Month: December 2013

Ice Climbing Training: Ice Tool Chinups

Ice Climbing Training can involve many aspects of fitness. One that is often overlooked is Ice Tool Chinups. For me this is a power and strength exercise, not an endurance exercise. Any normal ice climber on any normal route shouldn’t have to do too many full chinups on their tools. I don’t see a lot of reason to work these as an endurance exercise. For Ice Climbing Training Endurance I’d prefer to do these assisted. That more accurately reflects the type of climbing you’d be doing.

Ice Climbing Training Tools: Hangboard and Ice Tools (sideways view)
Ice Climbing Training Tools: Hangboard and Ice Tools (sideways view)

For this exercise I’ve used protocol for power improvement. I’m doing 5 to 8 sets of 3 reps from a full hang to an upper position with the tools by my neck. If you have any previous injuries to your wrists, elbows, or shoulders you might have to adjust your ice climbing training accordingly. I’ve found this position with the tools just inside the width of my shoulders to work best for my joints.

If you want to work toward strength training, stay with 5 sets of 3 reps and work toward 5 sets of 5 reps by adding in a rep here and there as your own strength improves. You’ll know when you’re ready because you won’t feel so beat up on your last few sets.

Ice Climbing Training: Results

Ice Climbing Training Upper Body Results
Ice Climbing Training Upper Body Results

If you’re already pretty strong, or want to adjust your ice climbing training more toward endurance you can change up some things. I’ve started with my feet on the floor. The hangboard is over the doorway so that starts me about halfway up to full chinup. I just use my toes lightly to launch into an ice tool chinup then drop down under control onto the balls of my feet. Then I pop back up. You could do this for sets of 25 reps, then with a few minutes of rest do another 1 to 3 sets.

An option for even more power would be to add in a weighted belt or vest and do singles. Normally in a protocol for singles you’d do one rep as strongly and quickly as possible. Then you’d do a full complete rest for one to three minutes and do another rep. If you’re wearing a heart rate monitor you could do as many single reps as possible until your resting heart rate spikes and won’t go down within the three minutes rest period. Then your ice climbing training is done for the day.

Ice Climbing Training Video: Ice Tool Chinups

If you need a warmup for your ice climbing training, consider this quick Shoulder Mobility Circuit before you train.

How to Log and Compare Workouts

In my most recent book The 100 Calorie Diet Plan (available in Print on Amazon andCreatespace, and for Kindle and for Nook ebooks) I explain briefly how to log your workouts and then make steady incremental progress from workout to workout. For a more complete explanation and a better example than in the book, here’s two of my recent training sessions compared side-by-side.

Leg Day Training - two side by side workouts
Leg Day Training – two side by side workouts

If you’re already training, I hope you’re keeping some type of training journal. If not, you have one now. Put your data in your nutrition and success tracking journal we started in the previous chapter. The plan now is to log everything, minutes, miles, feet, pounds, sets, reps. If you don’t know what you’re doing now, how can you know if you do more later? or worse, less? I like to have as much meaningful information as possible, with a focus on meaningful. — The 100 Calorie Diet Plan, Page 13

I use the Color Note App on my phone while training, just because it’s really handy and I can share it to my home PC or online document app whenever I want to compile stats. I have developed a shorthand over the years to make my logging easier, even though the auto-complete on the phone should make it simple to type. Here’s a quick guide to my shorthand, and some specific terms used on this example:

Log Workouts: glossary

Hyper: Back Hyperextension, laying forward in the machine bend toward to floor then up to a straight body
RC: Roman Chair (usually done on the Back Hyperextension bench) ab training motion
Gravitron: An assisted pullup/dip machine.
PU: Pullup
Cybex: Equipment Manufacturer, a style of strength training machine
RDL: Romanian Dead Lift – deadlift done from standing to the floor and return to standing, typically with straight legs
Leg Ext: Leg Extension, straightening the legs under load
Leg Curl: Retracting the legs to folded under load
Ab Curl: a type of situp in which the spine is flexed to a c-shape curve
Delt: short for deltoid, the shoulder muscles

First I get core out of the way with Back Hyperextension and Roman Chair Abs.

I begin the rest of the workout by warming up with the Gravitron pullup with a 130 pound assist. This gives me about 50 pounds of load. I do this about every other workout, if not more, since these are climbing-specific muscles and I need to do a light duty set frequently.

