After 4 weeks of prep work with our SPC: Finger & Upper Body Power, we have kicked off week #1 of Coordinated Climbing Strength! Archer Rows, Turkish Situps, Overhead Squats, Assisted One Arms on a 1cm edge, and Alternating Twisting Knee Raises. We’ve honed things down to the essentials and are ready to enter this final phase of upper body strength work.
We’re going to keep things pretty simple here without a whole lot of rest stations, which means that as the weeks go by we will see more and more heavy sets. After all, it’s not like anyone is going to get strong doing easy stuff.
For those of you that were there today, and those of you doing this at home, consider throwing in an additional day after this first round of soreness passes. Here was today’s workout:
Oh my god. Another test day. But I am happy to say that everyone killed it today! Devna was a champion after her 10 day vacation, and Chris V. got to sport his new found (and much more accurate) max heart rate. Sheri found another gear that she can drop to when things get ugly. Hopefully she will keep up the good work.
Here are the results from today. Remember, the only things that you need to compare to your last test day are: 1) Average Heart Rate 2) Time spent in Hard, Very Hard, and Maximal training zones. 3) The number of peaks at the end of the class time.
Most of the other parameters won’t mean much because we don’t enter in any of your other information (weight, height, gender, etc.). We just put in your projected max heart rate or your tested max heart rate.
Today’s blog is all about results from Test Day for X-Cardio for the Mountains. We are comparing the results from the Tuesday and Wednesday classes (Feb. 7th , 28th, and 29th). Don’t forget to look at the heart rate monitor sign out sheets so that you look at the correct results. They are the 1st image before the actual results from that class.
One thing a Mountain Guide must have is a good pair of sunglasses. With the amount of time outdoor professionals spend in the sun, UV protection is paramount. I recently acquired a pair of the “Guide” sunglasses from Revo and they have been great. Personally, I prefer larger framed shades mostly due to my abnormally sized noggin, but also because of the greater surface area they cover on my face.
The Revo Guide comes with Serillium lenses to resist impact and scratching, making them ideal for a variety of outdoor pursuits. They also feature Revo’s patented Element Shed, allowing sweat, oil, water, or snow to simply just roll off your lenses keeping your vision unimpaired.
The Revo Guide aren’t just full of great tech features and style, they are sustainable as well. They utilize a nylon that is made from the Castor Bean plant as opposed to petroleum based nylon like many other eyewear manufacturers. This material is sustainable and environmentally friendly as well as lightweight and highly flexible.
Whether skiing, rock climbing, ice climbing, or just cruising around the block, the Revo Guide will not disappoint.
Hope to see you all out there.
-Eric Whewell Colorado Mountain School Guide 800-836-4008 x3
Test Day is next week! Be prepared! Hydrate! Don’t hit the burrito bar 20 minutes before class!
Big change today. The jumprope row didn’t get any breaks. They had to switch between speed rope, lateral hops, and high knees every 30 seconds. For 4.5 minutes. Without stopping.
There were a lot of classics to tackle today as well as some motor skill acquisition with the Goat Flip Lunge.
The Mystery Event is where things got interesting. We started with a typical Greased Lightning Round (30 seconds each, no rest). But after that was over we had some extra time on our hands.
New Game: Quid Pro Quo. Something for Something. So here is how it works. During the Greased Lightning Round you take note of the highest heart rate you’ve achieved. For some this was upwards of around 97-98% of their max. When QPQ starts basically you have to hit that number again doing either high knees or flying chickens. If class had been full today I would have owed some folks a margarita.
No new exercises today. In fact there were a lot of things that didn’t change. Same reps, same rests, same same same. . . but different. We managed 9 sets of exercise today. Tried for 10, but time didn’t allow for it. Round 1 saw 5 sets and Round 2 saw 4. Next week is the last week of this cycle. Everyone needs to be prepared for a lot of heavy sets!
Two weeks until Test Day! That means we are ramping things up. We’ve dropped from 15 sets per round down to 12 so we have room for a Mystery Event during the 4th quarter.
There were a high concentration of bodyweight exercises, as well as a 2-1 ratio for the highly metabolic vs. local muscle group exercises. High heart rates all around.
We did have to have little discussion about starting on time, each and every round. But that is nothing new.
The Mystery Event was a game of False Summit. Random exercise selection, you don’t know for how long, and just when you think you are at the end, BLAMMO! More work to be done. Today there was a special twist: You weren’t allowed to leave class until you got your heart rate up to 93%!
