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Creating a training schedule around shift work


Original Post
Evan Curry · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2017 · Points: 0

I just got a copy of RCTM, and I’m stoked to create a more systematic approach to training. However, I work eight days on/six days off as a guide in a wilderness therapy program. 

What are your thoughts? Can I just turn a 3 month season into six? Should I cut each phase in half? Maybe a nonlinear periodization approach would be in my best interest?

My job has its advantages- plenty of opportunities for trips to the new, Red, and the Obed, but it’s difficult to train in any systematic way. Any advice, encouragement, and support would be greatly welcome :)

Background- Onsight: 10d Redpoint: 11b 

Nolan Fulton · · Montgomery,AL · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 628

A portable hangboard seems like a good solution. 

Paired with some bodyweight workouts should keep you conditioned enough so you can get some real climbing in during the six days you are off and not lose any progress

Just my 2¢

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

With your schedule, the RCTM program is not for you. The training plan presented in the book is a great plan if you follow it, but if your schedule and resources do not align with what the book prescribes, it starts to fall apart pretty quickly. There are a lot of effective ways to train other than what is in that book. You'd be better off finding a plan than works for you, rather than trying to follow some "perfect" training plan that doesn't fit your schedule.

Another factor is that, at your climbing level, you really don't need a complex, systematic periodized plan. What you need is to climb a ton, and to do what you can to maintain/improve strength between bouts of climbing. It sounds like your job is pretty good for getting in regular climbing trips. This is good; take advantage of this time and flexibility as much as you can. Getting the mileage in climbing outside to gain experience and technique will be worth more to you at this stage than any sort of physical training.

During your 8 days working, as mentioned above, a portable hangboard is a good idea. I like the Flash Board from Tension, but there are several other good products out there. If you get in 3 hangboard workouts, plus some basic bodyweight exercises (pullps, pushups, planks, etc), during each 8 day working stint, that should be plenty to gradually progress your finger strength and stay generally conditioned between trips.

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

Eight days seems like a long time to not do anything, the most days I've seen recommended for post workout recovery is six (Stevie Haston's blog says he'll take rests of 3 to 6 days, http://steviehaston.blogspot.com/2012/02/training-for-life-no-2.html?m=1 ) but I've never seen anyone recommend 8 days rest.

Evan Curry · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2017 · Points: 0

JCM wrote:

With your schedule, the RCTM program is not for you. The training plan presented in the book is a great plan if you follow it, but if your schedule and resources do not align with what the book prescribes, it starts to fall apart pretty quickly. There are a lot of effective ways to train other than what is in that book. You'd be better off finding a plan than works for you, rather than trying to follow some "perfect" training plan that doesn't fit your schedule.

Another factor is that, at your climbing level, you really don't need a complex, systematic periodized plan. What you need is to climb a ton, and to do what you can to maintain/improve strength between bouts of climbing. It sounds like your job is pretty good for getting in regular climbing trips. This is good; take advantage of this time and flexibility as much as you can. Getting the mileage in climbing outside to gain experience and technique will be worth more to you at this stage than any sort of physical training.

During your 8 days working, as mentioned above, a portable hangboard is a good idea. I like the Flash Board from Tension, but there are several other good products out there. If you get in 3 hangboard workouts, plus some basic bodyweight exercises (pullps, pushups, planks, etc), during each 8 day working stint, that should be plenty to gradually progress your finger strength and stay generally conditioned between trips.

Thanks for your response. It definitely wasn’t what I wanted to hear, but it sure did make a lot of sense.

When you suggested “finding a plan that works for you,” did anything in particular come to mind?

I do feel like I’m still getting gradually stronger so maybe continuing to just climb is the answer. Probably more fun too...

5.samadhi · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2013 · Points: 40

I think you may be in Asheville??? some reason your name sounds familiar :)

5.samadhi · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2013 · Points: 40

I needed about 2-3k to do a year long dirtbag trip (including gasoline costs!)....it was an incredibly cheap year. I ate bargain basement food and dumpster food but I was really happy and healthy and strong and redpointing/onsighting at my limit midway through the year!

5.samadhi · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2013 · Points: 40

Lots of people did this in the company I worked for and they racked up money because of it (defrayed the hit they were taking from the pay level direct care is set at).

Evan Curry · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2017 · Points: 0

Yeah, dude- I live in Asheville! Thanks for all the advice. A dirt bag trip sounds amazing! Where all did you go?

Have we met??

Brian Abram · · Celo, NC · Joined Oct 2007 · Points: 498

https://www.trainingbeta.com/logical-progression/

A non-periodized approach to climbing training that might be appropriate. The main advice is to not let training get in the way of climbing. At your level it’s especially important

I’m in NC, fwiw. Howdy!

5.samadhi · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2013 · Points: 40

Ok that was like 2.5 years of dirtbagging spread out over time, but yeah man!!!!!! Bishop is the shit!!!!

Nick Drake · · Newcastle, WA · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 483

Brian Abram wrote:

https://www.trainingbeta.com/logical-progression/

A non-periodized approach to climbing training that might be appropriate. The main advice is to not let training get in the way of climbing. At your level it’s especially important

I’m in NC, fwiw. Howdy!

