Week 4: Strength
I'm just about a quarter of the way done now! I finished up yet another week of strength. This one had a few modifications in it due to a birthday trip to Squamish and the upcoming 4th of July holiday SW/AG trip to Lost Rocks. Definitely not ideal in the middle of strength week but these were planned trips that I couldn't (and didn't want to) back out of. Still, I managed the schedule so that I didn't have to miss more than one hangboard workout during week 3 and week 4.
I'm not that thrilled about working out on the hangboard but it is pretty cool to see improvement from week to week by tracking the results in my log book. Even though I don't feel super motivated to just hang on a board for a 30 minute session, I do get to thinking about how much more in control I'll be on the crimps on my project. If I can get through a minute of hanging on crimps, I wonder what it will be like when I can also use my feet.
Last week ended with a birthday hangboard session on Friday. That same morning my friends and I drove up to Squamish to climb granite for the next 3 days. There was no official training but the weekend went like this:
Saturday: Half day of bouldering in the forest under the Stawamus Chief. The second half of the day a few of us drove back to Murin Park to climb a few trad lines on the Sugar Loaf wall.
Sunday: We took a trip up the Smoke Bluffs to climb trad lines all day. By all day I mean 2 routes because A) the place was packed and B) most of us are sport climbers and lack the necessary skills and refinement to climb cracks an place gear without freaking out and peeing a little bit.
Monday: We drove up to Cheakamus Canyon to clip bolts. Ah, the joys of familiar territory! Slightly overhanging granite pinches and edges just minutes from the parking lot. Infinite bliss.
Tuesday: A complete rest day and much needed after climbing and the long car ride from the day before.
Wednesday: Core. I have to say, I'm seeing some improvement in this area as well. I'm able to finish a few of these on occasion now! 15 Knee tucks (hanging); 5 Inverted hangs on the hangboard and a slow release back to standing (negatives); 40 Standing band presses; Seated on the bench: 20 Knee tucks; 20 Vups; 40 Scissor kicks (no rest in between); Later Crawls 10 on each side; 20 Windmills (different than the traditional ones I was thinking of. I had to skip these because I couldn't remember how Cam likes to do them and he didn't get back to me in time because I guess he had to pay attention at work or something.)
Rinse and repeat.
Thursday: Hangboard workout #4. I started with 20 minutes of climbing on the autobelay and rested for about 25 minutes while I set up everything I needed to work on the board. I must have some form of dyslexia when it comes to my logbook because the whole time I was reminding myself not to mix up the Middle and Ring for Middle and Index and 3 sets into the grip I realized I had messed up again and had to start that set over. When I got the fingers right I used the wrong pocket.... grrrrr. Then I mixed up the order of the Wide Pinch and the Medium Pinch but I still had a good workout and made improvements in every area. So here goes: Jugs with body weight; Index Middle Ring +5 lbs; Medium Edge +5 lbs; Wide Pinch +5 lbs; Middle Ring -37.5 lbs; Large Edge +5 lbs; Medium Pinch +5 lbs; Middle Ring Pinky -37.5 lbs.
Everything that shows 5 lbs went up by 2.5 lbs. Middle Ring went down from 40 lbs of counterweight to 37.5 and the last grip stayed the same. The rep count was 10 secs hanging and 5 seconds resting with 3 minutes of rest in between grips. Overall I felt the most solid on this workout than on any other and it was actually rewarding to see the numbers change in the logbook.
Friday: Conditioning. I was actually supposed to do this on Thursday but for some reason I didn't catch in on the calendar. Cam came in to work out and reminded me I had conditioning to do but I had already cooled down so I pushed to the next day. The workout is as follows: 25 Squat Presses; 15 Resistance Band Pushups; 10 Lateral to Front Shoulder Raises; 10 Split Jumps (ugh); 15 Chair or Ring Dips; 10 Rotational Curls (Pronate up, Supponate down); Repeat 3 more times.
Supplemental training: Did much better on my water intake this week. Still icing, still using the flexbar. I feel pretty good about adding a new thing to work on for the following week. A few months ago I hurt my upper back during a session. I went to see my friend and PT Amy Benton at Therapeutic Associates in downtown Portland and she told me I had a very stiff thoracic spine. There are a lot of vertebrates back there that should be moving independently and mine don't. Big sections of my spine move together as one and when I pulled a particular move, a big chunk of my thoracic spine twisted and then failed to go all the way back into place, causing excruciating pain in my back and shoulder blades.
Amy taught me some really good exercises consisting of rolling patterns and stretches to open up mobility in my upper back. During my recovery I was really diligent about my exercises and after a few weeks had made significant progress but once I was better I pretty much quit doing them. I really struggle with flexibility and I know that the older I get the more limiting and damaging is to my body so I'm going to make a bigger effort to incorporate the exercises she gave me into my routine. I figure I could start with those and slowly add some other stretches.
Hip flexors are a major limiting factor for me and both Amy and Cam have been helping with different techniques to help me improve in this area as well. Mountain climbers performed slowly and seated compression are just a few ways my two friends have been sneaking strength and flexibility into my routine and for that I'm really grateful.
As always, I hope you enjoy the blog post. Feel free to drop a line or comment on anything in the post in any of the shop's social media outlets. AntiGravity Equipment is on FaceBook and on Instagram. Nick Powloski shared an interesting article on forearm and wrist strengthening in Week 3's post on FaceBook. Check it out! Remember to drop by AntiGravity Equipment if you're in the Beaverton area and say hi!