Friday, April 18, 2014

Old Articles, New Goals, and The Lord of the Rungs

I finally found the time to OCR the PDFs of my old articles from Allez magazine. I posted them under the dates they were originally printed (see topic: training.old.) They feel dated to me - they are 20 years old; but Steve Edwards agrees that they're still directionally accurate. They probably aid me more than anyone else, as I'm always reviewing my training past for ideas to test in the future.

Rubble and The Lord of the Rungs
After hitting my base fitness level in the last cycle, I had two big goals heading into the fall. First and foremost was Rubble (13b) at the Owl Tor. It's short: 12 hand movements and three clips. Second is the first ever Lord of the Rungs campusing competition. Micah Elconin's genius idea; we've talked about it over the years, but Micah finally generated the necessary spirit to make it real. The Santa Barbara team would be competing against Hans Florine's team from Diablo Rock Gym.
This aligned well with my campusing goal for the cycle, which was 1-3-7 & 1-5-7 on 1" rungs. Since the competition was scheduled for Tuesday, October 8th, I had 9 weeks to train for it. Then, I'd have three weeks when I should be peaking to do Rubble. (I was heading to Las Vegas for Halloween, which would, no doubt, hurt my fitness, so I had to redpoint before then.)

As identified in my last post, I had some issues to resolve in my foundation cycle: excessive intensity and thrashing my skin. Reviewing the schedule below, I'm surprised by the volume - I really had to think about if I recorded my workouts correctly. This speaks to the importance of recording your workouts; the devil is in the details, and without recording them, you'll miss the details.
   I decreased the campusing volume from 200 to about 100 moves and I didn't do any campusing on the 5/8" rungs. Thus, campusing was a 50% decrease in volume, but probably a 75% decrease in intensity. I also dropped bouldering at the gym. Thus, I achieved my objective compared to the last phase: lower intensity and higher volume. I think the higher volume was unplanned. It's easy to forget that the intensity/volume curve is non-linear. For example, if you're at 75% of max, then you're doing about 10 reps, drop that to 65% (a 13.3% decrease in intensity) and you'll be doing 15 reps (a 50% increase in volume.) That's in the ballpark of what I changed between the two foundation phases; some of this was unplanned.
   I still don't have a foundation phase answer for how to climb outside. This is mainly because my main crag, the Owl Tor, is the worst cliff you can imagine for foundation phase training - this is a work in progress. The plan below for Saturdays doesn't work. (Routes at the Tor start at 12a and are power-endurance sprints; ideally, I'd have access to longer routes between 11a-11d.)
   I did 3 weeks of this phase. The risk of short phases is getting them wrong. If you're doing an 8 week phase and a week or two go poorly, you still have 6-7 solid weeks under your belt. But with a 3 week phase you have to nail every week. When I started periodizing my training, all my phases were 8-12 weeks - mainly because I didn't know any better. The information and advice at the time drove me in that direction. In retrospect, that was a very good way to start because it teaches you what the phases feel like and are meant to accomplish - you can't learn that in 3 weeks.
   I added mono lifts this cycle; these are simply first digit finger lifts using a platform with weight and a carabiner. This is a great base exercise for anyone wanting to improve their one-finger strength and the weight is easily adjustable.
  • Saturday: Redpoint Intervals; equal time climbing & rest.
  • Sunday: Standard weekday workout, Gym Climbing, or Rest
  • Monday: Bikram
  • Tuesday: 
    • Campusing: 
      • 10 sets @ 3 min.: 1", 1-4-Match-7-Match-10 (6 m/s = 60 moves)
      • 10 sets @ 3 min.: 1.75”, 1-3-6-8-10 up only (5 m/s = 50 moves)
    • Hangboard: Reverse Easy Repeaters (font 6Cish routine with shorter rests)
    • Mono lifts - 3 sets of 30 seconds:
      • Pinky @ 20 lbs.
      • Index @ 25 lbs.
      • Middle & Ring @ 35 lbs.
    • Press-Throughs: 3 sets (red band doubled over)
    • ½ hour Set (3 pullups, 3 pushups, 3 AbRollers, 3 Arnold presses, 5 rehabs)
    • ½ hour wall set of easy, continuous climbing
    • Grippers: 3 x Max of Trainer
    • Power Forearms
  • Wednesday: same as Tuesday
  • Thursday: same as Tuesday
  • Friday: Rest

My hypertrophy routine stayed largely unchanged. The key difference would be the static climbing outside, which I do think is the best method for me in this phase. Still, in reviewing my notes, I see that I didn't actually do it; I just climbed whatever was fun that day. My campusing was a bit more focused on moves for the campusing competition than the previous cycle.
  • Saturday: Static climbing outside
  • Sunday: Gym Climbing, Hangboard Repeaters, or Rest
  • Monday: Bikram
  • Tuesday: 
    • Campusing: 1.5 hours. 50% on 5/8", 40% on 1", 10% on 1.75".
    • Hangboard: Repeaters (font 6Cish program) with Black band
    • One-arms: 3 sets of 6+ reps with help
    • Mono lifts - 3 sets of 15 seconds:
      • Pinky & Index @ 40 lbs.
      • Middle & Ring @ 50 lbs.
    • optional: Pullups: wide back, wide front, shoulder, narrow, offset-L, offset-R, under-wide, under-narrow
    • Press-Throughs: 3-5 sets (Black band) + 3-5 sets of Tricep Press (Red band)
    • Ab-Rollers: 3-5 sets of max reps
    • optional: Bouldering at gym
    • Grippers: 3 x 6-8 reps of #0.5
    • Power Forearms
  • Wednesday: Rest
  • Thursday: About the same as Tuesday
  • Friday: Rest

