Lockdown Training: Using Myself As A Case Study

Episodes

Lockdown Training Episode 6: Concluding Thoughts Lockdown Training

Welcome to the Prowess Climbing Coaching Training Podcast In this final episode of the series, Pete presents solo and records his thoughts on the training program and what he's learned along the way  Further information is available on the Prowess Coaching website
  1. Lockdown Training Episode 6: Concluding Thoughts
  2. Lockdown Training Episode 5: Barriers to Successful Training
  3. Lockdown Training Episode 4: Should We Be HIITing It Up?
  4. Lockdown Training Episode 3: Reviewing, Recuperating and Thoughts on Surgery
  5. Lockdown Training Episode 2: Adjusting, Calibrating and Intrinsic Feedback

To visit the parent page for our podcasts, in order to share or follow, please click here.

Introduction

Personally, I’ve never been one for “training”; something which i allude to regularly both on this website and on my sister site Chez de la Bloc. I’ve always adopted the idea that more climbing will improve my climbing, albeit often targeted to specifics.

While I’ve often worked with clients to improve their skills at home and even created a series of At Home Exercise videos for the first national lockdown in Spring 2020, doing this myself has always been a step too far. As much as i enjoy climbing hard, the focus is always on the climbing aspect and I’ve always lacked the commitment to go through a structured training programme.

That is until early 2021. Spurred on by the ever-psyched Sally Lisle, coupled with another national lockdown, I decided that if I wanted to maintain the pre-lockdown progress I’d achieved before Christmas – nearly finishing Rock Atrocity Wobbly Bloc start 7c+ – I’d need to switch on and get working.

Then it dawned on me that, as a reasonably high-performing boulderer completing a structured training programme for the first time, it could be an interesting case study: can I stick to it? Have I created the right sorts of exercises? Are the sets hard enough? And will it actually help me once I get back to my project climbs?

So we decided to record it as a podcast; recorded weekly from the very start to chart progress and share first hand how effective these programmes can be. To compliment that, this page includes some important notes for those that prefer to read than to listen. Bear in mind, these notes are specific to me personally and do not include regular input from Sally; for her input, you’ll need to listen to the episodes, which will be linked here for you to follow or catch up on at a later date.

The Background

Let’s start with some background info: I climb regularly, only ever bouldering these days, operating around 7c. My goal is to climb my first 8a this Spring. During this training programme, it is assumed that I will not be working (certainly not much) and thus, will not be tired and struggling to complete the workout.

However the concept of Total Load discussed in the Climbing Bible (Mobraten and Christophersen, 2020) is an important factor for me. I have two young children, a two-year-old and a three-year-old, as well as a partner who intends to exercise and a dog that needs to go out regularly and sadly now refuses steadfastly to join me on a run.

I also have a very short attention span with things like this and am aware that I am likely to get bored quickly. Finally, no one knew in January 2021 how long this particular lockdown would last and how long it would be before I was able to get back out to try the projects again. All these factors came into play when designing the plan.

Designing the Plan

My plans are all designed around Replication Training; that is to say I selected three very specific projects and used these as a guide as to how to specifically train the muscle groups to complete these projects at the first opportunity. On a piece of paper, I stated these climbs, determined their attributes and chose exercises to replicate them; remembering to factor in antagonist training as part as well.

As I didn’t know how long I’d be doing this, I decided to do a weekly, rolling programme that is repeated over and over. This was based on Sally’s suggestion of two days on, one day off, two days on, two days off, giving a total of seven days to be repeated. To fit in with the rest of my life, I chose to take Wednesdays and weekends as rest days.

On a spreadsheet, I wrote out the whole programme down to reps and sets for each specific exercise. My personal programme can be seen here and lower down the page is a blank Excel spreadsheet for you to download and copy as you see fit:

In order to try and keep things interesting, as you can see from the image above, I opted for a different focus on each day on. Monday replicates the specific muscles needed for my project based on the initial plan; Tuesday is an aerobic workout (in part just to get me out of the house); Thursday replicates the high intensity of hard bouldering with a HIIT workout; and Friday utilises a private climbing gym to which I currently have limited access (hence only being one day per week).

Charting Progress

As mentioned, most of this stems from my good friend, Sally Lisle. It was her who suggested this in the first place and her who pulled me from my malaise. We’ll now use this to motivate both ourselves and each other.

The next step is to see how things go and this is where the podcast comes in. On the file with the original plan, there are six further tabs across the bottom with a copy of the same plan. Underneath is a colour code; the idea being that every week, i’ll come back to the plan and colour them in depending on how well things have gone. Then the plan can be adjusted from there.

This may well be a stretch too far and the idea of actually getting to the document after every session to fill it all in might be fanciful. Still, with Sally and myself charting our progress between us, I have every hope that this training plan will turn out to be a success.

It is difficult to gauge exactly what I’ll find hard before things begin or how many reps and sets I’ll need to do. However, we need a starting point and whether it’s filling in the colour coding or simply adjusting the plan every week when we record the next episode of the podcast, it should take shape with time.

Sally Lisle and Far Out Pursuits

As mentioned, the initial idea came from Sally Lisle. Sally runs her own company, Far Out Pursuits, and is an excellent climber based in North Wales. She’s an old friend of mine and a thoroughly decent human being and deserves a lot of credit, not just for helping me in this endeavour but in inspiring me to get going with it in the first place.

The Podcast

As I said, the ability to chart a case study like this is rare; especially one where I can easily know how it feels. After all, many coaches will have trained in this nature for a long time.

As a coach, my goal is to help climbers improve their performance and this podcast may well prove insightful to those who are new to training. That is the hope: that those climbers who have decided to start a training programme can see first hand how I’ve gone about it specifically and how effective it has been.

This is exactly why I’ve written this page: to further explain the process I’ve gone through. There are many different models to follow with training like this and it’ll be intriguing to know how this model fares.

If you would like to replicate this model yourself, there is a downloadable template below that you can adjust to match your own circumstances and fill in at your leisure. If you feel you’d struggle to design the content yourself, you can always get in touch for a free consultation or a Remote Training Plan Design to suit you.

Resources

If you’ve missed an episode or want to revisit an older one, please click here.

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