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Training 101 for real people with normal/abnormal lives who are nonetheless bad ass climbers and wish to keep it that way as long as possible.


Old lady H · · Boise, Idaho · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 290

All your nice comments inspired yet another title. I have some replies, but no time, so later, kind people!

Aleks Zebastian · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 175

climbing friend,

the advice is always the same. As I say most often, you must not overanalyze and must boulder as often as possible to develop crushing grip of eagle talon strength, while not overtraining or injuring. Do not release the holds until they pry them from your cold, dead hands. Do not forget to pay attention to prancing elk technique or sticking spider style movements as well.

If you "loathe" exercise, cannot embrace and enjoy, you are doom to handles of love and lifetimes of mediocrity.

I suggest copious amounts of fish oil, fish heads, cheesesteaks for power, and mind numbing amounts of the vegetable.

Old lady H · · Boise, Idaho · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 290
Aleks Zebastian wrote:climbing friend, the advice is always the same. As I say most often, you must not overanalyze and must boulder as often as possible to develop crushing grip of eagle talon strength, while not overtraining or injuring. Do not release the holds until they pry them from your cold, dead hands. Do not forget to pay attention to prancing elk technique or sticking spider style movements as well. If you "loathe" exercise, cannot embrace and enjoy, you are doom to handles of love and lifetimes of mediocrity. I suggest copious amounts of fish oil, fish heads, cheesesteaks for power, and mind numbing amounts of the vegetable.
Actually, I'm about to have coffee and a little dish of ice cream for breakfast. I'm thinking more tattoos.
Old lady H · · Boise, Idaho · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 290

KYLE: Agreed, about running...for runners. Alas, I'm not built for it at all (truth, not whining) But, a friend of mine here actually founded a race that's hugely popular, and difficult. He's super active, hikes, bikes, runs, peak bags, but...also beat to pieces!

Then, you made the food comment, Kyle, and, coupled with the running, YES! An Oregonian! HAH! Caught you! Food advice from the locavore Capitol of the Western world! Haven't lived there for years, but I'm a native dryside Oregonian, and now spend considerable effort wrangling free range tomatoes. Thanks for your comments.

Old lady H · · Boise, Idaho · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 290

So, reboot, jeeeezzzz. I shouldn't have looked at your page! Wow! : )

Anyway, reboot, Mark, mountainhick, et al, I have numbers from a simple fitness test, and they just sent the charts also. According to that, for my age and gender, I'm totally sucked for cardio, agility and mobility, close to awesome for core strength and general strength, and have a body fat of 25%. HaHa, har de har. : ) I think most of these are flat out wrong, skewed, and not actually very useful, but fun anyway, and I'll try to improve them before the end test.

All your latest back and forth is very, very helpful! The gym I climb at once a week is a university rec center, so the climbing is just one little corner. I'm hoping to get someone to help me over on the workout side, and start at least some shoulder/upper back/arm stuff, short term. Long term, I've also thought about buying some rock rings, but making a TRX type setup to rig them, so I have something staring at me at home to use. Do rock rings have enough opening at the top to use a whole hand, or are they pretty much just fingers? My hands are really small and stubby (I can get through a chain link fence, handy at times), and I often find myself wrapping my whole hand and wrist around stuff others would just grab hold of. Actually, right or wrong, I use the biggest parts that work as my natural default in climbing.

Anybody have any thoughts on tai chi type stuff? I know yoga is great, but every time I've tried it over the years I just fall over laughing. If my body couldn't pretzel in high school gymnastics, it ain't gonna go there now!

I'm sure I'll have more questions as I get rolling, thanks again for your gracious, awesome selves! Best, OLH

Jon Nelson · · Bellingham, WA · Joined Sep 2011 · Points: 4,675

... 1) I am not young (big six zero looms one year from today) 2) I am not physically gifted (4' 11 1/2" and still a tad too heavy) 3) I loathe "exercise" I am also one of the minority on here who is NOT a big goal, chart your progress, laser focus type. ...
Any suggestions on small scale, short term training? Especially from any of you who are also easily distracted? Thanks much! Very best to all, Old(er!) Lady H.

