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The Rock Climber's Training Manual - an unneeded review


slim · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2004 · Points: 1,107

i wouldn't call my load increases necessarily linear. for any given hold, this is generally how my workouts go:

workout #1 - i look back at my previous cycles to get an idea of what i started with last time for the first workout of the cycle, how i did with that weight, as well as an assessment of my current strength from recent climbing performance. a typical guess would be to use the weight i used during my 2nd or 3rd workout from the previous cycle. after i do my set, i write how many seconds i was able to perform (out of 30). i also add a note like 'xe' (means passed easily), 'xg' (passed, felt about the right weight), 'xt' (passed but tough), 'xb' (passed barily), f28 (would mean that i failed 2 seconds of the set).

so using this info for my 2nd workout prescribed weight (which i immediately write down a guess for my next workout, because my performance is most fresh in my mind); based on these notes, if i have f#<25 (ie i failed more than 5 seconds of the set) i would reduce the load a bit. if i have f25 to f29, i will usually use the same weight as i did in the 1st workout. if i have xt or xb, i usually add 2.5 lbs. if i have an xg, i will add either 2.5 or 5 lbs for the next workout. if i have an xe i will add 5 lbs or more for the next workout.

when i perform my next workout, if i am feeling really strong right from the start i might adjust these a little bit upwards on the fly, keeping in mind that overdoing it on the early sets can totally come back to haunt you on later sets.

my instinctual guess is that adjusting the load/volume pattern might end up with the same overall strength results at the end of the cycle, but that the total cycle time would take longer. i don't think this would be a positive outcome. i am curious to see if my guess is correct though.

El Duderino · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 70

Can anyone who has read this compare it to Horst's Training for Climbing?

Alexander Blum · · Charlotte, NC · Joined Mar 2009 · Points: 132

It's way better

kenr · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 15,353
scienceguy288 wrote:Can anyone who has read this compare it to Horst's Training for Climbing?
I think they're both very worthwhile.
RCTM is better for people who want to see one method presented (and defended) so they can focus on doing that without getting confused.

The Hörst books (I forget which I like better, Training or Conditioning - they have lots of overlap) are better for people who want to see multiple options and choose or mix in their own way or sequence. Also I think Horst has more of an explicit specific approach to finger-forearm muscle hypertrophy.
. (For even more options, get Gimme Kraft)

Ken

P.S. For reaching your best at outdoor climbing, I think the deepest book is Dave MacLeod, 9 out of 10 Climbers. It's shorter but the author cuts to the most important questions, and clearly strongly presents his point of view.
Mark E Dixon · · Sprezzatura, Someday · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 579
kenr wrote: I think they're both very worthwhile. RCTM is better for people who want to see one method presented (and defended) so they can focus on doing that without getting confused. The Hörst books (I forget which I like better, Training or Conditioning - they have lots of overlap) are better for people who want to see multiple options and choose or mix in their own way or sequence. Also I think Horst has more of an explicit specific approach to finger-forearm muscle hypertrophy. . (For even more options, get Gimme Kraft) Ken P.S. For reaching your best at outdoor climbing, I think the deepest book is Dave MacLeod, 9 out of 10 Climbers. It's shorter but the author cuts to the most important questions, and clearly strongly presents his point of view.
Agreed they are both worthwhile.

My take is that Mark and Mike's book presents an effective, systematic program of training.
Eric's books include lots of different exercises, but no insight into how to effectively put them together.

Gimme Kraft is a nice collection of supplemental exercises but is relatively useless for most for improving climbing strength.

