/ Workout routine based around climbing - general advice please

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geebus - on 16 Sep 2012
I'm looking to build a workout routine around climbing, but despite lots of googling, still unsure of how to structure it etc.

Climbing two or three days a week; presuming I should be building a workout routine around that; ie so I'm not trying to go for my pull-up record the day before a climbing session.

I'm specifically looking for advice on how to structure general workouts around climbing, especially when we're talking evening climbing sessions.
But any general suggestions welcome too.

Background:
I'm now not getting far off my weight-goal (am at 12st4lb of 11st6lb - I started on around 16st in may), at which point I plan to start making a decent effort to bulk up a bit. However, I might as well start now; especially getting used to 'core' exercise which I certainly need more of (dodgy back accepting).

When I get the space/time at work, I've got dumbells, incline/decline bench and a multigym to set up. Oh and about 300 climbing holds to get set up on some of the racking!

Over a week or so I want:
2 or 3 indoor bouldering/climbing sessions.
Some HIIT maybe
Lots of abs specific work.
Some running and some cycling. I fancy giving a trialthon a go next year (my swimming really sucks at the moment), so possibly even combine these into the same day if I've got time.
Some 'normal' weights using dumbbells - though maybe this could just be covered by the HIIT sessions?

Running and cycling will be weather dependant.

Also add in lots of dog walking too (irrelevant generally, but more calories burnt etc :), even after doing lots of hard exercise, I'm still happy to go for a 3 mile+ dog walk if I have the time and it shouldn't get in the way of other stuff I reckon.) Daily cycling to get around rather than the van where possible.

Any thoughts?
NIGBEE on 16 Sep 2012
In reply to geebus:

No info for you but congratulations on the weight loss.

How has your climbing grade improved with doing it?
AJM - on 16 Sep 2012
In reply to geebus:

Thoughts:

- What are your goals - you want to lose weight and then bulk up, do a triathlon, but where are your goals for the 3 climbing sessions a week?
- Is the bulking up for climbing or a goal in its own right, and if the former why do you think you need to bulk up? Climbing doesn't really generally require muscles (well, obviously it does, but you don't need large ones anywhere except maybe your forearms).
- You've got a lot of non-climbing sessions or plans in there - how many of those are things you want to do anyway in their own right and how many of them do you think will improve your climbing (they probably won't as much as a climbing session or some other form of climbing specific training would)?
Mi|es - on 16 Sep 2012
In reply to geebus:

I echo what AJM said, you don't really seem to know exactly what you want to do except lose 5kgs and then (maybe) 'bulk up'.

If you want to lose weight, the best way to do it is to reduce the number of calories you're consuming without reducing the amount of exercise you do each week so HIIT isn't really necessary unless you're using it as a more time efficient way to get a bit of cardio training for your triathlon.

As for using dumbbells, I see no reason to bother, they won't help you climb/run/cycle better and there are better ways to lose weight.

I also question your desire to do 'lots of abs specific work'. If you're hoping it will help you lose weight around your stomach then you're wrong but if it's something you've highlighted as a problem while climbing (unable to maintain body tension etc) then it may be worthwhile doing some.

Personally, I'd say try to split your climbing sessions so that you have at least a day to rest between each and maybe have one cardio day for running/cycling until you decide firmly on your goals.
geebus - on 17 Sep 2012
In reply to NIGBEE:
It's hard to say as only really started climbing again once I'd lost a fair bit of weight, but I'm noticeably better I'd say - certainly trying to hold myself on to pinchy holds etc, I was quite impressed how much easier it was doing it this year. And when doing it last year it was before I put on all the weight, but certainly at more than I am now.


Sorry, I should probably add some more 'background'; I actually cut out a load of waffle as the initial post was rather long and in danger of getting stuck in notepad where I was writing it!

