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First max recruitment phase details?
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By Chris Plesko
From Westminster, CO
May 24, 2012
OMG, I winz!!!

My hypertrophy phase is well underway and I need to make a plan for max recruitment. I've read the rock prodigy article and various posts on here and am looking for input on my first maxR phase.

Some basic info:
I've never really campused before nor do I have a campus board at home. I can pretty easily join a gym for the next month to get access though. Rock and Jam North or any of the boulder gyms are close enough.

I suspect, based on past messing around with a campus board, that basic ladders will be hard for me. Power is *by far* my biggest weakness compared to the guys I usually climb with.

I currently (knock on wood) do not have any climbing related injuries. I've never had any significant elbow, shoulder or finger pain from climbing.

Recovery wise and life stress wise I probably need a day off between serious workouts, esp if I have to drive to the gym to campus. This periodization cycle ends when my very busy graduate program ends, giving me max time off to climb outside. My goal is to send a few projects (v5 or v6) and sport climb my first outdoor 12's.

I have a decent sized woody in my garage, with problems set by several different people including problems that are undone. I can reasonably set a few more hard problems before maxR starts. I might be able to get outside during maxR but probably 1 day a week max. Gym or homewall is much more time efficient.

After doing my HYP phase it's really weird not climbing and the thought of only campusing for 3 weeks seems weird.

Based on those factors, does the following schedule seem reasonable?

Day 1 campus attempts (basic ladders, long moves)
Day 2 off
Day 3 Bouldering, focusing on limit moves or short projects
Day 4 off
Day 5 campus as appropriate
Day 6 off
continue pattern for 3 weeks...

All comments appreciated!


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By Brian S
May 24, 2012

I would be EXTREMELY cautious campus boarding. I would create a structured, linear plan and stick to it. Don't not get caught in "campus games." My sessions were 8 total work sets with 4-5 minutes rest between sets. 72 hours between sessions. If I hit a personal record on the board, I stopped the session. I deloaded every 3 weeks.

Here are my session logs and records for ideas on minimal input/maximal return - tinyurl.com/bl7k3ea.

A campus boarding block is great time to work on technique. I would do climbing drills during the 45 minutes that it took me to warm-up. When I was breaking into 12s outside, better movement was be best the return on investment.

There are many campus board activities that are easier than ladders (i.e., hangs, shrugs, and staggered start matching).


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By slim
Administrator
May 24, 2012
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.

i think starting on a system board might be a better option, as it is easier to start at a lower intensity level. there are several aspects of the campus board that make it tough starting out - power (obviously), how to configure your fingers to have latching strength buyt avoid injury, the coordination aspect, and (for me at least) overcoming some sort of fear of ripping the skin off your fingers. in particular, this last part for some odd reason gives me alot of trouble with getting going on the campus board.


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By Chris Plesko
From Westminster, CO
May 24, 2012
OMG, I winz!!!

Brian, well noted. I do not want to get hurt and I want to maximize the gains in power I can get when climbing outside frequently isn't realistic. I will definitely err on the conservative side in terms of session workouts and total maxR length.

This is my first periodized cycle. Last summer I was bouldering V4 in a session, onsighted 11b outside and redpointed up a bunch of mid 12s indoors. Sport climbing has never been high on my list so "max" effort climbing has been limited to about a year of hard bouldering and mixed climbing to M8. I'm trying to get out of my moderate climbing comfort zone.

Once grad school is over I intend to "just climb" for a while again until maybe another structured phase next winter. Can you talk more about "beginner" workouts you mentioned (shrugs, staggered matches)?

Slim, do you mean just starting out on a systems wall instead of campus rungs and doing a similar style of workout? That's not a bad idea. Got a favorite gym based systems wall in Boulder? I can join anywhere.


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By kenr
May 24, 2012

Advice from a way better climber than me who wrote a book:
Do not ever use the crimp grip when campusing.

other non-expert (but so-far-not-injured) ideas:
some gyms (? or at least one gym anyway, my current one) have "friendly" additions to their campusing area: especially little footholds on the wall below, also closely spaced rungs, other holds alongside the rungs.

