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Anyone out there experimenting with the Bechtel Logical Progression Format (Nonlinear)?


Original Post
evan h · · Denver, CO · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 310

I'm considering taking the leap...

I've got a question on the hangboarding format. In the book he states a basic 3-6-9 sec protocol where the weight is NOT progressed for about 4 weeks or 4-6 sessions. And apparently, neither is the volume. However, when researching online for a bit more clarity on the hangboard program, I came across a few articles where he does maintain keeping the weight static, but increasing volume across sessions with additional sets https://www.climbing.com/skills/training-hangboard-ladders-for-finger-strength/. So, for those of you training on this plan, are you more-or-less keeping everything static for 4 weeks or so and then adding a few pounds or going to smaller holds? As with most things Steve Bechtel, I love the simplicity, I just want to make sure I'm pushing it enough to get some sort of stimulus.

Lena chita · · Cleveland, OH · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 250

I've had similar concern/research on the subject. :)

I didn't feel that i was getting anything out of the 3-6-9 hang with no weight progression (I only started doing the logical progression regimen recently, did it for a few weeks, and then went on a 2-week climbing trip, so it may not be optimal to assess the effect). Still, I have done multiple cycles of RCTM-type hangboard and periodization cycles in the past (but not for the past 2 years, due to shoulder injury/surgery/recovery), including one time when I had done the RTCM hangboard cycle before a climbing trip to the same climbing location as this year, and I felt that with the other method I really could see the improvement in finger strength, while with the current regimen I felt, for the first time in many years, that my lack of finger strength was actually affecting my climbing.

So I decided, starting in August, to do a month of dedicated hangboard training, as per RCTM. And then continue with more of a hybrid logical progression approach during the power and power endurance phase, to try and extend the cycle.

As always, YMMW

Christopher Woodall · · Somerville, MA · Joined May 2015 · Points: 138

I am about to take the leap. I can't think of a reason you can't change the hangboard protocol in the plan to one that would work better for you assuming that you have a preferred protocol. These programs are really frameworks and you can change any training plan to work better for you, assuming you have the knowledge and will to experiment a little bit (here and there). Steve Bechtel's program seems  more open to experimentation than other programs since you go through more cycles more rapidly.

evan h · · Denver, CO · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 310

I've been consistently training on more-or-less the RCTM for 3.5 years, so I'm quite familiar with that program. I've found that the strength phase of the RCTM can you get your fingers damn strong with obvious season-over-season progressions for about 2 years. Then progress comes at a snail's pace, with maybe 5 lbs gain a year. Basically, I'm ok with this, but I feel, and strongly agree with Steve here, that at some point skills/technique/movement become priority over conditioning again. That's where I'm at. I'm looking for a program that will get me pretty strong, but allow me to not miss climbing for 1/4 of the year when I'm just hangboarding! The RCTM program is fantastic, but I'm wanting to get in some more time on the rock and less time in my basement.

Derek DeBruin · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2010 · Points: 585

I've done RCTM and programming similar to Bechtel's (been conditioning for climbing for about 8 years now). My experience is the RCTM program works quite well for short-term (ie. end-of-cycle gains). Successive cycles result in successive gains until you ultimately plateau, at which point you've hit pretty small, difficult gains, so marginal return on effort is quite low. Haven't read the latest book, but my understanding (and utilization of) the Bechtel strategy seems to acknowledge this and aims to further long-term gains at the expense of short-term. The hangboarding plan isn't designed to give you large gains at end of cycle, but rather consistent small gains throughout the rest of your climbing career. 

For me, it's been great for finger strength maintenance and has not been limiting. I note small gains when I transition the 4-week cycle (I increase volume throughout the 4 weeks; increase weight at each successive 4-week cycle). At this point, I'm also 30 (so getting older) and I'm less focused on high-end sport climbing and more focused on other aspects of climbing (largely alpine). I can still get on 5.12 without worry but I'm not looking to push past my prior peak of 12+/13-. If I were, I'd probably go back to the RCTM and put in the large work loads for the small gains. As it is, I can focus on other aspects of my fitness and still maintain and/or make progress long run.

evan h · · Denver, CO · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 310
Derek DeBruin wrote:

(I increase volume throughout the 4 weeks; increase weight at each successive 4-week cycle). .

So you are adding a set each week as per the article above? I agree that this protocol is for the long-term and won't have you squeezing water out of rocks in 4 weeks.

Oh, and 30 isn't old!

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

Slow, relentless progress seems to be baked into the formula of Logical Progression.  I've just started and chose to go the 3-6-9 hang board route.  Seems like part of the model requires that you keep things static for a long enough period of time to really assess progress.  Since I'm a chemist I interpret is as you needing more signal (more sessions) to weed out the inherent noise in your performance.  I think I picked ledges that, now that I am 2 weeks in, feel too large to be pushing me.  I think instead of moving to smaller holds mid cycle, I'm going to stick it out for 2 more weeks.  This way I'll have a better idea of if I progressed.  I think you should have full cycles, and average your performance across the cycle to determine where you want to go next.

Derek DeBruin · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2010 · Points: 585
evan h wrote:

So you are adding a set each week as per the article above? I agree that this protocol is for the long-term and won't have you squeezing water out of rocks in 4 weeks.

Oh, and 30 isn't old!

