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Chicks Alpine Training Tips

Chicks! This isn’t our first installment discussing the demands of the world of Alpine Climbing, so it’s worth going back and reviewing some of this information and adding to it as we move forward into our new summer season for alpine climbing. I’ve copied some of the information from previous newsletters in the content below and added new information for you.Past alpine issues:

General Alpine Training 

Let’s talk training: fundamentally the basis of all athlete training is to begin with strength. This is an often overlooked fact. Let me give you an example of why we need to be strong first.Let’s take a 5’4” woman who weighs 125#. She really wants to alpine climb, her goal is a Mt Baker trip. This will require a minimum of one but usually more nights out. Carrying a pack into a base came that weights 50 – 60#, with food for her climb, tent, stove, climbing equipment, extra layers. You get the picture. That pack weight is 1/3 to 1/2 of her body weight. She has to walk miles, uphill, with that pack to get to base camp. Every step she takes she is moving 175-185#. If we haven’t developed adequate leg and core strength to manage this load, our climber with be exhausted to the degree that climbing to the summit of Mt Baker, even with a light summit pack might not happen.Wow! Now this seems intimidating doesn’t it. It doesn’t need to be, we just need to be prepared.So gals, first we get strong! Then we start training for the long days out.

STRONG: Spend 6 – 8 weeks completing one or two strength workouts a week. However, keep in mind you are also wanting to work your long endurance. As you add hours to your training (see below) decrease your strength training. Begin your strength phase 4 -6 weeks before you start ramping up your endurance. As your training days get longer you’ll be done with strength building and you may only do one maintenance day in the gym depending on time and energy.

Let’s get those legs and core of the body strong!

A few of my favorite two leg or “close” chain movements for the mountains are the standard deadlift, romanian deadlift and front squat.Front Squats develop combined leg and core strength for managing the weight of a pack on our back.
The Romanian Deadlift targets Low back, Glutes and Hamstrings.
Training for climbing romanian deadlift
The standard Deadlift works grip strength back strength leg strength and core strength.
climbing training deadlift
Then: single leg movements for glute strength, balance and hip stability, Single Leg Straight Leg Deadlift (SLSLDL), weighted walking lunge, and weighted step ups.I’ve included videos of all of the remaining movements in the following workouts in previous newsletters.Here are a few sample WO to give you guidance of how to begin working these movements in to your routine in a productive manner for your alpine training.WO#1

warm up 10:00

3 x 5 wall squat
3 x 6 goblet squat
30m walking lunge forward and backwardThen:

Work up to something that’s heavy for 3 reps (3RM) for your Front Squat.Then:

8 x 3 Front Squats@ ______# rest 1 – 2 minutes between sets.Then:
10x weighted split squats (5 per leg)
10x ball slam
10x split jump
x 5
Cool down 20 min recovery endurance and stretchingWO#2

warm up 10:00
3 x 5 wall squat
3 x 6 goblet squat
5 x 3 SLSLDLThen:

Work up to a heavy-ish DeadliftThen:

5 x 5 Deadlift
Rest 2:00 between sets:
During rest complete 8x Ring Push up or standard push upsThen:

1-10 Squat Ladder with a partner.
Partners begin holding in a quads parallel position at the bottom of the squat movement. Person 1: does 1 rep while P2 holds. P2 does 1 rep while P1 holds.
P1 does 2 reps while P2 holds, P2 does 2 reps while P1 holds.
Continue until you complete the ladder to 10. No cheating.Finish with:

60secs mtn climbers/60 secs Deck Squats/30 ses rest
x 3 – 4 rounds
Cool down 20 min recovery endurance and stretchingWO#3

warm up 10:00
3 x 5 wall squat
3 x 6 goblet squat
30m walking lunge
3 x 10 RDLThen:

Work up to a weight that is heavy for a step up. Ideally use a bar bell on your back or two Kbs held in front rack position.Then:

5 x 5 Step up in 16 – 20” box depending on height
complete 5 step ups per leg with weight that makes the movement challenging, slow grinding movements.
In between sets compete 8x Pull upThen:

10x KB Swing+
8x Push Press
5x Push Plank Row
x 5
Cool down 20 min recovery endurance and stretchingLONG DAY TRAINING:

Most people have busy lives, with careers, homes, children, spouses, so much so that they don’t have a lot of time to train. We’ve got to be smart and efficient with our training time.So, let’s assume you’ve had some practice at rock and ice climbing and some basic snow travel its now time to build a fitness base for the long days ahead.Truthfully this can’t be done in a gym setting. No matter how hard the workout is what you need now is stamina. That’s not to say that gym work isn’t important or valuable it is, we’ve just covered the topic of being STRONG and why that’s important.

Climbing in the Alpine world can mean 12hr days, 20hr days, multiple 14hr days, carrying a pack the entire time.  Before you go on a trip either on your own or with a guide you should have a good basic understanding of how long the day or days will be, that is where your preparation will begin.

Now how to you go about training:

For a climb like the Grand Teton, or other alpine routes with rock that must be climbed with a pack.
  1. Top rope easy routes with your pack on 15 – 20# of weight to get a feeling for how it feels.
  2. Often we have to down climb in the mountains, practice this in the gym, climb up and down routes, or outside if that is easier. Then try it with your pack on.
  3. Climb moderate rock routes in your approach shoes or boots before hand so you begin to get comfortable trusting your feet with more bulky less sensitive shoes on.

Additionally, for climbs like Mt. Baker where you are mostly concerned with glacier travel and moderate alpine ice as well as The Grand, the days are LONG:

FIRST: Begin hiking with a slightly heavier pack than you normally would, this is key. Find time to walk with weight, even if you don’t have good hiking trails close and you can only get out periodically take your pack to the gym and walk on a step mill with weight on your back, no you don’t look weird you look committed. No Step Mill at your gym and you can’t stand the idea of the gym; there are stairs in most buildings you can walk up and take an elevator down, repeat, yes with a pack on your back. You can walk back down the stairs take in to account that this is hard on the knees as is any downhill. We want to prepare for down hill just don’t do lots of extra down.

LONG Endurance: 12hr days….that is a long day and your body will shut down if it doesn’t have some kind of preparation. however going out for 12 hrs doesn’t make sense in your busy life and is hard to fit in.