Level 2. More like Level 3. Ruthless. We brought back some classics as well as introduced what will hopefully become one. The alternating kettlebell clean is harder than it looks and takes a lot of timing and consistent power output to do correctly. The wobbly wrist roller is a balance problem that knocks everyone down on occasion. The new arrival is the Goat Flip Lunge. Taking a bulgarian bag, snatching it off the floor, flipping it in mid air for the open handed catch, followed by two lunges, placing it back in the rack position before pushing it back down to the floor for a squat thrust. Lots of coordination and power.
What did we learn today? We learned that CrossFits Fight Gone Wrong done for 3 rounds as our Mystery Event takes everyone down. No one, and I mean no one was able to keep moving the entire time. I guess that’s what a fight gone wrong is supposed to feel like.
We also had some lively discussion on the do’s and don’ts of Valentines Day, as well as when you should consider not starting a new relationship (October 1st – February 15th).
Rough. Both classes. Rough. Especially today’s noon class. Damn. 12 people. All motivated by a single goal. . .
12 x 93% = Margarita
The two classes that have managed it in the past have been noon classes. One class hit it on Round 2. The other on Round 3.
Today Round 2 looked promising. 11 out of 12 hit 93% at the same time, with #12 at 91%. Not bad. And I barely raised my voice (really!). I thought we might have a winner by the next round. By the 7th set we were 11 out of 12, with #12 at 91%. Same for the 8th set. And on the ninth, as the clock wound down, we had 11 out of 12 at or above 93%, and our 12th at 92%.
DAMMIT! So close. . .
We finished up with a Greased Lightning Round. 30 seconds on each exercise, 7 second transition time (yes, I made it longer). The goal is to get started on the next exercise before the timer says go.
It’s amazing. People are like the atomic clock when it comes to stopping on time. But when it comes to starting on time? Well. . .
SPC was a bit of a rush job today due to some technical difficulties with out printer. But everyone handled it in stride, and many stayed after class to get in a few extra sets.
The Hangboard was the staple of our workout once again, having the marquis spot in each round for a total of 8 sets.
We added the alternating military press into Round #1 and the Pinch Switch in to Round #2. The alternating military press is easy to wrap the mind around with your hands moving like a seesaw doing a standing military press with kettlebells. The pinch switch is a little harder to grasp (no pun intended;-). Taking the steel 3 inch pinch grip and affixing four 3LB chains to it (4 feet in length), you do a dynamic switch from one hand to the other, like playing catch from hand to hand. The higher you lift the pinch, the more chain there is off of the ground, and thus the heavier the pinch. Very coordinated. Crazy pinching fun.
A word about tempo. There is no one “correct” tempo for exercise. Depending on what you are trying to cultivate and what variables you are trying to control, there are several. Sometimes super slow. Sometimes super fast. Often somewhere in between. But if you are not considering it in some way, or you think that they are all the same, then you are falling into the trap that many fitness enthusiasts and trainers alike are ensnared in. If you don’t keep track of your variables (i.e. range of motion, reps, sets, load, posture, tempo, etc.) it will be very difficult to determine whether you are actually progressing or whether you are just compensating effectively. Don’t fool yourself into thinking you are getting better if you don’t have good data to back it up. We have to compare apples to apples my friends.
The Black Diamond Stinger crampon is the latest entry to the lightweight, steep ice and mixed category from our friends at BD.
This crampon is designed for anything and everything from steep waterfalls to mixed, roadside or alpine.
Stainless steel construction keeps the weight at 2 lbs. and the asymmetric platform fits my low-volume, modern ice boots perfectly. The hooded monopoints and aggressive secondary points guarantee security on any type of ice.
For me, as someone who has used BD crampons for years, one specific improvement stood out. They managed to significantly improve the fit of both the toe bails and heel wires by decreasing the profile of each. This makes a huuuge difference when you’ve got your feet jammed into cracks or when shuffling foot placements in tight quarters.
Also worth mentioning are the durable anti-bots that are included as well as the ability to easily change out the monopoint once it wears down.
For the alpinists out there….all hardware is easily replaceable and these crampons are some of the quickest to adjust or repair out of any that I’ve tried.
If you’re looking for a crampon to take you through the rest of the water ice season here in Colorado and continue well into spring alpine climbing here in the Park or abroad, look no further.
