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What's the deal with P90X for climbing?
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By Mike Anderson
From Dayton, OH
Mar 29, 2011
I understand that "P90X" is a somewhat generic term that covers a number of exercise programs aimed at general fitness. I also have heard there are climbing specific workouts/programs that are offered. Is anyone familiar with the specifics that could summarize it for me, or point me toward some specific information?

I've had folks at the crag ask me about it, and I don't really know what to say.

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By Will S
From Joshua Tree
Mar 29, 2011
I believe Steve Edwards was one of the folks involved in crafting the program, and he's a long-time climber and on Mtn Proj. Maybe shoot him an email.

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By Alicia Sokolowski
From Brooklyn, NY
Mar 29, 2011
Hanging out waiting for Die Antwoord to come on stage
I did P90x last year. I wanted a little boost to look more cut in my abdominal area. It certainly delivers results if you stick with it.

I did not follow the diet as my diet is already reasonably good. I do not eat out except for VERY occasional sashimi when I cannot find fish fresh enough. I make all my own meals, nothing processed, mostly vegetables.

It is not climbing specific by any means, and other than overall marginal weight loss and maybe a bit more muscle development, you will climb basically the same.

I think you will get a lot better at climbing by just climbing than by P90x.

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By BryceS
From Hyrum Ut
Mar 29, 2011
If you can get a copy of DPM (Dead Point Magizine) it's a free climbing magazine, I get it at my gym. You could also go to the web site at dpmclimbing.com. The newest issue for March/April is the training issue. It has a really good article written by Steve Edwards where he lays out a P90X style program for climbing. Hope that helps.

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By Cindy Mitchell
Mar 30, 2011
Racking up for the 3rd pitch of Ruper
I'm on round two of the P90X 90 day workout program. I definitely toned up several body parts during the first 90 days. But, my climbing went to hell during the program. I think my muscles were so fatigued from the workouts that I had nothing left for climbing.

The program calls for workouts 6 days a week for roughly 1.5 hours per day. 3 days of lifting weights and 3 days of cardio. Good program. I'm interested to see the article in dp mag.

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By Ryan Brown
From Garlic Capitol of the World
Mar 30, 2011
By the time I finished my first round of P90X, bouldering to my max was fun. All the pull-ups are great prep.


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By SteveBechtel
Mar 30, 2011
Mike,
I'll bet if you just started doing P90X for your training, your redpoint max would reach 13a or b within a month or two...

SB

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By Brian in SLC
Mar 30, 2011
Climbing in Smuggler's Notch
Mike Anderson wrote:
I understand that "P90X" is a somewhat generic term that covers a number of exercise programs aimed at general fitness.


Check out Steve's blog. He's in SLC. You guys would get a kick out of each other...!

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By Jeff House
From rapid city sd
Mar 30, 2011
Wind river range 2013
Mike:
I know P90x has a ton of pullups ect which would be awesome for climbing but if u want to shread lbs, strengthen core and improve leg strength for dynamic movements I would suggest Insanity its like P90x but 100% plyo's all body weight and for the first month its a short 35 min work out and progresses to 60 min. my .02 good luck!
-Jeff

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By Dustin Roth
From Lincoln, Nebraska
Mar 30, 2011
1st Rap
I would suggest the TRX Trainer... Core yes, body weight movement (like climbing) yes, easy to transport yes, plus you can use it outside. I love the TRX and they even have extensions to the original for climbers called the talon grip so you can even improve your grip strength with various different finger combos. I really enjoy mine and have even taken a workshop provided by TRX.

Check it out at
fitnessanywhere.com

Its kind of expensive and being a climber you could pry make something extremely close out of webbing and small hardware for under 75 but the workout books and dvd are really great

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By S.Stelli
From Colorado Springs, CO
Mar 30, 2011
Dustin Roth wrote:
I would suggest the TRX Trainer...


TRX is neat but as you said, very expensive. I built mine for very cheap.

What I used:
8" of PVC pipe and some tape for handles.
THIS for the adjustable straps.

and I can put it anywhere. I think my total cost for $4 since I got the straps on sale.

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By S.Stelli
From Colorado Springs, CO
Mar 30, 2011
JLP wrote:
I'm confused. So this program hurts your climbing? How about some actual nuts and bolts here? What is the diet? What exercises? Thus far, I'm thinking this is yet another in a long line of bullshit get-fit-loose-weight-fast-for-lots-of-money programs.


the real p90x is actually a really great, all inclusive workout program and diet. Its fantastic for overall, general fitness.