Here’s what we do:

Begin to build your endurance base, let’s assume you already do 2 – 3 hour hikes or rides:

  • Week One: on the weekend, 4 hrs Saturday hiking with weight or a combo of things, follow that with 2hrs of recovery riding or swimming or jogging on Sunday.
  • Week Two: on the weekend, 5 hrs Saturday, follow that with 2hrs of recovery riding or swimming or jogging on Sunday.
  • Week Three: on the weekend, 6 hrs Saturday, follow that with 2hrs of recovery riding or swimming or jogging on Sunday.
  • Week Four: have fun don’t worry about training so you don’t burn out!
  • Week Five: on the weekend, 7 hrs Saturday, follow that with 3hrs of recovery riding or swimming or jogging on Sunday.
  • Week Six: on the weekend, 8 hrs Saturday, follow that with 3hrs of recovery riding or swimming or jogging on Sunday.
And Voila you are all set. The combination of the two days is nearly 12 hrs. And yes this works.Other Ideas for long days: you can combine running and cycling in the same day to break up the long days, yes that counts. Break it up and make it fun. Always try and get time in with that pack on your back. Remember for most of us it hard to fit it all in with family, work, friends, fun so let’s make this achievable. Back to back days with cumulative time works and works well.It doesn’t make sense to train for the grueling nature of alpine climbing by flogging yourself with long days via headlamp in an unpleasant environment before you go to the mtns. Yes you need to prepare your body, but do it intelligently so you still have motivation, you can rest appropriately, and you don’t get injured before your trip.

There are so many specifics to alpine climbing that we just scratched the surface, one day adventure, two week trips, high altitude, trekking in, back packing, using huts. The idea is to understand your body needs to be prepared for the longer days and energy spent. If you need information for a specific climb or trip of any nature you can contact me via email.

Carolyn Parker

 

Chicks Training Tip: Correct Your Imbalances

Winter has been humming along for a number of months now, we are well past the shortest day of the year, the tease of some sunny longer days is happening, we are beginning to dream of sunny pitches, days in the desert, trips, projects, and scratching that climbing itch!  Now it’s time to talk about correcting our imbalances.

Before I blast forward take a moment to look back at the subject matter of the last 10 training installments. There is an enormous amount of great information in these “Training Tips”, every installment builds toward the next. Enjoy!

Chicks Newsletter #9 –Intermediate Rock Climbing. Training Program

Chicks Newsletter #10 – Basic Rock Climbing Training Program

Chicks Newsletter #11 – The “Process” projecting and climbing harder routes

Chicks Newsletter #12 – “Let’s get serious”, Strength training for women

Chicks Newsletter #13 – “Alpine Days” – how to train for long alpine routes for mortals

Chicks Newsletter #14 – “Alpine Legs” – leg specific training for alpine climbing

Chicks Newsletter #15 – “Ski Legs” – additional training specific for skiing

Chicks Newsletter #16 – Solid Shoulders – injury prevention

Chicks Newsletter #17 – Finger Board Training – maintain finger strength in the winter months.

Now on to the meat of the matter of correcting imbalances…

It’s time to start seriously thinking about climbing season. Depending on where you live, your job, trips you’ve planned, your outdoor season will begin in the next month or two. Hopefully you’ve implemented the tips for shoulder injury prevention, Chicks Newsletter #16 Solid Shoulders – injury prevention, through the winter and possibly added some finger board training where appropriate, Chicks Newsletter #17 Finger Board Training – maintain finger strength, in the winter months.

 

This training tip will cover fixes for climbing imbalances. Remember, climbing is fun, training for climbing is fun, however we are only as strong as our weakest link, that weak link is also our greatest potential injury site. So let’s get rid of those imbalances, you’ll be stronger and more proficient at the sport for the work.

 

If you’ve been climbing and training for a long time you will have complex muscular imbalances, you fall in the category of “Too Much Of A Good Thing”. Basically what climbing does for our mind and soul is not always 100% beneficial for our bodies long term. If you are new to climbing, let’s ingrain some good practices into your training program to keep you balanced and injury free through your climbing career.

 

I train dozens of climbers female and male, who climb anywhere from 5.9 to 5.14. The top imbalances that I see in all climbers are:

 

  • Postural – rounded shoulders, dropped sternum, kyphotic head position
  • Mobility Issues – loss of overhead mobility, tight hamstrings, tight chest
  • Muscular imbalances – weak rhomboids, mid and low traps, over developed upper traps, weak pushing muscles

 

I could list more, however these are the ones I see “most” often. Beyond these, people should seek one on one professional evaluation, especially if you are dealing with a current injury.

 

To begin to fix your imbalances:

Before you climb and ideally everyday:

 

  • Laying on your back on a foam roller, head to sacrum, keep your core tight. Begin with your arms straight fingers toward the ceiling, then let your hands fall toward the floor, overhead. Upper arm by your ears, stretch your shoulders but do not let your back arch at all. Try and get the back of your hands to the floor.

Overhead climbing stretch

  • Then: the same start potion, bend your arms at 90 degrees, and let them fall to the side. Stretch your chest again do not let your back arch. Try and get the back of the forearm to the floor.

Correcting imbalances - climbing

  • Next: Laying on your back with your legs up the wall, extend your legs up as straight as you can with out smashing your low back into the floor, try and maintain a natural lumbar curve. You’ll look like an “L” from the side.

correcting imbalances - Climber L stretch

  • In that same position, open the hips by letting the legs fall into a “V” position.

correcting imbalances - v stretch

  • Lastly make a “4’ with your legs by placing the ankle of one foot just above the knee of the opposite leg and stretch the hip of the bent leg, repeat on the other leg.

correcting imbalances - climber 4 stretch 

Hold each stretch or 30 – 60 secs, repeat a few times, if time repeat after climbing and on rest days!
Then:
2 x 10 shoulder openers
3 x 5 cuban press
3 x 5 wall squats

 

These three movements were covered in our First Chicks Training Tip. Pay particular attention to your shoulders blades. In both of these movements you want to squeeze your shoulder blades together like you are pinching a pencil (mid trap), and keep them drawn down your spine (low trap) and try to NOT shrug them up (upper trap taking over), through the entire movement. Shoulder Openers – that means the entire circle the PVC is making shoulder blades are stable, together and down. Cuban press – that means they are stable start to finish until the arms are directly overhead and back down by your side, this is difficult for most. Wall Squat – pay particular attention to stable shoulder blades and lumbar spine through the entire movement.