48 hours between such radical workouts sounds dangerously short.

Trying for the most "gradual" approach into campusing . . .

I find I can do single "campus" moves on my home fingerboards. To start training the "catch" or "latch" phase of a campus move, it might help to have a pull-up bar mounted below, so can easily launch from the pull-up bar, then latch on selected smaller holds above on the fingerboard.

Or if have some bucket holds mounted above the fingerboard, can start training the "launch" phase on smaller grips.

Ken


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By slim
Administrator
May 25, 2012
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.

Chris, i think movement has a pretty good systems board. the group of crimps in the center of the board are a good starting path to the campus board. also, their campus board has some big holds, which are fairly easy. there are also foot rails under the campus board, so that you can do some entry level work on the smaller campus holds.

i would just start out fairly easy and try to make a modest improvement each time. i did this some last winter and it seemed to work ok.


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By camhead
From Vandalia, Appalachia
May 25, 2012
You stay away from mah pig!

Personally, I think that periodization might be a bit much for a v4/12a climber. At this point in your climbing progression, doing exercises that incorporate more technique (4x4s for example) would probably serve you better than campusing. I just say this because, when you campus exclusively for several weeks, your body "forgets" a lot of just how to move over rock. This is fine if you've already got years of technique under your belt, but most people who are breaking into sport 12's do not have the technical base.

This is not to say that hangboarding cycles are a bad idea; everyone can and should build more finger strength. But for your stated levels, I think that campusing may not give you the gains you are looking for, unless the 12's you're planning on doing are all overhanging minijugs with no feet.


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By reboot
From Westminster, CO
May 25, 2012

Not that I have a lot of training experience... I would just join Movement and do the following:

Day 1 campus
Day 2 easy gym climbing (movement training)
Day 3 off
Day 4 boulder/campus
Day 5 easy gym climbing
Day 6 off
repeat

You can take 2 days off if you need, but I think it's pretty important to add some actual climbing moves in your workout. There really aren't that many 12s around here that require much power; lock-off strength is probably a lot more important.


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By JLP
From The Internet
May 25, 2012

I would say just do a few campus exercises after warming up, but before bouldering. This is a very common approach to working in the campus board. Maybe throw in a set or two of weighted pull-ups before the campusing. This is suggested in many programs as well. Try that for a year or so.

Just a couple sets of a couple moves of ladders is a good start. Maybe 2 sets of 2-4 moves and see how that feels. It's all you really need to get started. Work up from there. Maybe someday it will become obvious to you that you can and should spend a whole workout on the campus board. For now, you're just replacing a boulder problem or two in your workout with some moves on the campus board. A full dedicated session of campusing for 5.12 is rediculous. You'll get injured, almost for sure, all for nothing of value to you.

I think your quality time is best spent on some hard boulders. You need technique and some "grit" for the hard moves. Try hard, rest, repeat. These should be problems you can't flash. Limit your attempts to 4-5 or so solid tries on a boulder before moving to another, to help prevent injury. Say no to problems that feel even remotely tweeky to any part of your body. Avoid marathon problems of more than 8-12 moves. Those are climbs, not boulder problems. Save that stuff for PE workouts.


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By jarthur
From Westminster, CO
May 25, 2012
My dogs got ups yo!

shuminW wrote:
Not that I have a lot of training experience... I would just join Movement


Off Topic:
I would stay away from Movement this time of year. Rock'n Jamn is far better in the Summer compared to Movement. I had a membership at Movement for the last two years and vowed never to return to that place in the Summer. It's so insanely hot in there I used to go in at 6AM and it was just barely tolerable. They claim to be "Green", but this is a load of BS. Running swamp coolers that do ABSOLUTELY nothing is not Green.

On Topic:
The Thornton RJ has everything you'll ever need for training. Campus Board, System Board, Hangboards, Moon Board, super steep bouldering wall upstairs. On top of that the training area is never crowded.


