Week 1: Base Fitness

Early morning training at Ozone with Meghan and Team SW/AG 

Early morning training at Ozone with Meghan and Team SW/AG 

Earlier this month I got around to reading a copy of The Rock Climber's Training Manual. My climbing has definitely been impacted by the amount of time I have to invest into the shop but I'd heard that the book presented an efficient and systematic way to train and get results in spite of a busy schedule. I read the book cover to cover and found it aligned with a lot of things I knew to be true about training and challenged some things I'd been taught in the past in ways that made sense as new data and advancements in training techniques become available. 

It had been a while since I felt like I was pushing my limits and the last noteworthy route I'd attempted in some time was Darkness At Noon at Smith Rock. I was drawn to the line from the first time I saw it and had finally attempted to work on it in 2015. My attempts on the line were not very committing but still, I liked the style of route and definitely thought it was a worthwhile project suited for some of my strengths. I gave it a slightly more committing run in 2016 linking a few promising chunks but was still pretty far away from any serious red point attempts. I knew it would take serious dedication for me but I also knew, at the present time, projecting couldn't really be a priority because the shop required so much attention. For the time being I kind of just put in on the shelf. 

This year, things are running a bit smoother and getting closer to autopilot. With the help of my friends I decided to commit to a training season guided by the information in the book to see if I could redpoint in the Fall. As a form of accountability I decided to blog about the next 17 weeks of training and maybe the information could be of some use to others out there as well. Here are the details of my first week of training. Thanks for reading! 

Phase 1, Base Fitness

Saturday was an outdoor mileage day. The goal was to climb 8 moderate pitches on lead outside but Saturday was supposed to see triple digit temperatures. To beat the heat (and the crowds) my friends and I got to Ozone (a local crag in Camas) at 5:30 am. By 11 am I'd successfully climbed 8 pitches 5.10 and below and got out of there before the sun reduced me to a puddle of chalky mud. With my workout done for the day, I headed back to AntiGravity Equipment and had the whole rest of the day to take care of shop stuff. 

Sunday was another outdoor mileage day but because I stayed out late at a concert the night before, I opted for sleeping in and visiting an air conditioned climbing gym to beat yet another day of triple digit heat. Planet Granite in the Pearl District has walls about 60 ft in height so it wasn't too far off from climbing normal pitches outside.  

My session started out with a few warm up routes and fall practices on lead. I was definitely feeling a bit sore in the forearms and toes from the day before so I welcomed the shorter indoor pitches. The goal for the day was to do 6 moderate pitches on lead, which I did, on terrain ranging from slabby to very overhung. I finished before 12 pm with enough time to get back to Beaverton to open the shop for business. 

Monday was an active rest day. That meant I had to set aside time to work on core. I hate working on core. It is absolutely a struggle to get motivated for an ab workout which makes it hard for me to get motivated to put together something effective. My friend Cameron is a core workout wizard and can perform some incredible feats of core strength using a variety of equipment at our local gym. From body weight, to rings, to hangboards, he can seemingly design endless torture sequences for your mid section. Naturally, he was the guy to go to for help with my active rest day workouts.  

The core routine for the day was as follows: Lateral Crawls 10 on each side, Bear Crawls forward, backward, and lateral, Planks on elbows 1 min. hold, Activated Planks (elbows to hands) 1 min, Plank on hands (top push-up position) 1 min. 15 sec breaks between exercises, rest for 1 min, repeat without rests. Side Plank, elbows 1 min each side, on hands 30 sec each side, active hip raises from hands 30 sec each side. 15 sec break between exercises, rest for 1 min, repeat without rests. Hollow Hold for 30 sec, Superman 30 sec, repeat 1 time. Pure cruelty. 

I was not able to repeat the exercises a second time without rests and I had to do the hip raises from my elbows but I'm hoping to build up and improve. 

Tuesday was supposed to be an indoor endurance day but because of some physical therapy treatment for strained brachioradialis I had to push the workout to the following day. 

Wednesday was back to conditioning. After getting all my chores done with AntiGravity Equipment I headed downstairs to Stoneworks to meet my friend Missy for an endurance workout. My first set was 25 minutes of moderate traversing with active rests. I used stems as a last resort if the pump was really setting in. The second set was 25 minutes of top-rope climbing. I picked a vertical wall with a good variety of holds and ignored the tape. I kept a pace that had me working at about 30% focusing on good techniques and active rests. 

Cold Pack therapy on the ol' elbows after workouts will hopefully keep any inflammation at bay. 

Cold Pack therapy on the ol' elbows after workouts will hopefully keep any inflammation at bay. 

Thursday was conditioning day again. I definitely felt tight in my forearms from the day before which should have been an active rest day. I met up with local climber Meghan for my first 25 minute roped session. Same wall as the day before using the same workout. It took me a little bit to warm up to the climbing because of the soreness from the previous day but after about 8-10 minutes I was flowing through the movements. After a 20 minute rest to help out some friends who needed gear up at the shop, I finished my second set by doing 25 minutes of moderate traversing sticking to vertical and slightly overhanging walls. 

Friday was a free day with nothing scheduled. Because the physical therapy appointment pushed everything back by a day I wanted to do my core workout on Friday but I had too much work to do between my regular job and the shop so I put off the core workout for Saturday since the rain was going to keep me indoors. 

Supplemental Training: There are so many things that I need to work on outside of climbing it's overwhelming at times. Flexibility, diet, water intake, sleep, opposing muscles, stretching, etc. For supplemental training I decided to try and focus on one new thing a week that I need to incorporate into my training season and try my best to make it a habit. 

Moritz getting his FlexBar on! I have the Red and the Green to help with opposing exercises for my forearms. 

Moritz getting his FlexBar on! I have the Red and the Green to help with opposing exercises for my forearms. 

This week it was icing and forearm exercises to stay balanced and avoid tendonitis. On every climbing day I would wrap up my workout with forearm exercises using the FlexBar (red) and then using a cold pack from the freezer to ice my elbows. Ice therapy is key in reducing inflammation and studies have shown it can help speed up recovery.  

That wraps up week one of training, 16 more to go. Thanks for reading, if you have any questions on any of the workout days, feel free to get in touch. Comments on AntiGravity Equipment's Facebook page are always welcome and may benefit others with similar questions.  Week 2 goes up next Saturday! 

Juan Rodriguez