Bullet Points and a Brew 5/17/17

Bullet Points and a Brew 5/17/17

Hey there. Remember me? I’ve been AWOL due to some busyness and some laziness. Time to get back on track and start putting these out. I was able to get on a rope for the first time this year this past weekend. I was able to sample two different crags for the first time. I’m always amazed at just how much rock is in this area. I’m truly lucky to live in an area that’s covered in sandstone.

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The Buffet Wall. Photo: Bob Butters c/o Roots Rated

In terms of performance, I’ve got a long way to go endurance-wise. I’ve been putting in some basic work, and had faint hints of some fitness, but the weekend was a big motivator to really get after it. Speaking of getting after it, let’s get after some bullet points.

The Bullet Points

There’s a reason Dan John considers a loaded carry one of the fundamental human movement patterns. Not sure about that? Read this article, and start carrying stuff. You may learn something.

If you aren’t recovering adequately, you’re not getting stronger. It’s as simple as that. This article had some interesting videos that describe some science behind recovery, and some novel ways to address how you recharge for your next training bout.

This article came out a couple weeks ago and I immediately tagged it as an article for one of these posts. Mark Anderson has been climbing and coaching for a looong time. There’s gold in these here lessons. Go find it.

The Brew

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Beer Geek Breakfast, Mikeller

Mikeller is a microbrewery based out of Denmark with a really interesting mode of production: They’re a gypsy brewery. They travel around and make their beers in various breweries. It’s an interesting concept, and apparently doesn’t affect the quality of their beer, as this one of the more highly rated stouts around. I’ve always been on the lookout for this one, and it finally appeared at one of the bottle shops around here.  (Thanks Sigler’s!). It pours an oily black with a finger of tan, thick, bubbly head. A very roasty aroma fills the room almost immediately, lots of malts and coffee. It’s roasty and rich, with a Russian Imperial stout-ish malt character in the taste, with some present but subtle coffee. It’s definitely different than the coffee bomb that is your standard coffee stout. The taste finishes out with a pleasant bitterness. On the palate, it’s as good as it gets for a stout, with a thick, velvety mouthfeel. It’s a delicious beer that lives up to the hype. Coffee and stout fans will enjoy this one immensely.

That’s it for this week.


What’s Happening

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Strongfirst Kettlebell User Course

I’m excited to announce that the Strongfirst Kettlebell User course is coming back to Chattanooga! On May 27, Senior SFG Delaine Ross will be at Scenic City Strength and Fitness for an 8 hour workshop breaking down fundamental kettlebell skills. These skills lay the foundation for a lifetime of effective kettlebell training, so this course is not to be missed. You can find more information here.

Coaching

I deliver efficient and effective programming that gets the job done without demanding too much of your valuable time. I have some open spots for distance coaching, so if you are interested, please apply. You can find more information here.

Mailing List

I’m playing around with a newsletter. It will contain article alerts, special content promotions, and offers exclusive to subscribers. You can sign up here if you’d like. It’s completely free.

I’m teaching two kettlebell classes at Scenic City Strength and Fitness.

An entry-level class that emphasizes the foundations of safe and effective kettlebell training is held Tuesdays at 6:15 pm. It’s only 10 bucks and spots will be limited to ensure a great experience. If you are in the Chattanooga area and have always been curious about trying out kettlebells, it’ll be tough to find a better opportunity.

I also teach a class for folks who are more familiar with kettlebells on Thursdays at the same time. We will dive into some more advanced kettlebell movements and concepts, and push the intensity up a bit more than Tuesday.

You can check out the calendar and register online for any of these classes here. Each class is 10$. Hurry, because the spots fill up fast.

Social Medias

Like what you’ve read? Want to find out more? Like the Facebook Page and share with your friends!

Bullet Points and a Brew 4/5/17

Hot and a chance of tornadoes.

That’s the weather in Chattanooga today, so it’ safe to say we’re working our way deeper into spring. As spring arrives, so does a renewed focus in Jiu Jitsu and sport climbing. I’ve got a match with a competitor from Knoxville in a week and a half, so I’m trying to develop some conditioning and sharpen up my game to put on a good showing April 15th. I’m excited to get back on the mat again!

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I made sure to look as intimidating as possible

I’m also starting to work to develop some endurance for route climbing. I’ve set up my plan, so now it’s time to go to work. I recently finished reading Logical Progression by Steve Bechtel. It’s chock full of ideas to structure your training, and I’m playing with a few. I’m looking forward to seeing how it goes.

