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simplest possible training program
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By Eric Whitbeck
Oct 26, 2012

If as the recent consensus states, and I actually concur, that the limiting factor in most people breaking into the next grade is finger strength, then why not just train fingers. I know there is a limited return on fingerboarding after a few weeks, but what about this: Climb routes on weekends and force yourself to try routes slightly above your currrent ability. Once a week boulder as hard as possible for a few hours and once a week either campus or use a fingerboard in some sort of 2-4 week cycle. Would that be enough? No charts or gimmicks, just bouldering as hard as you can, resting and either campusing or hangboarding.


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By Sir Wanksalot
From County Jail
Oct 26, 2012

Pretty sure the concensus also states that the best way to get better at climbing is to climb more. With that, it sure as f--k can't hurt and sounds a helluva lot better than actually training.


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By frankstoneline
Oct 26, 2012

Read a simplified training plan (on someone's blog I think, though I dont remember whose, sorry I can't give credit where due) that said basically the simplest training plan you could engage in would be something like warming up and then alternating between finger board and 4x4's then a cool down. Switching from finger board to 4x4's every 4 weeks.
Seems pretty simple, though realistically I dont know many people who sport climb as hard as they boulder, which suggests that finger strength isn't the limiting factor...
Without going too much onto a tangent, limiting factors are different for different people, and you'd be best served to find whats limiting you and then train that specifically. If you can climb 5.11+ but cant routinely boulder V4 I might start with finger boarding.


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By Charles Kinbote
From Brooklyn, NY
Oct 26, 2012
On Waimea, 5.10d

Stevie Haston's simple training program, IIRC, is 3 weeks of bouldering/finger strength followed by 3 weeks of route climbing/AE, then 1 week of rest. Rinse and repeat. I remember reading about it on his blog.


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By frankstoneline
Oct 26, 2012

Charles Kinbote wrote:
Stevie Haston's simple training program, IIRC, is 3 weeks of bouldering/finger strength followed by 3 weeks of route climbing/AE, then 1 week of rest. Rinse and repeat. I remember reading about it on his blog.


This could be the one I'm thinking of.


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By Eric Whitbeck
Oct 26, 2012

Don't the routes fill the role of th 4 by 4?


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By Brent Apgar
From Out of the Loop
Oct 27, 2012
Me and Spearhead

frankstoneline wrote:
Without going too much onto a tangent, limiting factors are different for different people, and you'd be best served to find whats limiting you and then train that specifically.

This is one major issue.

Which you can then compound by choosing a style of climbing that is less directly dependent on finger strength. Bouldering is mostly dependent on overall strength and finger strength. But sport climbing and long trad routes are less dependent on these factors for overall success. So the most efficient training program is going to be the one that targets whatever the limiting factor is for you.

All this aside, my personal belief on the danger of the program you outlined is going to be the risk of injury. The problem w/ breaking into the "next level" in any type of endeavor is that you must (as you said) try things that are beyond your current ability. This by definition pushes you beyond what you're currently capable of and this, unfortunately, is where all manner of things can quickly go wrong.
In training to reach the next level you want to push right to the edge of falling apart and let your body then recover and super compensate before doing it again. The problem is that the only way to get this whole process truly dialed in for yourself is to play w/ programming and exceed that limit once or twice and learn by mistake, what too far really is.
This is why most training programs seem so complicated. (and consequently why there are so many opinions on the best way to train) Someone is taking all of their experience and trying to put together a training routine to get an athlete to the next level without breaking them.


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By frankstoneline
Oct 27, 2012

Some more info on you as a climber would be helpful to get much further in depth as to a simple training program. For some people it might be something as simple as adding in some hangboard workout, for others the simplest plan that will be effective might be considerably more involved. It's somewhat dependent on how hard you're pulling/what you want to do/your goals.


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By Eric Whitbeck
Oct 29, 2012

My short term personal goals involve redpointing 12 cracks and 13- sport routes. Long term goals based around the Nose in a day.