This description fits me pretty well.

1) I find that I can motivate myself only for exercise routines that I invent myself. For this, I convince myself that "my program" (usually involving homemade devices or common house/building items) is the secret ticket to success. So, you might try that.

2) During a given day, I often exercise and stretch (2-3 times, but only ~10-45 min) for non-climbing reasons: getting rid of a migraine, eliminating soreness, reducing anxiety, waking myself up, warming up the body (i.e., in winter)... So, I get my exercise, but the motivation is there because the payoff is immediate.

3) When I do exercise specifically for climbing, I try to mimic climbing motion as much as possible. For example, I never do free-hanging pull-ups, but I will do pull-up motions on the backs of stairwells where I can use my feet. On a stairwell, you can also do various shoulder and finger exercises as well without pulling up.

Old lady H · · Boise, Idaho · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 290

Thanks, Jon!

So, my replies to your replies:
1) yeah, I "cut deals" and invent little head tricks all the time (do this, then you can do/have that)
2) I get all the others, but migraines? I can buy prevention, that makes sense, but how does it work for treatment? I don't get them, but know folks who do
3) hmmm, I've heard the underside of stairs thing before. Maybe I need to do some skulking around in some stairwells! I know the open ones are out there, but I'll have to hunt some. We have a tiny handful of "tall" (20ish stories, please don't laugh, big city folks) buildings here, and part of my plan is to cruise up some stairs on the way to work, at least once a week, so if say, the basement or parking level has just treads, hmmm....I think I see a 15 minute workout forming. ;-)

Mark E Dixon · · Sprezzatura, Someday · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 554

http://onlineclimbingcoach.blogspot.com/2012/06/any-excuses.html

Old lady H · · Boise, Idaho · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 290
Mark E Dixon wrote:http://onlineclimbingcoach.blogspot.com/2012/06/any-excuses.html
Awwww, Mark, how can I stick with lazy with PITBs like you around? Nice vid, thanks!

I have to say, the stairwell I have in mind is already well incentivized-the fire guys train there for a huge charity climb they do every year. Super nice guys, and one of them who really hauls is our age!

And, maybe for my 60, something or other will be buff enough to post a great climbing photo on here, if I find a good photog and they work the angles jussst right....hmmmm????

I'm also considering trying to bag a peak here. Ours aren't the highest elevation, but 5,000 foot gain for a twelver is still pretty respectable. That's one heck of a lot of "stairs" though!
Jon Nelson · · Bellingham, WA · Joined Sep 2011 · Points: 4,675
Old lady H wrote:Thanks, Jon! 2) I get all the others, but migraines? I can buy prevention, that makes sense, but how does it work for treatment?
Yes, but it seems to require a fairly exhausting upper-body workout. (Perhaps the result is because the workout somehow relaxes the shoulder, neck, and facial muscles.) For the first minute, the pain gets worse, then by the 2nd or 3rd minute, the pain quickly decays, generally going away completely. Unfortunately, I went nearly 40 years and dozens of doctor visits before I discovered this treatment.
Optimistic · · New Paltz · Joined Aug 2007 · Points: 300
Old lady H wrote: Awwww, Mark, how can I stick with lazy with PITBs like you around? Nice vid, thanks! I have to say, the stairwell I have in mind is already well incentivized-the fire guys train there for a huge charity climb they do every year. Super nice guys, and one of them who really hauls is our age! And, maybe for my 60, something or other will be buff enough to post a great climbing photo on here, if I find a good photog and they work the angles jussst right....hmmmm???? I'm also considering trying to bag a peak here. Ours aren't the highest elevation, but 5,000 foot gain for a twelver is still pretty respectable. That's one heck of a lot of "stairs" though!
For what it's worth I've basically completely eliminated "cardio" as per the Anderson brothers recommendations and lost weight with that regime. See the Rock Climber's Training Manual for details. Depends on your climbing goals of course, but unless you're planning on doing a lot of mountaineering or alpine rock your efforts may be better spent elsewhere than the stairwell. I think Aleks is probably right that bouldering is where the money is for you, as long as you're careful not to overdo it and injure yourself.
mountainhick · · Black Hawk, CO · Joined Mar 2009 · Points: 120

