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Horst's 4-3-2-1 Mesocycle
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skellie


Oct 11, 2010, 6:07 PM
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Horst's 4-3-2-1 Mesocycle
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Hey guys,

Have any of you experimented with Horst's 4-3-2-1 Mesocycle, as outlined in Training for Climbing? What have your results been?

I've been trying it for a couple of rounds now and the 4 (weeks of skill and stamina training) phase seems awful long and boring, whereas the 3 (weeks of maximum power and strength) seems a little short.

The 4 week phase entails "lots of mileage on a wide variety of routes that are one-half to two number grades below your maximum ability." This bores the heck out of me since it mainly involves climbing routes I know I can do before I pull off the ground. Does anyone feel they've benefited greatly from this phase?

The 3 week phase entails "powerful movements and maximum effort." I'm really starting to feel strong around the end of this phase and feel that if I push it another week or so, I'll really make maximum gains without overdoing it.

I also think something important to note here, is that everything in Training for Climbing is focusing on climbing harder routes, not bouldering; so let's not get sidetracked by that.

Whatay'all think? What have your phases consisted of? How long have they lasted? What kind of improvements have you seen? I appreciate your helpful replies.


nailzz


Oct 12, 2010, 12:10 PM
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Re: [skellie] Horst's 4-3-2-1 Mesocycle [In reply to]
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skellie wrote:
Hey guys,

Have any of you experimented with Horst's 4-3-2-1 Mesocycle, as outlined in Training for Climbing? What have your results been?

I'm working through it for the first time right now. This week is my last week of the 4 week phase.

In reply to:
I've been trying it for a couple of rounds now and the 4 (weeks of skill and stamina training) phase seems awful long and boring, whereas the 3 (weeks of maximum power and strength) seems a little short.

The 4 week phase entails "lots of mileage on a wide variety of routes that are one-half to two number grades below your maximum ability." This bores the heck out of me since it mainly involves climbing routes I know I can do before I pull off the ground. Does anyone feel they've benefited greatly from this phase?

Granted this is my first round, but I've enjoyed the 4 weeks. The point I got from it was to focus on really solidifying your technique as much as possible. So, while you know you're probably going to send the route with little problem, focus on doing it a little better each time. Improve your footwork, grip more lightly, conserve energy. Master your breathing technique. Focus on making the moves as efficient as possible, etc.

In reply to:
The 3 week phase entails "powerful movements and maximum effort." I'm really starting to feel strong around the end of this phase and feel that if I push it another week or so, I'll really make maximum gains without overdoing it.

I will admit that I have been chomping at the bit to get to the 3 week phase as well. But, that's a good thing. Part of the focus of 'Training for Climbing' is mixing up your training. Two main reasons: to keep yourself interested and looking forward to the next stage, and to keep your body from getting too accustomed to the same old workout.

That said, I don't think he makes any claims that this is the only way to do it. If you feel you'd benefit from 4 weeks of strength and power, give it a shot.

In reply to:
Whatay'all think? What have your phases consisted of? How long have they lasted? What kind of improvements have you seen? I appreciate your helpful replies.

Again, seeing that I'm just finishing my first four week phase, I don't have any practical experience on the 3 week phase yet. But, based on how I've been feeling from the beginning of the 4 week phase until now (the last week), I am optimistic that I'll be climbing a bit harder next week.

Also, I remember that Horst gives directions for two mesocycles. The 4-3-2-1 and a more advanced 3-2-1. The point of the first was to give beginning/intermediate climbers a chance to focus on solidifying their technique.

If you feel like you aren't getting much gain from the 4 week phase, I'd say give the 3-2-1 a shot for a few cycles.


gmggg


Oct 12, 2010, 12:32 PM
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Re: [skellie] Horst's 4-3-2-1 Mesocycle [In reply to]
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skellie wrote:
Hey guys,

Have any of you experimented with Horst's 4-3-2-1 Mesocycle, as outlined in Training for Climbing? What have your results been?

I've been trying it for a couple of rounds now and the 4 (weeks of skill and stamina training) phase seems awful long and boring, whereas the 3 (weeks of maximum power and strength) seems a little short.

The 4 week phase entails "lots of mileage on a wide variety of routes that are one-half to two number grades below your maximum ability." This bores the heck out of me since it mainly involves climbing routes I know I can do before I pull off the ground. Does anyone feel they've benefited greatly from this phase?

The 3 week phase entails "powerful movements and maximum effort." I'm really starting to feel strong around the end of this phase and feel that if I push it another week or so, I'll really make maximum gains without overdoing it.

I also think something important to note here, is that everything in Training for Climbing is focusing on climbing harder routes, not bouldering; so let's not get sidetracked by that.

Whatay'all think? What have your phases consisted of? How long have they lasted? What kind of improvements have you seen? I appreciate your helpful replies.

