/ Gym workout day before climbing session

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Jon Greengrass 06 Feb 2020

My nearest wall is 40minutes drive away and with family commitments I am only able to climb twice a week indoors on a Tuesday or Wednesday evening and a Friday evening. On a Thursday evening I have time for 1.5hr session in the local leisure centre gym which is only 10 minutes drive away.

I have been doing the following exercises

5 sets of 5 reps of  lat pull downs, military press, Chest press, pec  dec, 

3 sets of 10 reps 1 arm dumbbell rows, standing dumbbell fly, finger flexor and extensor curls

3 set of 15 reps of crunches and leg raises

After a couple of weeks trying this out, I am wondering whether this is a good idea, or if I need to modify my workout, because I felt so weak the next day I was struggling on boulder problems I would normally flash. Any suggestions?

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Liamhutch89 06 Feb 2020
In reply to Jon Greengrass:

Don't know your age or training history but your body should adapt over time and grow stronger to tolerate it as its still a relatively low training load.

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robal 06 Feb 2020
In reply to Jon Greengrass:

keep on at it, you'll adapt, i used to do mon/weds/fri at the gym and then tues/thurs/sat or sun climbing. 

I still do back to back days monday-thurs then sat 

Its a difficult thing to explain but I was told if you turn up and do 90% effort 7 days a week then you will not sustain it, if you are going from 2 days to 3 days a week then initially you will have to dial it back from 90% to 70% to account for it but your body will adjust and efffort and strength will increase!

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Iamgregp 06 Feb 2020
In reply to Jon Greengrass:

I can usually only climb a couple of days a week so go to the gym once or twice a week too.  

I do lots of core work, cardio, chest, legs etc as these are areas I don't feel like get worked as much as  when I climb...  means when I do go climbing the muscles I use to climb aren't too DOMS-y and it is of benefit to all round fitness.

I guess the other peoples suggestion that your body will adapt and get stronger is better advice but I just don't have the dedication to stick with it and keep having crappy sessions down the wall!

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NOG 06 Feb 2020
In reply to Jon Greengrass:

My personal experience is that I am not sold on those kind of traditional weight training exercises for climbing. My experience is that while I do get stronger/fitter in a general sense the exercises themselves don't seem to transfer to me climbing better the way other exercises seem to.  

My preference at the moment at a typical gym is some kind of suspension trainer e.g. rings/TRX - rows, I's ,Y's & T's (facing forwards or backwards depending) and use a portable fingerboard that you can hang on a chin-up bar and do some dead-hangs/chin-ups on that. Leg-raises while hanging on a bar/fingerboard for core. I try and fit this into about 45mins/1hr and it might be something you can set up at home relatively cheaply and which would also save you 20mins in the car.

Re. tiredness it's not surprising that you find climbing harder the day after a gym session - it should be. That's not really a problem and can be a good thing as it forces you to find more efficient ways to move to get up problems you know you can do easily if you're fresh.

Would just echo one of the other responses don't step up the training too quickly. No more than 10% increase in either volume or intensity week on week is a rough rule that has helped guide me in the past and nothing makes me stronger than a week of rest after 4-6 weeks of consistent, injury free training.

 Good luck

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krikoman 07 Feb 2020
In reply to Jon Greengrass:

> After a couple of weeks trying this out, I am wondering whether this is a good idea, or if I need to modify my workout, because I felt so weak the next day I was struggling on boulder problems I would normally flash. Any suggestions?

I wondering the same, and I have no suggestions.

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webbo 07 Feb 2020
In reply to Jon Greengrass:

As people have already stated you need time for your body to adjust to the extra training. You will initially find climbing harder the day after weight training as you would if you added extra climbing days in your routine. For example if climbed routes till you were pumped stupid then the next day you bouldered, when normally you just climbed day on day off.

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Paul Sagar 07 Feb 2020
In reply to Jon Greengrass:

I've started a coach-designed training programme, and what is striking is how much non-climbing specific strength work I need to do so as to supplement and then improve my climbing. So I'd say you are doing the right thing hitting the gym, and all you're experiencing now is initial fatigue as it's a shock to your system, but soon you'll be able to handle it plus climbing just fine.

One thing I would say though is introduce more functional cross training into your session. So be looking to do things that stabilise and strengthen your upper back and shoulders especially. Various exercises on the TRX or other such suspension trainer device are good for this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pmJO5amKLk4

I'd also strongly recommend doing core strengthening work, as this will pay huge dividends later for climbing. Don't just mindlessly do sit ups though, ideally prioritise front planks, side planks, and hollow body holds. Download the Crimpd app for some good suggestions (with video guides) on this front.

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Jon Greengrass 07 Feb 2020
In reply to NOG:

> My preference at the moment at a typical gym is some kind of suspension trainer e.g. rings/TRX - rows, I's ,Y's & T's (facing forwards or backwards depending) and use a portable fingerboard that you can hang on a chin-up bar and do some dead-hangs/chin-ups on that. Leg-raises while hanging on a bar/fingerboard for core.

