Saturday, October 11, 2008

Training Log: Body Tensions is not about situps!

First off, a quick rant about body tension.

I often watch people with saggy-ass syndrome (poor body tension) do endless situps. This does NOT solve the problem of keeping your feet on while climbing. "Core" strength or "body tension" in climbing means being able to hold on with your hands and keep your feet on an overhanging wall. Situps (or any ab-isolating exercise) are near-useless for this, it's all about making your shoulders, lats, and abs work together. Some version of front-lever, or whatever "curl up" exercise you can do, is the base of body tension on steep routes. Off-topic rant, but I hate to see good training time wasted. Of course, if the goal is pretty little stomach muscles then great, but that's not the reason I'm at the gym. And if you can do a front lever you'll have good abs, the difference is that you'll have functional strength, not poseur strength.

Wed. Oct 8th

Wrestled a wood stove most of the day in addition to video work, kid. Wood stove won the opening rounds but not the match. Nothing like trying to move 400+ pounds around... Crossfit style experience.

Rode bike to hill. Went up hill fast on foot. Knee good. 45 minutes.

Soundtrack: The world. I don't listen to music while I'm out in the hills, they sound great au naturel.

Thursday Oct. 9th.

I let life go sideways (Calgary, etc.) so I ended up in the gym at 8:15 in the evening, not my favorite time to train. Had to use chemical stimulants to get it going, yeah, those little cans of motivation. Felt like an ambushed owl for the opening 10 minutes but then got it moving. Warmed up well then got sucked into a boulder session with Big Frank. Super fun, big body-tension moves on decent holds so kinda what I wanted and sure fun. SPOGA between boulder problem goes.

Then about 15 minutes of movement with the tools in the mixed cave. Every time I drytool for the first time of the seasn I hate it. The tools move around too much, I'm terrified they will blow on every movement, and I wonder why I bother. Hell, it's a climbing gym, why not just use shoes and chalk? Then I start hucking small dynos, moving through the fear and it becomes fun, but those first few moves always destroy me. I need to pad the little finger of my Fusions already, forgot gloves the first day and my little finger is already swelling. I helped design these tools and wanted a positive little finger grip, what was I thinking? Well, not ideal for the gym but exactly what you need with gloves on for hard routes.

Then over to the drytool campus board. More vertical offset pulls but with a one-arm lock at the top of each pull, release lower tool for a few seconds. Only did three per side and didn't hold the lock long, but I feel them today for sure, a power movement. Then an exercise I've been doing for a few years to help my shoulder: hang from both tools, let go with one hand, and slowly, slowly, rotate about 150 degrees so you're facing out from the wall a bit, rotate back and grab the other tool. If it gets sloppy put your feet down right away. I think it's important to build all the little muscles and train them to work together for moves like this, seems to help me prevent shoulder problems. Drag your feet if you can't do this in control. Surprisingly hard to do in control, but if you build the coordination and strength to do this then you won't be doing it out of control on a route, and maybe won't rip your shoulder joint apart...

Then front lever (core) training. Getting better recruitment after only one session, could hold one leg out for a few seconds! So much of climbing is specific muscle fiber recruitment and coordination, not just "power."
Finished the evening out with some "pump you up" exercises of hanging onto just the tool shafts (no support from the bumps) on 20-second on, 20-second off intervals. Wicked pump in short order...

Maybe not the perfect workout, but far better than lying on the couch drinking scotch and doing fuck all, which is where I was headed at 8:00 p.m.

Soundtrack: Crystal Method was on in the gym. I always forget how good Crystal Method can be.

Friday October 10:

Passed wood stove inspection. Wrestled wood. Keyboard. Then blast on bike to hill, up hill to "lower rocks," back down. Under an hour. Stoked. Burned first load of wood in stove, house did not burn down. Cool.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Use Fedex, not UPS

I ship a lot of stuff back and forth to the US and around the world. I've just had the most incredible go-around with UPS, and still don't have some parts that were overnighted from Utah more than a week ago. The parts made it from Utah through Canadian customs in about 24 hours, then spent two days sitting on the ground while UPS's private contractor tried to figure out how to get a box across town in Nanaimo. They couldn't figure that out for more than 48 hours despite the "super priority" shipment status. I left town before they could figure it out, and called UPS three times to get the box forwarded to Canmore. Unfortunately they couldn't even tell me where it was until today. Yep, Nanaimo. UPS promises delivery tomorrow, we'll see. I really like my local UPS guy here in Canmore, but as far as actually delivering a package on time, well, UPS is not going to get any more of my business, and I'll urge everyone I work with to use Fedex, DHL, Purolator, donkey express or anyone but UPS. Fedex normally gets my packages back and forth to the US in well under 48 hours. UPS sucks.