During the 4 week phase you are supposed to really focus on correct body movement. Your goal is not to finish the route but to make each move absolutely perfectly. I think even to the extent of down climbing back to and/or repeating certain moves that you recognize as inefficient. This can make things a little more interesting since you do have a clear "goal" that you will most likely need to work pretty hard to achieve.


viciado


Oct 12, 2010, 1:36 PM
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Re: [gmggg] Horst's 4-3-2-1 Mesocycle [In reply to]
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Yes, I find that the phases are helpful when done correctly. The hardest part of training for me (and apparently a significant number of others is the endurance phase (LSD, laps por whatever) since you can log a lot of distance/volume without really getting anything out of it if you don't stick with the plan. One of my tendencies is to begin to push harder because it seems too easy. Focusing on technique and efficient movement causes me to slow down and also creates a positive distraction to the boredom of doing "easy laps" and I tend to stay at the intended level of exhertion.


ghisino


Oct 13, 2010, 3:29 AM
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Re: [skellie] Horst's 4-3-2-1 Mesocycle [In reply to]
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I'm not familiar with the book, but i actually do some "mileage/easy climbing" cycles every now and then.

things that you can do to make them more interesting :

a) work on correct movement at high pace.
Being efficient on an easy move at a slow pace is quite trivial. Doing the same at higher paces is not, there's a point where you start doing bullshit with your feet, overpulling, etc. Work to shift that point further. Being able to sprint efficiently will help a lot on harder climbs...
a1) Higher paces allow you to use momentum better. Practice flowing from one move into the next.

b) Work such a high volume in such a short time that easy routes start to feel difficult, your heart rate is as high as if you were doing an aerobic sport, etc...
BTW, this way, easy routes are not that easy...


ceebo


Oct 13, 2010, 6:32 AM
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Re: [ghisino] Horst's 4-3-2-1 Mesocycle [In reply to]
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The dynamic style your talking about takes thousands of hours climbing with many falls to get ''efficient'' at. A few hours here and their to slow down and check your position/weight distribution etc is not going to hurt. After all, not everything can be done dynamic.


DouglasHunter


Oct 13, 2010, 7:06 AM
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Re: [skellie] Horst's 4-3-2-1 Mesocycle [In reply to]
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The utility in the 4-3-2-1 schedule is to teach climbers who are new to periodization what it is like. It allows you to move through a training cycle quickly, to learn how to make a schedule / manage your time. The effect is that climbers new to training can move through several training cycles very quickly and get the basic learning that needs to be done out of the way.

In terms of it effectivness as an actual training program, its not all that effective for a number or reasons. Skelle, you mentioned that the movement / endurance phase is too long, but actually the main functional problem from a fitness perspective is that the other phases are too short, a 3-3-3 or 4-4-4 schedule is more common, or you could do 3-4-4. To be honest though, its not the number of total weeks in a cycle that matters, rather it's the number of workouts completed and how close together those workouts are. For example a climber at the 5.13 or 5.14 level would expect to get 30 or more ARC / stamina activities completed in 30 days.

To make your initial 4 week phase more interesting divide your time between four different kinds of activities.

1- ARCing (movement activities should be included)
2- Consistent Intensity Repetitions on routes
3- Consistent Intensity Repetitions on Boulder problems
4- Climbing routes perfectly. As a pervious poster mentioned this is time to achieve perfection in your movement at a submaximal level. This is actually very hard to do. While a 5.12 climber has no problem getting to the top of a 5.10c, that same 5.12 climber will need to do significant move to move work to climb a 5.10c doing each move to the very best of his or her ability. In this activity one should adhere to the highest standard.

Some might balk at the fact that I mention bouldering in the endurance / stamina phase. I include it because doing 12 - 15 boulder problems at the correct level is a stamina workout not a power or power endurance workout so in my mind it fits, and in practical application I would say its worked well in the past.


charlet_poser


Oct 13, 2010, 7:42 AM
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Re: [DouglasHunter] Horst's 4-3-2-1 Mesocycle [In reply to]
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In my opinion, the benefits of your sport-specific fitness are directly related to your base level of fitness, this is why that first cycle is so stinkin' long! The larger your bag of tricks (techniques) and the longer you can simply climb, the more you will get out of your power and power-endurance training. Plus, like others have said, it's a great chance to dial everything else in. This is also why Horst's books say that advanced training cycles drop-off the "4" and just do 3-2-1 cycles on repeat.

As for the length of the other cycles (from what I have learned from training in cycling and from other climbing training info), people see their highest percentage of benefits from both of those types of training when they are done in a 3 or 4 weeks on :1 week recover cycle. I usually do 3 weeks of intervals (with some form of other exercises mixed in throughout the week- running, antagonistic muscle strengthening, outdoor climbing, etc...) and then 1 week of just cross-conditioning stuff.
After that, the amount of strength gains taper off and the chances of getting hurt go up. Remember, your body gets stronger on its rest days, not on the days when you feel wrecked.

Also remember, it's the quality, not quantity of training that matters. You can easily adapt training to either bouldering or ropes. If your gym has better roped routes, you can still become a stronger boulderer and I personally train on boulder problems almost exclusively for either sport climbing or bouldering.
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skellie


Oct 20, 2010, 6:56 PM
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Re: [charlet_poser] Horst's 4-3-2-1 Mesocycle [In reply to]
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Thanks for the great replies guys. What you all said is pretty much what i had in mind, but you've given me some great ideas on what to focus on. It seems the main goal of the 4 week period is "strive for perfection." So that's what I'll be doing!


eric_k


Oct 29, 2010, 11:01 AM
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Re: [skellie] Horst's 4-3-2-1 Mesocycle [In reply to]
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Another benefit from the 4 week cycle, since the intensity of your climbing is less your fingers have more time to adapt to the strength gains made previously. Just doing strength and power workouts all the time will lead to injury.


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