This would be my preference and I did have space in the garage for a set of rings, but its currently full of the rest of the family's stuff and I don't have anywhere in the house where I would be allowed to set up a chin up bar or fingerboard.

> and which would also save you 20mins in the car.

I have to make this journey anyway to drop my daughter off at a club she goes to. By going to the gym while I in town rather than driving home I actually gain 20 minutes training time.

>  Good luck

Thanks, I'll keep with it, rather than stopping after 2 weeks. 

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Mike Stretford 07 Feb 2020
In reply to Jon Greengrass: At 46 I would struggle with your training regime. I could do it but I wouldn't enjoy the Friday climbing sessions.

I do about the same as you but spread your gym work out over the week with some at home and some at the wall after climbing.

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Jon Greengrass 07 Feb 2020
In reply to Paul Sagar:

> I've started a coach-designed training programme, and what is striking is how much non-climbing specific strength work I need to do so as to supplement and then improve my climbing. 

Exactly I know that I am weak, can barely do a couple of pull-ups or any proper pressups but can onsight 7a and boulder V6 indoors. 

> Download the Crimpd app for some good suggestions (with video guides) on this front.

I have, that is where I got the idea for the finger extensor and flexor curls, but the gym is in a network and WIFI black hole, and the app doesn't appear to work with a  network connection?

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Jon Greengrass 07 Feb 2020
In reply to Mike Stretford:

> I do about the same as you but spread your gym work out over the week with some at home and some at the wall after climbing.

Ideally yes, but really my question should have been "Design me a gym workout to be done in an hour the day before a climbing session" 

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UKB Shark 07 Feb 2020
In reply to Jon Greengrass:

Better to do weights after bouldering. With the exercises you are doing a pull up bar and cheap set of dumbbells from decathlon you could do those sort of exercises at home ideally the same evening you finish a Bouldering session at the wall which admittedly requires above average levels of motivation

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UKB Shark 07 Feb 2020
In reply to Jon Greengrass:

Better to do weights after bouldering. With the exercises you are doing then with a pull up bar and cheap set of dumbbells from decathlon you could do those sort of exercises at home ideally the same evening you finish a session at the wall which admittedly requires above average levels of motivation. However, better still you could also add some finger training which can be done using a single edge.

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Jon Greengrass 07 Feb 2020
In reply to UKB Shark:

I have a set of dumbbells and a set of rings, but no where to use them, hence the visit to the gym.  As stated previously I've nowhere to put a single edge for finger training at home.

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RX-78 07 Feb 2020
In reply to Jon Greengrass:

Do you own your house? I put up a finger board over a doorway,  just drilled right through the wall and put in 2 long bolts which bolt onto a thin board on the other side of the wall so no way can the bolt pull out. Get a nice looking wooden finger board and after a while no one will notice it.

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Paul Sagar 07 Feb 2020
In reply to Jon Greengrass:

It's £80, but the TRX Go is a good investment as it has an adapter that allows you to set it up without damage or danger to any standard door/doorframe. This allows you to do all kinds of strengthening work at home.

If you can onsight V6 and 7a but can't do pull-ups etc then if you sort the latter you I imagine your grade would jump massively. Or at least, that is what my coach told me and I'm hoping it turns out to be true!

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Mike Stretford 07 Feb 2020
In reply to Jon Greengrass:

> Ideally yes, but really my question should have been "Design me a gym workout to be done in an hour the day before a climbing session" 

I find exercises that increase flexibility and core strength help my climbing, without tiring the muscles used for climbing. I know some better climbers who say the same.  Trying to avoid the 'Y' word as it upsets some regular contributors!

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Inhambane 07 Feb 2020
In reply to Jon Greengrass:

I do barbell strength training on the days I don't climb (3 days/week) I don't find it negatively effects my climbing on adjacent days.  Pure strength training shouldn't leave you feeling fatigued, heavy weight low reps. Intense cardio or high volume weight training takes much longer to recover from. As long as you can get enough good food and good sleep in should be fine.   

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webbo 07 Feb 2020
In reply to Mike Stretford:

You are joking surely as it’s not that much. 
This week for me has been.

Mon. Gym similar work out to Jon’s

Tues. Bouldering local quarry 40 problems.

Wed. Bike 34 miles 2,000 plus of climbing.

Thu. Bouldering local quarry 31 problems, the Gym similar workout to Mon.

Fri. Bouldering local quarry 40 problems.

Normally I would be using my home board but it’s currently in storage as I’m in process of moving house and I would be doing more cycling but icy roads and work hours have got in the way.

As for age being an issue, in a fair world I should be getting my old age pension this year.

