Thursday, January 9, 2014

High/Low. Did it work?



Simple question, right?  Well, the simple answer is that yes, in my opinion, it worked wonderfully.  In fact, my training season is ramping back up as I write this, and I plan on continuing with the high/low approach.

But, the question you all want to know...

Being as I trained no power endurance, how did it affect my power endurance for the season?

At first thought, I'd have a hard time answering this.  My power was up considerably, and stayed higher for longer.  My general endurance and stamina was higher as well.  My power endurance felt better.  The problem, I have no send to show for it.  A couple of 13b's and a handful of 12+ onsights, but no big send.  However, I do have proof hidden in my little black bag.

Taylor on White Man's Overbite.  13c
You'll remember Taylor from a case study some time ago.  I also put Taylor on the High/Low program last season, and he has the sends to show for it.  Remember, we trained no power endurance at all... only high intensity strength and power, with low intensity endurance.  While he got out of the gate slow, he steadily picked up steam and ended up with not only a Madness Cave length 13b, "B.O.H.I.C.A.", and a powerful 13b called "No Redemption", but his first two 13c's, "Buttercup" and "White Man's Overbite", both power endurance testpieces atypical of the normal Red River pumpfests.  His power endurance was far better than previous seasons, and he looked unstoppable.  It was his best season by a wide margin, but I'd guess it'll be followed by even better.

As for me, I wasted the early part of the season on a terrible sequence.  Thanks to my friends Nate Drolet and Dru Mack, I was shown the error of my ways and quickly made progress on "Transworld Depravity" (14a), falling several times at "the move" that leads to considerably easier climbing, and a series of sequences I had pretty dialed in.

Me on Transworld.  Photo:  Greg Kerzhner


I'm excited to get back on the High/Low horse and start a new training cycle.  The first cycle of High/Low training revealed a few weak points in our setup, and we're making adjustments.  We've recently completed a new training area for The Power Company, complete with a fully stocked system wall, provided by Atomik (so review's will be coming soon of the Atomik system holds) and a bouldering wall that never changes, allowing us to have long term projects.  We'll be training smarter, more efficient, and with big goals in mind.  We've added to the crew of motivated climbers who train with us, and I'm glad to have all of you along for the ride as well.

2014, here we come.







17 comments:

  1. Hey Kris,
    Really diggin the website...great articles!
    I'm new to the hi/lo training...could you give me a idea of how many hi, and lo's you do per week?
    and...have you ever mixed in a hi/lo routine with a traditional hyp phase...or heard of anything like that?

    Thanks,
    Dave

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    1. Hey Dave, I'll be posting up my season schedule soon, but just to give you an idea, I generally train 2 to 3 high days a week (always with at least 48 hours between), and the other 4 or 5 are low or rest days. I like to try and do at least 2 dedicated low climbing days every week, and some active rest days.

      As far as mixing in a hyp phase, that's exactly what I do. I cycle between hyp and recruitment in 4 to 5 week chunks.

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    2. Kris,
      Thanks for the response!...Looking forward to the post.

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  2. Hey Kris,
    When you get some time....
    I was trying to figure how i would go about the hi/ lo during the winter...not enough day light to get any climbing in after work. All i have at my dispose is a campus board, hangboard and a Woody in my backyard.
    So if you can't get around to climbing during the week...what would you recommmend for hi/ lo days???
    I guess i could use campusing for HI workouts during the week, and my climbing on the weekends would prob be hi.
    But if im doing hyp phase my hangboard sessions(repeaters) would be considered lo or hi?

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    1. Campusing is definitely a hi intensity workout, particularly if you keep the reps low, meaning don't ladder up and down and get pumped. I rarely do more than 2 hand movements on the harder skills, and no more than 5 when it's a "workout" like touches. Repeaters, in my opinion, fall into a strange grey area. There are far too many hangs to be truly high intensity. I've been doing a workout researched by Eva Lopez, and so far I'm seeing suprising results. Basically she does a cycle of hangs on an 18 mm edge, with a weight that you could hang for 1 rep at 14 seconds. Once you know that weight, do 3 hangs of 10 seconds with 3 minutes rest between hangs. 2-3 times a week, adding weight as you feel like you're final rep could have gone to 14 seconds. That's it for that cycle. Harder than it sounds. In the next cycle, you do bodyweight hangs on an edge that you would max out at 12 seconds on. Again, only 3 hangs of 10 seconds with 3 minutes rest between. Gradually move to a smaller edge once you feel your final rep could have gone to 12 or so. And that's it. Are you bouldering outside or climbing routes?