Back to your mountain sports blog now.


Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Winter is coming: Train.


It's that time of year again when the nights are well below freezing, the snow is sticking up high and the leaves are committing suicide in a very beautiful way. Yep, winter climbing is coming and quickly. I'm coming off a decently strong fall of rock climbing (for me) so I've got a base in there somewhere, but in the last two weeks I've done nothing but drive (sit) and fly the paramotor (sit) with a few aerobic blasts but not much. Two weeks and my arms are smaller than their normal skeletal size, my ab muscles aren't looking too defined and my aerobic fitness is pretty pathetic. Time to get it on.

My goals are all over the place at the moment, but I have a couple of big ice/mixed trips coming up and one weird goal that I'll maybe share later. That goal would involve an insane amount of ice, so I need to have the power for decently hard mixed and the endurance to go hard for many hours of "easy" movement on steep ice... Totally contradictory physiological goals, what else is new.

I'm going to post my workouts and climbing efforts as they happen, both to amuse the reader and motivate me. Maybe some public pressure to get it done will help, and I'll take any scrap of motivation I can find. I have a 16-month old star of a daughter, work, a hole in the side of my house that needs fixing (love those renos) and a lot of other stuff that's competing for my time and energy. In short, I'm likely a lot like many of you who read these ramblings: over-committed, short on time and looking for all kinds of climbing action instead of specificity.

Tuesday, October 7th: Day One. Weather poor in general.

Back in the source of power, the Vsion. After two weeks totally off I wanted to start kinda slow, I've found that's a good way to prevent injury. I had one hour and 30 minutes to get it done, here's what felt right:

20 minutes of movement on the walls: Just moving, stretching on the wall (this is great for range of motion and feeling where my body is at), getting to the point where removing the sweatshirt is necessary. No movements that tax me, mellow but real pump.

First half of my 30-minute speed yoga (Spoga) thing (three A suns, three B, bunch of flow poses that I link, it works for me to keep my body from binding up too much). I used to care if I looked like a geek in the gym while doing this routine. Thankfully I've made peace with the fact that I am a geek in the gym, I need to do this Spoga thing or I start moving like a geriatric. Let the kids laugh, it's good for them and me.

-Four laps on "Yellow," about 30 moves on generally big holds, enough to get pumped and have to try a bit but no tweaky moves, with the rest of my Spoga done between intervals. No time in the gym should be wasted; either you're going at it, stretching, belaying or gasping. Sitting around is a waste of time.

-Dangle off tools in the mixed cave for about about 10 minutes. Make sure to release gently and fully onto each shoulder in one-handed hangs, keep it controlled and very smooth. Not really bouldering, just letting my shoulders and hands know that I'm going to be abusing them in the coming weeks--but not today.

-Three rounds of: vertical offset pullups (one per side, both sides, good form, no straining), front levers off tools (nowhere even close to front levers, rock climbing does NOTHING for my core compared to mixed. Just pull knees to chest, extend one leg, collapse, repeat until I can't get knees to chest).

-Mess about with a few figure 4s off tools focusing on smooth releases and catches, not going to failure at all, just remembering the motions and feeling my body move through the range of its joints.

Closed it out with a few minutes of light campusing, I still want to do a few rock climbs that require some degree of contact strength...

That's it, 90 minutes of near-constant motion of varying intensity. On a scale where "1" is my couch and "10" is all-out I'd rate this one about a 4.73. The emphasis is on waking my body up to the movement and stress, not building new strength. I'll be sore tomorrow because I haven't trained these movements but not painfully so. The worst mistake I could make right now would be to blast my muscles and joints so hard that things started to break down either suddenly (injury) or over time (injury).

Soundtrack: Buck 65:
"Sign of the times, choose a blind man to guide the blind,
We all try to find a good excuse to hide behind
Difficult isn't it? The point? there is none
Forget what you know, cause that's true wisdom

Chorus: Cop shades, falcon versus eagle
Cop shades, weapons and sex toys
Cop shades, falcon versus eagle
Cop shades, waepons and sex toys"