rope flash)
10b, steep, RP felt hard (RP means redpoint)
11a, arete, TRRPNO (TRRPNO means you've been on it before and didn't get it this time on toprope)

etc.

then at the end of the evening while you are taking shoes off, swigging water, you can just generally sum it up like:

10a - 1/2
10b - 2/2
11a - 0/1

or you can break it out into more specific catefories (ie lead vs toprope, onsite versus having been on it before, etc).

this will also help you get an idea of what you want to try to accomplish the next time you go in.


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By Harrison Harb
From Portland, Or
Jan 27, 2012

climb with someone stronger and do a lot of following. that's how i improve best.


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