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Is Periodization Necessary? Advice Needed!
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timl


Dec 27, 2008, 6:04 PM
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Is Periodization Necessary? Advice Needed!
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I’ve read Rockprodigy’s article and several other books on training and most seem to be structured around periodization plans. As I understand it, periodization is designed to give you a peak for a specific time period, targeted date or season. In my case, I live in a country and have the lifestyle where I climb rock year round without many weather restrictions. I generally have peaks and lows, but this happens more in terms of too much climbing more than anything else. I’ve really started to train for climbing a lot during the past couple years but never with a periodization plan. My plans have worked more on overall endurance and specific weaknesses while touching upon everything else. I’m wondering if this is good, or if I should be training in periods. This year I want to take my climbing from solidly redpointing 12d, to solidly redpointing 13a/13b and I’m wondering if I should be changing my training plan. My general plan is as follows.
Mon: 45 min run/rest
Tue: 45 min bouldering warm up, campus, 6x6 pull ups (six pull ups every minute for six minutes)
Wed: 30 warm up traverse, 30 min overhang traverse, weighted pull ups, 1 arm pull ups, light weights
Thurs: 45 min run, 45 bouldering warm up, weighted hangs on fingerboard, 6x6 pull up set
Fri: Rest
Sat/Sun: Climb

I’d really appreciate it, if anyone could give me advice on periodization as well as maybe tips on a training plan. Thanks or anything and everything!


jermanimal


Dec 27, 2008, 6:27 PM
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Re: [timl] Is Periodization Necessary? Advice Needed! [In reply to]
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Eric horst's book training for climber covers some of what you are talking about, but you still need to take breaks. In my experience it is a very good thing to take a full week away from climbing ever two months. While this isn't real training plan I think it is good advice for lots of climbers.


timl


Dec 27, 2008, 6:50 PM
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Thanks. I just took a week and a half break from climbing. I agree, after training super hard, it's very important to take a break. Is there a specific book from Eric Horst?


jermanimal


Dec 27, 2008, 7:04 PM
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Sorry, "Training for Climbers".


boracus


Dec 28, 2008, 9:01 AM
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At this point in your climbing you may have to focus on more specific goals. I'm not sure how long you've been climbing but if it's been for 5years or more you've probably gone about as far as you can by simply climbing to improve. I realize that you listed out your weekly routine and I'm not discounting the training your doing but it sounds like this routine may not be getting the results you'd like.

Having studied a lot on the topic of exercise phys and different training routines I'm not really a fan of periodization training per se. I think that if you want to plan for a comp or a big road trip and peak while you've got a goal then sure periodization training is a good means of structuring your training. However, I'm pretty much in the same boat you are, I live in a place where I can climb year round and would rather spend as much time outside climbing and sacrifice my rate of improvement.

So when I said that I don't use a periodized training routine per se I do have fluctuations in my training throughout the year, winter is more geared toward building absolute strength when I'm bouldering more anyway and then spring, summer and fall are spent more focused on climbing routes. I guess that the question for you then is... What are your goals? How important is it for you to solidify your ability at the 13a/13b grade? and most importantly why can't you climb at that grade now/what's your limiting factor? Do you not have enough endurance to cruise through the easier sections of 13s w/ out getting pumped, do you not have enough brute strength to consistently pull through most 13b cruxes? is the weakness in your technique, your finger strength, your core strength, your shoulder stabilizers, is there a mental component/block/anxiety...

Again, if you've only been climbing for a few years than just keeping on w/ what you've been doing will probably keep producing gains. However, if you've been at this plateau for awhile now you may have to sit down and take and serious look at you're climbing. This may require putting some study time into the subject and taking a realistic look at what it's really going to take to achieve your goals.
With that in mind here are some suggestions for a place to start. Here's a reference list of books I've put together.

Psychology:
“The Rock Warrior’s Way” Arno Ilgner
This is a phenomenal resource on many levels. This excerpt from the book pretty much sums up the entire text. “The Rock Warrior’s Way is a method for cutting through the mental clutter, gathering your attention, discerning exactly what the risk is, deciding if the risk is appropriate for you, and then fully committing your resources to your choice.” Even
more significant than creating a tangible means of improving our mental abilities Ilgner admirably illuminates how the “rock warrior” thinks. He shows us what it takes to not only become a better climber but what it means to use the discipline of climbing to become a better person.

Climbing Performance & Injuries:

“The Self Coached Climber” Dan Hague and Douglas Hunter
I can’t imagine a climber wanting to improve at the sport and not reading this book. Hague and Hunter have done an excellent job of attempting to put exact definitions to some of the esoteric language/concepts climbers use to discuss climbing movement. They also give the student practical drills designed to improve each of the individual skills fundamental to creating a better overall climbing performance. More importantly the authors are equally adept at integrating the details of individual training sessions into the bigger picture of how
to go about achieving your specific climbing goals. Through the use of self assessment questionnaires and concise goal setting plans “The Self Coached Climber” can help anyone from the newbie to the seasoned veteran put together and implement a training plan tostart shortening their tick list.

“Training for Climbing” Eric J. Horst
This is an all around reference giving suggestions on how to improve climbing performance. Horst has done a respectable job and I really like the fact that he isn’t one dimensional in his approach to improving climbing performance. The book touches on all the variables that play into climbing, with this in mind the bulk of his material is focused on sport climbing. The one reservation that arose concerning Horst's recommendations was his view on training antagonistic muscles. From an injury prevention perspective his notion that doing a few pressing exercises at a moderate intensity is inadequate. This is especially true if you are climbing routes or problems at your current physical limits.