 

On days you climb, before you climb add these two movements in addition to the above.
  • 3 x 10 push ups – this movement was covered in Chicks Training Tip #2Pay particular attention to not shrugging your shoulders, allowing them to lift toward your ears as you push. Keep your shoulder blades stable squeezed together and down as you push. This is harder that it sounds.
  • 3 x 8 Bent Over Row or Body Row – these movements were covered in Chicks Training Tip #5

 

Chicks make this a two part movement for each repetition. Begin this movement by first squeezing your shoulder blades into a stable position then pulling (rowing) with the arms. Once the thumbs have hit the armpits at a full range of motion focus on keeping the shoulder blades stable as you lower the weight or your body depending on the movement your are doing then lastly releasing your shoulder blades. Begin the next rep by squeezing the shoulder blades together and stabilizing before pulling with the arms.
Add all of these tips to your already established climbing training regimen as you begin to prep of the season.

If you are advanced you likely have a plan or work directly with a coach. For Intermediate and Beginning Climbers see Chicks Newsletter with Training Tips:

Intermediate Rock Climbing Training Program
Basic Rock Climbing Training Program
As always, if you need information for a specific climb or trip of any nature you can contact me via email.
Carolyn Parker

Chicks Training Special Edition: Fingerboard Training

If you’ve been following, and more importantly, implementing the training tips from chicks newsletters you are dialed in for winter sports! Mighty and strong legs for back country touring and big powder days. And serious upper body strength and injury proof shoulders for ice climbing. It’s mid-winter and the stoke is high for all the fun to be had. But if you’re like me, somewhere in the back of your mind you’re starting to think about sun, rock, and specific fitness for the next season’s sport!

For most people it’s difficult to get outside rock climbing in the winter unless you live in a nice warm climate. Many places have climbing gyms these days which are fantastic, however, if you don’t have access to a gym or want another resource for getting some fitness to launch into rock season with a finger board may be the answer!

FingerboardFingerboards are a great way to develop and/or maintain finger strength A KEY part of rock climbing. Often we don’t have the time to get to the climbing gym, if you can find the space to hang a finger board, over a doorway, in the garage, somewhere easy and convenient, you can do super productive workouts in a short period of time in your own home.

Here are some great ideas for quick home fingerboard training workouts:


Home Workout #1
  • 4x (30sec Work/30sec Rest) Push-Up do 30 secs of push ups rest 30 secs repeat 4x no additional rest between rounds
  • 2 minute rest
Then:
  • Hangboard: 5x Pull up 60 sec rest x 5
  • 2 minute rest
Then:
  • 10 sec hangs on holds you can complete 10 secs on 5 secs rest 4x per hold type pick 5 grips (e.g. jugs, pinches, crimps open, three finger pocket)
  • 2 minute rest between hang attempts
  • During that two min rest complete:
    • 20x sit up OR 60 sec v-seat OR 60 sec plank (on foot) OR 60 sec flutter kick
Rotate through these till hangs are done.
Finish with a second round of:
4x (30sec Work/30sec Rest) Push-Up
Home Workout #2
  • 4x (30sec work/30sec rest)
  • Push-Up do 30 secs of push ups/ during rest 30 secs hold plank
  • Repeat 4x no additional rest between rounds
  • 2 minute rest
Then:
  • Hangboard: 10 – 1 Ladder of pull ups 10, rest 30sec 9, rest 30…..use assistance (a chair under your feet or a band if necessary)
  • 2 minute rest
Then:
  • 8 sec hangs on holds you can complete 8 secs on 5 secs rest 3x per hold type pick 4 grips (e.g. jugs, pinches, crimps open, three finger pocket)
  • Rest 2 minutes between hang groupings (i.e. when you can hold style)
  • In that two min rest complete:
    • 20x sit up OR 60 sec v-seat OR 60 sec flutter kick
Home Workout #3
Hangboard:
  • 10 secs hangs during which you complete a pull up while “hanging
  • 30 secs rest
  • 3 x per hold type
  • Rest 3 minute before next grouping of holds
  • Pick 5 grips (e.g. jugs, pinches, crimps open, three finger pocket)
Then:
  • 8x 20 sec work/10 sec rest of the following movements with 1 – 2 min rest between.
    • Sit Ups
    • Push Ups
    • Flutter kicks
Anytime you begin to work with a hang board, use caution and build up to smaller and smaller holds. Especially if you haven’t been rock climbing in a while. Protect those fingers. In addition to the ideas I gave you here, most hang boards will come with training tips and ideas. Enough to get you through the winter months until the rock calls your name!
If you are new to the Chicks Training Tips take a few minutes to read the previous newsletters, there’s a lot of great information in there!
If you need information for a specific climb or trip of any nature you can contact me.
Carolyn Parker

Training Tips for Chicks: Alpine Legs

If you are new to the Chicks Training Tips take a few minutes to read the previous newsletters, there’s a lot of great information in there!It’s incredibly beneficial for all Chicks to be introduced to new movements and concepts for training, implementing these in a regular workout in almost any fashion will create positive change. So re-read the first 13 installments to get a look at all the great movements, VIDEOS have been included.This is a huge training resource for you all!

Now on to the meat of the matter.

You’re stoked to go Alpine climbing but you’ve never done big days in the mountains nor carried a pack that long and that far. If you read the last newsletter you’ve wrapped your head around ways to condition your body for the endurance element of the alpine long days. And you’re getting after it. However we need to have strength in our legs to tolerate not only the nature of the uneven terrain, the weight of the pack but also to protect our joints especially our knees so we can climb for years to come.

Let’s get those legs and core of the body strong!

Two of my favorite two leg or “close” chain movements for the mountains are the deadlift and front squat. As well, and just as important, single leg movements for glute strength, balance and hip stability, Single Leg Straight Leg Deadlift (SLSLDL), weighted walking lunge, and weighted step ups.