Let’s get into the Bullet Points.

The Bullet Points

Feast your ears on the first “Board Meeting” Power Company Climbing podcast featuring all four members of the team. In the episode, we talk about where we get our sources of information. The Board Meeting episodes are a bit more laid back, so expect some solid information paired with some laughter.

Will Anglin is the head climbing coach for Earth Treks in Golden Colorado. He’s full of intelligent training ideas and ponderances. This article introduces rules that you should follow if you want to be a better climber. A concise and fantastic article.

Many individuals live in a state of extension in their lower backs. At worst, it can lead to pain and spinal injury. Oftentimes, it’s just mild discomfort. However, lacking the ability to control spinal position is a problem. Here’s an an avenue to address it.

Too often, it’s easy to jump into a certain corrective exercise or mobility drill to address joint funkiness. Maybe, the cure is just to step back and evaluate technique. This article addresses the bench press and some technical points, and includes some GOLD pressing variations at the end of the article. Like the majority of Tony’s work, it’s full of actionable information while being an enjoyable read.

The Brew

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Rum Barrel Aged Siberian Black Magic Panther, Westbrook Brewing Co.

Disclaimer: I had a cold and couldn’t taste much when I cracked this open. Of course, I didn’t have this realization until right after I opened it, but o well.

This beer is a big, boozy stout from Westbrook. It poured black with a dark chocolate colored head and a boozy aroma filled the room almost immediately. It had a strong aroma of Rum with some sweetness. The flavor was full of roasty and bitter malts, some candi sugar sweetness, maybe some vanilla and caramel flavors, and rum pronounced throughout. Super boozy. It’s not a surprise this is a 12% abv beer. A big, burly beer that is aggressive. It was good, but a bit too in-your-face and not quite balanced enough for me.

That’s it for this week.


What’s Happening

kettlebell-course-chattanooga-tn

Strongfirst Kettlebell User Course

I’m excited to announce that the Strongfirst Kettlebell User course is coming back to Chattanooga! On May 27, Senior SFG Delaine Ross will be at Scenic City Strength and Fitness for an 8 hour workshop breaking down fundamental kettlebell skills. These skills lay the foundation for a lifetime of effective kettlebell training, so this course is not to be missed. You can find more information here.

Coaching

I deliver efficient and effective programming that gets the job done without demanding too much of your valuable time. I have one open spot for distance coaching, so if you are interested, please reach out ASAP. You can find more information here.

Mailing List

I’m playing around with a newsletter. It will contain article alerts, special content promotions, and offers exclusive to subscribers. You can sign up here if you’d like. It’s completely free.

I’m teaching two kettlebell classes at Scenic City Strength and Fitness.

An entry-level class that emphasizes the foundations of safe and effective kettlebell training is held Tuesdays at 6:15 pm. It’s only 10 bucks and spots will be limited to ensure a great experience. If you are in the Chattanooga area and have always been curious about trying out kettlebells, it’ll be tough to find a better opportunity.

I also teach a class for folks who are more familiar with kettlebells on Thursdays at the same time. We will dive into some more advanced kettlebell movements and concepts, and push the intensity up a bit more than Tuesday.

You can check out the calendar and register online for any of these classes here. Each class is 10$. Hurry, because the spots fill up fast.

Social Medias

Like what you’ve read? Want to find out more? Like the Facebook Page and share with your friends!

Gettin' all Science-y: Edition 1

Gettin' all Science-y: Edition 1

…So you don’t have to.

The scientific method is arguably the most important process in terms of furthering our knowledge that’s been developed in human history. Objective glimpses into conditions to reinforce or refute an idea we may have are critical to discover the way things are, or the best way to do a certain thing. In modern times, the results of these glimpses (experiments and studies) are published in a variety of journals. It’s important to be up to date with the current research to make sure training programs and metrics are on target to ensure better performance. There is one problem, though.

They’re a pain in the ass to read.

And it’s necessary! The scientific process requires thorough (often tedious) recording of pretty much everything involved in the research process. This allows the next group of researchers to replicate the study, if need be, or continue to progress the line of thinking that spurred the original study.

This series is going to be my attempt to read certain studies that apply to outdoor sports, or just ones regarding effective strength training that I find interesting. After I read them, I’ll try and deconstruct them and write a recap in layperson’s terms, summarizing the experimental design and actionable information that stems from the study. (This is for selfish purposes, too. By breaking these down, I’ll be able to retain and apply the concepts as well. Getting better every day, right?)

Let’s dig in!