Cybex Fly Machine for Chest and Delts
Cybex Fly Machine for Chest and Delts

I then do the Chest and Rear Delt Fly. I did chest on my previous workout and this helps stretch out the muscles and flush blood and toxins through for faster recovery.

Romanian Dead Lifts are a great “Posterior Chain” workout, working the glutes (butt) and hamstrings (back of legs). These are important muscles for everything, but particularly upward travel at higher speed.

Romanian Dead Lifts from a stand on the platform
Romanian Dead Lifts from a stand on the platform

Then for squats. I am doing Power Lifter style squats, with the bar placed low on the back, centered over the upper notch in the scapulae and with the legs fairly wide, going as far down as flexibility allows. Some people only squat down about 4″ and this allows a lot of weight to be used, so if you try going all the way down, keep in mind that you might not be using as much weight as you would think.

The view from the row of Cybex Equipment at the Breckenridge Recreation Center
The view from the row of Cybex Equipment at the Breckenridge Recreation Center

I use the calf sled since there isn’t any other calf machine at this facility and I’m not really stable doing them without a power rack for safety. A calf sled is a seat on sliding rails with weight underneath. You lift the seat on the rails by pushing with your toes on a plate.

Finally I do a couple of finishing moves on the Leg Extension and Leg Curl machines with a lot of reps at a moderate weight. In between stuff and as it seems appropriate I also do a lot of stretching. This is controversial but I’ve done it for years and believe it helps me recover faster.

Leg Extension:

Leg Curl:

If you look at the side-by-side comparison you’ll see that I’ve made good progress between the two sessions, about a week apart. In another post we’ll look at the math, but I do cover that in the book, if you want to skip ahead and do it yourself. Remember to log workouts if you want to know for sure what you’re really doing.

Remember that by logging your training, you are making it measurable, and adding to your accountability. Measuring is the “M” in SMART – the classic goal setting strategy. Some people need professional help with this to ensure greater success faster. I know I could have halved the time I spent losing my 60 pounds and getting ready for my adventure goals had I gotten professional help early.

How to Weigh Out a Food Portion

In my most recent book The 100 Calorie Diet Plan (available in Print on Amazon and Createspace, and for Kindle and for Nook ebooks) I explain a food portioning scheme based in part on accurately weighing out specific food portions of 100 calories each. I’ve had a few people ask about the details on how to do this, so as a supplement to the book, here is a brief article showing an example.

Nutrition Facts Label for Salted Almonds
Nutrition Facts Label for Salted Almonds

A food portion of almonds

In this example food item, Salted Almonds, the Nutrition Facts Label tells us that 28 grams of almonds is 170 calories. Since we’re looking to have a 100 calorie portion of this food item, we’ll do some simple math to give us the weight of a 100 calorie portion. To find a per-calorie weight, we divide 170 by 28, and then divide that into 100 to find the weight of our food portion.

Divide 100 calories by the  calories per weight of your food item
Divide 100 calories by the calories per weight of your food item

For simplicity in our calculations, that’s 100 / ( 170 / 28 ) which gives us a little over 16 grams, which we round down to 16. Next we set the scale to zero with a little food container on it. Because this is a snack in the middle of the day for me, I’m going to just use a little plastic bowl. For many people this works good because then they can just dump it from the little bowl to their storage container or baggie and just keep weighing with the same bowl. For my scale, I set the bowl on it then turn it on and it automatically zeroes the scale.

Set the scale to zero with your weighing container on it
Set the scale to zero with your weighing container on it

Next carefully dump the almonds or other food item into the bowl until you get the weight you calculated from the Nutrition Facts Label, in this case 16 grams. I prefer grams because it’s fairly precise and most labels or charts will give a food portion in grams.

100 calories of salted almonds is not a lot of almonds
100 calories of salted almonds is not a lot of almonds

Surprisingly, that’s not a lot of almonds. Nuts are a fairly calorie dense food item, with only a few almonds equaling 100 calories. In my opinion, it’s one of those things that are best used in the form of thinly sliced almonds as part of a 300 calorie salad, with a 100 calorie portion of lettuce and a 100 calorie portion of dried grated Parmesan and a spritz of a low calorie soy sauce or Bragg Liquid Aminos

body composition improvement evident in fat loss
Upper back development at 12% bodyfat after losing 60 pounds

I hope that helps you to understand a little better how to calculate and weigh out a 100 calorie portion of a food item. For my Accountability Partner clients we go into much greater detail for selecting a comprehensive plan with goals and achievements built in.