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Hypertrophy and Max Recruitment
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By TakeTakeTake
Jan 10, 2012

I'm interested in hearing your methods for hypertrophy and max recruitment. Are you following the rock prodigy article? Hypertrophy on hangboard, max recruitment on campus ladders?

Also, do hypertrophy and max recruitment both fall in to what Eric Horst calls the max strength phase?


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By Eric Heiden
From Derry, NH
Jan 11, 2012

Hey there.

I'm following the Rock Prodigy Article - this is my first time through a real periodization cycle. I'm just getting into my Max Rec. phase and after two trial campus workouts here's what I have found:

1) I'm definitely on the low end of campus board ability. While I can do a simple 1-2-3-4-5 etc ladder up metolius medium rungs on what I believe is a standard campus board setup, that's about all I can do (on that rung size). Metolius large rungs allow me to do more power-oriented exercises such as max ladders (1-3-5's in my case, 1-4-7's, or someday 1-5-9's), and touches (1-4-1's and 1-4-3-4's), 1-3-5's, etc.

2) Moon climbing has a varied campus workout regimen that I'd like to strive toward (some of which oppose Mike Anderson's "ladder up only for the first few YEARS" advice - like touches). In the hope of avoiding injury I'm doing modified (smaller distances on the larger rungs) versions of the suggested exercise with the hope of improving to the point where I can do them. An example:

I can't quite pull off a 1-4-7 (for max ladders) on large rungs, so I'm just trying to get the closest I can: 1-4-(highest possible), as well as 1-3-5's (which I can actually do and are symmetric).

3) I've found that after I've hit diminishing returns on max ladders that I still have power for touches, which I think concentrate on power as well as lock-off strength, which is cool.


I'd love to hear about other options for Max Rec. as well as comments on making my campus routine more well defined. Right now it's just made up of trying several different kinds of exercises scaled to make them as hard as I can until they feel really hard. It's not standardized and I'd like it to be.


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By Mike Anderson
From Dayton, OH
Jan 11, 2012

Eric Heiden wrote:
2) Moon climbing has a varied campus workout regimen that I'd like to strive toward (as opposed to M. Anderson's "ladder up only for the first few YEARS" advice). In the hope of avoiding injury I'm doing modified (smaller distances on the larger rungs) versions of the suggested exercise with the hope of improving to the point where I can do them. An example: I can't quite pull off a 1-4-7 (for max ladders) on large rungs, so I'm just trying to get the closest I can: 1-4-(highest possible), as well as 1-3-5's (which I can actually do and are symmetric).


What you are describing here is not contrary to my advice. My advice is basically not to do down-ward movements, but you are OK to skip rungs or try to reach as high as possible.

If this is a board you own, I would suggest adding more intermediate rungs so you can have more control over the intensity. What is the spacing on the board you are using?

Another option is to get a "power-spot" to make moves easier...it's not scientific, but is an option for an intermediate step between moves you can do and moves you can't do. I do this for my wife and it has helped her progress.


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By Will S
From Joshua Tree
Jan 11, 2012

TakeTakeTake wrote:
you following the rock prodigy article? Hypertrophy on hangboard, max recruitment on campus ladders?


Yes, I follow it pretty closely with the exception of ARC phase which I might do a dedicated phase once every year or two and more typically just do 3 sessions at the beginning of a cycle then move to the hangboard.

My maxR phase is a combo of campusing and limit/project level bouldering. Typically I'll only do 3 campus board sessions in a given cycle. In the last 4 years the most was 4 campus workouts in a cycle, and the least was 2. Usually it's alternating where if I did a campus workout the prior session, I'll boulder in the current session, and vice versa until I've done 3 campus workouts. After 3 campus sessions, the rest of that phase will only be bouldering. Also, I do a pretty long warmup of bouldering before I campus...easy traversing for about 10min, then probably about 12-15 problems in a pyramid of increasing difficulty with the hardest problem being about 2 V-grades below my max flash ability. It's basically the same warmup I do for bouldering sessions or roped climbing.