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By slim
Administrator
May 25, 2012
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.

jarthur has a really good point about the heat at movement. i had forgotten about that. also, like others said, i wouldn't campus exclusively. JLP has a pretty good recommendation. i used campusing/systems board as part of my hybrid program (recruitment once or twice a week with CIR workouts once or twice a week). there are 2 keys to this - don't overdo your recruitment workouts and kill your CIR workouts, and on the flip side, don't overdo the CIR workouts so that you don't recover for the recruitment workouts).


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By Mark E Dixon
From Sprezzatura, Someday
May 25, 2012
Sure, I can belay

My observations, if you are looking at joining a Boulder gym for it's campus board (however, I haven't climbed inside for a month or two, so may have misremembered some details, jump in if anybody has better info...)-
BRC- just changed their rungs so pretty nice. 5 columns of metolius rungs, small flat and incut, medium flat and incut, large incut?
I don't recall a system board. They have some nice hangboards in the weight area.
Movement- 6 columns? one very large 2x4 type column, metolius small flat and incut, metolius medium incut? and two columns of PVC half rounds covered with sandpaper. The latter two are interesting but would be pretty challenging, I think, if you are just moving into 5.12. Fairly nice system board. Limited hangboards.
The Spot- I love the Spot, but their campus rungs are old, dried out and very rough. They do have a system board. There is a nice training area for thier classes, but as far as I know, it's not available to the public. Maybe I'll ask about this though.
All 3 gyms have foot strips on the back wall, so you can do ladders with your feet on while getting your tendons up to speed.
CATS- no idea, haven't been there in 10 years.
Have fun,
Mark


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By Chris Plesko
From Westminster, CO
May 25, 2012
OMG, I winz!!!

Lots of good input here guys, I appreciate it.

I'm MORE than happy to spend time during maxR bouldering instead of campusing :) I will take JLP's suggestion and try out the campus board first after a solid warm up and just see how it goes. If I surprise myself and find it doable then I'll do a short session to experiment. If it seems worthless than I'll bag it and reevaluate next winter. In that case I'll stick with max effort bouldering instead and force myself to rest between attempts instead of trying all the fun problems in my flash range. Like shumin mentions, a day of bouldering, an easier day on a rope and then a rest seems like a reasonable schedule for me and school will force the occasional 2 day rest anyway. Plus the time on a rope again will probably be beneficial from the falling and efficient clipping perspective.

I really enjoyed the progress I made bouldering last year and I agree that periodization might not be needed at my level. Then again, I've been motivated to structured training at a time when getting outside is damn hard (look at my tick list for the last 6 months) and most of my workouts can be done at home. I can even do maxR at home if I'm doing hard boulder problems instead of campusing. Easy access means that I do something instead of write papers and eat like crap.

At the end of the day, some thoughtful reflection on the type of climbing I'm doing and why I'm doing it is making a difference. Before I started bouldering I would often get shut down any 11a+ routes outside, usually by stopper moves and I had never redpointed 5.11. Last fall, the one time I went sport climbing I onsighted harder than any redpoint (11b). I'm going to have to force myself to sport climb more 11's and 12's if I want to see where my limit really sits.

EDIT: BTW my long term goal climb is Snake Watching in the flatirons. 13a seems a ways away but then again 11a/v4 seemed impossible not that long ago.


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By JLP
From The Internet
May 25, 2012

Chris Plesko wrote:
If it seems worthless than I'll bag it and reevaluate next winter.

Chances are, if you are like most, you will find it hard, intimidating and awkward - followed possibly by a potentially injurious training session, a week of missed quality training because you're sore, then never touch the thing again. I would say get started and stick with it 1-2x per week for the remainder of your power cycle. Learn it. Integrate it. It's important. You just don't need to do that much of it for 5.12. A couple short ladder laps, maybe even just a few moves. Come back a few days later. Learn the grip, learn the body movement, etc. It takes awhile. If you put it off, it won't be easier to get started later. It will be just the same. The harder you climb, the more you'll be on it. At this point, though, don't let it interfere too much with the bouldering, IMO.