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    2. Hey Kris,

      In looking at your hangboard workouts, what other exercises do you do on hangboard days? I can't imagine you warm up, do 3 hangs and call it a day? Do you boulder or do any other strength training on these days? If so, can you let me know how you structure the training in sequence?

      Thanks!

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    3. Kris,

      One other question. When you do your hangs, what grip do you use?

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    4. I generally boulder/system board/campus (not all in the same phase), then hangboard, then strength/core/etc.
      I used to hangboard in the morning before an evening session of the above (minus the hangboard), and felt like it worked well. Time will tell if this new setup is more effective.

      I always hang with a half crimp.

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    5. Hey Kris,

      So reading through your other posts, I'm guessing a typical HI workout looks something like:

      Warm up (15 minutes)
      Boulder/system board/campus (45 minutes-1 hour)
      Hang board (10 minutes)
      Strength/core (30 minutes)

      Is that about right, or do I have the times or routine off?

      Thanks for your willingness to share information and answering questions. I've been implementing various aspects of your training programs and I have seen some really good improvements over the past two months, particularly in my bouldering. I haven't tried anything power endurance oriented, but have noticed that my low days (easy route climbing), the moves just seem easier so I am optimistic for the upcoming spring season.

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    6. Hey Kris,
      Thanks for the response...
      So I can use campus as a Hi routine....gotcha..and I figured the handboard repeaters would be a med intensity liike you were saying...but i might try to keep them in there somehow. I'm using the Anderson routine, and after my second workout I recover real quick, like after a Hi routine, and i start to progress through the weights very qiuckly which i thought was interesting to say the least.
      After seeing your input on Eva Lopez's routine, i jumped over to her site to check it out...very cool! I'll prob start to work that in within the next week...I'll give myself enough time to get studied up on it.
      To answer your question...my local climbing (Mt. Woodson)(regular weekend, not on a trip) would consist of bouldering, some in the highball range and tr-ing short routes. Right now, there's not enough day light to go climbing after work during the week...so climbing is strictly on weekends till late spring and summer. So when i get out on the weekends i always train Hi(figuring it would be so much more effective...and interesting). But as far as my options for Lo...i don't know where to start...
      All i have at my dispose during the week is my campus board, hangboard, and 16' crack "woody".
      Any thoughts how I could round things out a little better with some Lo training, or any other thoughts you have??

      Thanks,
      Dave

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    7. Looks like you're right on with the timing and schedule.

      Low days don't always have to be climbing, but you could certainly try a low intensity workout on the hangboard. It would require lots of hangs on good edges. You could try something like: Hang for 19 seconds, rest for 19, hang for 17, rest for 17, hang for 15, rest for 15, and so on, down to 1, then back up the even numbers to 20. Like I said though, it'd have to be a big edge. The good thing is, endurance comes fast, so when you get back outside regularly, it'll come back faster than you think.

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    8. Awesome!! I'm gonna give that idea a shot, see how it works out....

      Thanks again,

      Dave

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  3. Hi Kris,

    I'm curious about where working a project fits into the High/Low concept. I understand how High/Low works as it relates to training cycles, but it seems to me that working a project, particularly at an area like the Red, will introduce an unavoidable Power-Endurance or middle intensity effort. I know this may be taking it too far, but would a perfect High/Low send of an outdoor project involve never using anaerobic endurance and not getting pumped at all? Thanks for all of your info, I find this extremely fascinating and always look forward to each new post!

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    1. Hey Scott,
      In my mind, working and sending a route falls into the area of performance rather than training. It's easy for me to separate the two because my schedule demands that I have specific seasons where I can climb outdoors alot and where I can't. Just as a sprinter would see a full 200 as a middle intensity effort, and would rarely train at that distance, so do I as a sport climber. When it's time to perform, you're right, the middle intensity effort is impossible to avoid. The goal is that by training at the high and low ends of the spectrum, you're allowing more time for quality training without the rest needed after a middle intensity session, and hopefully it all comes together to allow the best middle intensity effort you can give.

      Of course, if you're working something like "The Nothing" that starts with a heinous boulder problem, and you spend the large amount of time on that problem, then you're closer to a high intensity session. We both know that's rare in sport climbing, so I just prefer to keep the two separate, like a sprinter training for a big meet.

      To answer your last question, I suppose it would. In fact, that's basically my goal on "Transworld" this season. Climb the pumpy sections as if it's a low intensity workout, punch it through the 3 high intensity boulder problems, and clip chains. We'll see how it actually plays out...

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    2. Kris,

      Thanks, that makes a ton of sense. It is really cool that you take the time to answer all of the questions on your blog! Keep up the great work and thanks again!

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    3. Also, good luck on Transworld!

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