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By slim
Administrator
Jan 11, 2012
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.

Will S wrote:
Yes, I follow it pretty closely with the exception of ARC phase which I might do a dedicated phase once every year or two and more typically just do 3 sessions at the beginning of a cycle then move to the hangboard. My maxR phase is a combo of campusing and limit/project level bouldering. Typically I'll only do 3 campus board sessions in a given cycle. In the last 4 years the most was 4 campus workouts in a cycle, and the least was 2. Usually it's alternating where if I did a campus workout the prior session, I'll boulder in the current session, and vice versa until I've done 3 campus workouts. After 3 campus sessions, the rest of that phase will only be bouldering. Also, I do a pretty long warmup of bouldering before I campus...easy traversing for about 10min, then probably about 12-15 problems in a pyramid of increasing difficulty with the hardest problem being about 2 V-grades below my max flash ability. It's basically the same warmup I do for bouldering sessions or roped climbing.


that's pretty much how i was planning on doing my upcoming MR cycle. do you boulder inside or outside? for me, it will be interesting to see how it works (with bouldering inside). in the past, i have improved at bouldering inside, but it has had little effect on my outdoor climbing. in some ways it seems like it kind of throws me off when climbing outside. hopefully the campusing will help with more of the 'fingery' power that i don't tend to get when bouldering inside.


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By LeeAB
Administrator
From ABQ, NM
Jan 11, 2012
Once we landed we headed to Font to find a place to stay for the night before doing a day of wine tasting and heading to Buoux.

Here is a question for the Brother's Anderson,
My wife and I are working our way through a period of hangboarding and starting to think about the MaxR phase.
-Now when you campus, theoretically you are hitting the next hold in progression at the "dead point" as long as you are working up, really regardless of how far you are pulling from the previous rung...therefore you are not increasing load on the catch part unless you add weight (vest, higher injury potential) or make the rungs smaller (which from a work out to work out or even from cycle to cycle stand point seems impractical)
-You would however be increasing load on the lower hand when generating the upward motion and the longer lower pull

-It really seems as though negatives are an easier way to adjust the load on your forearms, the more rungs you drop (obviously it would be nice to have a rung every few inches so you can dial up intensity slowly) the higher the load will be when you catch it and try to slow yourself down and not hit the ground.

What is your take on this?


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By Eric Heiden
From Derry, NH
Jan 11, 2012

Mike Anderson wrote:
What you are describing here is not contrary to my advice. My advice is basically not to do down-ward movements, but you are OK to skip rungs or try to reach as high as possible. If this is a board you own, I would suggest adding more intermediate rungs so you can have more control over the intensity. What is the spacing on the board you are using? Another option is to get a "power-spot" to make moves easier...it's not scientific, but is an option for an intermediate step between moves you can do and moves you can't do. I do this for my wife and it has helped her progress.


Sorry - I guess I guess I didn't include the right example there. The touches (1-4-1, and 1-4-3-4, etc) are what I'm considering downward movement and therefore contrary to your advice. Do you consider this kind of exercise a "downward movement?" I really like the possible lockoff strength gains, but I have an open mind and am willing to be convinced not to do them with a strong enough argument...

The board isn't mine, and I don't think it's likely that the gym will add intermediate rungs as I've never seen anybody but myself using it. I don't know the exact spacing/angle. I plan on asking next time I'm there and maybe sneaking a measuring tape over there to find out for sure if they don't know.

The power spot idea is interesting... Do you think it would be more beneficial to do the big moves on intermediate rungs with a power spot or work on smaller moves on larger rungs unassisted until I can hit the move?

Also with regards to campus boards: When is the right time to move from large > medium > small rungs? Have you or anyone else developed any kind of good metric for that?


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By Monomaniac
Administrator
From Morrison, CO
Jan 11, 2012
Insurrection, 5.14c.  Photo Adam Sanders.

