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Weight Training for Climbing, Mountaineering, Alpinism
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By Dylan Weldin
From Austin, Texas
Jan 9, 2012
Summit of my first tower, the Rectory via Fine Jade

Hey training gurus,

This semester at school I am fulfilling my physical education requirement in a college weight training course. I'd like to hear from anyone with advice regarding a list of exercises as well as recommendations for intensity/ repetitions/ etc.

Last year I lifted three times per week and saw minimal improvement in overall strength. Following is a list of exercises I included in my regimen:

"A" Days:
-Bench + Incline Bench
-Tricep Extensions
-Leg raises
-Squat (machine) + Calf raises (machine)
-Rows with dumbbell
-Back Extensions
-Side Bends

I alternated these exercises with "B" Days:
-Leg Raises
-Lat Pulldown
-Shoulder Press
-Dumbbell Curls
-Dumbbell Shrugs
-Shoulder Raises to the front and side
-Back Extensions
-Side Bends

For all of these exercises I performed 3 sets of 12 reps, sometimes stopping around my 10th rep on the last set due to exhaustion. All of this weight training was in addition to climbing ~4 days per week. For cardio during this time I would regularly do hikes in the local mountains including at least 1000 feet of gain with the weight of a pack. Other days I would kick steps up the edge of the practice ski slope in town.

This year, for the PE course, class is held twice per week for ~1 hour. I understand that lifting weights in the gym is not the best way to get stronger for vertical endeavors, but I'd like to hear any suggestions for how to modify this program to make the most of my time spent in the gym.

I am a 20 year old male if that is pertinent to anyone, and I'd like to see improvement in overall fitness and strength as a result of an altered program. I'm not too worried about adding a little bulk as I am 6'7" and 180 pounds.

Goals:
-faster on the skin up/ approach
-less fatigued after a few thousand feet of low 5th class rambling
-improved endurance for 70 meter rope stretchers at Indian Creek
-it would be great if a weight program could improve my sport/ trad climbing ability too
-and OF COURSE, look better for the ladies... :)

I've looked into strength training programs compiled by Rainier Mountaineering Inc, Alpine Ascents International and found them to be helpful but not quite as specific as I'm looking for.

Thanks in advance for any and all advice!
(and I do realize I'm sounding whiny and that I'm asking you guys and gals for professional level advice free of charge... sorry)

-Dylan Weldin


Enjoying all things vertical during the Ice Fest
Enjoying all things vertical during the Ice Fest


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By Mark Wyss
From Denver, CO
Jan 9, 2012
Mt. Baker

www.bodyresults.com might have some info for ya.

Sweet pic! Looks like you had a blast in Ouray. I had to miss it cause I broke my collar bone in Vail. Oh well. I will definitely be out there next year.


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By Wyatt H
From Casper, Wy
Jan 9, 2012

Surely you've read Gadd's and Twights books?


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By Chris Parsons
Jan 9, 2012

Check out Steve House's training blog on his website, sounds like what your looking for.

www.stevehouse.net/Site/Training_Blog/Training_Blog.html


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By booger
Jan 9, 2012

I started incorporating weights into my training a couple of years ago. I have no formal training/education in the matter, but have read extensively and have had great results. Having said that, I'm sure there are folks who have a better background than I who can add to/correct anything I say here.

The biggest mistake I see in your routine is that you aren't giving each muscle group enough recovery time. For example, your "A" day rows, your "B" day lat pulldowns, and your climbing all work your lats. So if you're lifting 3 days a week and climbing about 4, you're not giving your lats a chance to recover, and your muscles only grow when they get rest after working out. If you want to train around 5-6 days a week, which is what it sounds like your after (and what I do myself), try what I do: I have chest/tricep/abs days, back/bicep days, and shoulder days. Although climbing can use almost every muscle in your body, the focus is on the back/bicep muscles (abs are incredibly important, and strengthening my abs has helped my climbing immensely, but I don't feel like climbing taxes/wears them down that much). With few exceptions, I do not work the same muscle group two days in a row. If I ever do (say by climbing two days in a row), I give that group the same number of consecutive rest days. By cycling through these days, and occasionally doubling up on climbing/back days, you can work out most days and give each muscle group plenty of time to recover.

Also, rather than a set routine, I would suggest mixing things up. If you do the exact same exercises over and over, your muscles adapt to that particular exercise, and it becomes less effective. Plus, if you ever need to use a muscle in a slightly different way, it might seem weak. Mix it up-this can give you better results and it also keeps you from getting bored.

As for reps, consider that you have two types of muscle fibers: slow twitch and fast twitch. High weights and low reps work fast twitch (6-10 reps to failure-good for powerful, bouldery stuff) while lower weight and higher reps work slow twitch (10-15 reps to failure-good for routes and such). The balance you strike depends on your goals, but don't totally neglect either, and consider that a majority of your muscle mass is fast twitch.

Having said all this, it looks like your goals are more cardio oriented, so maybe you should focus on that. A great addition to cardio training is complexes. I do these after every weight session. You'll probably want to start with fewer exercises and longer rests, but your goal should be this:

Pick 5 exercises that all use the same implement, be it body weight, a barbell, a (pair of) kettlebell(s), etc. With the given weight, you should be able to do 6-12 reps of each exercise, but not much more. Do all 5 exercises in a row for the allotted number of reps with no break inbetween. That's one set. Do three sets with a 60 second rest between each set. The idea here is that each set should take longer than the rest you get in between. This should be seriously intense (like nausea inducing you wanna pass out intense). But they're the best way I've found to cut out that little bit of fat that has always hung around my midsection and to increase my cardio fitness.

hope thats not too much info, and best of luck!


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By Highlander
From Ouray, CO
Jan 9, 2012

Looks like your weight training sessions are more geared toward bodybuilding than actual strength training. I you are wanting to get stronger at climbing you would do better by spending 2 days a week in a climbing gym, and a few days a week doing some sport specific cardio like hiking, skiing, ect.

If you want to hit the weight to more full body type lifts: check out: www.thealpinetrainingcenter.com/training or Mtnathlete.com for some examples.

Think sport specific!


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By Dylan Weldin
From Austin, Texas
Jan 11, 2012
Summit of my first tower, the Rectory via Fine Jade

booger, thanks for such a detailed post! I'll take some of your considerations into account! Does anyone else have any suggestions?

Even just a list of exercises that you regularly perform at you own gym would be great.

Also, any more wisdom about reps/ sets/ low or high weight?


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By aed
From Jackson, WY
Jan 11, 2012
aed

Interesting workout program on Wide Fetish:
widefetish.com/simplemachinesforum/index.php?topic=424.0


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By Jeff Ludwig
From phoenix, Az
Jan 11, 2012

i am trying to sort out specific weight training schedules too so i don't have much to add. Here are a few suggestions tho.
Core exercises like crunches, back bridges and planks
Olympic style lifts, deadlifts for hip power and front squats
Hip flexibility routines.
checkout www.mtnathlete.com/index.php


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