If you are completely out of shape, and still want to climb, doing p90x will most certainly only help you climb better.

I think if you are already a seasoned climber, and in good CLIMBING shape, then p90x might just make you gain muscle where you don't need it for climbing, thus possibly hurting your climbing. Plus, as someone mentioned before, p90x has a LOT of workout time every week. You could burn out if you try and climb a lot and do p90x at the same time.

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By RockinOut
From NY, NY
Mar 30, 2011
Gear
I sub the pull days/excercises with my climbing. The diet is great and cardio is great....definitely get your hands on the latest DPM or go to their website to view the latest issue. Theres a great article on using the basis of the p90x, muscle confusion, and applying it to climbing specific workouts.

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By Mike Anderson
From Dayton, OH
Mar 30, 2011
JLP wrote:
I'm confused. So this program hurts your climbing?


Ding! Ding! Ding!

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By Mike Anderson
From Dayton, OH
Mar 30, 2011
RockinOut wrote:
Theres a great article on using the basis of the p90x...


What is great about it, and how did you determine it's greatness?

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By Mike Anderson
From Dayton, OH
Mar 30, 2011
A dozen posts or so and we're still waiting for some specifics. Is this like the Gym Jones cult where you have to take a vow of secrecy or something?

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By Mike Anderson
From Dayton, OH
Mar 30, 2011
Brian in SLC wrote:
Check out Steve's blog...


As a means of communicating large quantities of complex information I find blogs to be unsatisfactory...somewhere between Twitter and Fox News. I have been to Steve's blog and didn't find any general or summary information...just the flavor of the month type of stuff you get on every blog which is about as useful as watching one and only one episode of Lost.

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By RockinOut
From NY, NY
Mar 30, 2011
Gear
Mike Anderson wrote:
What is great about it, and how did you determine it's greatness?


edition.pagesuite-professional...

Its great because it gives you climbing workout based around the p90x. The p90x has never hurt my climbing. But like i said I sub some workouts for actual climbing....hae you ever attempted the p90x workout?

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By slim
Administrator
Mar 30, 2011
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.
if you are extremely fat and live on a desert island with no climbing, the P90X MIGHT help your climbing just by getting you into decent shape. if you already climb at a decent level, the P90X will probably do very little to help your climbing. if you are a pretty good climber and spend your training time actually doing something to help your climbing, adding the P90X will probably hurt your climbing by killing your recovery time and leading to overtraining injury.

i have to laugh at the notion that doing a bunch of pullups will be awesome for your climbing.

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By Monomaniac
Administrator
From Morrison, CO
Mar 30, 2011
Insurrection, 5.14c.  Photo Adam Sanders.
This guy uses P90X:


Mike Golic
Mike Golic

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By Mike Anderson
From Dayton, OH
Mar 30, 2011
I've read the article. I think his recommendations at the end are pretty spot on, but there aren't any specifics. It's easy to make the right recommendations when you don't give specifics, but still, I'll give credit where it's due. On the other hand, I disagree with some of his analysis in the early part of the article.

First, and this is a very common error, Gullich built and trained on the campus board long before he even saw Action Direct (see "Wolfgang Gullich: A Life in the Vertical"). The analysis that follows is problematic. Gullich was a poor competition climber because he didn't like competitions and was not a good onsight climber, it's not because his training was ineffective, which is an absurd point to make right after claiming that it helped him climb the world's hardest route. The larger point that Edlinger was a "free spirit" (comparable to Sharma) and Gullich was the training fiend is also absurd if you know anything about Gullich's life. It was exactly the opposite. Gullich was well known for having more interest in sipping coffee at a cafe than going climbing, and had long periods of low motivation where he didn't climb anything.

Steve later claims that hypertrophy should be avoided because you'll gain weight. I agree that hypertrophy in your legs and other areas would be counterproductive because they are very large muscles that don't need to be very strong to be effective for rock climbing. Making such a broad statement, however, is inappropriate. He says "If you increase your strength 10% and your weight 10% you will be decreasing your overall effectiveness at fighting gravity". First off, this doesn't make sense. Your performance would stay fixed, not decrease in this scenario. I think what he means to say is that you CAN'T increase your strength and weight equally only through hypertrophy. Muscle strength scales with the muscle cross sectional area, while muscle weight scales with it's volume. So, if you increased a muscle's strength 10%, it's area would increase 10%, so it's volume would increase 15%. SQRT(1.1)*1.1 = 1.15 --> 15% This is why big muscle-bound body builder dudes suck at climbing, and always will.