LeeAB wrote:
Here is a question for the Brother's Anderson, My wife and I are working our way through a period of hangboarding and starting to think about the MaxR phase. -Now when you campus, theoretically you are hitting the next hold in progression at the "dead point" as long as you are working up, really regardless of how far you are pulling from the previous rung...therefore you are not increasing load on the catch part unless you add weight (vest, higher injury potential) or make the rungs smaller (which from a work out to work out or even from cycle to cycle stand point seems impractical) -You would however be increasing load on the lower hand when generating the upward motion and the longer lower pull -It really seems as though negatives are an easier way to adjust the load on your forearms, the more rungs you drop (obviously it would be nice to have a rung every few inches so you can dial up intensity slowly) the higher the load will be when you catch it and try to slow yourself down and not hit the ground. What is your take on this?


Yes, but in theory, communism is a good idea. In theory.

Anyway, when you do a campus movement (lets say going from matched on rung one, then moving your left hand up to rung 3) some of your body weight is held by each hand. In this example, the force required to generate upward movement is basically balanced equally between the two hands. The force required to catch the high hold is not equal between the two hands, and the greater the gap gets, the more force is placed on the leading hand (the L hand in this case). You may not notice it much on an easy ladder, but as the spans get bigger and bigger you will notice the low hand contributing very little at all to the effort (accompanied by tremendous strain on your low shoulder).

The next movement would be to bring the low hand up, past the high hand to the next designated rung (say, leaving L on rung 3, R begins on Rung 1 and moves to Rung 5). In this movement, the L arm has to generate most of the force for upward movement, but the R arm/hand will have to produce more force to catch the high rung. When the spans get really extreme, the low hand will generate almost no force for upward movement, making the movement extremely difficult.

So, I disagree that you aren't increasing the load as long as you are doing more difficult spans over time.

I think its a very bad idea to add weight to a campus workout. If you do this, add very little weight and see what happens.

I definitely agree negatives are a good way to dial up the intesity, but the down side to that is higher injury risk. There's little doubt that negatives are not terribly specific. Ben Moon advocates not doing them for this reason. Personally, I focus most of my attention on doing the biggest spans I can do on the smallest rungs, moving up. I.e., 1-7-13 (small metolius rungs, 4" spacing).


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By Will S
From Joshua Tree
Jan 11, 2012

slim wrote:
do you boulder inside or outside?


About 80/20 inside to outside. During the week it's inside and I feel I get better workouts inside and am able to warm up much better. Weekends during that phase it's trying to send boulder projects outside. Sometimes, especially toward the end of the phase, on weekends I'll start working bouldery routes outside where I can only link a few moves at a time with the idea that as I get the cruxes dialed and start linking longer sections it becomes more of an AE effort and naturally lines up with the transition to AE phase.

I did this in the fall and didn't send the route project, but the overall scheme of bouldering transititioning into AE while working the route was going well.


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By Will S
From Joshua Tree
Jan 11, 2012

Monomaniac wrote:
1-7-13


!!!

Damn. Have to break out the tape measure and see what our spacing is, but regardless, that's wild.


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By LeeAB
Administrator
From ABQ, NM
Jan 11, 2012
Once we landed we headed to Font to find a place to stay for the night before doing a day of wine tasting and heading to Buoux.

Will S wrote:
!!! Damn. Have to break out the tape measure and see what our spacing is, but regardless, that's wild.


1-7-13 would be 2 foot gaps.

From the Rock Prodigy article it seems like Mike's focus is on training the forearm and hand strength, not sure exactly where but it does say at some point that failure rarely if ever ,in his case came from weakness in the arms or back. I would agree that doing the biggest spans is something that would train those larger muscle groups, arm/shoulder. I can see that if you could space the rungs close enough increasing spans would work, but in most situations the rungs are just not close enough and one span is doable and pretty easy and the next it impossible. Obviously you have your own board and have it set how you want it.

Would you have set it up with closer spacing, say 3"? Or do you think the rungs would then be too close together? How long did it take to get to 1-7-13 from say 1-6-11 or 1-6-12 or 1-7-12?