The Study

Hemodynamic and Cardiorespiratory Predictors of Sport Rock Climbing Performance

Fryer et al. 2017

The Background

Dr. Simon Fryer and others recently published this article examining aerobic system factors, blood flow factors, and how well these factors relate to sport climbing performance.

In the past, early climbing energy system research was performed with treadmills. Obviously, there’s not a lot in terms of specificity, so while early research provided good signposts to continue research, definite answers didn’t really exist. Treadwalls were then utilized, but oftentimes the research methods didn’t map out well to the energy system demands of sport climbing.

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A standard treadwall

In addition, as modern sport climbing has progressed, routes have gotten steeper and more demanding in terms of finger strength. Due to the smaller (relatively) size of the forearm muscles, some current thinking has been pointing to idea that the aerobic and blood flow characteristics of the forearms are one of the focal points of climbing performance.

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Flexor Digitorum-The muscle the researchers monitored for the study

This study took climbers from three different ability levels and tested four factors: forearm recovery capacity, peak VO2 on a treadwall, maximal forearm deoxygenation, and a VO2 max on a traditional treadmill.

The hypothesis was that the forearm recovery capacity, treadwall peak VO2, and maximal forearm deoxygenation would be the best predictors of climbing performance. Since treadmill VO2 max wasn’t listed in the hypothesis, it is implied that treadmill VO2 max isn’t a huge predictor of climbing performance.

How they did it

Four physiological responses were measured to perform this study. Two of the factors (maximal forearm deoxygenation, and peak VO2) utilized a treadwall, while one factor (VO2 max) was measured on a treadmill. The final factor, forearm recovery capacity was measured using a dynamometer handgrip procedure that fatigued the muscle and measured time of recovery.

One thing I thought was interesting was the accepted way for a climber to report their ability level. The method backed by the research is referred to as the 3:3:3 method, which is basically 3 redpoints on 3 separate routes of the same grade, all within the past 3 months. The researchers used a variation of this method: 3 redpoints of 3 separate routes of the same grade, within the past 6 months. Because the study was conducted in Spain, and since the weather to climb in Spain is pretty much perfect, a larger window of time was used for reporting ability level.

The researchers separated the study into two days. The first day, the climbers came in to perform the treadwall test. This test involved climbing a particular route on the treadwall. The route climbed was selected based on the climber’s reported ability level, with goal of all climbers reaching failure within 6-12 minutes. While the climbing occurred, a breathing mask of sorts was utilized to obtain a VO2 peak measure. During this session, an infrared device measured the maximal decrease in the oxygen content of the blood in the forearm muscles.

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While this is on the wrong muscle, this is a good example of the setup used to monitor the forearm muscle

After 3-7 days rest, the climbers came back in and performed a treadmill VO2 max test, using a breathing mask device to collect the necessary data. After that, the subjects performed the handgrip test to measure forearm recovery capacity.

What they found

After collecting and performing statistical analysis of the data, they found that the data taken on the treadwall plus the forearm recovery capacity test were significant predictors of climbing ability. They did not find any significant relation between the VO2 max obtained via the treadmill.

The Takeaway

While it’s not surprising that the more climbing specific measures were more predictive of climbing performance, some could be surprised that non specific aerobic fitness isn’t a predictor of sport climbing ability.

Digging deeper into the climbing specific side of things, it was discussed that the total body aerobic fitness measured via VO2 peak and the forearm aerobic capacity measured in both the treadwall and handgrip tests separately come into play in sport climbing performance. It was mentioned that perhaps total body aerobic fitness is key up until a point, and then the limiting factor becomes forearm aerobic fitness, which makes sense as walls get steeper and holds get worse.

How Can I Use This?

This study shines some light on how we can structure our “cardio” to be as effective as possible for climbing performance. While running and cycling are fantastic for cardiorespiratory fitness, it might be more beneficial to perform more specific conditioning protocols such as ARC-ing or other similar climbing drills.

In terms of strength training, energy system work that stresses the back (in the good way), shoulders, and grip are likely the way to go to supplement climbing specific work.

One way to go about it?

Snatch Volume Work.

Set a timer for 12-15 minutes and do sets of 15 snatches on each arm. Set the bell down in between sets and rest as long as you need. As always, good form is paramount, so make sure the appropriate sized bell is used. As you progress this protocol, you could do so by either working for a longer period of time, or try and get more sets of 15 done in the same time.

 

Learn More

Here’s the citation and link to the abstract if you want to read the full study.

