3 January 2011

Base training detail

I was just talking on my main blog about my own training over the past few weeks, building a base of strength and addressing various fitness/physiological issues at the start of the new year. Various folk have asked I elaborate a bit on this.

The normal progression of a new macrocycle is generally to begin with high volume, low amplitude work (with oscillations within smaller cycles) and gradually progress to higher intensity work with more rest as you get closer to when you need the fitness for your goal routes.

If you live in the northern UK then the dark months of Nov-Jan of are a good time to mark one training season’s end and begin again with a new period of foundation training. The tricky thing for most is resisting the temptation to rest and have a mini ‘peak’ because something (like Gritstone) happens to be also in condition right now. The decisions about the trade off between short term ‘peaks’ and long term progress are totally down to you. But the detail of that is another blog post…

If you have a ‘dead’ month or two and want to do a base training phase then usually keeping the intensity low and progressively increasing volume to a high level is the thing to do. The idea is to get your body used to a high training load. But increasing volume rather than intensity is less injurious than racking up intensity early on. It’s also a great (essential if you are advanced) time to address any strength deficits, niggling causes of recurrent injury or technical flaws you might have. For girls this might be a little weights or pull-ups to strengthen comparatively weak shoulders and arms. For guys this is likely to be rotator-cuff exercises and stretches to realign gorilla shoulders (I’m doing this 90 mins per day right now).

High volume means doing something every day, even at an intermediate level. But because intensity is low, rather than feeling wasted, you’ll probably feel really good. Certainly this phase for me leaves me feeling fit, refreshed and highly motivated for the training that follows in February and beyond.

Some typical components for a base phase:

-Bouldering with short rests on problems/angles you know you’re bad at. No getting addicted to one problem and repeatedly thrashing at it.
-Static or CRAC stretching of the muscles around the hip joint. For men especially hamstrings and hip adductors.
-Full stretching and exercise workout to correct shoulder instabilities/postural faults.
-Repeated drills of particular moves you are bad at e.g. Foot swaps.
-Fall training on lead, LOTS of it.
-Weights to address muscle weakness or injuries.