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By Mike Anderson
From Dayton, OH
Jan 11, 2012

I'm following this, but can't add my $1/50 until later...


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By Monomaniac
Administrator
From Morrison, CO
Jan 11, 2012
Insurrection, 5.14c.  Photo Adam Sanders.

I think 3" spacing would be ok. I've considered 2" spacing but I think that's too close. I think ideally you would just take the limiting rungs, say 6 and 11 if you're stuck at 1-6-11, and gradually move those rungs up the board, a 1/2" or so at a time. To do this you would need an apparatus that would allow you to move them on the fly, since some days you just perform better than others, and its not a steady progression like on the hangboard.

It does take quite a while to progress from one increment to the next. The best way to do so, if you're stuck at 1-6-11, is to work on 1-7-11, 1-7-12, then 1-5-11, 1-6-12, etc. If you can do 1-6-11, you can probably do 1-7 pretty easily and probably 1-8 or even 1-9 with some effort. The second move is much harder so you should focus most of your energy on that.


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By Monomaniac
Administrator
From Morrison, CO
Jan 11, 2012
Insurrection, 5.14c.  Photo Adam Sanders.

JLP wrote:
...I've been mixing in uneven pull-ups of varying distance between the rings, tricep pull-downs, various rows, etc. Any recommendations here on things you've found helpful?


First, keep in mind what you're training for. Its fun to track your progress on the campus board, and its always helpful to have short term goals in your training, but don't get so obsessed with the short term goals that you let it interfere with the big picture.

Second, I find I have to work pretty hard just to reach my previous max each season. [I wonder if I'm approaching an asymptote based on my arm length etc considering that campusing is probably the most height-dependent thing climbers do.] Anyway, I think your climbing fitness will benefit by campusing at your relative limit, even if you aren't "progressing" on the campus board. Its much more important that your climbing is progressing, and I try to focus more on that, based on the bouldering I'm doing in between campus sessions.

JLP wrote:
What kinds of progressions would you recommend for the big moves?


I don't think I understand this question. Could you clarify it abit more?


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By Aerili
From Salt Lake City, UT
Jan 11, 2012
Get down from there! <br /> <br />May 2013 <br />Photo by Duc

TakeTakeTake wrote:
Also, do hypertrophy and max recruitment both fall in to what Eric Horst calls the max strength phase?

I haven't looked at his definition (I have one of his books, maybe it is in there) but hypertrophy cannot/should not be considered part of a max strength phase if he actually knows what he is talking about. Max strength is something quite different from hypertrophy and should not be lumped into the same "phase" of training if one knows what they are doing. Hypertrophy training typically preps you for strength.


Edited to add: wrt the talk about negative training - eccentric training is associated with prevention of injury, not increased cause. However, in light of the kind of training we are talking about here, I think injury could be probable due to the accelerations experienced and the lack of control over how much force is applied and at what rate.


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By Monomaniac
Administrator
From Morrison, CO
Jan 11, 2012
Insurrection, 5.14c.  Photo Adam Sanders.

JLP wrote:
"Progression" = easier exercises that help you work your way toward harder, more complex ones.


Really? :)

1) Not really. During my hangboarding phase I do a modest number of pullups and some "core work" (ha!). I think the pullups are helpful, but I'm reluctant to recommend pullups because I think most people will only read that sentence and disregard everything else I've written in the last 10 years. I don't do lots of pullups. At most I do 3 sets of ~15 reps, I don;t add weight and I focus on doing them slow and in control with a lock off at the top.

2) During the MaxR phase, every other workout is a campus day, and the off workout is a bouldering day. On the bouldering day, I warmup, then boulder until I run out of steam, then I do some other random exercises (core type things). On my campus days, I warm up, then boulder for ~30 minutes, then I spent 15-30 minutes on the campus board, then I do the same random exercises I do on bouldering days.


