Current Inspiration

I’ve been taking in a lot of different information lately to help me develop a plan for 2016. I thought I would keep a running log in this post for anyone that is interested in learning more about training, health, etc.

  • The Training Beta Podcast – the climber/nutritionist host Neely Quinn interviews different climbers and trainers around what makes them tick. The podcasts featuring pro climbers aren’t as interesting to me. The climbers are so strong that most of what they say isn’t really applicable. The podcasts with trainers are much, much more interesting and relevant, particularly the episodes with Eric Horst, Steve Betchel and Steve Maisch. If you check it out and like the format, do yourself a favour and listen to the entire backlog of podcasts, there’s great stuff in there
  • Becoming a Supple Leopard – a book written by PT and crossfitter Dr. Kelly Starrett about correct movement patterns. This one isn’t particular to any single field of sport but can be applied to most anything. Very helpful to assess your mobility (I’m shockingly inflexible through my hips) and use the proscribed mobility exercises to restore movement. Extremely thought provoking and immediately impactful.
  • Steve Betchel – Steve is a trainer I was first exposed to via the Training Beta Podcast (see above). He seems to be very knowledgeable about training, incorporating strength training for climbing, and the different schools of thought on fingerboard use.
  • Steve Maisch – the other Steve I heard on the TBP. Right now I’m interested in Steve for his approach to simplicity in hangboarding. Steve is also a fan of using ‘pinch blocks’ for training grip strength. A friend recommend this technique to me. I’ve been using this technique for a month and like it.
  • The Rock Climbers Training Manual – a book written by Matt and Mark Anderson. It’s a periodized approach for getting better at rock climbing and I have decided to worship it as gospel for 2016. Prepare to be evangalized! Tip: If you’re in Canada MEC stocks the book so you don’t have to ship it over the border. This saves you ~$30.
  • Dan John – besides having two first names, Dan is a strength and conditioning coach for high-level US athletes as well as being an American record holder in several throwing and lifting events AND a Fullbright scholar. Dan brings a simple and clear approach to writing about strength training to support other athletic endeavors. He caught my attention by writing that a skill-based athlete should be spending no more than 25% of their time training and 75% performing their sport. At least I think this was him….anyway, he’s great.
  • Pavel Tsatsouline – Pavel is a Russian strength and conditioning coach who is widely credited with bringing kettlebell training to North America. I’ve recently switched from training in the gym to using kettlebells at home for convenience and simplicity. They’re also fun to swing around. Pavel has written a number of books on KB training that are both clear and really funny. For example, in his writing he calls everyone comrade and says things like ‘you don’t need to warm up forever, you’re not a pussy.’
  • Dave MacLeod – Dave is a Scottish climber who crushes just about everything. I’ve written about him already so I’ll leave it at that, other than to reiterate that you should buy his book Make or Break.

That’s it for now, I’ll add items in as I read them, think of it like an organic bibliography.


3 thoughts on “Current Inspiration

  1. Thanks for this great list of resources. Are you guys edging away from Training for the New Alpinism, or are you just supplementing the program by expanding your knowledge base / exercise arsenal?

    Also, if you could say a few more words about your kettlebell regime, I’d love to hear more about it. I think it looks like a great way to build strength while retaining (and maybe increasing) range of motion.

    1. Speaking only for myself, I’m definitely taking this year as a detour from alpine climbing, and training, to focus on getting my actual climbing grade up to a higher standard. I’ll still be following a periodized training plan but it is climbing, not endurance, focused.

      Glad you asked about the kettlebells. They’re my novelty workout of the year for sure and I’m planning at least one post on them in isolation and will likely mention them as part of another post(s) I have planned talking about the general outline of of the training approach for the next 6 months.

      I’d like to hear your thoughts on how they increase ROM. Since I’ve been doing KB workouts over the last two months my ROM through my lumbar spine (lower back) has become significantly reduced to the point where I’m struggling to put socks or pants on without sitting down. My guess is that my glutes and hip flexors aren’t used to doing any work like this and have become very tight, causing my pelvic floor to rotate forward, which in turn increases shear force on my lumbar spine and causes pain. Note: these are all words I’ve learned in the last month from books and videos so I could be completely, totally wrong in what I’m talking about. Basically, my back hurts. To compensate I’ve started adding 15 mins of mobility work each night to try and compensate and am checking in with my physio person to see if it makes sense.

      If you’re interested in glute and hip activation (or lack thereof) in climbers you should look into a trainer from Chattanooga by the name of Adam Macke. His big thing is that climbers suffer from lack of activation in very specific muscles that hold back their climbing. I’m very much a sample size of one, but since I’ve started building in glute work with the KB and other exercises I seem to have had some success in my bouldering, sending a number of problems that have shut me down for years. However, I also incorporated some grip and hangboard work during the same time period so the results are probably muddied.

      Overall it’s been in interesting learning experience! So many things out there to read about and try to incorporate.

      1. Hey Lee great to hear from you. I’ll agree with Matt here but also explain our planning for the year a bit. In Matts last post (journey to climbing slightly harder) he describes a bit of an epiphany – to climb the alpine routes that truly inspire us in a fast and light style he needed to up his grades. The Becky choinard is a great example of this. We were amazed by the beauty of this route as viewed when climbing pigeon. But we knew, at the grade, it was over his head and over both of our experience levels. After an assessment like this we knew there was no way as a climbing team we should be attempting this route without taking a step backward to take two steps forward.
        To your question on if we are still training the new alpinism style, we learnt a ton during that program. Namely how to build a periodized program with moderate gains over the long term. Now our long term goals have more clarity, but to get there there are important steps along the way. The Becky-choinard is on my tick list maybe not this year, but if Possible I want to do it with Matt. So I’m fully supporting his drive this year to push his climbing into the 11s and be a comfortable competent 5.10 Onsight climber. Then we can worry about endurance and cardio to actually get out there in one push.
        I will still be focusing on endurance and cardio for this next block but am more interested in joining matts specific rock training – to both help motivate Matt and let’s be honest partake in the most fun part of training, becoming a stronger climber. Now I just have to fix this shoulder and I’ll be campusing in no time! Once we get the next alpine trip sorted out we can focus the training to suit the most imminent goals!

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