Let’s add some of these movements to your training routine, here are a few sample workouts to give you guidance of how to begin working these movements in to your routine in a productive manner for your alpine training. These can be done just once a week in addition to your other training or two times if you are recovering well.

Workout #1

warm up 10:00
3 x 5 wall squat
3 x 6 goblet squat
30m walking lunge forward and backward
Then:
Work up to something that’s heavy for 3 reps (3RM) for your Front Squat.
Then:
8 x 3 Front Squats@ ______# rest 1 – 2 minutes between sets.
Then:
10x weighted split squats
10x ball slam
10x split jump
x 5
Cool down

Workout #2

warm up 10:00
3 x 5 wall squat
3 x 6 goblet squat
5 x 3 SLSLDL
Then:
Work up to a heavy-ish deadlift
Then:
5 x 5 Deadlift
Rest 2:00 between sets:
During rest complete 5x Ring Push up
Then:
1-10 Squat Ladder with a partner.
Partners begin holding in a quads parallel position at the bottom of the squat movement. Person 1: does 1 rep while P2 holds. P2 does 1 rep while P1 holds.
P1 does 2 reps while P2 holds, P2 does 2 reps while P1 holds.
Continue until you complete the ladder to 10. No cheating.
Finish with:
60secs mtn climbers/60 secs Deck Squats/30 ses rest
x 3 – 4 rounds
Cool down

Workout #3

warm up 10:00
3 x 5 wall squat
3 x 6 goblet squat
30m walking lunge
Then:
Work up to a weight that is heavy for a step up. Ideally use a bar bell on your back or two Kbs held in front rack position.
Then:
5 x 5 Step up in 16 – 20” box depending on height
complete 5 step ups per leg with weight that makes the movement challenging, slow grinding movements.
In between sets compete 8 x pull up
Then:
10x Deadlift +
8x Push Press
5x Push Plank Row
x 5
Cool Down

Reference videos:

Ball Slam
fullsizerender
Mountain Climber
fullsizerender_1
Split Jump
fullsizerender_2
Deck Squats
fullsizerender_3
There are videos of all movements in previous Chicks newsletters or on the Chicks YouTube Channel, and I’ve added videos of movements that are new in the above workouts, and as always if you are unsure how to perform any of these movements get professional instruction.
If you need information for a specific climb or trip of any nature you can e-mail me.
Carolyn Parker

Training Tips for Chicks – Alpine

If you are new to the Chicks Training Tips take a few minutes to read the previous newsletters, there’s a lot of great information in there!

It’s incredibly beneficial for all the Chicks to be introduced to new movements and concepts for training, implementing these in a regular workout in almost any fashion will create positive change. So re-read the first 12 installments to get a look at all the great movements, VIDEOS have been included:

This is a huge training resource for you all!

Now on to the meat of the matter.

Alpine Training: I tell friends, athletes, clients that alpine climbing is like a Venn diagram, three circles: ice, rock, and luck. The point of intersection is alpine climbing. Initially it takes skill on moderate snow, ice, rock, tolerance of big days and good weather!

Alpine TrainingLet’s say you are endeavoring into the world of alpine climbing, this isn’t the venue to learn about rock and ice/snow climbing typically we have practiced the aforementioned in less committing environments and begun to hone our skills. You’ve cragged with friends and are comfortable on moderate rock. You’ve done some basic ice climbing with Chicks in Ouray and done some top roping with friends. Now you’d really love to adventure to more remote peaks that are alluring, beckoning and maybe a touch intimidating.

The next installment is going to discuss some basic alpine training for long routes. Most people don’t live with the mountains on their back yards or even easily accessible. So they are unsure as to how to build a fitness base to go on a trip with what they have at their disposal. Once again assuming you’ve had some practice at rock and ice climbing and some basic snow travel its now time to build a fitness base for the long days ahead.

Truthfully alpine training can’t be done in a gym setting. No matter how hard the workout is what you need now is stamina. That’s not to say that gym work isn’t important or valuable it is, and we’re assuming you’ve got a nice strong body to work with, if not there are 12 newsletters before this one to get information from! Bonus!

Climbing in the Alpine can mean 12hr days, 20hr days, multiple 14hr days, carrying a pack the entire time.  Before you go on a trip either on your own or with a guide you should have a good basic understanding of how long the day or days will be, that is where your preparation will begin.

Now how to you go about alpine training:

Ideas for routes with rock that must be climbed with a pack.

  1. Approach Shoe ClimbingTop rope easy routes with your pack on 15 – 20# of weight to get a feeling for how it feels.
  2. Often we have to down climbing in the mountains, practice this is the gym, climb up and down routes, or outside if that is easier. Then try it with your pack on.
  3. Climb moderate rock routes in your approach shoes or boots before hand so you begin to get comfortable trusting your feet with more bulky less sensitive shoes on.

Long Days – Alpine Training:

Begin hiking with a slightly heavier pack than you normally would. Then let’s say you  don’t have good hiking trails close and you can only get out periodically.
  1. Take your pack to the gym and walk on step mill with weight on your back, no you don’t look weird you look committed. No step mill and you can’t stand the idea of the gym; their are stairs in most buildings you can walk up and take an elevator down, repeat, yes with a pack on your back. You can walk back down the stairs take in to account that this is hard on the knees as is any downhill. We want to prepare for down hill just don’t do lots of extra down.
  2. 12hr days….that is a long day and your body will shut down if it doesn’t have some kind of preparation. however going out for 12 hrs doesn’t make sense in your busy life and is hard to fit in. Here’s what we do:

Begin to build your endurance base, let’s assume you already do 2 – 3 hour hikes or rides:

Week One: on the weekend, 4 hrs Saturday, follow that with 2hrs of recovery riding or swimming or jogging…Sunday.

Week Two: on the weekend, 5 hrs Saturday, follow that with 2hrs of recovery riding or swimming or jogging…Sunday.

Week Three: on the weekend, 6 hrs Saturday, follow that with 2hrs of recovery riding or swimming or jogging…Sunday.

Week Four: have fun don’t worry about training so you don’t burn out!

Week Five: on the weekend, 7 hrs Saturday, follow that with 3hrs of recovery riding or swimming or jogging…Sunday.

