What are your experiences of PE training? My local wall has a pretty decent circuit board that I can perform a variation of 4x4 (was actually think 6-8x2, going round a problem twice without rest for 6-8 sets). I'd also read an article by Steve McClure about using a campus board but with the feet on an edge for PE training. As a sidenote: I don't like calling it 'feet-on campusing' since campusing by definition is climbing without feet, and using the board with feet is a totally different workout from using it without. Campusing is a strength/power training tool for far more advanced climbers than I, and I'm talking about training anaerobic endurance.
My feeling is that using the campus board with my feet anchored means I can overload the forearms without anything else being a limiting factor. Equally however, it stands to reason that a workout that actually has me climbing is of more use for improving my climbing, since I'd be forced to do moves and re-adjust my feet whilst pumped. What are your experiences of using either method? What would you think of doing both in the same workout, provided I didn't attempt too much volume?
In reply to cb_6: Id give both a go and see how they feel. In my experience it's usually pretty obvious when a certain exercise is hitting the spot.
In addition have a watch of this: http://www.vimeo.com/63348779 If you're trying to train PE (or any other energy system) it's important to get the intensity and rest right, otherwise you risk slipping in to endurance/strength during your workout which is obviously not very good if you're aiming to improve your PE.
Jon, specific training can offer much better gains if you do it properly. To use PE as an example, if you're redpointing routes you'd be lucky to get 5 or 6 good redpoint burns in a 2hr session, and within those redpoint burns you're looking at maybe 2-3 mins max where you're really getting boxed and testing your PE. So over a 2hr period you're getting maybe 15 mins of proper PE training in (bear in mind that this assumes you do everything else right, like choosing a route of exactly the right difficulty, resting properly etc. so that no redpoint is wasted.)
Compare that to 4x4s, where in an hour you can easily get 30 mins of soul destroying PE training done, and any mistakes are easily corrected. In the long term this higher intensity will ead to better results.
That's not to say redpointing isn't useful, just that it isn't necessarily the best way to improve your PE if you've already got some redpointing skills.
Bear in mind if you're redpointing something hard and hence getting 5-6 burns in a session that's going to be massively different in intensity from the kind of power endurance you can do for 30 minutes in the hour.
You'll spend a lot more time doing the latter, but if you've picked the difficulty right then the former will be massively higher intensity whilst you're doing it, so I don't think its as simple as saying you can do one for longer so its higher intensity. It might be a higher training load (intensity x time) but it might not be - depending on the intensities.
In reply to AJM: I think that's the strength of specific training, though. If you want that higher intensity then it's really easy to target that by just choosing harder problems for your 4x4s.
I guess what Im getting at is that with redpointing there's a lot of 'overhead', if you are actually trying to redpoint properly then you'll spend a lot of time worrying about your sequence, resting where you can, that tricky boulder problem before the PE section etc. All that distracts from the main goal. With specific training (be it 4x4s, feet on campussing or whatever) those distractions are minimised and you can focus on getting totally boxed.
I'd say that 4x4s are going to be WAY better than the foot on campusing at your level (F6b if I'm reading your profile right).
My personal experience is that 4x4s on the boulders is one of the things that shifted me from struggling on 6bs to struggling on 7as. Learning to continue to climb with coordination when boxed is invaluable and not something you'd get as much from the campus regime.
Also worth considering 3x3s or 4x4s on sustained pumpy routes. You climb the route, rest approx 2 minutes, repeat the route, rest 2 minutes, repeat the route, until failure. Then your mate's turn and a much needed rest for you. Choose another route and do it all again, for a total of 16 routes ideally. You should be able to do this almost at your onsight grade, but start a bit lower until you get used to it. Good to choose routes you know as then you know they're sustained and not too cruxy, I normally lead the first 2 efforts and then top rope as I get near failure as it means I push harder. For me training my head gets in the way here. Robbie Phillip's got a good online article somewhere about this.
One big advantage of the roped routine, IF you can find a partner for it of course, is that it works even at busy times at the wall. Whereas boulder 4x4s are virtually impossible and very frustrating if the wall is at all busy.
In reply to cb_6: Thanks for the responses everyone. The message seems to be that 4x4 (or a variation of it) is going to be of more use so I'll stick with that. Will be more fun too ;-) I've learnt from the past that trying to cram too many things into a training session is counter-productive so I'll forget feet on campus boarding for now.