I know 30 isn't old, but it's certainly older than 22! (and my recovery needs and the need to design conditioning plans intelligently definitely show it)

Yes, I do:

Week 1, x2: 3-6-9 per grip, 3 rounds

Week 2, x2: 3-6-9 per grip, 4 rounds

Week 3, x2: 3-6-9 per grip, 5 rounds

Week 4, x2: 3-6-9-12 per grip, 3 rounds (same total time-under-tension as Week 3, but clearly with different demands)

Increase weight for next cycle

evan h · · Denver, CO · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 310

Thanks Derek. Yeah, I hear you on the recovery and training management, but hell, 30 is the new 20!

I appreciate the clarity on your program. I like that, and makes me feel like I'm progressing, even if only an illusion. And if I understand it, seeing as this is a year-round program, the weights will be increased indefinitely instead of returning to an "elevated baseline" each cycle, like in the RCTM.

Derek DeBruin · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2010 · Points: 585
evan h wrote:

I appreciate the clarity on your program. I like that, and makes me feel like I'm progressing, even if only an illusion. And if I understand it, seeing as this is a year-round program, the weights will be increased indefinitely instead of returning to an "elevated baseline" each cycle, like in the RCTM.

Sure, but you'll always be working from some kind of baseline, even if it's not stated. For example, it probably wouldn't be wise to add weight after a 4-week rest cycle (which isn't a bad idea to take after 3 or 4 cycles of hangboarding). Also, at some point it will make more sense to change to smaller grips instead of adding additional weight, which you've probably experienced if you've done enough RCTM cycles.

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

Has anyone tried the rhythum intervals for endurance?  I'm pretty sure I want to build one in my home but am having trouble finding holds.  My gym has Pusher brand training tiles that would perfect but their website states that they aren't available. http://www.pushergear.com/System-Tile-6-Pack_p_72.html

Anybody have any idea of where to get something like it? (Lots of hold options in a small space and doesn't break the bank)

Nivel Egres · · New York, NY · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 130
evan h wrote:

Thanks Derek. Yeah, I hear you on the recovery and training management, but hell, 30 is the new 20!

Does that mean that 50 is the new 40? :)

I honestly think that unless you are an advanced climber (venturing beyond V10/5.13+), it does not really matter what program you do as long as you are consistently loading your fingers a few times a week. My initial program was a combination of max weight hangs (short, high load with long rests), split by grip across 4 ultra-short morning sessions (something I stole from Steph Davis' program), then I switched to repeaters and lately I've been switching back to max weight hangs, now on minimal edges and on one arm. They all work more or less the same, in retrospect I think it's the cumulative load (which is a function of TUT, weight and hold size) that matters and everything else is secondary and overly geeky.  

evan h · · Denver, CO · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 310

Nivel, I'm with you 100%. I refuse to get in an argument about the benefits of one HB program over another, I just want to make sure that whichever I choose, I'm doing it in such a way that it provides an adaptation and is sustainable over the long term.

David Kerkeslager · · Brooklyn, NY · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 55

The sustainable program is the one that a) you actually do, and b) doesn't get you injured.

SethG · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 237

Geeks.

Random Climber · · Burke, VA · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 0

And 40 is the new 30?

Steve Pulver · · Williston, ND · Joined Dec 2003 · Points: 455

Dead is the new 60.

Kevin Stricker · · Evergreen, CO · Joined Oct 2002 · Points: 575

Evan,

  I have seen great progress using the Logical Progression program.  At 45 after climbing 24 years I have almost regained my top sport climbing levels from my early 30's and hit new benchmarks in my bouldering.  With a NLP program it's important to remember that climbing performance is the key factor to track.  Your hangboarding can be fairly static and you can still progress.  Think of your training as a sliding scale where your focus can shift as soon as you detect a lagging factor and relatively high peaks can be maintained fairly easily for 8-12 weeks at a time.  As rest periods are not built into the plan its good to have a taper week every 3-4 weeks where your training backs off.  This also is a good time to focus on performance.  Send me a PM if you want any more detailed info, I have been using the program for over 8 months and have really enjoyed the journey.  Good luck!

evan h · · Denver, CO · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 310
Kevin Stricker wrote:

Evan,

  I have seen great progress using the Logical Progression program.  At 45 after climbing 24 years I have almost regained my top sport climbing levels from my early 30's and hit new benchmarks in my bouldering.  With a NLP program it's important to remember that climbing performance is the key factor to track.  Your hangboarding can be fairly static and you can still progress.  Think of your training as a sliding scale where your focus can shift as soon as you detect a lagging factor and relatively high peaks can be maintained fairly easily for 8-12 weeks at a time.  As rest periods are not built into the plan its good to have a taper week every 3-4 weeks where your training backs off.  This also is a good time to focus on performance.  Send me a PM if you want any more detailed info, I have been using the program for over 8 months and have really enjoyed the journey.  Good luck!

Kevin, thanks for the thoughtful reply. That makes sense. Cheers!

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

With all due respect to Steve Bechtel, his contention that low resistance training leads to strength gains equal to high resistance training is not supported by the scientific literature, which concludes exactly the opposite.

Low resistance training, if carried to failure, can produce equivalent hypertrophy, but not strength (as measured by maximum voluntary contraction.)

As with all things training, any one person's response to exercise regimes can be entirely idiosyncratic and contrary to the conclusions of research.

jaredj · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2013 · Points: 165
Mark E Dixon wrote:

his contention that low resistance training leads to strength gains equal to high intensity training is not supported by the scientific literature, which concludes exactly the opposite.

Low resistance training, if carried to failure, can produce equivalent hypertrophy, but not strength (as measured by maximum voluntary contraction.)

As with all things training, any one person's response to exercise regimes can be entirely idiosyncratic and contrary to the conclusions of research.

Where does Bechtel claim this equivalence?

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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