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DouglasHunter


Oct 26, 2011, 9:35 AM
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Getting Better Without Training
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Many climbers want to improve their performance level. 5.9 climbers desire the prestige of reaching double digits. Young sport climbers know that climbing 5.14 is the new status quo. Boulderers want to join the race for V12, V13, and beyond. Nonetheless, launching into a full training program with cycles and long term planning can be daunting and sounds like a lot of work, even to highly motivated climbers. Short of creating a full training program, what can climbers do to keep improving?

Improvement within a structured training program, or outside of one, comes from placing some kind of control (knowingly or not) on the following:

- Intensity: how hard you climb each day.
- Volume: how much climbing you do each day.
- Quality: The effectiveness of your movement, and how well developed your movement skills are.
- Diversity: How many different climbing activities do you do each day, and what terrain do you do them on.

Placing controls on one or more of the above variables will foster improvement. An important question is, how well do you know your own climbing? Do you know what your consistent on-sight, and redpoint levels are? Do you have a good grasp of what your intensity, and volume, are like from day to day? The following suggestion will help you know yourself better as a climber, and help foster better climbing habits.

1) Keep a Climbing Journal: You want to document how much climbing you are doing each day, how hard that climbing is and how well you are climbing. Write down what you do during each day for four weeks and then review your journal. By doing this you will know for sure how many routes or boulder problems you are doing in a typical day, and at what level your are typically working. The patterns in your climbing will become clear.

2) Increase Volume: Most climbers actually do very little climbing during any given day of outdoor or indoor climbing. So the first thing you can do is work on becoming more efficient with your time in order to get more climbing in each day. For instance, if you do fewer than 10 boulder problems in a gym session, then lower the difficulty of the problems you are doing, do less chatting, and try to do 15 – 20 problems in a session.

3) Control Intensity: Experience suggests that working at what is called a sub maximal level is often best for making improvements. Spend most of your time working at the sub maximal Level and very little time working at or near your current limit. For experienced climbers the sub maximal level is the level at which you can complete a route or boulder problem in 1 – 3 tries. If you are spending more than about 20% of your time working at or near your limit, you should be dropping the intensity and increasing the volume.



4) Increase Quality: How well you move, how well you have learned the fundamental sport-specific skills involved in climbing plays a significant role in how quickly you improve, and how far you can go. Moving well and understanding the basic skills involved in turning, flagging, wall contact, and balance among others is vital. Don’t spend a lot of time climbing at grades above which you can move with a high quality.


5) Increase Diversity: A well-known quote says, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results.” If you go to the crag and gym and don’t make a point of doing different things each day, then you are most likely always doing the same thing over and over again so you need to break out of old patterns and create new ones.
a) Do a variety of activities that ask different things of your body.
Maximum strength: Hard Bouldering.
Local Anaerobic Endurance: Laps on route, laps on long traverses, bouldering circuits.
Local Aerobic Endurance: Continuous climbing for 10- 30 minutes without getting pumped.
b) Don’t always climb on the same type of problems or routes. If you love steep climbing, be sure to add vertical and slab climbing to your daily mix. If you don’t like slopers, then get on them!
c) If you typically project routes or boulder problems, take several weeks to only do on-sights and flashes. If you typically on-sight then spend time projecting.

Nothing can compare to a well-designed long-term training program for making significant improvement, but by using these guidelines you can improve your daily climbing habits and should see results over the course of weeks to months.

(cross posted at selfcoachedclimber.com)


jbro_135


Oct 26, 2011, 10:02 AM
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Some good ideas here for sure. I think a lot of people get discouraged from following a training program because of the time and effort that goes into organizing, executing, and documenting strict routines for every time they climb. By understanding the principles behind training for climbing and incorporating them into your climbing sessions you can strike a balance between having fun climbing and doing what you need to do to get better.

Great post.


lena_chita
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Oct 26, 2011, 11:00 AM
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Thanks-- I needed to read this!

Even though I've read the SCC, and used the principles before, right now I am in a slump of not having enough time and not having enough motivation to train efficiently in the little time I do have at the gym.

I need to stop whimpering and whining, design a plan that fits into my new schedule, and start training again. it definitely made a difference before.


caughtinside


Oct 26, 2011, 11:39 AM
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Great post. Thanks!


DouglasHunter


Oct 26, 2011, 12:52 PM
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Thanks you guys. Jbro I think you hit the nail on the head that there is a large community of climbers out there interested in improvement but who want climbing to be fun, and don't know how to do the planning necessary. This is a group that I want to reach out to more. Let me know if you guys have any suggestions about doing that.