Background a bit backwards, but probably in a more useful order:

Goals: be generally fit to enjoy doing the activities I enjoy doing. Have a decent 'beach body' - I've got a fairly large frame (big chest etc) so think I suit some muscle. Also want a six pack for more 'tart' reasons :) - thus the abs work, though I do think more core strength would also help my climbing (keeping feet from swinging out etc).

Climbing seems to be my current focus at the moment, so makes sense to work a routine around that.
While it'd be nice for other exercise to contribute, apart from core work, it's more a case that I at least don't want it to have a negative impact, though I'm sure better general strength and fitness will help a little.

For climbing I want to improve my climbing generally. Strength partly, but technique more. Which reminds me; also need to work some stretching/flexibility in to it too I reckon.
Know enough climbers that are massively better than me to know that bulk isn't needed - and may even be a hindrance. On that, not intending to get massive, but would like a good bit more than I have.

I started climbing a few years ago partly to try and strengthen up my wrists which were causing me problems riding motocross and enduro. At the time it turns out I was just knackering them more with all the stuff I was trying to do to sort them out.
This is still a long term plan; given the choice, afraid I'd prefer to be doing an enduro than climbing (maybe shouldn't say that here :P).
But I still do enjoy climbing a lot and it's certainly more accessible than motorbike riding for a lot of reasons.

Things like doing the Triathlon are purely for the sake of it to encourage me to get and keep some overall fitness. Not something big in the grand scheme of things, nor something I'll enjoy that much.

And finally; fairly sorted on losing weight (err, apart from today maybe, bit stressful etc and ate a tad too much, though seems I've still got a deficiet by the calories my motoactv said I burned :) ).
Also, well aware that without losing fat abs work will make a bigger not smaller belly!
shark - on 17 Sep 2012
In reply to geebus: Congratulations on the weight loss

I'll let others comment on other things but with respect to strengthening wrists you could incorporate the dumbell wrist complex at 2.40 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7iJsEUQzRU#]Istvan at the start of a weights session as it is good as warm-up exercise too.

You could follow this up with a Bolton complex with DBs which is designed for climbers:
Hammer curlsx6
Military Press/ Overhead Squat x6 Curl the DB's to your shoulders, squat, do a military press, stand up, squat down, lower the DB's to shoulders and repeat.
Upright row x6
High pull snatch x6
Dumbell flys on Swiss Ball x6
Straight arm Pullover x6 on Swiss Ball
Bent Over rows x10

After that maybe barbell work and heavier weights such as these:
O/head squat http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PCWLs1jTOVE
and this for inspiration! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjuULPqI-WY
Some Bicep Curls
Power Clean http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6tXcS0Xp1aE
Clean and Jerk http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tfPAY_FyBHc
Deadlifts (the king of core exercises) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Syt7A23YnpA
Finger rolls with DB's to finish

In contrast to what Mijes says I personally I find weights much better for getting lean than running. It also goes some way to correcting some of the physical imbalances that climbers can accrue which also lead to injury. Some exrecises like deadlifts are suberb for the ability to stand up using undercuts for example and putting power through the trunk to your feet.

Remember that low reps/heavier weights is better for strength without bulk
alooker - on 17 Sep 2012
In reply to geebus: congrats on the weight loss!
Mi|es - on 17 Sep 2012
In reply to geebus:

Well it seems climbing-wise you don't really need much advice, just climb 2-3 times a week as you said you wanted to.

As for your 'bodybuilding' plans you have two options really. Either continue to cut until you reach your ideal weight (you'll need to be about 10% bodyfat if you want your abs to show properly) and then start slowly bulking whilst maintaining the 10% bf or (and this is what I'd personally do since the cold months are coming and nobody's gonna see your abs anyway) focus on gaining size now and then start cutting during spring next year.

Regardless of which of these options you choose, I suggest you spend a good few hours researching before you decide on any particular lifting regime. I'd personally recommend 'Starting Strength' as it's aimed at beginners that want to get big and strong and is very straightforward to follow but there are many other alternatives out there.

