/ Aerocap Training - Optimal Amount

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L mono_no_aware - on 08 Mar 2018

Hey guys, American here but I think you Brits are the best at hardcore training so wanted to float this out here. I'm training for an endurance intensive big wall free climb that's mostly 5.12 / E5? finger cracks /  dihedrals. I currently follow a Tom Randall / Alex Barrows style training program and do a strength day (HB, power, & ancap in one session) followed by an aerocap day. Throw a half a PE session in once a week too. Rest a day and then repeat for 4 training days a week. 

My question is what is the optimal / maximal amount of aerocap to do? I used to cycle and think about how those guys would do literally dozens of hours on a bike at arc level in the off season. I'm not suggesting I go that far, but what's the optimal amount and method? Currently doing 1 hour per aerocap session x 2 a week = 2 hours/week, with 30 minutes of it doing 1 min on 1 min off at higher intensity, and 30 minutes continuously. Am thinking about ramping this up to 2 hours per session x 2 = 4 hours a week, and a part of me is tempted to try and ramp it up even more . I have my own mini climbing wall with wood holds so I can do as much as I want without being a prick. Is there a point at which there are diminishing returns? 

Post edited at 20:14
AJM - on 08 Mar 2018
In reply to mono_no_aware:

I don't really know about diminishing returns of the volume, but I always find it useful to think of spending a given "recovery budget" (and if very high volume a skin budget too!). Using that budget on aerocap (less so if very low end) diminishes the amount of quality strength training you can do. So partly the answer is going to depend where your current level is in relation to 12 finger cracks - in general a big wall objective sounds like a big spend on aerocap though. 

Ican't remember what the max I had from Tom was at any given time, probably 4 sessions (so maybe 2 hours like you), but then that was a generalist plan not a big wall plan so probably isn't the ceiling of what you could usefully do .

L mono_no_aware - on 08 Mar 2018
In reply to AJM:

Awesome, that's helpful to think of ~2 hours as a baseline. I agree with you on the recovery budget / diminishing strength aspect of things, but as you noted my objective is very endurance focused. Plus, I'm guessing my weakness is probably endurance.

Would be interesting to hear from other folks who have done higher volumes of aerocap and whether or not it was helpful.

abarro81 - on 08 Mar 2018
In reply to mono_no_aware:

Like AJM said, it's generally about balancing doing more against limited time and limited recovery potential. I work in the 2-3hr per week range when hitting it hard, but I mainly don't go above that because I'm always wanting to train strength a lot too as I'm focused on single pitch routes and hard moves cause me issues! I guess if I were going big walling maybe I would do more, hard to say though, it will depend on things like whether 5.12 is a grade you'll need to feel strong for or whether that should be chilled as far as moves goes and it's all about endurance and day fitness. For a big wall you'll probably want to be beating yourself up to get good day fitness!


L mono_no_aware - on 09 Mar 2018
In reply to abarro81:

Thanks for the advice Alex! Yeah I do need to balance it with strength and I know being stronger will also enhance my endurance. I'll try gradually increasing the aerocap to 3 hours and then maybe more and seeing how my body responds. 

So my training program is totally based on your PDF. You mention doing 4x strength workouts 2 of which are ancap. Do you think it makes more sense to spread out my strength workouts throughout the week or to stack them together? By this I mean, is it better to:

Spread: Day 1: Hangboard and limit boulder, Day 2: Ancap and aerocap, Day 3 rest and Day 4: HB and limit boulder, day 5 ancap, 0.5 PE, aerocap, Day 6 & 7 Rest

or Stack: Day 1: Hangboard, limit boulder, ancap, Day 2: Aerocap, day 3 rest , Day 4: HB, limit boulder, ancap, day 5 0.5 PE and aerocap , day  6 & 7 rest

What do you do? I'm guessing you spread them out? My rationale for following more of a stack approach is that I'm giving myself 2 days to recover (one of them albeit compromised by aerocap) before the next strength session. Am I missing out on potential strength gains though if I do it like this? Haha sorry for getting super nerdy about this stuff but I find it really interesting.

danm on 09 Mar 2018
In reply to mono_no_aware:

If you want to go full geek mode on this, may I recommend,4.0.html as it is where the real cellar dwellers tend to hide out!

abarro81 - on 10 Mar 2018
In reply to mono_no_aware:

Ramping up and seeing how it goes sounds sensible. Different people respond differently too, so the point of diminishing returns will be different for everyone

On those options I would probably spread rather than stack, but nowadays how I organize my days is largely driven by the logistics of when I do/don't have free time and how the sessions fit in around work etc. I'd say try one structure for a couple of weeks, then try the other structure and see if one feels better in terms of feeling like you're fresher and getting more out of the sessions.

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