Thanks,
D


damienclimber


Oct 26, 2011, 1:35 PM
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Re: [DouglasHunter] Getting Better Without Training [In reply to]
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DouglasHunter wrote:
Thanks you guys. Jbro I think you hit the nail on the head that there is a large community of climbers out there interested in improvement but who want climbing to be fun, and don't know how to do the planning necessary. This is a group that I want to reach out to more. Let me know if you guys have any suggestions about doing that.

Thanks,
D


Hope to see you at the Eye, halloween night at midnight! Jtree

We would appreciate if you dress as the devil with your blue dress on.

Thanks, we are looking forward to having you demonstrate your plan to Noobs .


(This post was edited by damienclimber on Oct 26, 2011, 1:37 PM)


boadman


Nov 4, 2011, 2:41 PM
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I'm in that group too, I've got a job, kids, etc. I can get to the gym once or twice a week for an hour or two, and generally only get outside once a week during the climbing season. The exercises in the SCC are too time consuming, and frankly boring, for me to actually execute. At the same time, I've definitely plateaued for the last few years, and would love to see some progress. I think a general plan for the once a week climber would be really helpful. One for boulderers, one for sport climbers, and one for trad climbers, perhaps. Maybe a final one for generalists like me that like to do it all.


ceebo


Nov 5, 2011, 8:07 AM
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boadman wrote:
I'm in that group too, I've got a job, kids, etc. I can get to the gym once or twice a week for an hour or two, and generally only get outside once a week during the climbing season. The exercises in the SCC are too time consuming, and frankly boring, for me to actually execute. At the same time, I've definitely plateaued for the last few years, and would love to see some progress. I think a general plan for the once a week climber would be really helpful. One for boulderers, one for sport climbers, and one for trad climbers, perhaps. Maybe a final one for generalists like me that like to do it all.

Technique and strength = good climber

Technique with little strength = avg climber

Little technique with strength = avg climber

Little technique and little strength = bad climber, for lack of better wording.

You may not have all the time in the world to goto the gym and train both, but what on earth stops you from making strength gains at home?. It simply can not make you worse. The obvius injury counter argument.. that risk comes with all forms of training.


damienclimber


Nov 5, 2011, 4:13 PM
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boadman wrote:
I'm in that group too, I've got a job, kids, etc. I can get to the gym once or twice a week for an hour or two, and generally only get outside once a week during the climbing season. The exercises in the SCC are too time consuming, and frankly boring, for me to actually execute. At the same time, I've definitely plateaued for the last few years, and would love to see some progress. I think a general plan for the once a week climber would be really helpful. One for boulderers, one for sport climbers, and one for trad climbers, perhaps. Maybe a final one for generalists like me that like to do it all.


I'm frankly disappointed that Doug showed a lack of professional behavior ,by not responding to an opportunity to demonstrate his plan in person.

Or offer an alternative to rockclimbing.com members *

Best save your money for gear, gym memberships,videos and magazines versus Doug's boring books.

* Unless there was some unfortunate event beyond his control


boadman


Nov 5, 2011, 8:26 PM
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Sure, but what's the best way to see steady consistent gains over long periods of time with relatively little access to actual rock or a good gym? That's where I feel the SCC really falls flat.


guangzhou


Nov 5, 2011, 9:42 PM
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boadman wrote:
Sure, but what's the best way to see steady consistent gains over long periods of time with relatively little access to actual rock or a good gym? That's where I feel the SCC really falls flat.

I agree here. If you only have access to the cliff on weekend trips, and no gym to train with, the SCC fails you.


jt512


Nov 5, 2011, 10:11 PM
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boadman wrote:
Sure, but what's the best way to see steady consistent gains over long periods of time with relatively little access to actual rock or a good gym?

There isn't any.

In reply to:
That's where I feel the SCC really falls flat.

No. The SCC is realistic.

Jay


johnwesely


Nov 6, 2011, 4:57 AM
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boadman wrote:
Sure, but what's the best way to see steady consistent gains over long periods of time with relatively little access to actual rock or a good gym? That's where I feel the SCC really falls flat.

You can't improve without a gym or rock to train on. Anybody telling you otherwise is selling you something.


ceebo


Nov 6, 2011, 6:24 AM
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boadman wrote:
Sure, but what's the best way to see steady consistent gains over long periods of time with relatively little access to actual rock or a good gym? That's where I feel the SCC really falls flat.

It does not fall flat... becuase the truth is to get what you ask for needs more rock or plastic, their is no great alternitave but their are options none the less (that are better than just doing nothing). All i am suggesting is that you can focus your strength training at home leaving more time to focus ''mostly'' on technique etc with the very limited time you do get on the rock. That does not leave allot of room for performance climbing, but how much do you want to improve?. One performace day per month is a difficult game to play.. but with the short training time you have, you cannot really expect a full deal.