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Ged Desforges 07 Feb 2020
In reply to Jon Greengrass:

If you're aim is to get better at climbing (rather than just generally getting a stronger body), and you are only climbing twice a week, then I'd be putting all the emphasis on making sure those two climbing sessions really count, and are really high quality. If you're tired after lifting weights the day before, I can't see how that would happen. If you want to get better at climbing, then I reckon the benefot of having a really high quality boukdeirng session will far outweigh any benefit you'd get from lifting weights.

If you're only climbing on Wednesday and Friday, it really seems like Thursday should be you rest day. Is there no way you can hang a fingerboard from one of those pull up bars that hangs from a doorframe without needing to drill, and use that on a Sunday or Monday? 

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UKB Shark 07 Feb 2020
In reply to Jon Greengrass:

Nowhere to put an edge really? You could hang a portable fingerboard off a pull-up bar or get one of these http://crusherholds.co.uk/fingerboard-hangboard-mounting-device-2

Also unless you live in a cupboard you have room to use dumbbells.

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purkle 08 Feb 2020
In reply to Inhambane:

No fatigue from pure strength weights?!! Aye right!! I'm training low rep max strength hip thrusts, deadlifts & bench press at the moment, for fun.. trained 4 days ago & I'm still sore!!! Had massive fatigue the following 2-3 days.

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seankenny 08 Feb 2020
In reply to Ged Desforges:

> Is there no way you can hang a fingerboard from one of those pull up bars that hangs from a doorframe without needing to drill

I live in a small London flat and have a removable fingerboard set up. Jon, if you email me I can send you a picture of it, tho it's pretty standard. I got a friend with a workshop to make it for me but I'm sure more practical types than me could do it easily, or there are ones you can buy.

Also Shark is right, it's entirely feasible to do weights at home even if you live in a tiny place. I can do everything as long as it doesn't need a bench.

Post edited at 15:58
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Ged Desforges 08 Feb 2020
In reply to seankenny:

In that case, sack off the gym session and do more fingerboarding! 

How many really good climbers can you think of that prioritise weights over climbing specific training? 

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charliesdad 08 Feb 2020
In reply to Jon Greengrass:

Eight of your ten exercises focus on the upper body...which you then hammer again when climbing. I’m not surprised that hurts.

I’d suggest that you prioritise legs/lower body/core/cardio/flexibility before your climbing sessions...anything BUT upper body really. As others have said, you could fit in most of the upper body exercises at home, using some cheap dumbells, rather than being tied to a specific gym session.

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Mike Stretford 09 Feb 2020
In reply to webbo:

> You are joking surely as it’s not that much. 

> This week for me has been.

> Mon. Gym similar work out to Jon’s

> Tues. Bouldering local quarry 40 problems.

> Wed. Bike 34 miles 2,000 plus of climbing.

> Thu. Bouldering local quarry 31 problems, the Gym similar workout to Mon.

> Fri. Bouldering local quarry 40 problems.

> Normally I would be using my home board but it’s currently in storage as I’m in process of moving house and I would be doing more cycling but icy roads and work hours have got in the way.

> As for age being an issue, in a fair world I should be getting my old age pension this year.

Put it away, this is a training conversation not a willy waving contest! I also cycle a lot but as that's endurance it wasn't relevant.

My point was, I wouldn't enjoy cramming all my upper body training into 3 consecutive days. I wouldn't get much out of the last climbing day doing things that way round.

You must be pacing yourself.... it's a simple fact that strength training requires recovery time.

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webbo 09 Feb 2020
In reply to Mike Stretford:

It’s hardly willy waving compared most folk who train. It was a response to your good self saying doing weights the day before climbing will leave you fatigued.

Its about how your body adapts to training. I find I often climb my worst after a rest day as it seems my body has decided it likes doing nothing and wants to keep it that way.

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NOG 10 Feb 2020
In reply to Jon Greengrass:

> This would be my preference and I did have space in the garage for a set of rings, but its currently full of the rest of the family's stuff and I don't have anywhere in the house where I would be allowed to set up a chin up bar or fingerboard.

If I had a garage I would be doing everything I could to persuade the rest of my family to help me turn that into a home board. For the time-starved adult climber with a family to take care there are few options that will have as dramatic an effect on your climbing as being able to climb at home. It sounds like your family want to keep the house relatively non-climbing (no fingerboards in the living room etc) which is totally fair enough but the garage seems like a place that is ideal for a small home wall (could even add a bit of vert and some bigger holds so your kids can hang out with you as you climb). Just a suggestion and appreciate it may not be possible, but well worth investigating as one or two big sessions a week is no substitute for climbing most days. Also when I am climbing every day I find I need much less time to warm up which means I can get straight into my harder problems and do shorter climbing sessions (1 hour - 1.15 is plenty) giving you more time for everything else in your life. 

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Ged Desforges 10 Feb 2020
In reply to NOG:

Agree totally. That would solve it all. Sack off the gym sesh and do that. Even a fingerboard in your garage   

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