quote OLH "Do rock rings have enough opening at the top to use a whole hand, or are they pretty much just fingers? My hands are really small and stubby (I can get through a chain link fence, handy at times), and I often find myself wrapping my whole hand and wrist around stuff others would just grab hold of.

I know yoga is great, but every time I've tried it over the years I just fall over laughing. If my body couldn't pretzel in high school gymnastics, it ain't gonna go there now! "

Don't know about rock rings, but what are you after? Hand/finger strength? starting point for pull up type exercises?

One recommendation for both hangboard stuff and pull ups for our age, start assisted, and to me it's better to use a solid surface for feet, not stretchy assist bands. For pullups, seek out info on proper form "setting shoulders" before executing the pullup. Starting assisted, you can develop a bad habit by not doing so. I had great help with this after shoulder surgery. started at far less than zero pullups, now doing them weighted, though not with exorbinant weights.

Either a bar in a doorway or hanging piece of schedule 40 PVC pipe works fine. You can also get handles like these: amazon.com/Body-Bands-Padde…;dpID=417ZyWZtw3L&dpSrc=sims&preST=_AC_UL160_SR160%2C160_&refRID=1PQTVNKX73ZVBK48GGBX

Different hand positions; pull up on bar palms out, vs chin up on bar palm in, vs two handle palms facing each other, work upper body differently.

Re: yoga, maybe think "stretching" rather than "yoga". Always stretch WARM. Never seriously stretch COLD!

Old lady H · · Boise, Idaho · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 290

I was thinking the rock rings might be used for pullups, curlups, etc., but also as TRX rings for body weight exercises.

I need to sit down and research the specifics, combining your suggestions, and work out what seems doable. I'll get back to you on it, and have to follow through and keep it up, now! And it really would be sweet to have buff anything, before the parts all fall off!

For your amusement though, I'll share that I did go over to the gym machines looking for something to try some pullups on. Found plenty, but every single thing was entirely out of reach! I'm sure they've gotta have footstools somewhere, but it gave me a laugh!

Mark E Dixon · · Sprezzatura, Someday · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 554
Old lady H wrote:I was thinking the rock rings might be used for pullups, curlups, etc., but also as TRX rings for body weight exercises. I need to sit down and research the specifics, combining your suggestions, and work out what seems doable. I'll get back to you on it, and have to follow through and keep it up, now! And it really would be sweet to have buff anything, before the parts all fall off! For your amusement though, I'll share that I did go over to the gym machines looking for something to try some pullups on. Found plenty, but every single thing was entirely out of reach! I'm sure they've gotta have footstools somewhere, but it gave me a laugh!
You might want to check whether they have a graviton pull-up machine. I think it's much better for weight off pull-ups than bands. Would be curious about mountainhicks opinion on this.
rgold · · Poughkeepsie, NY · Joined Feb 2008 · Points: 525

Just for another point of view, I'm a major fan of bands, with the proviso that most bands suck.

Bands got me from being able to do just 8 two-arm pullups to 7 one-arm pullups on each arm, over a period of 3--4 years of training. I also learned iron crosses, front levers, and muscle-ups with the help of bands. Later in life, when I had injuries, bands enabled me to gradually recover.

You can take and use bands anywhere; you don't need a health club with some fancy machine and you don't need a system of pulleys and counterweights.

Now to the critical point: the only bands that don't suck are latex surgical tubing. Bungee cords and inner tubes have a very poor "force curve," going from not enough help to way too much help over a very short range of expansion.

