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/ Couple of training questions

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Jon Stewart - on 06 Jan 2019

I've settled on bouldering on a 30 degree board as my strength training thing. Done it 2-3 times a week this winter and seen modest improvement, and I quite enjoy it.

Sometimes, due to when weather/work/commitments fall, I end up wanting to have sessions 2 days or more on the bounce. Not always board sessions, sometimes routes. Now obviously, some days are better than others, but what's the right thing to do on a bad day?

Say, I did a bouldering sessions yesterday and I've got time to do a 90min session today. I warm up, pull onto a familiar problem and fall straight off. Then again. Hmmm, this is going to be crap, I think.

  • Question 1: Should I sack it off and go home, as I'm not fresh and just wasting my time and inviting injury? Or maybe switch to an endurance/circuits session instead? Or is there still benefit in the session even if I'm doing quite shit?

Now, I've focused more on the bouldering so far this winter because I usually have stacks of low-intensity endurance and can hang on to routes for hours without making much upward progress, even when they're steep and pumpy. Seems to me that more power and maybe PE are needed to get to the top of trad routes without grinding to a halt at a hard bit (more willingness to go for it with uncertain outcome, would also help), hence the board bouldering.

But now it seems like time to switch focus from bouldering to routes/circuits so I'm dead fit when the trad season begins.

  • Question 2: From now on, I reckon I'll do a session of  4x4 routes, a session of "route pottering" (long 25m routes, short redpoint routes, whatever's up at the wall), 4x4 circuit sessions (short/PE), and carry on with a board session a week. But this seems like a total unstructured mess that's not really focused on anything (fits with partners and stuff). Is this mishmash of endurance/PE/strength workouts pretty much ideal for the totally variable world of trad, or do I need to periodise different stuff to get the benefits of training?

Given that trad climbing is so dependent on committing under pressure, faith in gear, etc, I suspect I'm over-thinking the whole thing, and so long as I do *something* 3x a week, it'll make barely any difference what it is...

Thanks for any thought on this.

Post edited at 14:10
Si Witcher - on 06 Jan 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

To question 1: if you had a hard board session yesterday then you should be tired today, so either do endurance or rest today. Don't try and repeat the same session so soon.

To question 2: that does sound like an unstructured mish-mash. Clarify your goal: when do you want to be trad-route fit for? 1st March? 1st May? Whenever the date is, id keep up at least one power/strength bouldering session per week until closer to the time, especially if you know you excel as a weak, fit plodder (much like me).

jezb1 - on 06 Jan 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

There’s plenty of far better climbers than me on here but...

Q1, personally I stick it out, it helps me grind out a red point knowing I can still potentially succeed even if I’m not feeling quite 100%

Q2, whilst a lot of people will periodise their training, I keep mine varied most of the time (but importantly still structured), except in the build up to a particular trip. In my mind that helps me alround so I can be ready for climbing my best whenever.

I expect you’ll get a variety of answers.

Post edited at 14:47
AJM - on 06 Jan 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

For question 1, once you’re certain it isn’t just bad luck/not as warmed up as you thought/whatever I’d sack the board session for something else - I don’t think you can train strength very well when tired. But you could probably give yourself an endurance thrashing still if you so desired.

For question 2, it’s a bit of a mish mash, so you won’t get the same sort of benefit as being religiously periodised. But then you want to sustain a peak that’s longer than a religiously periodised cycle might deliver anyway, right. It looks sensible enough. I’d just make sure that you try to put the sessions in the right places - never strength when you’re already tired, most intense training first, whatever.

i suspect your observation at the bottom is very pertinent. In some ways, whatever training will make you *feel* most on form at that moment when you need to decide whether you’ve got the oomph or not, is probably best.

 

 

zv - on 06 Jan 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

I generally wouldn't ever train strength 3 days on the trot. Even 3 days is pushing it.

The general rule with strength training is that you cannot train it on a tired body.

In order to really force your body to respond you need to pull the hardest and you can only do that if fresh.

On a day when I'm tired and the weather is bad, I would either:

- train some power endurance - just some laps on easier problems sustained problems. Say 3 laps on V3-V4 if you are climbing about V5/V6. They need to be sustained enough so that you feel powered out by the last lap.

Or sack it off and take an extra rest day to give you the best chance of a really good session/outdoor performance in a couple of days.

Enjoy

 

Jon Stewart - on 06 Jan 2019
In reply to all:

Thanks all so far. Sounds like a fair consensus on strength training when knackered.

As for clarifying the goal - I want to be in good shape as soon as the sun comes out, which will hopefully be a trip to Pembroke early April. But in reality it's whatever the sun god delivers. I don't want to get too hung up on a performance peak early season, because it might be May before I get on anything decent, that's sometimes how it goes. Like AJM said, rather than aiming for a particular peak, it's more about building resources to be deployed in anger when the time comes (whenever that may be).

