15 November 2009

My own board- notes after 6 months

Many of you have emailed or commented asking me to talk a bit more about my board and  the structure of my sessions. The short version is that I have been using it most evenings after work and I’ve made really good strength gains in the past 5 months or so. I’ve also been almost constant on the edge of getting injured - climbing in there is pretty damn intense. I’m used to training for several hours at a climbing wall, so I’m conditioned to keep going. But 1 hour on my board equals about 2 in a climbing wall and 4 outdoors. I just completed a couple of projects on it I’d been trying for about 4 months which are in the wee youtube above.

It’s really kept me going since I’ve been writing the book. Btw progress with that is going great guns with 12 hours a day working on it. Right now it’s mid way through being edited. I’ll keep you posted how it goes...

I use the board as much as my body allows. At times I can get away with two 90-minute sessions on it a day for about a week. But the next week I might only manage day on, day off. I do bouldering, endurance circuits and dry tooling on it. The main difference I’ve found to past training is that it’s much more intense on my board and I can do less hours training before I feel exhausted or develop injury niggles. On a climbing wall 45 degree board I’d normally expect to boulder for 2.5-3 hours straight with rests only about a minute between trying moves or a couple of minutes if trying a longer link. But on my board I can only manage 1.5 hours before power fades. The main reason is training alone so rests are shorter; 30 secs for working moves or maybe 90 secs between link attempts. The 4-6 move problems seem to be excellent for building strength and I tend to make them totally sustained which really tests body tension to link between successive hard moves.

The main problem I’m having right now is that I’m developing a lot of injury niggles after nearly a month of using it most days. I can see it’s going to be essential to break it up regularly with other venues to avoid getting injured.

The best things I found that really helped the board be more effective were:

Painting the board and generally making the room a little less of a dingy, grim place to spend time - I look forward to the session much more! (NB: the flowery wallpaper was put up by the previous owner of the house!)

Very carefully choosing fingery but skin friendly holds. My favourite holds are Dream Holds Dumby edges and pinches (review on the way), Entreprises Big Bangs, Old school bendcrete selection, my own wood edges and pinches and Dream Holds Torridonian Sandstones.

Not putting too many footholds on the first metre of the board, just an adequate selection, and all tiny.

A fan for keeping the temperature right and cooling down soft fingertips.


Alan said...

Hi Dave. What type of paint did you use on your board? Ordinary or a special abrasive one? Do you think it matters at all?

Dave MacLeod said...

I used the paint leftover from painting the living room! I've actually come to prefer non-abrasive paint on climbing walls. I think it actually feels a bit nicer and more natural to be able to slide/drag a flagged foot up the wall. Sometimes the abrasive paints are rather too abrasive!

Jonny said...

Hi Dave. Good work. I noticed you were wearing the new scarpa slippers in the video. How are they? Any news about there release as my beloved stixs are coming to the end of there life and I can't find any more.


Leon said...

Hi Dave,

Excellent info, and very motivating indeed!
Could you give me some more detail on how you built your board? It looks really solid in the movies, no movement of the board at all.

What kind of wood did you use?
What kind of structure is behind it? Etc...

Cheers & Keep up the good work!

Neal said...

Good, concise post and like the fact that you just showed doing problems, no specific systems boards or any of that. Basically, make hard problems that are just of reach, try and try again until you succeed :)
Enjoy the board and good luck avoiding injuries on it!

ktmt said...

It's well known we tend to avoid our weaknesses and the same can be said for setting problems: we set those that favor our style and grip preferences. How do you set problems for yourself that force you to climb into your weaknesses? How do you keep your problems diverse? Thanks!

Kim said...

Hi Dave,

A question about training and getting 'pumped-up'. You say you take rest periods of 30 sec up to to 1 min. Are these rests are long enough for you not to get pumpy lower arms at any time during your training?

I don't know the exact term in english, but what I mean with 'pumped-up'is the feeling in your lower arms when lactic acid has been building up too much and your arms feel hard like bricks.

Last weekend I had a discussion with a (former) dutch bouldering champion, he told me that in his personal opinion lactic acid is bad and it only destroys mucle fibers. Getting pumped lower arms during training should be avoided at all times, he only gets pumped when it really counts and never during training.

However, I talked to a friend of mine, who is a dokter, and she said the best way to train is to destroy some fibers once or twice a week (depending on your condition and level of training) and use the other trainings moments to 'rebuild' the mucles and make existing onces more efficient (recruitment training). These other training moments would thus involve staying far away from too much lactic acid and the pumpy feeling.

Off course every climber is different, but I am really curious about your personal opinion on this topic?

Anonymous said...

I'm not Dave, but I would have thought if your arms aren't getting tired (i.e. pumped) then you aren't training them, hence they aren't getting any stronger!


Jolli said...

Hi Dave and thanks for a great blog!
Are you developing both main areas (strength and anaerobic endurance) all the time or do you arrange them in phases? So is there any periodization in traditional or other way going on? Cheers!

Andy B said...

Hi Dave,

Ive just finished the build of my own board (8tf x 8ft with 1ft kickboard).

I wonder if you have any advice or are aware of any resources out there that can help with the approach to training on such a board - this being my first i'm not really up on whats best.

Cheers andy

Tande said...

Hi Dave,

Thanks for putting up a video of your training.

If I remember correctly, you once said (either here or in one of your movies) that you did not climb indoors because it would ruin your technique and that you hanged on a strip of wood above the doorframe instead. What do you think now about indoor climbing as training for rock climbing? It would be really interesting to hear what you have to say about this.
Cheers, Tande

Dave MacLeod said...

I'll post up about the structure, design et shortly. And the new slippers which are really nice....

As for the rest of the questions - setting problems, makeup of sessions, effects of indoor training on your technique etc I've dealt with in detail in my book '9 out of 10 climbers make the same mistakes'. It's at the printers now so it will be out very soon!!

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Anonymous said...

Hello Dave. What dimensions has your board? I´m making one board in my garage and i´m afraid of the height and the angle of the board. Can you tell me your boards dimensions, please?
Thanks & regards,

Marineta said...

hi!! i make and sell chalk bags! watch them in www.sasperquehofas.blogspot.com :)

Andy B said...

In which case Dave - you can put me down for a copy!

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