Bullet Points and a Brew 5/25/17

We’re bringing this week to a close. It’s been a good one, full of old and new training protocols for me. I’ve been reading about heart rate based energy systems training for a lot of team sports lately, and it’s time to see where it all fits in with some climbing. I’ve been working back into sport climbing shape the last month or so, and my aerobic capacity, while getting better, is still fairly pitiful. I’ve been doing a lot of work in the climbing gym, to address that, but am also going to utilize some heart rate-based work for my nonspecific conditioning sessions. I’m keeping it simple, too. 15 minutes of Get Ups, 15 minutes of Snatches, with a 5 minute rest in between. I’ll share my inspiration for this protocol below. Here’s the readout from the first session this week.

Non specific energy system day. This cycle is all about aerobic capacity, because I suck at sport climbing right now. I'm doing a lot of work in the climbing gym to get after it, but building a general foundation isn't any less important. ▪️▪️▪️▪️▪️▪️▪️▪️▪️▪️▪️▪️▪️▪️▪️▪️▪️▪️▪️▪️▪️ New toys=new protocols(for me). For the next six weeks, I'll be working to expand my aerobic system ability by doing two exercises (32kg get ups, 24kg snatches), and using my heart rate as a marker for resting and working. Today was 15 minutes of getups, a 5 minute rest, and 15 minutes of snatches. A good day. It'll be interesting to see what the graph looks like at the end of the cycle! #sceniccitystrong #strongfirst #cruxconditioning #powercompanyclimbing #kettlebells #heartratetraining #strengthtraining #turkishgetups #snatches #climbing #sportclimbing #kettlebellsforclimbers #climbingtraining #webuildmachines

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I’m excited to see how that goes for the next six weeks! I’m hoping to to get back outside this weekend to get some more bolt clippin’ in. Stoked!

Let’s get into the bullet points.

The Bullet Points

Mark Snow is an SFG Team Leader and an instructor for Functional Movement Systems. I was lucky enough to learn from him when I went through the FMS program a couple years ago. This was a great article examining how to expand your aerobic capacity in a way that minimizes stress, yet builds unbelievable capacity. As I mentioned above, I based a lot of this new energy system protocol on the concepts this article contains.

Another viewpoint into addressing climbing-specific energy systems, this is an informative piece by Will Anglin. Circuits such as these allow you to get effective sessions in at bouldering-only gyms, or if you lack a consistent partner. As always, well worth the read.

Amanda Wheeler is a coach at Mark Fisher Fitness. MFF is a facility in New York, and well, they’re a bit different. In an awesome way. In addition to that, they’re all awesome coaches. If you struggle putting together a general strength training session, this article provides a simple “plug and play” algorithm to get you going.

Bonus

One of my athletes sent me a photo of the most groundbreaking ab trainer in existence. Enjoy.

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Yes. That’s a Pop-a-shot ab trainer. Thanks Jeff!

The Brew

Garden-of-Earthly-Burial

Garden of Earthly Delights, Burial Beer Company

An offering by probably the best independently-owned brewery in Asheville (especially since another big-time brewery in the area just sold the F out to AB InBev), this beer is a saison brewed with a bunch of interesting ingredients: Carrots, Ginger, Lemon Verbena, and Sea Salt. It pours a pale yellow with an effervescent head. The beer is super carbonated, with barnyard-y, yeasty aromas with an earthy tang, containing hints of some pickles as well. On the tongue, the dry saison entry bursts into a vegetal characteristic that’s earthy and pickl-y (sp?). A very strange beer, but not bad. It’s very carbonated for a beer, dancing on the tongue. It’s an interesting take on a saison, and not poorly done at all, just slightly too strange for me.

That’s it for this week. Crush the weekend!


What’s Happening

 

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.

Power Company Climbing Proven Plans

Kettlebells+for+Climbers+Proven

Bridging the gap between completely custom programming and a purely template based training system, these plans capitalize on the patterns seen from years of working with climbers of all skill and ability levels, helping them crush their goals. Route climbers, boulderers, or even people just looking for some strength training will find a plan that fits them! Check it out here

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 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

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 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!

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.

treadwall Kore
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