I had three weeks of recruitment training before the competition - really, more like two, since I would need to rest a bit the week before the comp. This increased rest created a "mini-peak" within a cycle and is a technique to keep in mind.So with two real weeks of recruitment I had to go hard. Thus, I did two weeks of weighted campusing, adding 10 pounds on each of the four workouts.
   For climbing outside, I often use the recruitment phase to get on future projects, maybe things I don't think I'll ever be able to climb. Another technique I used in this phase is to get on my current project after 2-3 attempts on routes much harder than my project. Sure, I get killed, but compared to 14a, 13b doesn't feel so bad; then, in the peak phase, when I get straight onto my project, it (hopefully) feels easy.
  • Saturday: Hard climbing outside.
  • Sunday: Rest
  • Monday: Rest
  • Tuesday: 
    • Campusing: 2+ hours. All weighted with 10 pounds. max% time on 5/8".
    • One-arms: 3 sets of 5+ reps with help
    • Mono lifts - 3 sets of 10 seconds:
      • Pinky & Index @ 40 lbs.
      • Middle & Ring @ 55 lbs.
    • Press-Throughs: 3-5 sets (tbd band) + 3-5 sets of Tricep Press (tbd band)
    • Grippers: 3 x max reps of #1
    • optional: Bouldering at the gym
    • ½ hour Set (3 pullups, 3 pushups, 3 AbRollers, 3 Hammer curls @15#, 5 Rehabs: tubing)
  • Wednesday: Rest
  • Thursday: About the same as Tuesday
  • Friday: Rest

I went into the campusing competition very psyched and well rested. I managed to hit all my campusing goals (primarily 1-5-7 & 1-3-7) and some other personal bests. I finished third overall, and since I'm older than the first and second place finishers combined, that's not too bad. Four hours of campusing at your limit is a massive workout, and the whole event was incredibly fun. Furthermore, our little Santa Barbara team was able to defeat Hans Florine's team from the Bay area.
   Eleven days after the competition, I redpointed Rubble - only four weeks after I wrote this comment about my climbing day outside: "Just warmed up and moved rocks - super exhausted." The lesson here is to trust in the process; you won't always climb well during your training phases - don't expect to. What matters is climbing well when it counts: in the peak phase.
  • Saturday: Redpoint attempts on Rubble
  • Sunday: Bikram
  • Monday: Rest
  • Tuesday: Campusing
  • Wednesday: Rest
  • Thursday: Light bouldering or redpoint attempts on Rubble if I can get outside
  • Friday: Rest

Facts & Stats
I came up with a much better way to total and review the stats of my cycle. I added a "Totals" tab to my training sheet and totaled the exercises by phases. Although this took maybe 30 minutes to design and get right, future phases will take minutes to compile and I believe this will result in valuable objective data in a concise format. Most importantly, this makes it very easy for me to see how much I'm resting in each phase. I know I should be resting more in the peak phase and the totals highlight that. In my last cycle, I rested on 50% of my peak days, this cycle was 53%. This should be minimum 57% (4/7 days) and I might target 71% (5/7 days) to see how it feels.
  • Goals:
    • Rubble = Redpointed
    • Campusing 1-3-7 & 1-5-7 = Achieved
    • Lord of the Rungs = 3rd place, better than expected
  • Training Days in Cycle: 61
  • Weight, Body Fat %, Body Fat pounds:
    • Start: 172.5, 7.5%, 12.9 lbs.
    • End: 172.5, 6.7%, 11.6 lbs.
  • 1/2 hour sets: 17
  • Pull-ups: 1595
  • Push-ups: 1380
  • Ab-rollers: 1820
  • Climbing Outside: 9 days, 33 hours
  • Climbing Gym: 20 days, 13 hours
  • Campusing: 24 days, 25 hours
  • Hangboard Workouts: 18
  • Power Forearms: 11
  • Gripper Workouts: 16
  • Bikram: 8
  • Rest Days: 25 (Bikram is mostly a rest, so I consider this 33 rest days, or 54% of the cycle.)

Without a doubt, the best part of this cycle was the Lord of the Rungs competition. Hitting goals is always fun, but the LOTR generated motivation throughout the community.
   I find it can be long-term productive to back off a bit after some wins - even wins take a lot of emotional energy. Thus, with the holidays coming on, my next cycle will be short, and not very ambitious.

Thanks Elijah, for putting up this excellent route. All photos Bob Banks.