Reader Questions: Workout Plan

Lately my time has been consumed by helping to build, design, and complete the paint scheme for the titanic (it's huge AND shaped like a ship) boulder that we're building in my local gym, Rockquest.  The case study I've been developing with my friend Jon is about to begin it's voyage, and my own climbing has been both frustratingly sporadic and encouragingly strong.  One thing that doesn't seem to have slowed is the reading of this blog, which has actually steadily grown.  More readers are asking great questions, which has prompted me to decide to periodically answer as many as I can, in addition to my regular posts.  We'll start this new section off with Carlos, who is obviously amped about training.

Carlos writes:

Hello Kris,
Hope all is well.
I was wondering how the training study is going w/your friend? I also wanted to share my new training plan with you and hopefully get some suggestions on improving it.
I boulder 90% of the time so I wanted to focus more on Strength, Muscle fiber recruitment & Power Endurance.
On paper it looks like this;
*2 weeks of Max Strength / Hypertrophy, mixed
with core training (front levers, leg lifts
.HIT (by Eric Horst)
.Hangboard to hopefully strengthen my
fingers. My crimps are my weakness.
*2 weeks of Max Recruitment mixed w/ technique
and movement training.
.Campus board (ladders 1,2,3,...up&down)
*2 weeks of Power Endurance (to hopefully build
the endurance to climb short sport routes)
.Frenchies (eric horst)
.3X30 sets of 30 medium difficulty moves.
1 week rest

My pyramid tops out at 12a & V7
I would like to put a 13a and V10 at the top.

Suggestions would be appreciated.

Thanks for the work you put into writing the blog.


Carlos also gave me a little bit of background info in a previous comment:

Just discovered you blog and it seems to be at a good time.
I can't wait to read the "training case study" about your friend.
I am also "a weekend worrier", more like once a month weekend worrier. Just became a father so until the baby can handle more outdoor time all I can do is train in my garage. To help me stay fit I build a 45 degree wall in my garage, got some gymnastic rings and definitely getting a hangboard. In my opinion, the hangboard is a must if one wants to get strong fingers.
Anyways, I look forward to see what kind of training and progress your friend achieves by Spring.
Good luck. 


Ambitious training plan!  I like the way you think.  As you are primarily interested in bouldering and doing a few short sport routes, I tried to look at your program through those eyes.  The first thing that jumped out at me is the discrepancy between the grades in your pyramid and goals.  If all goes well within your training, then 13a will be a non-issue.  With your current V7 power, all you may need to do 13a is a little power endurance, and possibly improved route climbing tactics.  What I'm saying is be prepared to have to set a new route goal when this one goes down easy...

Now, my main concern with your training plan is that it involves so many components, and I'm not sure how you're structuring your daily plan.  I tend to find that my workouts are more productive if I stick to one or two complementary exercises per workout (bouldering + hangboard, or campus + hangboard, or 3x30's + 4x4's, etc...).  It's tough not to throw in as many exercises as you can, but in my experience, it only clutters things up. 

Lets start with your Phase I.  As primarily a boulderer, this is a good way to jumpstart your training.  I would extend it to 3 weeks so you can really get the max benefits of your body adapting for strength.  I also would carry over the core training into the other phases, though at a slightly lower intensity.  Be careful to keep your HIT and your hangboard workouts short on time and high on intensity to be sure that you don't end up working more toward power endurance.  One thing I would add is a little work on antagonist muscles.  A light push up and dip workout (use the rings for dips... it does wonders for all the stabilizer muscles that your body will be using constantly while climbing.) will go a long way to prevent injury. 

Phase II.  I'm glad you included technique and movement in her.  Again, I would extend this one to at least 3 weeks.  When setting your problems for this phase, I'd suggest a few parameters.  Keep them short (1-5 moves), make them hard (some individual moves should take you multiple sessions to complete), and set them to challenge your weaknesses, both in grip type and movement.  Pay particular attention to which moves are hard for you and why.  That knowledge will play a huge part in advancing your climbing.  For your campus workouts, again, make them short and hard.  Being on the board for a long run of movements is leaning toward PE.  And be careful of your elbows!  Listen to your body.

Phase III.  My favorite type of training.  I love leaving the gym feeling WASTED like only Power Endurance training can do for you.  Since you plan on doing 3 sets of 30 moves, I'd start my workout off with those (after warming up), and always go in that order.  If you don't, you'll see a dramatic difference in whatever exercise you choose to do first and it will be difficult to judge your actual improvement.  4x4's are definitely a staple here.  Vary up the problems, and make sure you're including some of your weakest grips/movements.  I think you could skip the Frenchies and put more emphasis on the actual climbing part of your training... but if you want a pull up type exercise, Frenchies are the best one for this phase.

Definitely rest!  Its hard to, but well worth it.

Keep us all updated on how you're progressing.  You've put alot of thought into a good plan... now all you have to do is execute and you'll be crushing V10's in no time!



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