You want tubing that is mostly rubber. I think a good size is 1/8" inside diameter with a 1/4" wall (and so 5/8" outside diameter). This will appear as 1/8 X 1/4 or 1/8 ID X 1/4 W in most specifications. This will give you about 40 lbf of help if set up to stretch 200% (the tubing can stretch a lot more than that). Here is a chart from latex-tubing.com/Exercise.html that gives the amount of help you can expect from different sizes---the red arrow points to the size I'm suggesting.

Latex tubing forces

You can get a ten-foot piece of this from latex-tubing.com/d018014-01… for $28.

You clove-hitch the tubing to a bar used for chinning. Tighten the cloves so that the crossing strand stays on top of the bar when you weight the tubing. You'll have to experiment with lengths, but I typically tie the tubing up so that there is almost no slack when it is hanging free. As you get stronger you increase the amount of slack. If you want to get obsessive, put pony-tail ties on the tubing to mark where the clove hitches should go so that you always have the same length.

You’ll need a foot loop. The best system is to buy a small climbing rope pulley and clip a foot loop from 1” (or better 1.5”) tubing. The pulley will automatically center itself at the bottom of the loop; webbing installed directly or even with a carabiner tends to bind. The pulley also causes less surface wear to the tubing, so it lasts longer. (In any case the lifetime is in decades).

Getting a foot into the foot loop will typically require standing on a bench or box since the tubing is rigged tight and high. Then you have to learn to keep your foot underneath you and not let the tubing pull it straight out in front of you. This won’t take more than a minute or two.
Old lady H · · Boise, Idaho · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 290
rgold wrote:Just for another point of view, I'm a major fan of bands, with the proviso that most bands suck. Bands got me from being able to do just 8 two-arm pullups to 7 one-arm pullups on each arm, over a period of 3--4 years of training. I also learned iron crosses, front levers, and muscle-ups with the help of bands. Later in life, when I had injuries, bands enabled me to gradually recover. You can take and use bands anywhere; you don't need a health club with some fancy machine and you don't need a system of pulleys and counterweights. Now to the critical point: the only bands that don't suck are latex surgical tubing. Bungee cords and inner tubes have a very poor "force curve," going from not enough help to way too much help over a very short range of expansion. You want tubing that is mostly rubber. I think a good size is 1/8" inside diameter with a 1/4" wall (and so 5/8" outside diameter). This will appear as 1/8 X 1/4 or 1/8 ID X 1/4 W in most specifications. This will give you about 40 lbf of help if set up to stretch 200% (the tubing can stretch a lot more than that). Here is a chart from latex-tubing.com/Exercise.html that gives the amount of help you can expect from different sizes---the red arrow points to the size I'm suggesting. You can get a ten-foot piece of this from latex-tubing.com/d018014-01… for $28. You clove-hitch the tubing to a bar used for chinning. Tighten the cloves so that the crossing strand stays on top of the bar when you weight the tubing. You'll have to experiment with lengths, but I typically tie the tubing up so that there is almost no slack when it is hanging free. As you get stronger you increase the amount of slack. If you want to get obsessive, put pony-tail ties on the tubing to mark where the clove hitches should go so that you always have the same length. You’ll need a foot loop. The best system is to buy a small climbing rope pulley and clip a foot loop from 1” (or better 1.5”) tubing. The pulley will automatically center itself at the bottom of the loop; webbing installed directly or even with a carabiner tends to bind. The pulley also causes less surface wear to the tubing, so it lasts longer. (In any case the lifetime is in decades). Getting a foot into the foot loop will typically require standing on a bench or box since the tubing is rigged tight and high. Then you have to learn to keep your foot underneath you and not let the tubing pull it straight out in front of you. This won’t take more than a minute or two.
Hey, I'm the "non-obsessive", remember? So, please read nonlinear thinker. Processing text is doable, but could you point me towards some visuals? Thanks so much for this, especially the gear beta!