In reply to Shark, although cardio is a more efficient way of burning calories, I do agree that some weightlifting (compound exercises like squat/C&J/deadlift/bench press etc) is comparable. However I stand by what I said in that you're unlikely to burn many with just a set of dumbells you have at home.

I'm also not a massive fan of the Bolton complex as it seems to only really focus on the 'pulling' muscles which I think is likely to worsen any of the imbalances he mentioned. Furthermore, although the deadlift is definitely my favourite lift, I don't think I'd ever call it 'the king of core exercises' :P
shark - on 17 Sep 2012
In reply to Mi|es:

> In reply to Shark, although cardio is a more efficient way of burning calories, I do agree that some weightlifting (compound exercises like squat/C&J/deadlift/bench press etc) is comparable. However I stand by what I said in that you're unlikely to burn many with just a set of dumbells you have at home.


Depends what you mean by efficient but in terms of time spent half an hour lifting heavy weights is far more intense (burns more calories) than half an hour running unless you are doing a hill session or sprint intervals which most people won't.


> I'm also not a massive fan of the Bolton complex as it seems to only really focus on the 'pulling' muscles which I think is likely to worsen any of the imbalances he mentioned. Furthermore, although the deadlift is definitely my favourite lift, I don't think I'd ever call it 'the king of core exercises' :P


What can I say? None of the Bolton Complex exercises resembles a pull-up and the deadlift is a fantastic core exercise working the full chain. Core isn't just abs.
Mi|es - on 18 Sep 2012
In reply to shark:

> Depends what you mean by efficient but in terms of time spent half an hour lifting heavy weights is far more intense (burns more calories) than half an hour running unless you are doing a hill session or sprint intervals which most people won't.

Do you have any evidence to support that claim? I'm aware it's not very scientific but this calculator rates running/cycling as far more calorie intensive than weight lifting http://www.healthstatus.com/calculate/cbc


> What can I say? None of the Bolton Complex exercises resembles a pull-up and the deadlift is a fantastic core exercise working the full chain. Core isn't just abs.

You don't think that curls and rows target similar muscle groups to pull ups? As for deadlifts, I wholeheartedly agree that they're an amazing POSTERIOR chain exercise and that there is more to the core than just the abs, but I think to call them 'the king of core exercises' is misleading and likely to confuse most readers, especially one who's specified he wants help seeing his abs.

I hope I don't come across as too much of a d*ck, I've read a lot of your posts and tend to agree with most of what you say, I just thought I should speak up here in the hope that you might be able to change my mind.
shark - on 18 Sep 2012
In reply to Mi|es:

If that calculator is right then you are right. It doesnt accord with my experience. Similarly the weights exercise that helps my feet stick to a stteep board most is deadlifts. If you want more info on the muscle groups targeted by the Bolton complex PM Serpico on UKB - he invented it.
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geebus - on 18 Sep 2012
Cheers for all the thoughts all.

I think the question I most need answering to work out my 'plan' is - what bits should I do/avoid doing the day before/same day as/day after climbing?
Pull-ups are an obvious exercise that presumably I don't want to be doing the day before or after, so that muscles have got a chance to recuperate.

From what I've read in the past, doing cardio will just burn calories while you're doing it, while weights etc will continue to burn calories for the next 24 hours or whatever, as your body repairs it's self.
What I haven't seen is any decent figures on exactly how much this does or does not burn. All too often people find a little difference or just older now depreciated research etc is used, then a series of Chinese whispers leads to "do x and you'll give a massive boost to your metabolism" when in reality it's a few calories a day.

My plan is to get to 10% BF which should be around the 11 stone 7lb mark, then go to a TDEE+250 calories diet. Though probably try and slowly build myself up to that, rather than going from trying to hit -1000 calories straight up to +250 calories.
Fine getting there with what I'm doing so not too worried about calorie burn for cardio vs weights etc - "the plan" I'm looking to formulate is more for once I've got there - but there's no reason not to start it sooner as far as the exercise routine goes.

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