Part of our "Toes to Knows" Climbing Academy series--covering climbing from footwork to mental preparation.
Tags: Coaching, Hangboarding, Advanced, Intermediate, Training
In this post, we go over a training protocol for Lyti. Lyti is striving to lead her first 5.11c, then her first 5.12a outside. She has several obstacles to overcome, one of which is pure strength. Read on to learn about our plan for building that strength up over time.
Lyti loves to climb and has aspirations to climb her first 11c and 12a outside. She has several obstacles to overcome, which we’ve detailed in a previous post. Here’s a quick recap of those issues:
- Lacks a bit of confidence when it comes to sending hard climbs
- Has a significant fear of falling
- Lacks the strength and power needed to send up to her desires
Lyti and I aren’t too concerned about the confidence issue at this point in time. Confidence comes with success. Seeing some strength gains and climbing success will help her gain confidence.
We’ll need to address the fear of falling challenge. That will be the subject of another post and video.
The focus of this post is gaining strength. In the video above, Lyti and I talk through the training plan I put together for her. This blog post goes over the same content. Over the handful of weeks, we’ll do videos showing some of the different exercises in more detail.
Lyti loves to climb, so the plan we put together includes lots of climbing in addition to strength training. The goal with this weekly schedule was to keep her on the rock each week, while still making time for strength training.
In an effort to keep things varied and interesting, another goal that Lyti had, this plan has relative short cycles as shown above. Strength is a component of every cycle because Lyti has a large gap in this area and strength takes a long time to acquire.
I’m suggesting two strength training days per week, with two-sessions during the day: finger and full body strength in the morning, followed by some limit bouldering in the evening. The specific number of sets and reps can be modified as desired, as can the exercises. The overriding goal with strength training is to lift heavy loads slowly—hitting 85%-90% of your max effort.
I’m starting Lyti off on a specific strength protocol that I got from Dr. Tyler Nelson at Camp4 Human Performance. This protocol is 4 reps at 3 seconds on and 3 seconds off. Other protocols could be used here, such as a 6-10 second max hang. It’s best not to exceed 10 seconds as that transitions to a different energy system.
One point worth making—training 4 days a week can make it hard to get a full recovery before the next training session. This is especially true on the Sunday/Monday set where the sessions are back to back. It’s important on the Sunday session to not get crazy pumped with a power endurance workout. A serious power endurance workout can take two days to recover from. On Sunday, I’m suggesting projecting harder routes or bouldering rather than working power endurance laps to failure.
The strength and power cycle swaps one of the strength training days to a power training day. Power training is strength applied in a short period of time. Campus training is a staple of power training, but in Lyti’s case, she’s not strong enough to generate power on a feet-off campus board. So instead, I’m suggesting doing “speed pulls” on a hangboard with weight subtracted.
Speed pulls are just what they sound like. Grab a 20mm edge on a hangboard and pull up as fast as you can. Keep doing these until you feel your power is reduced—that is, until you start slowing down. That will probably happen within about 5-10 reps. Lyti has a hard time doing 5 pullup reps, so to make sure she’s moving fast, we’re going to subtract weight from her, either using exercise bands or a pully system.
For the full-body power workout, I’m suggesting a few exercises that hit the major muscle groups. The goal is to do these in a quick circuit with maximum effort for 10 seconds, then a short rest before hitting the next exercise in the loop. Other exercises can be substituted. More or fewer loops can be done.
Power Endurance is needed to get you up those long project routes. It also helps you last for a full day of hard bouldering. Your body can acquire power endurance faster, but it takes a longer time to recover from a given workout. Therefore, when PE training is added in, I’m suggesting to reduce the total number of training days in the week.
I’m leaving a strength day in this cycle to make sure Lyti continues to overcome this weakness.
A great PE hangboard routine is the 7x3 repeater. (Technically, this is strength endurance, not power endurance. Both use the anerobic energy system, so a better term might be anerobic endurance). I’ve covered this routine here.
Bouldering 4x4s are an excellent climbing-centric PE exercise and Lyti has access to this. We have a treadmill in our local gym, or running outside is something that can be done anywhere. Therefore, I’m suggesting some short interval training using running and hard planks. (A hard plank is just a plank, but with every muscle in your body under high tension).
Since this is power endurance, I’m suggesting we train both climbing and strength in a single session. Lyti will probably leave wrecked, but that’s the goal.
I’ll post additional videos showing these, and additional exercises that could be swapped in.
In this cycle, we’re giving our best effort at sending the projects that Lyti has been training for over the past several cycles. Just like in the PE cycle, we’re upping the rest days to give better recovery from redpointing efforts. More rest optimizes your chance to send the projects.
I’m showing Wednesday as climber’s choice. Using that for a PE/route sending day would be a great choice.Capacity training is high-volume, low-intensity climbing. The goal is to help your body adapt to doing lots of climbing in one day. It’s not as intensive as PE training and you shouldn’t get crazy pumped.