Abstract

Fryer et al. Hemodynamic and Cardiorespiratory Predictors of Sport Rock Climbing Performance, Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research

doi 10.1519/JSC.0000000000001860

Bullet Points and a Brew 1/9/17

Back at it! I’m back in Chattanooga, and ready to get back into my normal routine of things. It was a great vacation, and I got to sample even more of the amazing climbing surfacing on Maui, but now its time to get back to work.

I just finished my first training session. It was a good one, full of heavy lifting, some kettlebell snatches, and some loaded carries. I’ve got a fingerboard in the mail, and I’m psyched about its portability. I’ve got a bunch of ideas in my head on how to utilize it, and can’t wait to try it out. Let’s get into the bullet points.

The Bullet Points

I posted an article last friday detailing some tweaks I’m making to the yearly scope of my own training. I’m a big proponent of the view that if my viewpoints don’t change over time, I’m not doing a very good job to educate myself and get a little better every day.

Climbharder, Reddit’s climbing training related subreddit recently had an “Ask Me Anything” conversation with climbing coach Will Anglin out of Colorado. It’s a cool format, since any user can post a question. Check it out and read through it. There’s a lot of good information in there.

“Little and Often Over the Long Haul”

That quote sums it up. No technical training information in this one, but a great glimpse at the mindset required to sustain training for a lifetime. Not a year, not two years, but the philosophy necessary to continue getting a little better throughout your lifetime. I don’t know about you, but I want to keep a physical lifestyle until I’m dead. I don’t feel like being broken in my later years.

We all know stress is bad. Actually, it isn’t. David Dellanave gives us a more subtle overview of how stress relates to us and our training. I thought it was more nuanced than alot of the standard (yet still mostly accurate) analogies of stress I usually see. It was an interesting article to me, so I thought I’d share it.

The Brew

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City of the Dead, Modern Times Beer

A cool aspect about taking a vacation is the access I have to a different distribution for craft beer. Modern Times is a brewery out of California and they have a very interesting take on barrel aging. This beer wasn’t aged in any barrels, but the coffee they brewed the beer with was. I’ve never had a barrel aged coffee bean before, so I was curious as to how it would end up in the glass.It pours black with light tan head that fades to thin bubbles and a ring around the glass. Aromas of coffee and some roasted malts waft up when the glass is filled. The taste is full of sweet, chocolaty flavors and strong coffee with some faint vanilla and bourbon. It’s a really nice take on barrel aging something. It’d be interesting to see this approach taken with an Imperial stout, as the coffee did dominate the flavor of this export stout variation. However, it’s unique, without losing the characteristics of a barrel aged beer. Worth seeking out.


What’s Happening

Nutrition, Performance, and Strength Coaching

It’s the new year, and a lot of people are building out their strategy for training in 2017. I can help. If you’re interested in nutrition coaching, strength training, Functional Movement Screen consulting, performance training, or some combination of these programs, you can find more information here.

Mailing List

I’m playing around with a newsletter. It will contain article alerts, special content promotions, and offers exclusive to subscribers. You can sign up here if you’d like. It’s completely free.

I’m teaching two kettlebell classes at Scenic City Strength and Fitness.

An entry-level class that emphasizes the foundations of safe and effective kettlebell training is held Tuesdays at 6 pm. It’s only 10 bucks and spots will be limited to ensure a great experience. If you are in the Chattanooga area and have always been curious about trying out kettlebells, it’ll be tough to find a better opportunity.

I also teach a class for folks who are more familiar with kettlebells on Thursdays. We will dive into some more advanced kettlebell movements and concepts, and push the intensity up a bit more than Tuesday.

You can check out the calendar and register online for any of these classes here. Each class is 10$. Hurry, because the spots fill up fast.

3 Ways I'm Changing My Training in 2017

3 Ways I'm Changing My Training in 2017

I’m about to be back in Chattanooga after a vacation, and I’m psyched to get back after it in terms of coaching, climbing, and my own training. I always like to reflect on the past year and see what’s changed in both my training and philosophy concerning physical preparation. I’ve learned a lot the past year, and am taking on some new challenges this coming year. How does MY training plan reflect that? Let’s take a look.

1. An Increased Focus on Finger Strength

I’ve been lucky that I’ve been able to climb at a fairly competent level without doing a whole lot of targeted finger strength. The last year or two, I’ve learned that as climbs get harder, holds tend to get smaller (a big surprise, eh?). One of my main dislikes about finger training  was the amount of time I perceived a dedicated block of finger training would take. One of the “big rocks” of my training philosophy is efficiency. I’m not a fan of sitting around and doing only one movement. I (wrongly) thought that this approach was how the majority of hangboard training sessions would go. Enter Integrative Strength Training.