9/10 is superb, with much to offer. But again, not a training program.
reboot · · . · Joined Jul 2006 · Points: 125
Mark E Dixon wrote: Gimme Kraft is a nice collection of supplemental exercises but is relatively useless for most for improving climbing strength.
Well, for someone that lacks body strength but has strong fingers, there really isn't an alternative to this book that I know of. And I think there are many climbers that could improve their body strength, especially now that all everyone talks about is hangboarding. That said, I'm a bit disappointed w/ the organization of the book, and I do wish somebody can do better.
Mark E Dixon · · Sprezzatura, Someday · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 579
reboot wrote: Well, for someone that lacks body strength but has strong fingers, there really isn't an alternative to this book that I know of. And I think there are many climbers that could improve their body strength, especially now that all everyone talks about is hangboarding. That said, I'm a bit disappointed w/ the organization of the book, and I do wish somebody can do better.
Good point, I have a hard time being rational about Gimme Kraft, as I ordered it with high hopes and it didn't turn out to be what I expected at all.
For shoulder and core strength exercises it's a good book. I don't think it has much to do with power, which was my interest when I bought it.
I also think that many of the exercises are directed at correcting muscle imbalances, which is probably important for long term health, but doesn't particularly improve climbing ability.

Have you seen "Overcoming Gravity"?
eatmoveimprove.com/2012/02/…
It is written for bodyweight upper body gymnastic training but at least provides some instruction in how to develop a rational progrm of exercises. It's expensive and I'd suggest looking at it carefully before spending the money. You can get it on a Prospector request from the Boulder Library.
Alexander Blum · · Charlotte, NC · Joined Mar 2009 · Points: 132

My take is that Mark and Mike's book presents an effective, systematic program of training.
Eric's books include lots of different exercises, but no insight into how to effectively put them together.

This. Eric's book is a list of ingredients, no recipes included. The Anderson's book is a pretty specific set of ingredients, but the recipe is clearly defined.

Chris Rice · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2013 · Points: 50

I ordered the Book from Amazon - order arrived today but was the wrong thing - it was just the Training Log "booklet" - not the actual book. Bummed - I was looking forward to reading it next week while on a climbing trip to Seneca Rocks. I'm sure it will get fixed but crap!

Andrew L · · Austin, TX · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 0

Contact Amazon. I've had something similar happen twice with Amazon (well, damaged in shipping both times). Both times, when I said I needed it sooner than standard shipping would get it there, they've overnighted it to me for free.

Chris Rice · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2013 · Points: 50

Well Crap. Amazon does not have any more in stock and are giving me a refund. Any help on where to buy it now appreciated.

reboot · · . · Joined Jul 2006 · Points: 125
backcountrygear.com/asearch…

You can even get 20% off (FALL20) just the book or the package
Chris Rice · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2013 · Points: 50
reboot wrote:http://www.backcountrygear.com/asearch?q=Rock+Climber%27s+Training+Manual You can even get 20% off (FALL20) just the book or the package
Done - and Thanks!
KeeganEvans · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 0

Overcoming Gravity could be a good resource for helping develop incredible upper body strength, in a very closely related field to climbing. It seems to be based on years of actual experience coaching in gymnastics. That being said, if you are not at least somewhat familiar with general strength training and programming it will be overwhelming. It is an expensive, lengthy, dense, comprehensive, and esoteric tome. The information is excellent, but specific and there is no cookie cutter program presented. It also has valuable information on programing isometric exercises. It would be a good resource if you have already followed a "do this" approach for a while and have already read and understood something like "practical programming".

For general strength there are many approaches that could be used. A common one is an iron based approach, such as Starting Strength(Marks beginner book), Madcow 5x5, or a beginners version of Wendler 5/3/1. Thsee programs certainly lean more towards overall strength development with less emphasis on power to weight ratio, and if done correctly by a skinny person more or less guarantee that you will gain weight.

What might be a better approach would be either a kettlebell or bodyweight based program. You would be hard pressed to do better than Pavel's Simple and Sinister. It is clear, cheap, simple, has a low daily time commitment, and is brutally effective. It is not easy. It is not exciting or glamorous. It will not develop all aspects of your fitness to their full potential. But it is an excellent general fitness program. Do not add anything except pull ups to it(he says you can), get the actual book and some good kettlebells(Rouge or similar, your hands will thank you) and get to work.
For simple bodyweight based strength with clear progressions, my vote would be "convict conditioning". A little pricey, but it tells you what to do and how to do it and it works.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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