-Mike Soucy Colorado Mountain School Guide 800-836-4008 x3
Here we have our first comparative Test Days! The only thing that we will be comparing for these two is the very end of class: Peaks and Valleys. Hopefully everyone has more even and frequent peaks! Check it out:
Today in SPC we revisited the same plan as last week. A little more “skill building” if you will. We managed a 4 set per exercise workout today with a little extra time during sets one and two to help some of the newcomers get the swing of things and learn the secret handshake. We explored a new tempo for sets 3 and 4. 5 seconds in total per repetition. This meant that the concentric contraction (shortening of the agonist muscles, i.e. the press portion of the military press) took place over 3 seconds, and the eccentric contraction (lengthening of the agonist muscles, i.e. the lowering portion of the military press) over 2 seconds. In general everyone fared pretty well. We’ve got some improvements in technique and some more understanding of what our goals actually are during class. Everyone did a great job. But things are getting heavy, and it’s not going to get easier.
Here we are already on week #2. Our first workout post Test Day was a very high volume skill building day. We’ve started to incorporate more upper body strength work for the rock and ice climbers, as well as the agility work and lower body work for those tricky approaches and long tours. We managed 5 sets of each exercise in total for a whopping 60 sets in 45 minutes! Lot’s of folks hit and passed the anaerobic threshold today and stayed there for a lot longer than they thought they could. Because of the huge number of sets there was no Mystery Event. But don’t worry. Look for one next week!
Today was the start of our 4 week Finger and Upper Body Power training cycle. We upped the temp on a lot of the exercises and we changed some things around from our Strength phase. Most importantly we introduced the hang board to our training routine. 8 second 1 handed assisted hangs were the order of the day. We divided all the other exercises into two rounds with 4 sets of each. The hang board was part of both groups, which meant a whopping 8 sets. Damn.
This was a great first day. Next week will be more of the same, only a little bit harder with maybe a new addition or two.
I love test day! Especially when the technology doesn’t betray us!
This time it worked! I have the data that I so desperately desire! Here it is. Don’t forget to cross reference your HR monitor sign out with your data.
This was a scorcher of a test day. Class was full, so the Margarita Challenge was in effect. Hard to achieve on a test day. And it seems that my tequila supply is still safe.
If I had to give some advice for how to to better on the next test day I would say find the round (1-4) that had the lowest heart rates. Those are your crux exercises, especially the heart rate driving ones. Each round had one of these. Round 1 was kick thrus, Round 2 was mountain climbers, Round 3 was flying chickens, and Round 4 was split jumps.
Peaks & Valleys is a bear, no matter who you are. But it is the acme of skill to just barely hit your HR peak of 93% and not go over. Some of our athletes can tell you, to the burpee, how many they have to do to hit 93%. This takes a lot of awareness. Overshooting the mark is not the point here. Accuracy and awareness is. And don’t forget, Peaks & Valleys is not a “pace yourself” kind of thing. Hit the ground running. . . charge right out of the gate. Otherwise you’ll have a hard time hitting that first ALL IMPORTANT peak.
No peak = no rest = THIS SUCKS.
Here is what we are looking for as improvement over time:
A scorcher. It’s the week before test week, and I wanted to set you up for success. Not a gimme in the bunch. No chance to get it back. Hopefully the hardest thing that everyone had to deal with all week. Because next week is test week.
The Bag Drag was fun. 80lb Heavy bag. Take it for a drag why don’t you.
The Burtle Pushup (CWall Laboratories) is a coordination nightmare. Part Turtle Squat, part burpee, part pushup, all spliced together like an calisthenic Frankenstien’s Monster.
Everything else was par for the course. They are not fun. Not meant to be.
The Mystery Event was an old school Lightning Round, just like back in the day. 40 sec. on, 20 sec. off. Repeating all 12 exercises. No HR incentive. Just go. As hard as you can. This is often confused with “as hard as I feel like it.” The former is correct. The latter, well not so much. Let’s not get confused and start thinking that you don’t have a choice how hard you go just because you are a little tired. Mostly people start to fold up not because they are too tired, but because THEY ALLOW THEMSELVES TO SUCCUMB TO THE SELF-PITY THAT COMES WITH THE DISCOMFORT THEY ASSOCIATE WITH FATIGUE. Let’s be clear about that.