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By reboot
From Westminster, CO
Jan 12, 2012

Monomaniac wrote:
The second move is much harder so you should focus most of your energy on that.

With my T-rex arms, that second move pretty much becomes 1 arm pull up when the rungs are 2 feet apart.


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By Monomaniac
Administrator
From Morrison, CO
Jan 12, 2012
Insurrection, 5.14c.  Photo Adam Sanders.

JLP wrote:
1) Okay, makes sense. 2) Not sure I'm following. Are you taking rest days? Sun = boulder+campus+general, Mon=boulder+general, Tue = rest, Wed=repeat Or??


No, here would be an example schedule:

Mon = last hangboard workout

Thu = Boulder + Campus + general

Sun = Boulder + General

Tue = Boulder + Campus + general

Fri = Boulder + general

...


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By Mike Anderson
From Dayton, OH
Jan 12, 2012

For my recruitment phase, I do a climbing workout every other day, and alternate bouldering and campusing (ideally).

For example:

M: Boulder
T: Rest
W: Campus
T: Rest
F: Boulder
S: Rest
S: Campus

I can't actually do this where I live now because I don't have access to a bouldering wall. This season, I will boulder on the weekends on real boulders, and campus during the week...either Tue/Thurs, or only once on Wed depending on how I'm recovering.

On a bouldering day, my goal is to get the highest quality efforts, not a large quantity of bouldering. That means taking lots of rest between attempts, and working problems/moves that are quite hard for you. The same principal applies to campusing, and IMO, Mono's 15-30 minute campus workout is way too short. Mine takes the better part of an hour, and that works out to 8-12 "sets" on the board (not including warmup ladders). So if I divide by pi and square the remainder, that works out to about 5 minutes rest between sets. That seems like a lot when you've just finished the hangboard phase and you're accustomed to 2 minutes rest, but that's pretty short compared to the rest you might take if you were trying to set a personal best boulder problem outdoors.

To get the desired neuro-muscular adaptations, I think you need to be "fresh" for every set, and that requires lots of rest.

Also, during my hangboard phase I do some simple, general lifting after each workout...pushups, situps, pullups, dips some dumbell exercises. In the last couple years I've taken to doing weighted pullups starting with 3 sets of 10 and "tapering" to 3 sets of 8, which seems to be the consensus for building strength, not bulk. Adjust weight to achieve failure on the 8th rep. This should get you ready to campus.

Be warned: It has been (correctly, IMO) pointed out that pullups are not very specific to climbing. Instead, something between a straight pull-down and a rowing motion would be more specific because on overhanging rock, when that motion is mostly needed, you are not pulling straight down like a pullup, but in to the rock, like a row. On vertical rock, you use your feet, so leg strength is the issue, not pullup strength.


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By Will S
From Joshua Tree
Jan 12, 2012

Mike Anderson wrote:
IMO, Mono's 15-30 minute campus workout is way too short.



Well, to settle this difference of opinion, which one ya'll climbs harder? (Whistles away after stirring the sibling rivalry pot)


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By slim
Administrator
Jan 12, 2012
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.

mike, i'm pretty surprised that you take 2 days off between hangboard workouts and only 1 day off between campus workouts. i would think you would need more rest between the MR stuff than the hypertrophy stuff(?).


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By Tipton
Jan 12, 2012

slim wrote:
mike, i'm pretty surprised that you take 2 days off between hangboard workouts and only 1 day off between campus workouts. i would think you would need more rest between the MR stuff than the hypertrophy stuff(?).


I can't speak in regards to campusing (or for Mike obviously) but I do max recruitment on a hangboard and am able to do it every other day, whereas hypertrophy pretty much requires two days rest. My body simply doesn't recover from a hypertrophy session fast enough. With max recruitment, I'm able to do a session every other day and still give it my best effort. I've tried to do a hypertrophy session after only one day of rest (to make up for a missed day) and it has been a total waste both times I tried it.

Just my personal experience from a non-campusing perspective.


