Book Recommendation for a 1 day/week gym climber


Original Post
Zabadoo · · Grand Rapids, MI · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 15

As the title indicates I'm looking for the best book or couple books that will work given my situation.

Here's where I'm at.  I'm 31 and have been climbing seriously for 3 years (serious means 2-4 trips to the gym a month, 2-4 long weekend trips outdoors and hangboarding when my stoke is high).  I am currently injury free and have been for those three years.  As I live in Michigan, in many ways, RRG is my home crag.  There I can consistently onsight 5.10a-b, and hang my way up anything 5.11.  I have my mornings free (1-2 hours) for training but don't get a chance to make it to the gym but once a week for climbing.  I have free weights up to 55lbs (Bowflex select techs) and a hangboard (Metolius 3D Simulator).

I don't want to buy a book only to find that I can't adapt it to my life and will only become more depressed that I don't get to climb (even indoors) more often.  Its seems like mostbooks and climbing training stuff I see out there is predicated on the fact that someone can make it to the gym at least twice a week for training.

It seems like the "Rock Climber's Training Manual" is what most folks get as a first book but is it flexible enough for my situation?  Would something like "The Self Coached Climber" be any better?  What is the best way to gain the knowledge needed to create a training regimen that works for me?

Tristan Mayfield · · SLC, UT · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 45

I think Dave has got the right idea about how to get better during a time-pressed life.
http://onlineclimbingcoach.blogspot.com/2014/12/when-regime-gets-harder.html

Tristan Mayfield · · SLC, UT · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 45

His books are great as well.

Ted Pinson · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 190

Do you have any extra space in the house?  To be honest, at 2-4 times a month or once a week, it sounds like what you really need is climbing volume.  I'm not sure if training is going to help you as much, because you probably are going to see the most gains from improving technique.  To this end, have you thought about buying some holds and building a woody?

JCM · · Seattle, WA · Joined Jun 2008 · Points: 95

^^^ Sound advice from both posters above. To reiterate:

1. Read Dave Macleod's book "9 out of 10 Climbers Make the Same Mistakes " (since you asked for a book suggestion). This isn't a "training" book, per se, in that it doesn't detail specific excercises, etc, but instead is about, generally, improving your climbing. There is a lot of discussion about how to build a plan to train and improve your climbing around a busy lifestyle.

2. Build a home woody. At this point in your development as a climber, more climbing mileage will do much more for you than hangboard strength.

Lena chita · · Cleveland, OH · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 240

RCTM is, IMO, not very applicable for someone who is climbing 5.10, and who cannot go to the gym or outside regularly. Sure, it will go into great detail on how to do a hangboard workout, and for the 1 month each cycle when you do your hangboard phase you really don't need a gym, but for all other stages of the training you DO need access to a climbing wall. There is a way to do power stage with just a hangboard/campus board, which you cold build at home, too, but it is not optimal, and it would be more appropriate for somebody with a good base of technique skills.

Logical Progression by Steve Bechtel lays out a very flexible training plan that you would do when you go to the gym once a week, and a strength workout for this plan can be done at home with just hangboard and weights, so I think it would help,

Self-coached climber is an old-but-great idea for technique drills, and much more. I find it really useful for figuring out where your relative strengths/weaknesses are, and how to work on them, the tables make a lot of sense to me...  And there is no reason why you can't do these technique drills once a week when you do go to the gym.

But there are no miracles. If you can't make it to the gym or the rock frequently enough, you will see limited results from any training.

Zabadoo · · Grand Rapids, MI · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 15

Thanks for all of your suggestions.  I should have communicated my goals a bit better.  Stating that I climb X or Y probably indicated that I want to increase my sport climbing on-sight grade.  In reality I would just like to harness my non-gym workouts a bit better for climbing without building a woody (don't really have room), and have my gym workouts integrated in some fashion.  I was listening to a training beta podcast (Steve Bechtel's most recent) and it broke down some of my belief that ONLY mileage contributes to improvement.

Based on the recommendations I think I'm going to get "9 out of 10" and "Logical Progression".

Tristan Mayfield · · SLC, UT · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 45

Just FYI in "9 out of 10," he says a lot of "is this a priority for you? If so, change your lifestyle to meet your goals." If you're not a fan of that message, it might not be for you. However, he does have what I think to be the most straightforward and maybe best approach to hangboarding I've ever seen. That part would probably be great for you with a time crunch and lack of facilities.

aikibujin · · Castle Rock, CO · Joined Oct 2014 · Points: 290
Zabadoo wrote:

Thanks for all of your suggestions.  I should have communicated my goals a bit better.  Stating that I climb X or Y probably indicated that I want to increase my sport climbing on-sight grade.  In reality I would just like to harness my non-gym workouts a bit better for climbing without building a woody (don't really have room), and have my gym workouts integrated in some fashion.  I was listening to a training beta podcast (Steve Bechtel's most recent) and it broke down some of my belief that ONLY mileage contributes to improvement.

I listen to a lot of training beta pod cast too (and the power company pod cast), usually while I spent hours hanging on my hangboard in the garage. I really like Steve Bechtel's interviews and agree with his idea that climbing is a skill sport, you should spend approximately 75% of your time "practicing", and 25% of your time "training".