Week Six: on the weekend, 8 hrs Saturday, follow that with 3hrs of recovery riding or swimming or jogging…Sunday.

And voila you are all set. The combination of the two days is nearly 12 hrs for alpine training. And yes this works. For example, for all of my ultra endurance athletes I don’t want them pounding their bodies and adrenals into oblivion before a 50 – 100 mile run/ride so we build mileage and or “time” on the trails with back to back days. This works really well and brings an athlete into their adventure, with a healthy body and a super motivated mind!

It doesn’t make sense to train for the grueling nature of alpine climbing by flogging yourself with long days via headlamp in an unpleasant environment before you go to the mountains. Yes you need to prepare your body, but do it intelligently so you still have motivation, you can rest appropriately, and you don’t get injured before your trip.

Ideas for long days: you can combine running and cycling in the same day to break up the long days, yes that counts. Swim, bike, run. Break it up and make it fun. You are just training your body to go for long periods of time. Remember for most of us it hard to fit it all in with family, work, friends, fun so let’s make this achievable! Back to back days with cumulative time works and works well!

There are so many specifics to alpine climbing that we just scratched the surface, one day adventure, two week trips, high altitude, trekking in, back packing, using huts. The idea is to understand your body needs to be prepared for the longer days and energy spent.

If you need information for a specific climb or trip of any nature you can contact me at:

Carolyn Parker
The next installment will cover what to do in the gym to specifically prepare the legs for our long alpine days.

Stay Tuned!

Training Tips for Chicks: Let’s Get Serious

If you are new to the Chicks Training Tips take a few minutes to read the previous newsletters, there’s a lot of great information in there!

It’s incredibly beneficial for all the Chicks to be introduced to new movements and concepts for training, implementing these in a regular workout in almost any fashion will create positive change. So re-read the first 11 installments to get a look at all the great movements, VIDEOS have been included:

This is a huge training resource for you all!

Now on to the meat of the matter…

I’ve overhead many of my male climbing friends say to women:  “It’s always better to be a good climber than a strong climber,” usually in response to a gal wishing she had a little more upper body strength. And, they are correct, technique and skill will get you much further on a route than any amount of brawn. However, let’s get serious. It’s fun to be a good and strong climber.

Personal story:

Twenty five years ago, when I discovered the world of climbing I was a “legs and lungs” athlete. I raced both road and mountain bikes and did a ton of backcountry telemark skiing in the off season. Incredibly well developed cardio vascular systems are awesome, however… I could barely do a pull up, couldn’t hold my legs out straight in an l-seat, was okay at push ups sort of, couldn’t do a dip to save my life. I think you get the picture. I was not “strong”, except on a bike –  I’d never done gymnastics, dance, or any other sport that would predispose me to any advantage towards being a climber.

I had a lot of tenacity and I’d work hard to get better, I’m stubborn, driven, and don’t like to suck at things. Sometimes I’d get frustrated at being scared on lead, or just NOT being able to do a move even though I knew how it was supposed to be done.

After deciding my technique was not my number one limiting factor I went about getting strong.

I tell you all of this so you understand not only where I came from but that it is possible for all women to get stronger, and a little extra strength goes a long way in feeling more confident climbing! I can guarantee that.

So here we go:

How to go about getting stronger at core and upper body strength movements for gals. Just because you can’t do something now doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to learn and gain strength and skill! Never say “I can’t” learn to say “Ok! I’ll try!”

To make it easier, we’ve included videos for each movement as links in the movement list below. Be sure to watch these videos as they also include options and progressions for all movements. You can and will get stronger.

WorkoutVideos

First:

Test your ability as appropriate on all the following movements, videos have been included. Videos not only show proper technique, they include options for assistance and progression. This list is by no means even close to being exhaustive it’s a place to start.

A test is an all out max rep or weight for each movement after you have warmed up.

Pulling Movements:

Pushing Movements:

Core Movements:

Static holds should be included as supplemental for every workout, we need strong shoulders! See previous Chicks Newsletter Training Tips Videos for these. Hand Stands, Ring Support, & FLR are all done for time 30-60 seconds with rest between.

Write down how many of what you can do so you have a record of where your strength started, so you can track gains, this is super motivating, You can make big gains in just 6 – 8 weeks.

For example:

June 16th, 2016

-Pull Ups 2 unassisted

-Pull Over 25#

-Body Row 5 feet on ground 

Do this for all movements, that way you know where to begin in your workouts and you can test yourself again after six weeks and see how you do! You should complete a strength workout 2x a week for 6 – 8 weeks. In addition to your weekly climbing training. Do strength workouts after climbing (if training indoors) or climb in the morning/strength in the evening. These are ideals. After 6 – 8 weeks of two additional strength workouts it’s time to test your strength again and compare it to when you began. You’ll be surprised!

Then take a break and go climbing! SO FUN!


 

Now:

Put together your program?! It’s not as hard as it seems:

Depending on time and stamina pick 1 or 2 of the movements from each category, Pulling, Pushing, Core, Static Holds. Change these movements for each workout.

For the Push and Pull, make these movements HARD. To where you can do no more than 5 repetitions of the movement. Hard is relative to you and your strength level at the time, no one else. As soon as you can do more than 5 reps you’ve got to make it harder.

Then: Pick 1 – 2 core movements, muscles in the core are a tiny bit different and we use our core constantly climbing so 5 to 10 reps of these movements then make them harder.

Your program should look something like this:

Warm up:

  • 10:00min light cardio
  • 2 x 8 shoulder openers
  • 2 x 5 cuban press
  • 3 x 5 wall squats
  • 2 x 5 push ups
  • 2 x 5 pull up assisted

Then:

  • 6 x 3 Body Row
  • 6 – 1 HSPU Ladder
  • 6 x 3 Ring Push Up

Then:

  • 60 sec FLR
  • 10x Floor Wiper

In the above workout, sets comes first, then reps. You will not complete more than 12 – 25 reps of a strength movement once warmed up. This is how we gain strength and not size. As climbers we want to be strong and light. For more information on this see newsletter #2

Here’s another example.