And Mark, I do know the gym has at least one contraption for "assisted pullups". Is that what you are thinking of?
rgold · · Poughkeepsie, NY · Joined Feb 2008 · Points: 525

How's this? You do not need as fancy a pulley as is in the picture; I just happen to have that lying around.

The system works best if you install the clove hitches at greater than shoulder width apart, so that your hands are in between the clove hitches when you are chinning (or doing muscle-ups or front levers).

The further apart the clove hitches, the less variation in assistance between the upper and lower positions. I've found that variation to be a good thing, not a drawback, but that wouldn't be true with other types of bands with too much variation for the amount of elongation involved.

Surgical Tubing Set Up
wendy weiss · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 20

5'3", 68 years old, not naturally athletic, but skinny enough that my strength-to-weight ratio is pretty good, and been climbing long enough to have had rotator cuff surgery on both shoulders. (Don't overdo the upper body training.) My advice is to supplement your training by learning as many tricks as you can. (Old age and treachery go well together.) Watch good climbers at the gym, especially small women, and try to duplicate their moves. Backstepping, for example, is key to extending your reach. A high step rock-on can give you a good rest and is helpful for clipping and unclipping. We small, weak old broads need to rely heavily on technique.

mountainhick · · Black Hawk, CO · Joined Mar 2009 · Points: 120
Mark E Dixon wrote: You might want to check whether they have a graviton pull-up machine. I think it's much better for weight off pull-ups than bands. Would be curious about mountainhicks opinion on this.
Don't know the machine, no idea.
mountainhick · · Black Hawk, CO · Joined Mar 2009 · Points: 120
rgold wrote:Just for another point of view, I'm a major fan of bands, with the proviso that most bands suck. Bands got me from being able to do just 8 two-arm pullups to 7 one-arm pullups on each arm, over a period of 3--4 years of training. I also learned iron crosses, front levers, and muscle-ups with the help of bands. Later in life, when I had injuries, bands enabled me to gradually recover. You can take and use bands anywhere; you don't need a health club with some fancy machine and you don't need a system of pulleys and counterweights. Now to the critical point: the only bands that don't suck are latex surgical tubing. Bungee cords and inner tubes have a very poor "force curve," going from not enough help to way too much help over a very short range of expansion. You want tubing that is mostly rubber. I think a good size is 1/8" inside diameter with a 1/4" wall (and so 5/8" outside diameter). This will appear as 1/8 X 1/4 or 1/8 ID X 1/4 W in most specifications. This will give you about 40 lbf of help if set up to stretch 200% (the tubing can stretch a lot more than that). Here is a chart from latex-tubing.com/Exercise.html that gives the amount of help you can expect from different sizes---the red arrow points to the size I'm suggesting. You can get a ten-foot piece of this from latex-tubing.com/d018014-01… for $28. You clove-hitch the tubing to a bar used for chinning. Tighten the cloves so that the crossing strand stays on top of the bar when you weight the tubing. You'll have to experiment with lengths, but I typically tie the tubing up so that there is almost no slack when it is hanging free. As you get stronger you increase the amount of slack. If you want to get obsessive, put pony-tail ties on the tubing to mark where the clove hitches should go so that you always have the same length. You’ll need a foot loop. The best system is to buy a small climbing rope pulley and clip a foot loop from 1” (or better 1.5”) tubing. The pulley will automatically center itself at the bottom of the loop; webbing installed directly or even with a carabiner tends to bind. The pulley also causes less surface wear to the tubing, so it lasts longer. (In any case the lifetime is in decades). Getting a foot into the foot loop will typically require standing on a bench or box since the tubing is rigged tight and high. Then you have to learn to keep your foot underneath you and not let the tubing pull it straight out in front of you. This won’t take more than a minute or two.
Thoughtful post, thanks.

My current short term goal is muscle ups. I have a soloflex and set it up for almost the entire range of motion at less than body weight, also do chin ups, some mildly weighted, chins with knees up kipping, and bar dips, but I may resort to bands to get me over the hump when the time comes to learn the transition into mantle/dip.

Any other hints?
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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