Even still, this is a poor argument to make in the context of climbing because the weak link for most climbers is the forearms, and they are such small muscles. Increasing the forearm mass by 15% would hardly be measurable, and certainly less than a few pounds, but increasing your crimp strength by 10% will have an enormous impact on your climbing.

Still it wasn't a bad article in the end, but it's aimed at pure novices, and clearly intended to be a "change of pace" from the typical training article. I have to say, it is one of the better magazine articles I've read on training, which unfortunately doesn't say much.

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By RockinOut
From NY, NY
Mar 30, 2011
Gear
JLP wrote:
Your ticklist suggests you recently broke into the 8's and 9's. Were you at a plateau until this P90X thing?


Ha no I havent updated anything on my profile since I actually created the profile. Dropping 20lbs due to p90x wont do anything but help with climbing...at least for me

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By Shamus Gaffney
Mar 30, 2011
Get yourself a Shake Weight. Even if your climbing doesn"t improve, you'll hone other valuable skills.

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By Crimp Junkie
From New Britain, CT
Mar 31, 2011
Profile
Dustin Roth wrote:
Its kind of expensive and being a climber you could pry make something extremely close out of webbing and small hardware for under 75 but the workout books and dvd are really great


I made two of these for a grand total of $7.83.

Ring
Ring


That said, having come from a very diverse general conditioning background, I largely agree with the school of thought that general conditioning programs like P90X won't have a directly positive impact on climbing strength (assuming were talking pure rock climbing here, and not technical alpine climbing, big walling, etc). However, its easily conceivable that a highly anaerobic program like P90X could help those carrying around a few extra pounds to lose them. For those without a weight issue, though, it seems to me that a program like P90X would be eating into valuable time better used for rock climbing specific training & recovery.

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By mattm
From TX
Mar 31, 2011
Grande Grotto
The P90X will benefit you're climbing primarily in a weight loss and general fitness way. You'll be a Pull-Up CHAMP at the end as well but that doesn't do a whole lot for climbing hard routes. I'd do P90X during a non-climbing cycle (eg winter) It's HARD. Especially if you've been out of the cardio-fitness game for a while I used to be Div 1 Track and Field. It's been a while other than some casual 5Ks and when I started I felt like I had been run over by a train. It really open my eyes to how FAR I had let my self go general fitness wise.

Eventually I incorporated PARTS of the P90X into my training. It's usually low weight reps so not a lot of bulking of the muscles.

Really, what I need to do is just run and do the P90X general cross training to loose weight and train my antagonistic muscles.


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By steve edwards
From SLC, UT
Apr 4, 2011
P90X was not designed in any way for climbers, nor was it designed for any athletes. It was a graduate degree for our customers who had completed things like Power 90 and Slim in 6 who were natrually evolving to a place where they needed a higher-level training program. It's a good, sound, training program for building a fitness base and, as many of you have pointed out, will help some climbers but not most climbers. But the fact that professional athletes are using it means, to me, that many pro teams could use a better training staff.

In the Deadpoint article I tried to assess this, as they originally wanted an article on the effectiveness of general conditioning for climbers, which required a reference point. And while there is a group of climbers that would benefit from a program like 90X--mainly those who've created too much imbalance by training too specifically and are being slowed down by constant injury--it would not be appropriate for most climbers trying to improve at their sport. It was meant to be very basic because before going into specific training points for climbing you need an overall strategy. This is the main problem with training articles in magazines, which tend to provide a solution for part of the puzzle without addressing what the puzzle is.

I would agree with Mike's assessment of the piece. I know/knew the climbers in the into and my perspectives are correct but perhaps brushed over too quickly to stand up to analysis as it wasn't meant to. That bit was written as entertainment to show that there are many different perspectives on training as a lead in for the more techie bits. I needed to cover a lot of somewhat boring ground in as few words as possible so that subsequent articles on training will all have a reference point.

We did just shoot a program that will be much better for climbers. It's the sequal to 90x and uses a lot more advanced techiniques to improve movement patterns that can be abridged in a way where hypertrophy won't be such a hinderance. I'll be writing more for Deadpoint and my blog will continue to explore ways to integrate different training systems to be sports specific. Hopefully this will help our approach to training for climbing become a bit more logical and systematic, keeping us less injuried and on the rock more.

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