Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Foundation 2.0 & Owltoberfest 2014

I just completed my latest foundation phase and I'm so happy with it I'm dubbing it foundation 2.0. The refinements might seem minor, and I still need to find a better plan for climbing outside on the weekends; but overall, I resolved enough basic problems that feels like a solid step forward. The foundation phase I've been looking for involves training on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday with a large volume of campusing, fingers, core, pulling, and "prehab" shoulder training for 3-4 weeks. I'm a weekend warrior, and am 100% focused on sport climbing; hopefully, the handful of sport climbers left might find some of this useful. I still have one cycle to write-up, but these will be more productive if written while I'm in the cycle; so that's what I'm doing this week. I redesigned this phase by reviewing my previous ones , noting the problems, and testing alternatives.

I love campusing and I think it's essential to maintaining and maximizing finger and arm power. The problem with campus training in the foundation phase is that campusing three days in a row is usually too intense; also, when combined with other training skin can be a limiting factor. This cycle, I broke my campusing down in this way:
  • Tuesday: 3 finger Base Moves
  • Wednesday: 4 finger Base Moves
  • Thursday: Component Moves
I covered Base and Component Moves in April, but this is the first time I incorporated them into my foundation phase. A key component was doing 3 fingered campusing on Tuesdays and 4 fingered on Wednesdays. The hand positions are significantly different and I need to train both; but just as important is that they hit the skin differently and thus skin problems are less of an issue. I also distributed the Base Moves over all three rungs sizes (5/8", 1", 1.75") to help with skin problems. I did 20 moves each day on 3 minute intervals; totaling 60 minutes. Next cycle I'll probably try 24 moves on 2.5 minute intervals, but otherwise I don't see any changes to this routine.

Finger Training
I skipped hangboarding in favor of finger lifts. I did 3 sets of 30 second lifts on each finger and at each joint; total workout time was about 45 minutes. This would be difficult to duplicate on a hangboard and very hard on the skin. My fingers feel solid, and ready for much higher intensity, which is exactly the feeling I target for my foundation phase. After a week or two of hypertrophy, I should learn how well these lift workouts translate to the hangboard and finger strength in general.

I have never prioritized core exercises above pull-ups and/or other pulling exercises, but this cycle I am. I worked all my favorite core exercises every training day; doing 3 sets of each exercise with a 1 minute rest between each set; totaling about 45 minutes. Exercises:
  • Overhead Pushup (max. static hold)
  • Front Lever (static hold)
  • Ab-Rollers, Stand (feet 78" from the wall)
  • Front Lever Repetitions
  • Godoffes
  • Russian Twists (on a back extension machine)
  • Ab-Rollers, Knees
  • Straight Leg Deadlifts

I had two pulling routines: a standard one I did on Tuesdays and Thursday, and a static one I did on Wednesdays. The exercises in the standard routine are quite common. Static training is far less common and I haven't done any in over 10 years; but it was essential to my success with an old birthday challenge, so I am revisiting it. The standard routine was about 75 minutes long and the static was about 15.

Standard Routine:
  • Hammer Curls (3 sets of 30 reps)
  • Lateral to Front dumbbell raise (3 sets of 30 reps)
  • Inverted Rows (3 sets of 30 reps)
  • Dumbbell Rows (2 sets of 30 reps)
  • Typewriters (2 sets with help)
  • Archers (1 sets each side, 2 sets total, with help)
  • Pullups (1 set each, 6 sets total, with help) wide back, wide front, shoulder, narrow, under-wide, under-narrow
  • 1-Arm Pulldown Shrugs (2 sets of 30 reps each arm with Red band)
  • Press-Throughs (2 sets of 30 reps)
Static Routine:
  • Pullups: Start, 135 degrees, 90 degrees
  • Curl: Low, 90, High
  • Pressdown: High, Low
  • Gaston: Wide, Shoulder, 2x6
  • Bear Hug: Wide, 2x6

I don't have any injuries, but I think that the shoulder exercises in this article will help me remain healthy and improve strength. I do exercises #1,2,3,5,6. These exercises take about 20 minutes (3 sets of each.) I committed to prioritize these over all other exercises; so if I was ever going to run out of time, I would cut everything else first.

It would be nice to get 2-3 hours of bouldering in each week, but this is already ~14-15 hours of exercise - not counting weekend workouts. I think this is about as much volume as I can handle. If you're looking for time saving modifications, I'd reduce the Pulling exercises first; then the campusing (and reduce the interval time,) and finally the fingers. I'd leave all the Prehab and as much of the Core as possible.

Owltoberfest 2014
Since one day isn't enough to contain the radness that is Owltoberfest, we're making it a two day event on October 25th and 26th. Day 1 will take place at Mr. Lee's Greater Hong Kong; day 2 will be at the Owl Tor. Last year's event was great, and we'll be planning even more radness this year. I will, of course, be making martinis again.  We're also raising money for steel carabiners as we've used up all the ones we got last year.