Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Training Less?

These days I feel like I am training less than I used to in Nelson, but feeling easily as strong. It's kind of hard to do a direct comparison because I am not doing the same activities I was doing in Nelson and I don't really do anything for time any more. Instead of being out climbing 3 or 4 days a week, I do a couple of sessions a week at the Esplanade bouldering area and (if it's not too hot) a few pitches at Aeroglen Quarry. Instead of busting trail through 40 cm of fresh powder in the Kootenays on big ski days, I'm cycling most places, walking and sea-kayaking. Along with cutting out Crossfit workouts, this amounts to a lot less beat-downs and a lot smarter training.

The only direct number comparisons I have are that I can still walk uphill easily at about 600 metres an hour, my weights on the Stronglifts program are very close to the maximums I was lifting in Nelson, and I can still crank out a bunch of pull-ups. I'm still a long way off dead-lifting 1.5 times my bodyweight, but, I've only been back at the heavy weights for four weeks and I am still steadily moving the weight upward.
Intellectually, I've known for a long time that all the big beat downs don't really improve your fitness, but, it's taken some time – a long time – for that intellectual knowledge to filter through to actually breaking the addictive pattern of doing a lot of beat-downs to get the endorphin release that ultimately follows. Luckily (or not) my beat-downs were always strength based and I never really got into that whole steady state cardio gig that strips off muscle. 

Bouldering down on the Esplanade

Today was bouldering day down at the Esplanade and I was working body tension. I did this by statically holding my position between each hand movement. The key for me is to get into balance before each move, set that position with body tension using maybe a toe hold, a hook, a flag, or whatever else works, and then moving one hand to the next hold but not touching the next hold for the count of about five seconds. If you are doing this right, you'll really feel it in all your trunk muscles, particularly if you did a Stronglifts day the previous day. Coincidentally, or maybe not, all those Stronglifts exercises are really good for developing good body tension – as are ankles to bar and any kind of front lever work.

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