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By SteveZ
From Arvada, CO
May 25, 2012
Lion King with the pup.

Chris Plesko wrote:
BTW my long term goal climb is Snake Watching in the flatirons. 13a seems a ways away but then again 11a/v4 seemed impossible not that long ago.


AWESOME goal climb! The threshold bouldering and intro campusing you're considering will really help you out on the opening section as it is exactly that (a boulder prob) followed by a good rest. Layer on some PE for the RP crux once you're close and you're golden. As others have mentioned maintaining some climbing throughout MR phase will keep your body's movement skills sharp and SW would really benefit from this in my opinion. That and good tactics, sequencing, sneaky rests, yada yada yada. Good luck and let us know how things shake out!


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By climber73
From Fort Collins, CO
May 25, 2012
Belaying at Ouray

WOW JLP - No negative comments!!! I'm so proud of you!!


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By Christopher Barlow
May 25, 2012

Chris, since you said you're more than happy to boulder instead of campus, I'd recommend doing just that. You want to break through into V5-6 and climb 5.12. I'll bet the aspect of your climbing that is limiting you from going out and doing that tomorrow has nothing to do with the number of firing muscles fibers or your fingers' ability to latch holds quickly. These are the physiological elements a campus workout addresses.

It is much more likely that your limiting factors involve efficiency in using (and maximizing) all of your climbing muscles and strategy for approaching harder climbing. The idea of Max Recruitment refers to the type of movement involved in the workout, not campusing specifically. With this in mind, something JLP mentioned earlier is right on: short bursts of hard moves. Just boulder 2-3 days a week or pick a route with hard crux moves and work it. The idea is finding individual moves (not whole problems or routes) that are hard enough so that you fail on one some times and you can only do a few of (less than 6) together.

The idea of periodization applies to nearly every ability level of athlete, as does specialization, so the big picture of what you're doing makes a lot of sense. But campusing is a very specific, high-risk workout that has little application in much of climbing. I know plenty of 5.13 climbers that never campus. I only campus maybe 4 weeks a year. Even if one doesn't get injured, campusing can be counter-productive because it trains one to focus on pulling muscles, even when other ones (especially the core) are really what should be doing the work. In essence, you risk making your body stronger and dumber. A good bouldering workout, especially in a gym, offers all the benefits of campusing without nearly as much risk, and will help address other limiting factors in your climbing ability.

Besides, the Front Range has so many world-class artificial climbing walls, it'd be a shame not to play on them.


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By reboot
From Westminster, CO
May 25, 2012

Chris Plesko wrote:
BTW my long term goal climb is Snake Watching in the flatirons. 13a seems a ways away but then again 11a/v4 seemed impossible not that long ago.

You'll get there sooner than you think. Every couple of years I set a new long term goal as I realize what is possible. Sometimes it's about daring to dream.


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By LeeAB
Administrator
From ABQ, NM
May 30, 2012
Once we landed we headed to Font to find a place to stay for the night before doing a day of wine tasting and heading to Buoux.

As has been mentioned a few times, be careful with the maxR bouldering and if anything feels off, stop. If you can campus, it is more controlled than a bunch of random hard bouldering moves.

I've hurt myself a bunch of times bouldering. I've never hurt myself on a campus board.

As others have said you would probably still benefit most from learning more complex movement and technique improvement, though you sound like your right about at the same level that the brothers Anderson started training at.

FWIW, one of the grips I started training on the hang board is also the same grip I use on a campus rung, open handed 4 fingers, which leaves a couple of the fingers pretty bent but not closed to get the pinkie on. You might also want to do some pull ups before starting campusing, I generally avoid pull-ups and for me 10 is usually hard to do when I start but after a few days it is easy.

With any maxR you need to be careful wether it is campusing or bouldering, just based on what you are asking your body to do.