“Performance Rock Climbing” Dale Goddard and Udo Neumann
This is another good general reference that looks at most of the variables involved in climbing. Again this book addresses both the physical and mental aspects of climbing. Goddard and Neumann speak to the importance of overall fitness and the fact that
recovery time is essential in preventing overuse injuries.

“One Move Too Many: How to Understand the Injuries and Overuse Syndromes of Rock
Climbing” Thomas Hochholzer, Volker Schoeffl
This is a little more technical and goes more into the reasons behind why certain injuries are more common in climbing. You don’t need a background in anatomy to get a lot of good information out of it and the authors include some good exercises and stretches for the arms. This book may be a little more difficult to get from a local store since it’s only being distributed through Petzl. Most good climbing shops will either have it or should be able to get it and there are always on-line sources that should have it.

Functional Conditioning & General Sport Performance:

“Power to the People” Pavel Tsatsouline
This is a good reference for those of you who want something simple, straight forward and effective when it comes to supplemental training. Pavel’s philosophy is dead on when it comes to strength conditioning. He’s all about getting the job done efficiently and maximizing the return on the amount of time you spend in the weight room. This is
probably the most fundamental of his books on the subject. This book is refreshing because he includes many ideas on strength training that are not from the body building perspective. If you’d like an alternative to this he also has a book called the “Naked Warrior” which focuses on strength conditioning exercises using only your own body
weight. If that’s not enough, he has a several other books that get into more diabolical training regimens mostly involving Kettlebells.

“Periodization Training for Sports” Tudor O. Bompa, Ph.D.
This reference is included for those of you who identify with the following: “Obsessed\ n. -a
word used by the lazy to describe the dedicated.” -Anon. If you like to plan out your training months in advance or are interested in scheduling your training to peak for a comp or trip this is a great resource. It’s also a good source of information concerning the details of what separates Hypertrophy, Endurance and Maximum strength training protocols from one
another. The entire book comes at the subject from the perspective of training athletes for strength related sports. However, there are no climbing specific routines laid out so you’ll have to get creative and put together your own route and bouldering pyramids, interval training sessions, campus routines...etc.

Nutrition:

“Dr. Abravanel's Body Type Diet and Lifetime Nutrition Plan” Elliot Abravanel
After reading and implementing Dr. Abravanel's ideas I was quite impressed with the effects of my dietary changes. Personally I was experimenting with the books suggestions in an effort to help control my depression. The book is primarily aimed at those interested in weight loss and after a week I noticed the last little bit of body fat that I usually have starting to disappear. This is the first book I would feel comfortable recommending as a
realistic and effective means for someone interested in modifying their dietary habits in order to loose weight. The strength of Dr. Abravanel's dietary suggestions is that they are straight forward modifications to how most people already eat. The guidelines set down in the book are meant to work with the physiology of a particular body type so that the individual gains the benefits of that diet no matter what their goals. If weight loss is not
the goal then the person can simply modify their caloric intake to meet their training needs. I also must admit that I am pleasantly surprised with how effective the dietary suggestions have been in helping to stabilize my moods.

“Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy” Walter C. Willett, M.D.
This book presents an overview of dietary guidelines. The strength of this book is that he
gives general recommendations for a healthy diet that are easy to apply but doesn’t get overly involved in the topic. The other nice thing about this book is that Dr. Willett also compiles a plethora of current research on dietary guidelines and looks at it from a public health perspective.

“Optimal Muscle Performance and Recovery” Edmund R. Burke, Ph.D.
For you technical geeks out there... and you know who you are. This reference looks at the current research on optimizing muscle performance and recovery through diet and supplementation. It’s getting a little dated at this point but still serves as a good general resource for learning about the subject while providing examples of how to implement the information. It’s aimed more toward traditional endurance events such as cycling but the
information is quite applicable to anyone spending the day bouldering or at the crag.

And of course, there are so many good resoureces online. Dave McLeods blog is very good and I'm sure there are many more I don't even know about. I know that I didn't give you a straight forward answer but I'm not sure that a cookie cutter routine would accomplish what you're after. Look at what you're weaknesses are and address those. Also remember that the organisms are very adaptable, humans included...that's the shitty thing about training, you can't simply put together one routine and stick w/ it ad nauseum, you'll see gains for awhile (usually no more than 6-8weeks) but then your body adapts to the stress and you're gains slow and so you must find a new way of creating a stimulus that your body will adapt to. Hopefully some studying and critical self evaluation will give you some ideas on ways to tweak your training to get where you want to go.
Good luck,
BA


borntorocku


Dec 28, 2008, 1:13 PM
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Re: [timl] Is Periodization Necessary? Advice Needed! [In reply to]
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I climb/train year round. I follow conjugate periodization. Here are two excellent websites that use the same system:
http://mtnathlete.com/index.php
http://www.westside-barbell.com/articles.htm
They focus on alpine climbing and weightlifting, respectively. You can distill the principles and apply them to your particular style of climbing.

Basically, you focus on one attribute for a cycle, 4-6 weeks. For example strength. A majority of the workouts are strength based, e.g. bouldering 1-3 move problems. You only maintain other attributes during the cycle, power endurance and endurance. The next cycle the focus changes. This is a complex topic that is underdeveloped for climbing.


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