Summertime Training Part 2

In my last training post, I introduced a max-recruitment finger training workout which I was going to start doing over the summer as well as some other training goals.  Over the initial 4-week cycle of weighted hangs, I saw substantial improvement(depending on how you measure, a 10% total strength gain or a 30% change in added weight) in the weighted hangs, which also seemed to translate well into my climbing.

At the end of this 4-week cycle, the intent was to transfer over to small edge hangs.  I found the small holds to significantly impact my skin which would impact climbing outside.  I decided at that time to take a 2 week break and then re-do the 4-week weighted hangs cycle.  I am currently at week 3 of that cycle and have seen a further 6% total strength gain or a 20% change in added weight for this cycle.  I’m undecided whether I will do the small hold hangs after this, but I think I will despite the skin issues.  My fingers have gotten considerably stronger over the summer, but mentally I don’t recognize this intuitively.  I will grab a hold that my mind says I can’t hold,  so I let go because I’ve never been able to hold it before, when in actuality I can hang them. I think the small hold training will help this mental aspect and confidence in holding micro-crimps.

In early July, I noticed I was getting pumped on certain longer boulder problems (10-12 moves with lots of foot movement). To fix this,  I have added power-endurance (Anaerobic capacity – AnCap) training to this 4-week cycle.  The AnCap training consists of 2 sessions a week (done on the same day as the max hangs, but later in the day) of foot-on campusboard work.  I believe consistency in difficulty is key to power-endurance training, which is very difficult to do climbing routes or even doing 4×4’s.  Instead, I am using the campusboard so that every move is consistently difficult and doing continuous up and down movement for 3 to 5 reps of 90-120 seconds separated by 5 minutes rest.

In addition to these finger workouts, I have been able to get outside climbing at least once a week,  running 4-5 days a week, and doing some additional cross training when I feel my body can take it.

Overall, I think the results have been very good.  I keep showing results in the workouts themselves, and the strength seems to be translating well to real rock (I just turned 35 and I’ve climbed more v10 and harder problems in the last 4 months than in my previous 17 years of climbing).  I am stronger and more confident than ever on bad holds.  My core tension keeps improving from the x-training work.  And I’ve been slowly, but consistently, dropping weight through running and watching my food intake (mostly limiting beer intake to 1-2 times a week).

So what’s next?  I’m not sure.   I have to make a decision about what my primary goal for the fall is – Hard boulder project (v12-13 range), shift to hard routes, aim for just getting out and developing?  Which way I go will decide how I structure my training, and I’m just not sure yet.  I’ve got one more week of wtd hangs, then 4 weeks of small holds, so I guess I have a while to decide.