That being said, I understand (probably more than most) that sometimes you just have to work with whatever you have. What everyone else said is true, it would be better if you can climb in the gym more often, or build a woody at home to train. But what if you can't for whatever reason, does that mean you simply give up? 

I have been training exclusively on a hangboard for about 6 months now after the birth of my second child. I try to climb outside once a week on the weekends, and sometimes once during the week. So I think I get about the same volume of climbing (4-8 times a month) as you do. I'm still seeing improvements in my climbing, albeit very, very slowly.

I would probably see more improvement if I can climb more, but again, that simply isn't an option for me. The fact that I'm still improving while training only on a hangboard is pretty amazing. My technique and my lead head no doubtly suffers, but I think if you're motivated enough to suffer hours of boredom, you can slowly improve (or at least maintain) your strength and endurance on a hangboard. So when I do climb outside, I try to work on my technique and lead head. I designed an entire hangboard program with different protocols for strength, aerobic endurance, and anaerobic endurance. The only thing I couldn't effectively train on a hangboard is power, but luckily I have more power than endurance in my current state. I haven't climbed at the RRG for years, but I remember the routes there are pretty endurance oriented, they don't usually have powerful cruxes. As long as you have the technique for climbing steep routes, you may be able to still get improvements by training endurance on a hangboard. Will it be as good as more climbing? No. But we wouldn't be having this conversation if that's an option, right?

Pavel Burov · · Russia · Joined May 2013 · Points: 50

Book second day a week at yer gym.

Mike Mellenthin · · San Francisco, CA · Joined Nov 2014 · Points: 70

RCTM kind of assumes you are climbing at least 5.12 and can get to a wall you can ARC or boulder on 2 to 4 days a week. It also assumes you are down for periodization.

In other words I'd skip it for now.

At the end of the day you need to put in effort consistently over a long period of time to get "good" at climbing. The most efficient way to do this will involve climbing circuits on plastic. This is basically what all training books will tell you because like it or not it's true.

As a new climber I actually found How To Climb 5.12 a really useful book to read. It's kind of useless in suggesting actual things to do, but it was short and it convinced me that basically any structure > no structure.

Were I you I'd do something like this:

(1) Skip buying a book. Or buy a book but realize that whatever they suggest probably won't work for you. Maybe read it anyway to kind of get a feel for what is out there.

(2) Continue going to the gym 1 day a week. Focus on climbing easy volume. Traverse the boulders. Go up and down the same route on TR with no rest. You get the idea. Pack as many moves as possible in with no rest, but try to avoid getting pumped.

(3) Spend another 2 mornings a week on your hangboard. Spend one day doing a max hang workout, the other doing repeaters (you should be able to google what these things are). At your level the latter will probably be on the biggest holds. Start on easy holds. Stop if your tendons hurt and rest until they don't.

This kind of covers all your bases (enduro, power enduro, power) and packs as many moves as possible (good for technique) into your minimal climbing time.

YMMV, good luck.

Zabadoo · · Grand Rapids, MI · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 15

Just last night I bought "9 out of 10" and "logical progression".  I really like reading so I'll at the very least see what is out there.  

I have the feeling like I have, at the very least, an incomplete conceptual understanding of the different components of climbing (strength, endurance and power).  Most material that I have found is something like, "to train endurance, do XYZ on the wall" and "to train power do ABC on the wall".  Hopefully the books will provide some more conceptual knowledge and more than something just prescriptional.  A large part of this might be that I don't know my strengths or weaknesses.

I realize now that I have really only been doing repeaters for my hang boarding (endurance).  10 sec on and 5 sec off for 6 reps and taking a 1 min rest in between sets, then typically doing 9 sets on a variety of holds from the deep ledge, 3 finger single pad and both round and flat slopers.  Is the article below what you were talking about as far as max strength and repeaters?  http://trainingforclimbing.com/4-fingerboard-strength-protocols-that-work/

How long would does it take to train endurance (or anything) at the gym?  Part of what limits my number of gym days is I'm there for 3+ hours (gotta pack it in right...?) and the being gone a whole night is a significant part of the "drain".  Which as I do more research seems like WAAAAY too long for the purposes of training.  Could training for two shorter periods (1-1.5 h) twice a week be better than one "whole night" session?  This is just getting the gears turning as going twice and being home earlier might have even less "drain" on my domestic performance.

Jacob Bice · · Little Rock, AR · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 5
Zabadoo wrote:How long would does it take to train endurance (or anything) at the gym?  Part of what limits my number of gym days is I'm there for 3+ hours (gotta pack it in right...?) and the being gone a whole night is a significant part of the "drain".  Which as I do more research seems like WAAAAY too long for the purposes of training.  Could training for two shorter periods (1-1.5 h) twice a week be better than one "whole night" session?  This is just getting the gears turning as going twice and being home earlier might have even less "drain" on my domestic performance.

You would definitely get more quality mileage out of two shorter sessions.  Honestly as others are saying there is no way to improve at this unless you show some initiative.  Showing up at the climbing gym 2x per week would be the absolute minimum effort to improve.  That being said, I'm still not sure what your goals are.  If you are not trying to redpoint routes harder than your current level, there may not be much point in climbing specific training.  

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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