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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

New Years Resolutions

It's getting to that time of year so personally I know I'm thinking about what I'm going to be thinking about and aiming for next year.

It's easy to go with the attitude of going to the wall, or going out doing routes/mountains/whatever with no focus whatsoever. Just turning up and doing whatever you feel like, seeing small bits of progress every once in a while. The closest anyone gets to a plan is when it's a couple of weeks before the summer or before a trip, they run off to do some mileage at the local wall to gain some stamina....

But like all in all other sports, it's easy to integrate some rough plans and see even better gains - it all  revolves around the fact that your body gets bored of the same stimulus. Go to the wall day-in-day-out and just go bouldering, you're body will stop adapting to the same repetitiveness after a few weeks and you'll start to slow down in your improvements. Not completely stop improving, but your body just doesn't adapt as quickly. So variation is key.

Because I have a preference for route climbing (and bolted at that), I follow a rough variation of the systems as advocated by Eric Horst's book and numerous other plans - adapting to a block of fitness at the start to develop the basic adaptions to the body, then a few weeks of strength work, then a couple of weeks of power work (think dynos/campusing or explosive type of movement) and then a couple of weeks of trying hard routes (or intervals) if you see it mentioned online before going on a trip. I don't completely drop all other activities when I'm focusing on an area but will just reduce the amount I'm doing of it so my body can develop overall at the priority - e.g. I'll reduce the amount of climbing I'm doing massively when doing strength work as I don't want to be too tired from the aerobic work - so perhaps 75% of my week is strength work and the other 25% is a variation of general climbing, etc.

Another method of stimulating improvements is just modifying the amount of climbing you do. You normally go and do 10 routes at the wall? What if I was to tell you that in some other countries, they do 10 routes as a warm-up, and then do another 10 routes of difficulty, and another 5 to warm down? Why not try and increase the amount you do in a session by 10% every time (e.g. do 11 routes the first night, 12 the next, etc.) until you've increased by 50% and then start trying 10 harder routes and increase again. Variation is key!

This isn't for all, but perhaps you've been looking for an excuse to progress (at whatever your favorite discipline is) and this might be the time to think about it?......