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By Mike Anderson
From Dayton, OH
Jan 12, 2012

Slim - A hangboard workout is much more volume than campusing, and the purpose of it is to more-or-less completely deplete your local glycogen, so that takes more time for recovery.

My attitude toward recruitment work is this: You want to maximize the quality of the work you are doing, and you get the best quality when you are fresh. Also, if forced to choose between many short workouts or few long workouts, you'd get more freshness, by doing many short workouts. Therefore, each workout, you should focus on making high-intensity, quality efforts, and keep the workout short enough that you can do another workout in two days.

Ideally, at the end of a recruitment session, be it campusing or hard bouldering, you shouldn't be that tired. In fact, you should definitely feel like you could keep going, albeit at a slightly reduced level of performance. It's that reduced level of performance you want to avoid...it doesn't gain you anything, physically, it only sets you up for longer recovery time. Only keep going as long as you are able to perform maximally, stop after that. This shouldn't take long, and you should recover quickly. This is pretty easy to follow when campusing, but nearly impossible for most people in a bouldering gym with hot babes watching....


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By slim
Administrator
Jan 12, 2012
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.

thanks for all the info everybody. for some reason, i had it in my mind that basically the further your are towards the power spectrum, the longer the recovery, due to muscle damage, neurological rebooting, whatever, etc.

i used to be able to do the hangboard workouts with 1 day rest, but it seems like i do a lot better with the 2nd day the older i get.

mike's comments about stopping at the right time are interesting. just out of curiousity, do other folks have problems with doing the 'warm down' thing at the end of bouldering/climbing/etc? it seems like when i try to warm down, i am usually tired enough that even the easy stuff feels like it is going over the line for me.

JLP - my hangboard routine leaves me pretty beat. but, i do quite a few grip positions (almost twice as many due to a several crack sizes that i work on). its 32 sets total, 92 minutes total time w/ 45 minutes worth of set time and 47 minutes of rest time. my set time to rest time ratio is probably too high (should have more rest time between each set), but my routine is already pretty long, so adding another minute between each set would put it up to 2 hours (excluding my warmup whichis generally around 35 minutes).


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By Mike Anderson
From Dayton, OH
Jan 12, 2012

JLP wrote:
I generally feel like I could do a little more after a hangboard workout - ie, some soreness a few hours later, not immediately - like a typical strength workout. My intervals are generally on the shorter side - ie, 4-7 seconds on, 3-6 off, ~60-80 seconds total, or until failure. 3 cycles on each grip, 5-7 grips. I think adding more grips at the same intensity would leave me injured. What kind of workouts are you doing these days? ie - seconds on/off, sets, etc? Seems I would have to add in some longer hangs before feeling "depleated" right after the workout. Stated another way - I've never felt hangboarding alone, every 3rd day, had enough volume to it to not loose considerable overall climbing strength over the course of a few weeks. Maybe I'm doing it wrong...?


Hmmm... It sounds like you're doing something wrong. I'm pretty exhausted after 21 sets, and I like to take 72 hours rest. I've done it with only 48 hours rest, but it definitely hurts my performance. 60 hours is about the minimum for me, but that makes it hard to get into a routine.


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By Eric Heiden
From Derry, NH
Jan 13, 2012

Mike Anderson wrote:
Only keep going as long as you are able to perform maximally, stop after that. This shouldn't take long, and you should recover quickly. This is pretty easy to follow when campusing, but nearly impossible for most people in a bouldering gym with hot babes watching....


I experienced this difficulty last night at my gym (although not due to babes watching, but rather I was just stoked to be getting close on some hard boulder problems). I think I might have moved into Power Endurance land, but at least I was still only trying the hard problems at few moves at a time by the end of the night, not doing laps on easier problems. I'll have to be more careful with that last night.

Does anyone have thoughts on good/possibly subjective criteria on when to move from campus workouts from large rungs to mediums rungs to small rungs? Similarly, any subjective (or close to subjective) measurements for when to start doing downward campus exercises?


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