Monday, July 18, 2016

Getting FIT for Fall 2016

  So after the spring climbing season, I decided to take a new approach to getting FIT for the upcoming fall climbing season which in my opinion is the best climbing season here in the northeast.  My new approach was going to include three distinct training splits/Phases.  The first training split (Phase 1) was focused strictly on raw power and strength.  Phase 2 will focus on finger strength, core strength, and getting extremely lean and shredded (6 week split)  and Phase 3 will be strictly outdoor climbing and performance (6 week split) which should fall right during the October/November climbing months.

PHASE 1:  Strength Training/Power 

  Because of my career as a full time firefighter I thought that incorporating some power and strength training into my long range climbing goal training was not a bad idea.  So phase 1 was pretty straight forward and simple.  The main goal was to get as strong as possible in 10-11 weeks while not worrying too much about my body weight or my outdoor rock climbing performance.  With strength and power gains inevitably comes some muscle and size gains so my thoughts were to embrace these increases while allowing my body to adapt to climbing at a heavier weight.  Projecting difficult rock climbs became obsolete because of the heavier weight load but I was more focused on high volume climbing sessions when I had time to climb outdoors.  

  Here is what the strength training split entailed each week:

  • Weight training 4 times a week
  • Campus Board session once a week 
  • Hangboard Repeaters once a week 
  • Outdoor climbing (high volume sessions) once a week
  • Weighted Pullups once a week 
  • High calorie and protein diet (somewhere around 3,000-3,500 calories a day and 200 g protein)
Here is what was achieved during the strength training split:
(it is important to note that during this training split I could not perform squats or deadlifts due to a herniated L5/S1 disk in my lower back...more to come on this subject later and a recent surgery that I just had on Friday July 15, 2016)
  • I gained roughly 13 lbs of muscle (167.2 lb. to 180.2 lb)
  • Starting measurements:  Bicep R= 14 3/4", L= 14 1/2"
          • Forearm R= 12 1/8", L= 11 7/8"
          • Belly Button = 32 1/2"
          • Waist = 31 1/2"
  • Finishing measurements: Bicep R= 15 1/2", L= 15 1/2"
          • Forearm R= 12 1/2", L= 12 1/4"
          • Belly Button = 33"
          • Waist = 31 3/4"
  • My crimp strength outdoors saw a noticeable decrease 
  • My outdoor climbing endurance actually increased 
  • I was still able to boulder indoors and outdoors at a reasonable level (difficulty-wise) despite the increase in overall bodyweight
  • Overall, my strength and power never reached a plateau during the strength program
  • All of my lifting exercises saw significant improvement 
  1. Bench Press went from 205lb. max to 250lb. max
  2. Weighted Pullup went from 70lb. max to 100lb. max
  3. Reverse Grip Pullup went from 75lb. max to 110lb. max
  4. Barbell Military Press went from 110lb. max to 150lb. max 

 Before and After Photos

Media Update:


  1. This is awesome, congrats on the improvements. What will the next stage consist of?

    1. Thanks! I was really happy with the results that I saw.

      The next phase will consist of (3) dedicated hangboard workouts each week, (1) campus board workout, (3) full body weight training sessions (lower weights, high repetition super-set format), (2) indoor bouldering sessions, and a forearm super circuit once a week. All of these training methods will take place while slowly lower my daily caloric intake, reducing my carbohydrate and sugar intake, and for the final 2 weeks of the 6-week split I am going to do the unthinkable and remove all alcohol consumption (something I have not done in over a decade...ha ha).