I’ve heard this approach mentioned multiple times by Steve Bechtel over at Climb Strong. It’s a unique way to keep your sessions flowing, and reduce monotony. Most importantly, this method utilizes the endocrine system to  make strength gains. At it’s most basic, this approach combines a heavy strength exercise, a finger strength exercise, and some mobility work. A session involves rotating through these movement categories instead of just hitting straight sets of one movement, then moving on to the next one. The first grouping of movements I will be playing with include deadlifts, fingerboard work, and some upper body T-Spine and Glenohumeral mobility. I’m excited to see how it goes.

I’ve kept my description of this approach extremely broad, because I still have a LOT to learn about it. I learn by doing, so I hope to not only develop strength through this approach, but also gain some knowledge. If you want to learn more about Integrated Strength Training, check out this podcast.

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Power Company Podcast: Integrated Strength Training w/ Steve Bechtel

2. Putting Heavy Shit Overhead

I think a heavy shoulder press is one of the best shoulder health movements a person can do. If they do it correctly. Also, someone once told me the secret to happiness is lifting heavy shit over your head. I want to be really happy, so I want to lift something really heavy (for me).

I’m going to be training for my StrongFirst Kettlebell Instructor level 2 Certification in April. It’s about that time to dive even deeper into the world of Kettlebells, applicable strength, and tension. The strength test for this qualification is a 1/2 bodyweight single arm Kettlebell press. I need to press either a 36kg (80lb) or 40kg (88lb) kettlebell depending on how much I weigh come April. I plan on training for the 40 kilo, because why not take the opportunity to get stronger?

My strategy for this goal will involve around the concept of variability. The Soviet weightlifters of the past hold an incredible number of records and competition wins. The training system they used wasn’t as linear as some other schools of thought. When viewed with an EXTREMELY broad brush, one of the golden rules of that system was that one’s training load should vary at least 20% from session to session. That doesn’t mean it always needs to increase. In fact, depending on one’s training experience, the wavier and more varied the load, the better! (within reason).

I personally handle heavier sets with low reps better than higher rep sets, so it looks like I’ll be doing a lot of 1,2, and maybe 3 rep sets (and not in that order) if I’m feeling froggy. Maybe I’ll throw in some fingerboarding and turn it into more Integrative Strength work. Who knows…

3. Sport and Region-specific Conditioning Work

My endurance sucks. Part of it is due to the fact that I boulder 90% of the year. The other part of it is that I rarely spend an adequate amount of time training my aerobic energy system. Looking back, when I’ve tried to develop my endurance, I’ve spent a disproportionate amount of time addressing my anaerobic performance and neglected the aerobic energy system. In 2017, I want to balance that out a bit more. It is hard to train a weakness. It’s not fun, and quite humbling. I would really like to climb some hard sport climbing routes in the fall, so I plan on staying disciplined and getting after some of my weak spots.

Some non-specific conditioning protocols I like

-Kettlebell Snatches: 15 seconds on, 45 seconds off, alternating hands each round.

-Loaded Carries: All sorts of variations and intervals, but the goal would be to stay around 4-7 out of 10 intensity wise, and making sure there is adequate recovery.

Deep 6 Complexes: Skill practice, and being able to complete complex techniques when fatigued.

 

Some climbing-specific things I’ll be doing

-Playing with some low intensity hangboard intervals or repeaters

-4 x 4’s

-Feet on campus board intervals, with a simulated rest

I used these last spring and they really helped with recovery and climbing through a pump. Start on the lowest rung of a campus board, with your feet on the kick board. Slowly climb up and down the board, making sure your feet stay on the kick board. Simulate foot movements if you want. Once your work interval is over, put your feet on the ground, but keep a fraction of your weight hanging from a campus rung. 1/2 of your rest time is spent “shaking out” on the rung. Adjust the weight you’re putting on the rung to ensure you are recovering. The second 1/2 of your rest time is off the board, normally resting. I started with a 1 set of 5 intervals and worked up to 3 sets, with a 5 minute rest in between sets.  

As always, perfect repeats and technique drills will always be part of my training. Skill comes first, all the other details are built on proper technique.

Without a plan, you’re just randomly trying to throw things at a wall and see what sticks. Figure out what you want to address, and figure out what you need to change. Einstein said that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is the definition of madness.

How are you going to prove your sanity in 2017?