The other better option, build a home wall.


caughtinside


Nov 6, 2011, 7:43 AM
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johnwesely wrote:
boadman wrote:
Sure, but what's the best way to see steady consistent gains over long periods of time with relatively little access to actual rock or a good gym? That's where I feel the SCC really falls flat.

You can't improve without a gym or rock to train on. Anybody telling you otherwise is selling you something.

I have friends who have made big strength gains through just hangboarding, who recommend the rockprodigy program.

If I'm back in a situation with little gym/rock time, I'd probably try to pick that up. Seems pretty boring, but if you want the gains...


johnwesely


Nov 6, 2011, 8:03 AM
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Sure, but what's the best way to see steady consistent gains over long periods of time with relatively little access to actual rock or a good gym? That's where I feel the SCC really falls flat.[/quote]

You can't improve without a gym or rock to train on. Anybody telling you otherwise is selling you something.[/quote]

I have friends who have made big strength gains through just hangboarding, who recommend the rockprodigy program.

If I'm back in a situation with little gym/rock time, I'd probably try to pick that up. Seems pretty boring, but if you want the gains...[/quote]

I was sort of including hangboarding with that, but even then, it would be really hard to see gains with one day on the rock/plastic per week.


boadman


Nov 6, 2011, 12:24 PM
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Really? You know this for a fact? Because you read the SCC? Drank the koolaid much?

Have you gotten any better since following the SCC program?

I think it's ironic that so many people are jumping on the SCC bandwagon that don't climb hard enough to require any training at all.


jt512


Nov 6, 2011, 1:13 PM
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boadman wrote:
Really? You know this for a fact? Because you read the SCC? Drank the koolaid much?

Based on my understanding of the same science as the authors of the SCC—a science which seem to be completely ignorant.

In reply to:
I think it's ironic that so many people are jumping on the SCC bandwagon that don't climb hard enough to require any training at all.

A truly bizarre insult, since the levels of our climbing accomplishments are practically identical, according to the self-description in your profile.

Jay


boadman


Nov 6, 2011, 1:21 PM
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It wasn't meant to be insulting, but I agree. If you've been on the SCC program, why don't climb harder than me?


jt512


Nov 6, 2011, 2:22 PM
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boadman wrote:
It wasn't meant to be insulting, but I agree. If you've been on the SCC program, why don't climb harder than me?

I haven't been on "the SCC program," whatever that is.

As to our relative climbing levels, let us know how you're doing at age 53.

Jay


jbro_135


Nov 7, 2011, 9:05 AM
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I climb much harder than you, and the only training program I've ever really looked at in my couple years of climbing is the SCC. Happy?


boadman


Nov 7, 2011, 9:20 AM
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I've red-pointed 13b sport, onsighted 12d sport, redpointed 12- trad lines, and done a few V9 boulder problems without any training at all. And I'm way fatter than you. If you adjust the grades by the chubber allotment (one letter grade for every 5 pounds one weighs more than Chris Sharma), I actually climb substantially harder than you. I think the SCC training advice is probably over-rated.


jbro_135


Nov 7, 2011, 9:26 AM
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That got a chuckle for sure.

The SCC may be overrated, but then so is any other training book/program. It teaches good fundamentals and is backed by solid sports science, which is more than can be said about most other popular climbing training advice. Sure a lot of people climb hard and 'just climb' for training, but if you have limited time to devote to climbing and want to see maximum gains then the SCC is the way to go, and definitely can't hurt.


johnwesely


Nov 7, 2011, 9:27 AM
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boadman wrote:
I've red-pointed 13b sport, onsighted 12d sport, redpointed 12- trad lines, and done a few V9 boulder problems without any training at all. And I'm way fatter than you. If you adjust the grades by the chubber allotment (one letter grade for every 5 pounds one weighs more than Chris Sharma), I actually climb substantially harder than you. I think the SCC training advice is probably over-rated.

Wait, you climb that hard and actually think there is way you are going to get better climbing one day a week?


amergen2


Nov 7, 2011, 10:16 AM
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This post really hit home for me! I'm in law school and climbing is my #1 relaxation activity. This makes if hard to push myself to lead climbs at my level when I actually do get outside. I just want climbing to be fun all the time and trying to get my lead head back is not fun for me.

Unfortunately, I'm not sure I have any helpful suggestions. The only thing that has ever helped me get better at climbing was pushing myself to climb more and do harder climbs. So my new plan is to stop whining and do that. If you figure something out please let us know. Either way, I'm glad you are looking into this!

Thanks,
Annie

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