The Engine Room is mostly complete, and the first few weeks of sessions indicate that it is exactly what we'd been missing. I'm psyched to get stronger than ever this training season with the help of the tools we've added to our lineup.
What exactly were we missing? Several things seemed to throw off not only our motivation, but the effectiveness of our training. First off, our gym, Rockquest, does an amazing job in constantly switching up the boulder problems. This would seem like a good thing, and in fact, is, for commercial reasons. However, when a boulder problem is only up for 4 weeks, and every week a new wall is reset, it makes it impossible to have projects, particularly of the long term variety. With grading in the gym such a taboo and subjective subject, it's nearly impossible to gauge progress on new problems every week. Not a good setup for long term gain. Also, as is common, our setters would fall into ruts, where the same move would show up on every hard problem in the gym. Not to mention it would always be throwing with the right hand off of a high right foot, or a compression move so stretchy that only 5 people in the gym can reach it. Add those factors to the fact that Taylor and I climb at the top level of our gyms setting, and it's definitely not conducive to long term gain.
Our solution: The Engine Room.
A small bouldering wall and an adjustable angle system wall make up the meat of the room. The bouldering wall has named holds, like I had seen on Todd Skinner's old woody in Lander, Wyoming (where many of the holds came from), so that a problem is set and remembered via an abstract poem of sorts. We keep the poems recorded in a binder, sorted by suggested grade. The hold arrangement will likely never change, and among the hundreds of possibilities on the wall will be long term projects from V2 to V12 and harder.
The system wall is the crown jewel in my opinion, and you'll be hearing much more about it. Sponsored by Atomik Climbing Holds, I've set it up in a configuration that will allow endless problem variations and their mirror images. This allows us to really zero in on weak grips and movements on both sides of our bodies. You quickly learn which side is stronger, and can attack it.
Add in a full selection of weight plates and weight vests, and we have everything we need.
In coming months I'll be writing reviews for many of the products we're using in The Engine Room, as well as detailing the workouts that we're doing on the Atomik Bombs and the system wall.
I'm currently following the hangboard plan that Eva Lopez suggests when you purchase her Transgression board. It fits right in with my ideas on strength, hypertrophy, and power, and I'm excited to see how it goes. So far, I'm a fan of the board. While I'd heard initially that the edges were too sharp, Eva has released an updated, lighter version that is very comfortable to use. I've worked up to hanging with nearly 100 lbs. on an 18 mm edge, and my skin is still just fine. Be on the lookout for this review!
They generously provided enough holds for me to set the entire board, and thus far, I'm impressed. As the system board is now the cornerstone of my training, I'll be spending more than enough time on it to give you an idea of exactly how these holds perform. I'll tell you which holds I chose, why, and how they've worked out.
As our bouldering wall was being set (and still is... we're gonna cover it in holds), we began to pay particular attention to which holds were the friendliest, the most realistic, and the best for training, particularly when setting hard boulder problems. I'll be reviewing several sets of holds, including the "Meatlets" from Teknik, the "2 Tex Pure Crimps" from Egrips, and from Vision Climbing, the "Acid Rain Pinches" and the "Bumper Pads".
Last but not least, I'll be posting more about how I schedule my High/Low sessions, and what kinds of workouts those sessions include. It's about to get busy around here.
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