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By IronMan
Oct 29, 2012

All I do is a hangboard session once a week.

4 grip positions, with 6x10secs on each grip, 2 minutes recovery in between.


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By camhead
From Vandalia, Appalachia
Oct 29, 2012
You stay away from mah pig!

actually, the simplest training plan would be just to starve yourself.


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By Darren in Vegas
From Las Vegas, NV
Oct 29, 2012
Skiing around.

Eric Whitbeck wrote:
My short term personal goals involve redpointing 12 cracks and 13- sport routes. Long term goals based around the Nose in a day.

How close are you to these short term goals?
It could just be that you need to pick some projects and work on them.
I've managed to climb 13- sport and 12- trad (not cracks...I live near Red Rock) just by climbing a lot and picking projects I have a shot at.


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By Eric Whitbeck
Oct 29, 2012

Camhead,
I did which got me out of the 12B second try rut I had been in for years. Went from 155 to 138 and have kept it for about 18 months. I just wonder if there is anything that a simple training program like I suggested lacks or leaves out that people pushing into the low 13 grade need.
In terms of how close I am to the goals, I am projecting 4 13s in my hood; two 13as and two 13bs. I can do both 13as with one hang and get pretty worked on the harder ones but make it to the chains.


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By Darren in Vegas
From Las Vegas, NV
Oct 29, 2012
Skiing around.

Eric Whitbeck wrote:
I am projecting 4 13s in my hood; two 13as and two 13bs. I can do both 13as with one hang and get pretty worked on the harder ones but make it to the chains.

FWIW, I would suggest picking one and focusing on it. My first 13a went down after trying it 3 times per day 3 times a week for 6 weeks.


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By Eric Whitbeck
Oct 29, 2012

Haha. I have a two year old and train more than climb, but thanks for the advice. The four routes are also seasonally dependent with two being summer routes, one fall and one winter. Unfortunately I usually get one or maybe two tries a month or less, but I have had progress on all four. On two of my best burns, biners on chain draws were upside down at the crux and I got to enjoy hanging out and flipping them before clipping them and falling. cheers


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By Brendan N. (grayhghost)
From Salt Lake City, Utah
Oct 29, 2012

Eric Whitbeck wrote:
the limiting factor in most people breaking into the next grade is finger strength


Eric Whitbeck wrote:
I can do both 13as with one hang . . .


Your limiting factor on your projects is not finger strength. It's either endurance or power-endurance, depending on how aerobic/anaerobic these routes are.


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By Eric Whitbeck
Oct 29, 2012

Greyghost, Of the four routes, three are super pumpy and one is bouldery. I don't necessarily disagree with you, but since campusing trains power, wouldn't the routes be easier if you had more power. People who boulder harder than me tend to perform better on sport routes as well.


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By Rajiv Ayyangar
From Portland, ME
Oct 29, 2012
Cut! Sadly my flash attempt met with dismal pump-failure two bolts later.

The standard reference for training on limited time is the Anderson brothers' "Rock Prodigy" program: www.rockclimbing.com/Articles/Training_and_Technique/The_Mak>>>

Not only do they have years of experience refining and tweaking this program, they have the results to show for it (as do many other climbers, myself included). There are obviously many different ways you can tweak this program, depending on personal strengths/goals/weaknesses, but this is a good starting point.

Eric's original post is a first-cut at what the Anderson's refined. To answer your question, Eric, it might be enough for some people, but at a certain point if you're not seeing improvement, try the Anderson program.


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By Rajiv Ayyangar
From Portland, ME
Oct 29, 2012
Cut! Sadly my flash attempt met with dismal pump-failure two bolts later.

Eric Whitbeck wrote:
Greyghost, Of the four routes, three are super pumpy and one is bouldery. I don't necessarily disagree with you, but since campusing trains power, wouldn't the routes be easier if you had more power. People who boulder harder than me tend to perform better on sport routes as well.