Warm up

  • 10:00min light cardio
  • 2 x 8 shoulder openers
  • 2 x 5 cuban press
  • 3 x 5 wall squats
  • 2 x 5 push ups
  • 2 x 5 pull up assisted if necessary

Then:

  • 6 x 3 Pull Ups – assisted if necessary
  • 8 – 10x Anchored leg raise / lower

Then:

  • 5 x 5 Bent Over Row with lock off in three positions, in between complete 10x KTE.
  • Finish with Handstand holds, 60 secs and Ring Support 30 secs Rest 60 secs between complete two to three sets.

Here’s to a stronger you! Remember if I can do it you can too!

As always – for questions, help, or for more detailed information regarding training you can contact me at  www.rippleffectraining.com or e-mail me.

I’ll be happy to connect with you and write programming for you.

All my best and happy training!
Carolyn Parker
Founder Ripple Effect Training

 

Training Tips for Chicks: The Process

If you are new to the Chicks Training Tips take a few minutes to read the previous newsletters, there’s a lot of great information in there!

It’s incredibly beneficial for all the Chicks to be introduced to new movements and concepts for training, implementing these in a regular workout in almost any fashion will create positive change. So re-read the first 10 installments to get a look at all the great movements, VIDEOS have been included:

This is a huge training resource for you all!

Now on to the meat of the matter.

This Newsletter’s training tip is called “The Process”

I’ve endeavored to give you all training program outlines for climbing fitness. Now I’d like to fill my roll as a coach to talk about the “process” of climbing as far as getting “better”.

So often we are our own worst enemy, putting too much pressure on ourselves or having unrealistic expectations about progress, where we should be and what it takes to break through a plateau in our climbing.

It’s a process.
I’d like to clear up a few things before we start, you can repeat this to yourself whenever you doubt yourself.
First: all climbers have been afraid.
Second: everyone worked hard to be where they are.
Third: everyone has had a bad day.
Fourth: everyone has cried about it at some point, or had a tantrum, or sulked, or gone into some crazed depression…I know just over the sport of climbing.

Embrace this and know it. If you see people climbing hard understand they worked to get there. If they can’t admit to you they’ve struggled, they are a douche bag. Ignore them.

Now let’s get on with the process.

All climbers begin by steadily improving and working through the grades, sport or trad. Just by going climbing and trying you will get better. At some point however you will hit your first plateau. 5.9, 5.10, 5.12 wherever it is and believe me there are many plateaus to be hit, you will hit yours. At this point the process requires a different approach.

Suddenly you need to “train” and you need to fail, and then try and try and try again to succeed. This is the process. If you want to gain the skill, strength, and ability to climb beyond your plateau.

Challenge yourself to try routes, or boulder problems that you think you can’t touch. So you can only link a few moves at a time. Perfect. Two things happen when you try. First you become stronger. Finger and contact strength (it’s like a heavy lift) in addition your body begins to “learn” new movement. Feel confident and comfortable to rehearse movements. Then begin linking moves. If you try a new route or boulder problem and in one week you manage to get one move further you’ve made progress. Try and fail try and fail try and fail…then try and Succeed! Once your body understands what it feels like, what it takes to climb the next grade harder the next route will be easier. Mentally and physically.

One last note. Once you break through the 5.10 barrier each letter grade represents a new level of difficulty. The difference between 10a and 10d is much greater than 5.8 to 5.9. Honor each grade, and progress accordingly. If you struggle to complete your first 10a and you want to climb 5.11 then you must embrace the process. Onsight or Redpoint,  complete the routes clean after working on them: Ten 5.10a’s, Seven 5.10b’s, Five 5.10c’s, Three 5.10d’s, then try 5.11a. Build a foundation of fitness, technique and strength to launch from. You can apply this process to all the grades.

Final Note:
Happy Climbing! Enjoy the Process!

As always: for more detailed information regarding training you can contact me at  www.rippleffectraining.com or e-mail me.

Carolyn Parker

Training Tips for Chicks: 8 Week Rock Climbing Training Program

If you are new to the Chicks Training Tips take a few minutes to read the previous newsletters, there’s a lot of great information in there!
Its incredibly beneficial for all the Chicks to be introduced to new movements and concepts for training, and initially implementing these in a regular workout in almost any fashion will create positive change. So re-read the first 6 installments to get a look at all these great movements. Videos have been included!


IMG_3288Rock Climbing Training Program, 8 Weeks

I’m going to start with an intermediate rock climbing training program, this applies to the climber who leads and is comfortable top roping up to 5.10 or 5.11. Here we go, lots to explain but I’ll try to keep it simple and out of the weeds. Your week will look like this:
Monday – Yoga or active recovery
Tuesday – Strength session gym and power climbing
Wednesday  – Strength session gym and strength endurance for climbing
Thursday – PE session gym/Cardio vascular output
Friday – Rest
Saturday – Climb
Sunday – Climb or rest if overly tired, listen to your body this is a lot of volume
Climb  2 – 4 days a week to the best of your ability.
Week 1 – 3: Hard weeks push yourself.
Week 4: Easy week- take three rest days and just have fun, don’t train with any structure or you’ll burn out or worse break.
Week 5 – 7: Hard weeks push yourself again.
Week 8: Easy week – take three rest days and just have fun, don’t train with any structure or you’ll burn out or worse break.

