Holiday Inception + Training Days

We’ve just returned to the Millennium FalcVan after five weeks of holiday inside our holiday, which we spent back home on Vancouver Island. We left our van in the care of wonderful friends Colleen and Gilles and flew to Victoria in mid-December. It was both a good and a hard Christmas, but the bottom line is we feel so lucky to have spent time with our families this season.

Alongside the family visits we also made time for four weeks of training. After wrapping up our two months of sport climbing in the Red (which was preceded by three months of almost solely sport climbing) we were feeling the need to build up our strength and power. The plan was to spend four weeks doing strength training on the hangboard interspersed with power-specific exercises in the climbing gym. All in all it worked pretty well, with only a bit of falling off our training schedule near the end. 

For those interested, here’s pretty much what we did…

Strength Training

We designed our workout based on suggestions in the “Rock Climber’s Training Manual” by the Anderson brothers. Basically, we chose seven different grips/holds on a hangboard (we used the metolius 3D simulator), and then did three sets of 7 second hangs separated by 3 second breaks on each grip/hold. Within each of the sets for a given grip/hold, the number of repetitions decreases and the intensity (added weight) above the baseline increases. Between each of the 20 sets that make up the whole workout, we took a three minute rest. Here’s an example of the notes from one of workouts:


The hangboard work-outs took about two hours to complete including our warm up, and we did them twice a week, making it a totally reasonable time commitment. We always made sure there were at least two days between hangboard workouts and that we took a rest day from finger-intensive activities the day before a workout. All the details on how to set up one of these workouts can be found in the Anderson book.
We did our power training at The Boulders Climbing Gym. Twice a week we’d go in for a three hour session – one hour of warm up followed by about two hours of power-specific exercises. A typical day for us would look like this:
-10 minutes of very low intensity traversing
-25 minutes of climbing specific problems, slowly working up through the grades until you reach about your onsight level
-25 minutes of working two problems just above your onsight level. Problems that you can probably get in one session
Usually we would do “two-ups”.  To do the exercise we either had to find a problem with two sequentially very hard moves, or make up two hard moves. Over 15 minutes, we repeated attempts of the two moves, using power spots as necessary. We rested about 3 minutes between each attempt such that we tried the moves 5-6 times over the 15 minutes. The moves HAD to be harder than what we could pull and we tried to make them big/explosive/dynamic and twisty/strange so it wasn’t straightforward. We used a variety of hold types and did this exercise exclusively on overhanging terrain. We would repeat the exercise for a total of four different “two-ups” and the whole thing would take just over an hour. The rest of our session would be spent projecting, making up problems, or campusing. There are lots of good resources for these sorts of things on the internets 🙂
We also managed to get our hands on real rock with one afternoon, and headed out to Victoria’s Powerline Boulders with Dan. It was SO cold though…. A couple hours was all we could manage in the cold conditions!
Cleaning frost off the top outs
We are pretty happy with how the training went and are very excited to test its success on the problems of Bishop, California over the next 4-6 weeks.
Some other memories of the holidays this year…
COLD days
Christmas decorations
family walks
Feeding the birds at Beacon Hill park
Super awesome sweater!
SOGS reunion ❤
family gatherings
The “kids” table at Grama’s

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