Reader Questions: New Place, New Plan. Keep it Personal.

Christian said...
Hey Kris! Good work on the video (and the send, of course). I've got a few questions that I would like to discuss with somebody (preferably with more knowledge about climbing than me), so if you or your readers have opinions about the following points, I'm very curious: 

Thanks Christian!  First off, I googled images of "Southern Norway"... not even in conjunction with the word "rock", or "climbing"... and this is what popped up:

Is that chalk dotting that face?  Wonder if there is a route up that amazing prow?  I might be coming for a visit...

Now, lets tackle these questions one by one, shall we?

Christian said...
I've recently moved to southern Norway, and people say that climbing mostly evolves around crimpy stuff on angles around vertical (to be veryfied as soon as Winter ends...). To train finger strength and anaerobic endurance, I read it's best to climb on steep angles, and thus put more strain on the fingers. Dave McLeod for example recommends angles around 45 degrees. Now I'm not sure if I should stick to this or - according to the principle of specifity - seek out hard vertical boulders and set my anaerobic circles maximal slightly overhanging.

That you're even considering these ideas makes me happy.  Its great to see people willing to switch gears to improve at whats in front of them, instead of always wishing that what is in front of them would change.  For me, it all comes down to being a well rounded climber who wants to, at any given time, excel at some particular aspect of climbing.  If in fact the climbing proves to be mostly crimping at around vertical, then certainly mix a healthy amount of that into your training, particularly if it's a style that isn't your current strong suit.  I however, wouldn't dismiss steep climbing.  Here's reason number one why:

Yep, that's a boulderfield in Southern Norway.  Now I'm definitely coming for a visit.

Ok, back to reality.  The beauty of the 4x4 is that you can incorporate all sorts of styles and angles into the mix.  It doesn't need to be all vertical problems, or all steep problems.  You can have both, and let it lean toward whatever style you're most psyched on at the moment, or need to work on the most.  You're the architect.  Moreover, when you discover your own weaknesses pertaining to crimpy vert routes, you can structure it to meet those demands.  If you have trouble with harder cruxes, and then pump out up high on easier climbing, start your 4x4 with the hard vert problems, and finish it with easier, pumpier ones.  If you find yourself consistently failing on high, small hold, techy cruxes, then finish your 4x4 with that style problem.

Christian said...
Number of training days/week:
Eric Hoerst and The Self Coached Climber recommend to keep the trainig days low, you seem to do the same. McLeod on the other hand stresses that you should keep training sessions shorter in favor of more sessions (daily?).
I used to play basketball professionally and we trained twice daily (2 hrs each). While this would definately not fit into my life now, I wonder if climbing is so different from other sports, that fewer, longer training sessions are more effectiv than more, shorter ones?

You've got a key idea in there, Christian.  Will it fit into your life?  I've experimented with both approaches, and have found that for me, more frequent, shorter sessions work the best.  However, that doesn't often fit into a life of juggling full time work, making music, painting, an amazing girlfriend, and a wonderful 13 year old daughter.  Not to mention any other hobbies.  So I commit to what I can, and put it on a schedule so that I'm not tempted to skip out on a session and say "Oh, I'll make up for it on Thursday."   While setting up training programs for people, I find that nearly across the board they believe that they can commit to more time than they can actually fit in.  I'm past that delusion, and have accepted my limited schedule.  Also, I'm 36, and while I know I'm a much better climber than I was at 26, I also know I need much more rest.  The best advice I can give is to do some experimenting, find out what works for your body, and make a realistic commitment to as much of that as you can fit into your regular life. 

Christian said...
In your sample anaerobic period workout you do 1 hr of hard bouldering after warmup and before your 4x4s. Do I interpret this right that you decided to train strength (and technique) during all periods?

Again, this is more a personal choice.  The style of climbing at my home area, Red River Gorge, doesn't require much power.  As strength and power are my biggest weaknesses (this is rapidly changing), my main goal through the offseasons (winter, summer) is to get my power (and my powerful techniques... thanks for including that in your question) to a new, higher baseline.  I know it will fall during the inseason, but I want it to fall to a higher level than it fell to the previous season.  Did that make any sense?  For me, strength and power, or the ability to access it, fade quickly.  As max power is a key element of anaerobic endurance, I like to train it to some degree throughout my offseason.  Also, in each individual session, I don't feel as if I can "recruit" all my power until I've been bouldering for 45 minutes or so.  I do try to make a few subtle adjustments according to which phase I'm currently in.  When I'm in a power phase, I rest longer between problems than I do during an AE phase.  Or, I TRY to rest longer.  More often than not I get excited by the problems and forget that crucial element.

So again, my workouts are all built around what I know works for me... but may not work exactly the same for everyone.  As always, the best advice is to experiment, keep track of your workouts, and build your plan on the back of how your perform.  Based on the depth of your questions, I'd say that you're on the right track... you've gathered suggestions from several sources and are applying it to your own situation.  Perfect.

Southern Norway, anyone?