Days in Detail

Monday – self explanatory
Tuesday – If possible climb first: warm up on easy routes or boulder problems, this is a hard bouldering workout for climbing power, try things you fall off after a move or two, try and do all moves and project the same problems for three weeks you will make progress every week. In your session once warmed up complete: 3xVO 2xV1 2xV2 1xV3 –
Then once the skin is done head to the regular gym area and do a supplemental strength workout.
Wednesday(You may have to skip this workout at first depending how sore  you are from Tuesday till you build the capacity to recover from this amount of work. Thats ok, listen to your body. If you do then do active recovery,  yoga, recovery endurance, etc.) 
Start with climbing, now it’s routes of difficulty. warm up on two moderate pitches then. TR or Lead with no hangs or very short hangs if you fall, i.e. get back on the wall.
Three routes at or close to your limit back to back with no rest. for example 5.10, 5.11, 5.9 you should be blowing off the last route due to pump and fatigue both mental and physical. Climb routes you know so you can be super efficient and try to finish them once you fall you are done, no hang dogging. do 3- 4 groups of three pitches. Vary difficulty so you are always falling on last pitch or close. As the weeks progress make the pitches more difficult: 5.10, 5.11, 5.11. Find a partner psyched on this as well, they belay you, then you belay them!
Then once the skin is done head to the regular gym area and do a supplemental strength workout.
Thursday – This is a cardio vascular output WO, this is for heart rate capacity or VO2Max and your ability to recover when under duress. Very important while leading difficult routes you’ve got to be able to recover quickly at rests, and that’s not just forearm recovery, heart rate management is key.
You’ll do WO provided below under the Power Endurance category (IWT) and the like. If you are super sore from Tuesday’ WO and can’t climb Wed, then shift your climbing to Thursday and do routes + PE WO and rest Wednesday. Or do Yoga.
Friday –  Rest, or active rest go on a walk, easy ride. It takes a lot of mental and physical energy to be disciplined enough and work hard at training. Give your body and brain a down day.
Sat and Sun – go outside I want you to try and climb both days, or get Endurance greater than 90min on one of the days. Saturday – Push Hard climbing you should feel good coming off a recovery day.
Sunday –  go easy, fun indoor climbing or nice long ski or ride. Or rest if necessary.
Repeat the week above, move things around as life demands. And get a friend to train with you so much more fun!
If you’d like specific Strength WOs to try so you don’t have to build your own. Email me
 and mention the Chicks Newsletter and I’ll send you workouts based on what has been listed in the newsletters so far. There is a fee involved, which will be discussed at the time.
Power Endurance WO are below. We haven’t spent much time discussing this type of workout in the newsletters so here are a couple of examples.
Power Endurance #1
Warm up 10:00 Row, 5:00 minutes of the 10:00 sound be 30 secs hard, 30 sec easy to open up the pipes a bit.
Then:
wall squats 3 x5
goblet squats 2 x 10
shoulder openers 2 x 10
warm up to your deadlift weight
Then:
IWT
5x Deadlift+ 90 Sec Row, 2:00min rest
Three Rounds.
5min rest
Then:
5x Front Squat + 90sec Airdyne (indoor bike) 2:00min rest
Three Rounds
5:00min rest
Then:
7 x 15m KB Bear Crawl 2 @ 30 –  55# DBs or KBs
Power Endurance #2
Warm up:10min C2 or Airdyne
wall squats 3 x5
goblet squats 2 x 10
oh walking lunges 2 x 10
Then:
2:00 KB Swings + 500m Row + 20x Box Jump 18″ + 20x Front Squat/Push Press with DBs + 2:00 Airdyne (Indoor Bike) Go Hard! + 2:00 KB Swings rest 2:00
x 2
Then:
8 – 1 Push Up Ladder

Chicks Training Videos:

View our complete list of videos on the Chicks Climbing YouTube Channel.
New videos this week:

 

Training Tips for Chicks: Have A Plan

If you are new to the Chicks Training Tips take a few minutes to read the previous newsletters, there’s a lot of great information in there!

Handstand Hold

Handstand Hold

Its incredibly beneficial for all the Chicks to be introduced to new movements and concepts for training, and initially implementing these in a regular workout in almost any fashion will create positive change. So re-read the first installments to get a look at all these great movements videos have been included:

  • Shoulder Openers – Shoulder flexibility and ROM
  • Modified Cuban Press – Rotator Cuff strengthening and posture correction, with scapular area strengthening, and overhead ROM.
  • Wall Squat, Goblet Squat, Push ups, Walking Push Ups, Ring Push Ups
  • Archers, Leg Lower and Raise, KTE, L seats, Knee Raise, Static holds: FLR, ring support, DB Push Press, Plate OH Hold, Handstand Hold, Bench dip / ring dip
  • Pull Up, Body Row, Bent Over Row, High Pull, Pull Over, Walking Lunge, OH Walking Lunge, BSSU, SLSLDL, Front Raise, Lateral Raise Standing, Reverse Fly, Y’s with Bands, Low Trap Flys with bands, Deadlift, Front Squat.
  • As well as a few sample workouts (WOs).

In this next installment I’ll look at training vs. “exercise”: HAVE A PLAN!

By in large most people that come to me to train have specific goals in mind. For some its a race, for some to climb at a particular difficulty grade, maybe its for health reasons to combat the effects of the aging process, maybe for injury prevention or to bridge the gap between PT and Sport. Whatever the case may be, everyone has a goal and it includes measurable improvement. For most of us, “measurable” improvement is key and this requires a plan. It is also what separates training from exercise.
Exercise is good for us, most health professionals will tell you, you need 30 min a day, at a minimum, of cardiovascular work and strength training twice a week if over the age of 40. And in general, for health maintenance and overall “fit”ness this is adequate and what I call “exercise”.
However, if you have a specific goal and you want to improve at something or change your current situation then your mindset needs to change to that of actual “Training”. Otherwise, you will become frustrated with the outcome…stagnation.
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” A. Einstein.
How does one begin to train,  I encourage you to find quality professional guidance. You can do your homework first though:
  1. Make a list of goals, there can be more than one. From as simple as eliminate back pain or do a pull up, to Ice Climb in Iceland with Chicks guides.
  2. Assess your weaknesses, if you know them. And your strengths. Most of us already train our strengths because it makes us feel good, what we need to do to improve is target weaknesses with a vengeance.
  3. Look at your weekly life schedule and carve out realistic amounts of time to train and stick to it. If your training time goals are unrealistically high and you fail to meet your personal expectation you will be frustrated and additionally overly tired, not getting the benefit from the training you are doing. Train smart not hard. Less is more. Quality over quantity.
  4. Find some friends to train with, make plans to meet, accountability and motivation can be key factors to success. Your friends might have the same goals in mind and this may also be an avenue to affording professional help, do it in a group setting.
Once you’ve done these things is time to execute a plan.
Angela Allan, a “Chick” extraordinaire I met at the Rifle CO Clinic this last fall contacted me with one of the above goals. “Improve her climbing for her Chicks Ice Climbing Trip in Iceland”.
She sent me the answers to the above list, we had eight weeks which is plenty of time for someone with a strong foundation and experience. I created a training program specific to her goal, to fit her time frame, and that utilized tools that she had at her disposal living in AK. And voila 8 weeks later I get a text…it read.
“Hey Hey, Woman! Just wanted to send you an update as I’m finishing up the last week of training before Iceland!! Dip ladder is hell on earth…and weirdly, I love it! I can do more pull ups than I’ve ever been able to! Overall, I think this is a gateway to a new level of climbing for me! I’m so stoked for what’s next…and very grateful for your help!
All the best! Ang”
Besides the fact that this just gives me a big warm fuzzy that she is crushing, its proof to a point that focused training pays off.
Your homework for this newsletter: Set a goal, establish answers to I – IV, set a date, make a plan, execute.
It’s going to be rock climbing season soon, look forward to basic foundation training for rock climbing in our next installment!

