Summertime Training Part 3 – Final Thoughts

As a refresher, here are the first two posts regarding my training plans for the summer:

Summertime Training Thoughts

Summertime Training Part 2

What I’ve Done and Why

Back in April I identified two main points to address to improve my climbing: 1) Increase Finger Strength, and 2) Improve Body Compostion (i.e. drop fat and lose weight).  In order to focus on the finger strength, I did 2 cycles of Max Added Weight (MAW) hangs, and am now finishing up a series of Minimum Edge Depth (MED) hangs (i.e. small holds).  Throughout this time, I have also been focused on eating healthy and running as a way to improve my body composition.  Whenever possible I have also been doing weight training to supplement and maintain the overall body strength built over the winter.  I’ve also gotten a few sessions in of indoor bouldering when I’ve felt able to add it in and wasn’t able to get outside (weather or family/work committments).

7mm edge used for Minimum Edge Depth(MED) Training

The Workout Results

The fingerboard training demonstrated considerable improvement during both the added weight and small hold cycles. During the added weight cycles I saw a 9% strength increase from the first cycle and a 7% strength increase from the second cycle.  During the small hold cycle I went from 3 x10sec hang on a 8mm edge to 5x10sec on a 7mm edge with 20lbs added (I didn’t have a smaller edge to use, so I added weight).  This demonstrated significant strength improvements for the specific exercise.

Climbing Results

How about translating these improvements to actual climbing?  For anyone regularly following the blog, you probably realize I’ve been having the best climbing season of my life.  Prior to this summer I had climbed a total of ten v10 or harder problems over the last 11 years.  This summer I have put up ten new problems v10 or harder.  Prior to this season my personal best flash/onsight were two VERY soft v7’s.  So far this season I’ve flashed/onsighted 3 v9’s – one of which may be v10, but is currently unrepeated.  Bottom line is that I’m climbing better/stronger than I ever have.

Going Forward

Training weaknesses will always result in the quickest gains, so being able to identify weaknesses is very useful.  I’m not certain what my weaknesses are at the moment, so I guess that the next step is re-evaluating my strengths/weaknesses.  While my crimp strength has improved and I’m thrilled with the results, I’m not convinced it has gone to being a strength yet.  Additionally, one of my lifetime goals is The Mandala, a notoriously crimpy problem in Bishop, so I intend on continuing the finger strength training throughout the winter to see where I can get by next season.  Another place I’ve always been weak, but has improved is in my lock-off/1-arm pull strength.  This has also improved through the weighted hangs and I’m hoping to continue to see gains, so I will probably add some pull strength training in conjunction with the finger training.

I’ll post again on training once the outdoor season is over and I start into a fully planned training program.