Last winter, I was sad. I moved to Colorado at the beginning of alpine season and didn’t quite grasp the fact that it would end until.. it ended. Suddenly there was snow everywhere and below freezing temps. Wet shoes. Snotty noses. Stormy weekends meant gym session after gym session. My grandfather passed away. I quickly collected multiple pulley injuries.
Looking back, it wasn’t all that bad. I was fine. I mummy-taped my fingers, kept climbing, and made a trip out to Hueco. The snow started to melt. More and more weekends could be spent outside. In the thick of it, though, it felt never-ending.
This year, I decided to be proactive knowing that I could fall into another winter slump. This time when I went to Boulder Canyon only to be chased away by the 20 degree temps and 20 MPH winds or to Flagstaff to find wet rock, I was ready to train. I made sure to book myself full and have plenty to work for:
- Hueco Rock Rodeo – February 11 (followed by a week of climbing)
- Denver Bouldering Club’s Heart and Soul Competition – February 25
- USA Climbing’s SCS Nationals – March 10
So here is a snapshot of what the past couple of months looked like for me.
From Dave MacLeod’s 9 out of 10 climbers make the same mistakes:
Who needs to pump iron to climb hard?
The biggest problem with weightlifting in training is the effect it has on people. When used correctly, it is a useful tool and a solution to various training problems, even in climbing. However, those who use it at all frequently over use it and choose their exercises poorly on top of this. So the net result is that weight training hinders climbing performance nearly as often as it helps it…
In general, weight training is not really the most efficient form of training for the vast majority of climbers. Nearly all climbers need to climb more… Time spent pumping iron is time not learning any climbing skills.
Maybe it is because I am some form of lazy, but my philosophy for training is exactly that: climb more. I have done the weighted pull-up pyramids, the fingerboarding, the this and the that. But right now, I am in a place where I can easily get to the climbing gym and spend 2 or 3 hours purely climbing. This is what seems to work for me and what I believe will make me a better climber. I learn something every single time I climb because there are so many parts of movement that I have yet to master. There are so many moves I have never done, so many I have never even tried!
Climbing more doesn’t necessarily mean projecting more. Climbing more means training that incorporates power endurance drills, treadwall, volume, etc. This month, I started climbing 5 days a week rather than only 4.
Anyways, here is an example week from last month:
Tuesday: try to onsight/flash as many climbs from the reset as possible. Project harder climbs. Project on Moonboard then start to cool down and try to flash easier climbs on the board. This ends up being about 1.5 hours of hard projecting. Short core workout (either TRX or floor exercises).
Wednesday: try and onsight/flash fill-in climbs on reset wall. Climb on tread wall: 3 sets of 5 minutes on, 5 minutes rest. 3 sets of 5 minute drill [try and complete a climb one or two grades below redpoint level 3 times within a 5 minute period. 45 seconds to complete a climb is good and allows for about 45 seconds of rest between repeats, 5 minute rests between sets]. 3 sets of link-ups: link 3 boulder problems together, up a climb ~3-4 grades below redpoint, down easy climb, up a climb ~2-3 grades below redpoint. This is about 2.5 minutes on the wall, with 2.5 minutes rest.
Thursday: project ~1-1.5 hours. Short core workout.
Saturday: try and get outside!
Sunday: repeat of Wednesday’s power endurance/ endurance drills
The order of the days really isn’t structured. Sometimes I projected Tuesday and Wednesday, then did endurance on Thursday. Or I did less endurance and more projecting on a Sunday. I wanted to periodize this training in order to “peak” for Hueco, so I climbed about 20 sessions without taking more than one day of rest. Now, about a week and a half before Hueco, I took two days off from climbing and will lighten up on the sessions until I leave!
I am happy with how the training schedule turned out: I feel like I am climbing very well and also have not gotten injured!! More than anything, I am just happy I made it through the bulk of winter 🙂