I'll definitely try to keep some sort of maintenance training going though so if it is the end of June before I'm properly on it, the whole thing won't have been a total waste of time. 

Jon Stewart - on 06 Jan 2019
In reply to AJM:

> In some ways, whatever training will make you *feel* most on form at that moment when you need to decide whether you’ve got the oomph or not, is probably best.

Exactly this. It's not really about having the strength/power/whatever to do the moves, it's about feeling like there's a sufficient margin to do them above gear (I often find that I just can't make myself do stuff if it feels reckless, so there's an illusion that it's strength/power). Of course, I do need to be a lot more reckless: after all, falling off a trad route while actually trying is generally a really good experience and not anything like the near-death inverting head-smashing calamity that fills my mind as soon as it becomes a realistic possibility.

AJM - on 06 Jan 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Exactly this. It's not really about having the strength/power/whatever to do the moves, it's about feeling like there's a sufficient margin to do them above gear (I often find that I just can't make myself do stuff if it feels reckless, so there's an illusion that it's strength/power). Of course, I do need to be a lot more reckless: after all, falling off a trad route while actually trying is generally a really good experience and not anything like the near-death inverting head-smashing calamity that fills my mind as soon as it becomes a realistic possibility.

This. This is me.

I’m just keeping all appendages crossed that I can get out a bit over the winter (south coast living) so that when we hit Easter I’ve already got a few trips in, calves that can take more than a few minutes of standing on holds, and a bit of familiarity. This year will be different.....

slab_happy on 06 Jan 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Re: Question 2 -- might be worth checking out Steve Bechtel's "Logical Progression", which is non-linear periodization aimed at producing steady improvement rather than a single peak and cycles through successive sessions of different types -- so you might have a session of strength, a session of "intensive endurance", a session of bouldering, then back to strength again, for example.

Even if you don't want to use one of his plans un-modified, it might help give you ideas on how to make a "mish-mash" work, and confidence that you don't have to do standard linear periodization.

Fishmate - on 06 Jan 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Just being a boulderer, I wont pitch in regarding specific training for rope stuff but have a couple of general thoughts.

I think linear periodisation is old hat and nonsensical, e.g. there is no point doing power endurance for a month and stopping a month before your first trip to train another area because the power will vanish. I would adopt a non linear method, let's call it a 'keep all the plates spinning' approach. Continuing with PE even if once a week (now you have a base) should bring an extra dimension to your climbing and greater confidence. Power is priceless and worth training on a regular basis, not just pre season.

As for turning up at the wall and not feeling up for your session, I think there is always the risk of setting a bad precedent if you go home. Psychologically, it makes it easier to go home the next time and so on.... Staying for an hour and doing a circuit of a bouldering grade that shouldn't challenge you too much but could get pumpy if you use bad technique is valuable time spent. Concentrate on the obvious, footwork, contact, and bodily movement but try to read the problems so you flow through them. Extra mileage doesn't have to be eyeballs out and having a more cerebral session occasionally changes the focus from, I feel sh*te and can't pull down to I'm enjoying this session and glad I stayed = psychologically positive.

Good luck whatever you choose!

paul__in_sheffield - on 06 Jan 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

I’ve a 30 degree system board at home now, but interleave it with bouldering circuits or quite soon, lead 4x4. We’ll be heading out to Font around Easter. Purely by chance, I found that I have much more successful bouldering trips if I’ve been hammering the 4x4s on lead routes. I’ve no Idea why, but do it because it works ;-)

As I’ve got older, I’ve never gained anything but injury from consecutive training board days. 

Looks like some pretty good advice on here.

Coel Hellier - on 06 Jan 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> I usually have stacks of low-intensity endurance and can hang on to routes for hours without making much upward progress, even when they're steep and pumpy

This would explain why you think that Sharpnose grades are soft!   

Jon Stewart - on 06 Jan 2019
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> This would explain why you think that Sharpnose grades are soft!   

Certainly does - no hard moves, just plodding and shoving cams in, easy!  Wall training works well for Pembroke too, but isn't so good for the Lakes (can be scary and awkward, weird 3D grooves and stuff). Totally useless on grit of course. 

Post edited at 22:17
deacondeacon - on 06 Jan 2019
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Nothing to do with the thread but can you text me your number (or pm me if you've lost mine).

Cheers mate  

Jon Stewart - on 06 Jan 2019
In reply to deacondeacon:

Pm'd you. Sometimes takes ages i think...

Fishmate - on 06 Jan 2019
In reply to paul__in_sheffield:

> We’ll be heading out to Font around Easter.

Such a good sentence.

>Purely by chance, I found that I have much more successful bouldering trips if I’ve been hammering the 4x4s on lead routes. I’ve no Idea why, but do it because it works ;-)

Woh, woh woh! When exactly did you discover this? Do you think it builds a slightly deeper all day type of operating power endurance than regular bouldering 4x4's, i.e. you are able to stay in the game longer..


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