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By Chris Plesko
From Westminster, CO
May 30, 2012
OMG, I winz!!!

I've got 2 HYP workouts to go. My fingers feel good and I've been adding 5-10lbs per grip, per session to keep the level right. The only tweaky hold is the index/middle 2 finger pocket and I'm really careful about setting up my fingers with that one and been extra conservative with the weight.

Is the normal 72 hours rest enough between ending HYP and starting MaxR if I'm not having any issues?


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By Brian S
May 31, 2012

The amount of time between workouts and cycles depends on your level of adaption to training, "novice", "intermediate", or "advanced."

Given you are adding weight every session, aka "novice" level, 72 hours is plenty of rest time.


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By slim
Administrator
May 31, 2012
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.

i think it depends more on the number of total sets you are doing, and how close to failure you are on each set. if you are doing around 18 sets (6 grips, 3 sets per grip), then 72 should be pretty good. the easiest way to tell if you haven't got enough rest is that your performance during your workout will be off.

LeeAB - I added the same grip for the same reason. i am stronger with 3 fingers open, but i can 'catch' the rung better with a 4 finger open crimp.


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By Chris Plesko
From Westminster, CO
Jun 2, 2012
OMG, I winz!!!

I'm doing 19 sets but the 1 jug set is submaximal. The rest I'm going to failure (usually).


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By Chris Plesko
From Westminster, CO
Jun 6, 2012
OMG, I winz!!!

For anyone following along or who is curious:
Wrapped up HYP at 4am this morning and I'll start MaxR on Friday night or Saturday morning. Short results from memory (I haven't analyzed the spreadsheet yet) were 20-30% increase in weight used per grip. 8 total sessions with the first 2 sort of feeling out the correct levels. 60 to 96 hours rest between sessions although I usually did 72 hours.

I increased 5lbs for most workouts and experimented with a 10 pound increase on many grips after workout 5 with positive results. This last workout was starting to feel a bit flat compared to 5, 6 and 7 through I still hit personal bests in weight used. No finger pain, soreness or swelling. Skin took a bit of a beating the last 2 sessions as temps were warmer than I would have liked even at 4 am with the fan's going. The index/middle pocket always felt tweaky but I was careful to set it up right and load it slowly and I continually got stronger with it. More analysis to come later with respect to protocol and grips used if I repeat periodization in the future.

Anecdotally I feel stronger than ever open handed which is cool.

We'll see what MaxR brings!


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By Chris Plesko
From Westminster, CO
Jun 24, 2012
OMG, I winz!!!

Well MaxR is just about wrapped up. I'm going to rest a couple days and do one more campus/bouldering workout on Wednesday night before a couple weeks of PE. By then school will be over (this Friday!) and I'll have had some time to rest and recover a bit before starting my peak phase projects. Maybe we'll get some help with a cool spell, otherwise I'll move up in elevation.

I will have done 5 short campus sessions after warmups but before bouldering. I threw in another afternoon of sport climbing and a couple garage bouldering sessions too. I ran when I could but life has been busy and I'm a couple pounds heavier than I'd like. As I started the phase I was pretty nervous about how weak I felt but after a couple sessions I was feeling really strong on some homewall routes which improved my confidence. My campusing probably sucks compared to most but I went from never campusing before to improving every session on medium and large rungs. I focused on basic laddering and long moves. I enjoyed using the basic BRC setup to campus on more than RJN. Bouldering after each session was fun, no issues there. I enjoyed working on hard moves and learning new movements.

My fingers feel good, no issues there. Skin did better than during the Hyp phase. My left elbow has some minor soreness after a session but it's not really bothering me. I continued to do a short core/antagonist workout after each climbing day, similar to my Hyp phase. I'm sure it could be improved in the future, maybe next round.

Looking forward to sharpening up during the PE phase and then climbing outside lots more in July!!!


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By SteveZ
From Arvada, CO
Sep 12, 2012
Lion King with the pup.

Hey Chris, did you get out to snake watching this summer and put all that training to the test?


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