Carolyn Parker
Athlete, Trainer, Guide
Founder Ripple Effect Training

Chicks Training Tips: Creating Regular Workouts

Written by: Carolyn Parker
GSquatIt’s incredibly beneficial for all adventurers to be introduced to new movements and concepts for training, and initially implementing these in a regular workout in almost any fashion will create positive change. So re-read the first six installments to get a look at all these great movements (with detailed videos):
  • Shoulder Openers – Shoulder flexibility and ROM
  • Modified Cuban Press – Rotator Cuff strengthening and posture correction, with scapular area strengthening, and overhead ROM
  • Wall Squat

Installment #2:

  • Goblet squat
  •  Push ups

Installment #3 (part 1):

  • Leg lower and raise
  • KTE
  • L seats
  • Knee raise
  • Static holds
  • FLR
  • Ring support

Installment #3 (part 2):

  • Push ups
  • Walking push ups
  • Ring push ups
  • Archers
Installment #3 (part 3):
  • Pull up
  • Body row
  • Bent over row
  • High pull
  • Pull over
  • Walking lunge
  • OH walking lunge
  • BSSU
  • SLSLDL

Installment #4:

  • Front raise
  • Lateral raise
  • Reverse fly
  • Y’s with bands
  •  Low trap flys with bands
  • Deadlift
  • Front squat
  • DB push press
  • Plate OH hold
  • Handstand hold
  • Bench dip / ring dip
Eventually the athlete will have built a good, broad foundation from which to launch their fitness to the next level. But how exactly is this done? Imagine being in an oar boat paddling to a destination, your goal.  If you just barely dig the paddle in a gently pull you may eventually get there but the current may pull you off course long before you arrive at your goal. Instead now it’s time to dig the paddle in deep, pull hard and set a course to confidently arrive at your destination and achieve your goals.
For our next installment I’ll begin the discussion of what a workout might look like when you start putting the movements together and structuring the sets and reps and load for strength gains. Remember we participate in a strength to weight ratio sport, all mountain sports are. We want to remain light and get strong! So here we go!
Without getting deep in the weeds we have a simple structure to workouts:
Part I) warm up – 10:00 of activity or movement to actually “warm” the body. Light jog, rowing machine, stationary bike, jumping rope all are great.
1a)Then a specific warm up is needed to not only for alignment but physical preparation for what is to come in the workout. If you spend 10 extra minutes warming up properly the return you get from your workout will be ten fold.
Part II) The core of the workout, this is the focus of the workout. Is it strength based, strength endurance, power endurance.
Part III) Usually we want to add a “supplemental” piece to the end of a training session. Often this targets either an area of identified weakness in the athlete or some part of the machine that has yet to be trained that day.
The following four workouts are examples of this idea of constructing a training session comprised of three parts. Remember we are just scratching the surface of strength training. If you have any questions, seek an education and coaching from a professional who can work with you directly.
Workout 1
Strength
Warm up 10:00 bike
Then:
Shoulder openers 2 x 8
Cuban Press 2 x 5
Y’s with Band 2 x 8
Wall squats  3 x 5
OH Walking Lunge 30m
Then:
Work up to heavy BSSU
Then:
5 x 3 (per leg) BSSU@_____
Then:
On rings
10x Archers + 10x Feet to Hands 5
rest 3:00
FLR 3 x 60 sec work/ 60 sec rest
Workout 2
Strength
Shoulder openers 2 x 8
Cuban Press 2 x 5
DB PP 2 x 8
Wall squats  3 x 5
Walking Lunge 30m
Then:
Work up to heavy SLSLDL
Then:
5 x 2 SLSLDL@ _____
In between sets:
Work up to heavy weighted pull up, 2 RM (Rep Max) hang weight from a harness at waist. If you are still working on pull ups this is the time to walk away from assistance and try jumping into a locked off pull up and slowly lower controlling the movement as a negative, these should feel hard! (5 x 2)
Then:
10x weighted leg lowers + 5x KB Bosu chest press
Rest as necessary
5 rounds
Workout 3

Warm up 10:00 Row, 5:00 minutes of the 10:00 sound be 30 secs hard, 30 sec easy to open up the pipes a bit.

Then:

wall squats 3 x5

goblet squats 2 x 10

shoulder openers 2 x 10

warm up to your deadlift weight

Then:

IWT

5x Deadlift+ 90 Sec Row, 2:00min rest

Three Rounds.

5 min rest

Then:

5x Front Squat + 90sec Airdyne 2:00min rest

Three Rounds

5:00min rest

Then:

7 x 15m KB Bear Crawl 2 @ 30 –  55# DBs or KBs

Workout 4
Warm up: 10 min row
Wall squats 3×5
Goblet squats 2x 10
Shoulder openers 2x 10
SLSLDL 3×5
Then:
Work up to heavy DL
Then 5 x 3 DL @ ______
rest 2-3 min between sets
(If the athlete is well conditioned a round of 5x Push up + 5x Pull up can be done between sets of Deadlifts.)
Then:
Finish with
1:00 Sit Ups
1:00 Mtn Climbers
1:00 Ring Support
1:00 rest
x 3
There are many, many elements to cover: frequency of workouts, what type of workout to do when, strength vs. power, what is power endurance. I will continue to cover these topics in the Chicks training newsletters and for more detailed information regarding programming of this nature you can contact me at www.rippleffectraining.com or info@rippleffectraining.com