You have a point here, Eric. Maximal voluntary contraction force correlates with recovery on bad holds, which can translate to endurance. In other words, power can increase effective route endurance (both by increasing the perfusion of blood during climbing, and by decreasing your time on the rock), but endurance doesn't improve power.


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By Josh Allred
From Salt Lake City, UT
Oct 29, 2012
P3 on Nutcracker.

www.mountainzone.com/blogs/performance_training/2006/05/comp>>>

Great blog on training here.


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By Brendan N. (grayhghost)
From Salt Lake City, Utah
Oct 30, 2012

Eric Whitbeck wrote:
. . . since campusing trains power, wouldn't the routes be easier if you had more power. People who boulder harder than me tend to perform better on sport routes as well.

Yes, but you are taking the hard road. You can train up endurance/PE quickly and send your projects or you can train up power and send them in a few years.
Since you can do all the moves your issue is obviously recovery. Recovery comes when you can de-pump and flush the blood from your forearms. This ability comes from having more capillaries in your forearms and is trained with ARCing and 4x4s-6x8s.
The idea that having more power will make the individual moves easier and give you endurance is true but misguided. I have many friends who boulder V10 and can send 13a. While 13a is impressive, they should be working on 14a with that bouldering ability.
To send 14a without endurance training they need to boulder V13, and some of them have trained to do this. At V13 they should be sending 9a, etc . . . .
Power training is fun and that is why it is alluring. Endurance training is boring and that is why it is avoided.
The people who are performing better than you are simply that, better than you. They have more Endurance, Power and Power-Endurance. Your weakness (out of those 3) is obviously identified by your mode of failure on your projects.
If you can't do the moves:boulder more to work on power
If you can't get between the rests without pumping off:4x4 to work on PE
If you can't recover at the rests:ARC to build more capillaries


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By Eric Whitbeck
Oct 30, 2012

I appreciate the feedback and enjoy these conversations, but I don't want to confuse my original post with my actual training program. I do train power endurance and even plain endurance. One of my projects is Goliath which is quintessential endurance climbing. For that I do 60 move boulder problems. My question was do I have to? In other words, Grey Ghost, I am following your suggestions now but wonder if I should focus more on power in the future. Thanks. Its nice to chat about climbing without anyone getting all weird.


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By Brendan N. (grayhghost)
From Salt Lake City, Utah
Oct 30, 2012

Eric Whitbeck wrote:
My question was do I have to?

No. There are many ways to get to 5.13. When you can boulder as hard as you do, the fastest way to get there is to train endurance. You can also get there by upping your boulder grade, it is just a longer and potentially more injurious process.
Good luck in your quest, Goliath looks like a radical line, and proud tick.


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By LeeAB
Administrator
From ABQ, NM
Nov 8, 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.

Eric, with Goliath specifically, have you climbed the upper bit without hanging on its own? from there, there are a couple of obvious points of rest on the first half that you could work down to instead of trying to push your high point up you could work on sending from lower and lower on the route. The benefit is that you learn the upper moves better.

As a side note, it kind of sucks but the whole charts thing is pretty important unless you can remember what you accomplished in all your previous workouts. You need to know if you are progressing or not, or if progress stalls.


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By Eric Whitbeck
Nov 9, 2012

I agree about Goliath. I think the best approach would be to work it top down if that is the right description. However, my visits are rare and attempts few so I don't always have the luxury of going at it in the best way. I think I can probably send from mid anchor if I rest long enough there. Or I can climb to the crux and either take the big ride or rest there and finish.
In terms of charts, I used to keep a pretty accurate training log and should probably start it up again, especially for the hangboard. If only someone would move some of New Mexico's better climbing a bit closer to town.


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By Arnold Braker
From golden, co
Dec 19, 2012

Eric, what's you current bouldering ability?


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