I'll echo that a non-linear plan is great with the work schedule and for climbers who haven't plateaued. Becthel's book is probably going to be hard to make a plan based on if the OP doesn't already have a solid idea of structure. If they have already read through RCTM that should help. This really hit home when talking with a couple friends the last few weeks who are at intermediate grades and are trying to figure out ideas for the winter. None had a background in training for any sport and were having a hard time figuring out programming progression and overload. Really do think it's the ideal way to make plans for many climbers, it just doesn't outline things clearly enough for those brand new to training.

Whereas the RCTM is dead easy for anyone to follow, but REALLY not a plan I would recommend breaking into intermediate grades when movement mileage is more important. 

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

The best training plan is the simplest one that still yields results. For the OP, I’d suggest two things:

1. Climb as much as possible during your time off. Now is the time to build a base of experience. Take advantage of the ability to take climbing trips. It won’t always be there. 

2. Do something, anything, to build and maintain strength during your work blocks. This really depends on what resources you have available. I’ll reiterate that portable hangboards are great tools. Finger strength is important, and a little hangboarding goes a long way. A bit of dead hanging, some pull-ups, some push-ups, some planks; this all can be pretty helpful between trips.

Evan Curry · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2017 · Points: 0

Brian Abram wrote:

https://www.trainingbeta.com/logical-progression/

A non-periodized approach to climbing training that might be appropriate. The main advice is to not let training get in the way of climbing. At your level it’s especially important

I’m in NC, fwiw. Howdy!


Evan Curry · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2017 · Points: 0

I went ahead and bought the book. It does appear to be far more flexible than other plans. The basic gist of the book seems to be, hit each energy system on different days throughout the week. 

For me, that would involve an ARC/endurance  training day, a strength day, and a power day during my off shift. In addition, I can train strength while I’m on shift.

5.samadhi · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2013 · Points: 40

Hey Evan!!! You can also train ARC on shift if you get a hangboard....you need a hangboard + webbing to rest your feet on to take weight off. I have done this before....it is NOT the most exciting activity in the world (but then again pure ARC is not that exciting either)....you position your hands on holds and shift them around as if you are "climbing on the hangboard" (keeping your feet still. If the webbing footholds are not enough to cause you to not get pumped then you can add a pulley and hang a bit of weight off a piece of cordelette other end atached to your belay loop harness. You must experiment to find the correct weight and ultimately can probably wean down off the weight as your climbing fitness goes up. 20-30 minutes every night after your duties are finished is all you'd need to do. This will cause massive growth of cappilaries if you can keep up with it.

5.samadhi · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2013 · Points: 40

Depending on your fitness then you can either stay predominantly in one of the other, and move back and forth. Idea being you don't want to get TOO pumped (for pure ARC) but maintain a light and continuous pump for 20-30 minutes. Sounds like you got a grasp over what/why we do ARC so now you have this idea to let you ARC on shift, hopefully it works for you!

aikibujin · · Castle Rock, CO · Joined Oct 2014 · Points: 294

5.samadhi wrote:

Hey Evan!!! You can also train ARC on shift if you get a hangboard....you need a hangboard + webbing to rest your feet on to take weight off. I have done this before....it is NOT the most exciting activity in the world (but then again pure ARC is not that exciting either)... [...] This will cause massive growth of cappilaries if you can keep up with it.

I have trained exclusively on a hangboard for the last 12 months, and spent many hours ARCing on a hangboard. In my experience, ARCing on a hangboard is not all that effective. I have my own theory on why, and I have experimented with ways to make it more effective. But unless you have tons of hours to waste like me, your time on the hangboard will be better spent training for strength.

Nick Drake · · Newcastle, WA · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 483

aikibujin wrote:

I have trained exclusively on a hangboard for the last 12 months, and spent many hours ARCing on a hangboard. In my experience, ARCing on a hangboard is not all that effective. I have my own theory on why, and I have experimented with ways to make it more effective. But unless you have tons of hours to waste like me, your time on the hangboard will be better spent training for strength.

I’ve always felt that my gains ARC, or currently with Bechtel,s intensive endurance, were every bit as much (or more) refinement of technique as physiological. 

On that note, I’m finding Bechtels intensive endurance sessions much more interesting than traditional ARC. They seem to have far greater carry over to real world climbing also. 

aikibujin · · Castle Rock, CO · Joined Oct 2014 · Points: 294

Nick Drake wrote:

I’ve always felt that my gains ARC, or currently with Bechtel,s intensive endurance, were every bit as much (or more) refinement of technique as physiological. 

I agree, I obviously miss out on movement practice when ARCing on a hangboard. But I wouldn't be training on a hangboard if I had the choice to train on a wall.

5.samadhi · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2013 · Points: 40

Did you guys read the original post? It is that he has tons of extra time at night during his shifts that I suggested that. At least when I did wilderness therapy shift work, I remember having hours at night to myself as long as I was nearby in case of an emergency)(

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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