Limit bouldering recovery?


Original Post
Optimistic · · New Paltz · Joined Aug 2007 · Points: 297

I recently (about 3 weeks ago) started trying some limit bouldering sessions, both to get stronger and to pressure myself more in terms of difficulty. I basically follow the plan laid out in Rock Climber's Training Manual, warm up on easy problems, then 20 minutes or so of harder problems, and then focus on a couple very short problems that I can't do and get my butt kicked by them.

My question: I'm noticing that it takes SUBSTANTIALLY longer to recover from these sessions than my prior milling aimlessly around gym doing what looks interesting. My intuition though is that the point of limit bouldering is to put in a really high quality effort and that I should not do another limit session until I feel recovered, even if this means that I only climb twice a week instead 3 times. Is that right?

Kereinha · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 10

It sounds like you're on the right track. I have found that taking 2 full days off after limit bouldering or an intense hangboard session is ideal for me. So, 72 hrs between workouts. I think this is also what the RCTM recommends.

I initially had a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that more is not always better. For intense workouts, I now try to begin at close to 100%.

If you wanted to get more climbing time in, you might be able to add ARC training between the strength/power workouts, but I find this is still somewhat taxing.

Mark E Dixon · · Sprezzatura, Someday · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 549

Funny, I find laps/intervals (aerobic capacity) much more taxing.

Kereinha · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 10

Yes, I agree that the ARC cycle is very taxing on my whole body. I was thinking that the RCTM included optional ARC sessions the day after HB and Power/LB sessions, but it looks like it's only after HB sessions. I haven't had any interest in adding ARC into these phases, as it is draining mentally and physically for me. Just thought it was worth mentioning. Although, it seems it doesn't apply to power.

Although HB/CB/LB does not tax my entire body as ARC does, I do find that without taking 2 full days rest in between the higher intensity workouts it is very difficult for me to make gains.

To the OP, it looks like the RCTM fluctuates on rest time in the power phase...between 1 and 2 days rest. This also includes campus workouts, which it doesn't sound like you've messed with yet.

Necessary rest times will definitely vary for each individual. My main point is if gains are your main goal, then taking extra time off in between HIT sessions may be beneficial. See what works for you, I know I had a hard time accepting that less time training/climbing could be more beneficial in the long run.

Also, don't leave out ARCing all together. It's a great way to work on technique.

Blake Cash · · Chattanooga, TN · Joined May 2007 · Points: 135

Question:

Are your limit sessions roughly 1-3 move sequences that you can barely do? Or are you failing due to pump/failure? The idea is to actually leave with something in the tank and not feel wrecked. Training peak movements requires full recovery between attempts and sessions. I rarely end a limit session feeling like I have nothing in the tank. A good gauge is to have a boulder that is roughly 75% of your max that you know well. I use that as a check in point throughout a session and come back to it every 15 min or so. Once it feels hard or I am trying harder than my 75%...I cut off the session.

Optimistic · · New Paltz · Joined Aug 2007 · Points: 297
Kereinha wrote:Yes, I agree that the ARC cycle is very taxing on my whole body. I was thinking that the RCTM included optional ARC sessions the day after HB and Power/LB sessions, but it looks like it's only after HB sessions. I haven't had any interest in adding ARC into these phases, as it is draining mentally and physically for me. Just thought it was worth mentioning. Although, it seems it doesn't apply to power. Although HB/CB/LB does not tax my entire body as ARC does, I do find that without taking 2 full days rest in between the higher intensity workouts it is very difficult for me to make gains. To the OP, it looks like the RCTM fluctuates on rest time in the power phase...between 1 and 2 days rest. This also includes campus workouts, which it doesn't sound like you've messed with yet. Necessary rest times will definitely vary for each individual. My main point is if gains are your main goal, then taking extra time off in between HIT sessions may be beneficial. See what works for you, I know I had a hard time accepting that less time training/climbing could be more beneficial in the long run. Also, don't leave out ARCing all together. It's a great way to work on technique.
Good thoughts, thanks.

I hadn't thought about ARC in a while, but you're right, that'd be good way to run some technique drills.

I haven't been following the RCTM periodization schedule, just picking out what feels right to hammer on my weaknesses. In terms of what's currently holding me back in my trad leading, that's about 80 percent mental and 20 percent technique.

I actually do like campusing a lot for the same reason as limit bouldering: it seems like a great way to focus on total commitment to a move. But my current gym doesn't have a campus board.
Optimistic · · New Paltz · Joined Aug 2007 · Points: 297
Blake Cash wrote:Question: Are your limit sessions roughly 1-3 move sequences that you can barely do? Or are you failing due to pump/failure? The idea is to actually leave with something in the tank and not feel wrecked. Training peak movements requires full recovery between attempts and sessions. I rarely end a limit session feeling like I have nothing in the tank. A good gauge is to have a boulder that is roughly 75% of your max that you know well. I use that as a check in point throughout a session and come back to it every 15 min or so. Once it feels hard or I am trying harder than my 75%...I cut off the session.
I'd been mainly using problems that are just one or two moves, generally unable to do them over several days of effort!

Good suggestion on the "75 percent" problem. Currently I've just stopped when I notice that suddenly the quality of the attempts is dropping off.
aaron hope · · Walnut Creek, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 295

I prefer campus to Limit Bouldering, but either way, I take at least a 2 day rest and usually 3 days between intense workouts (i.e. 2 intense workouts per week). As you progress, I've heard you can take on more but I've been doing RCTM periodization for about two years now and I still feel like 2 HB or campus workouts is the most I should be doing. I agree that ARC is a good in-between activity assuming you're keeping it below the pump limit and Anderson even says that some ARC can aid recovery.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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