Month: January 2014

Steve House Training Seminar Part 1

At the 2014 Ouray Ice Fest I attended a Steve House Training Seminar based on his most recent book. I’ve been excited by the prospect of looking at this book since I first heard about it a couple of years ago. One of my friends is a Reviewer and told me he was getting an advanced copy and that was also exciting to me.

When I looked at the preview of workshops available at the Ice Fest and I saw that Steve House Training Seminar was on the list, I set a timer on my calendar to let me know that registration was open for the workshops at the Ice Fest so that I could be first in line. Happily I made the cut and got registered before it filled up.

The Steve House Training Seminar was held at the Rescue Barn at the Ouray Ice Park, and with a few minor glitches with the projector and screen (Thanks Nate Disser of San Juan Mountain Guides for fixing it fast) we were up and running.

Steve House Training Seminar

We were able to get our hands on a copy of the book and leaf through the pages. It was very thick and well worth the projected price around $35 (Steve House Training for the New Alpinism: A Manual for the Climber as Athlete Amazon Pre-order at $22.14 as of this posting).

Steve House Training for the New Alpinism Proof Edition
Steve House Training for the New Alpinism Proof Edition

It was a great seminar to attend. I had a slight advantage in that with my previous Personal Trainer Certification, most of the material made instant sense to me. It was fairly technical in nature, and proved to me beyond any doubt that Steve House knows his stuff.

Takeaways from the Steve House Training Seminar

I took some notes in my ColorNote app on my phone, and here are some of my key points

  • You need a transition period in order to get yourself and all your loved ones used to your new training life.
  • The concept of using professional coaching is new in the world of high level climbing.
  • The NFL has more money than any other sport in the world. If they chose the Combine as their means of testing readiness then it must be a profitable idea.
  • The higher your base level of fitness the greater gains you can obtain through High Intensity Training. Otherwise it probably isn’t worth the risk.
  • In spite of naysayers in the rest of the training world, Isometric Training is a Sports-Specific Protocol for climbing.
Steve House Training Seminar: Steve explaining a slide with an example program
Steve House Training Seminar: Steve explaining a slide with an example program

There are a few of my favorites from the Steve House Training Seminar at the Ouray Ice Fest. If you attended or have an early edition of the book, please check in and let me know what your key bullet points are. If you want more explicit personal hands-on education, you can check out Skyward Mountaineering for scheduling information.

The Secret of Life: Conquer Some Fear

An awesome quote drifted past my desk today, and I had to share it with you.

He who is not everyday conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life - Ralph Waldo Emerson
“He who is not everyday conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

In climbing and training and in all of life, we have to face fears every day. Or live in denial. Sit down with a beer and a bag of chips and watch some WWE on pay-per-view. It’s a lot easier anyway. Not a lot of risk. When I first began climbing, I was really afraid. I couldn’t go up more than 15′ on my first few toprope climbs. I struggled and worked and overcame my reaction to my fear, but allow the fear to exist as a constant reminder to stay safe in the mountains.

Conquer Fear: the Tyrolean Traverse over 2000 foot drop on Carstensz Pyramid
Conquer Fear: the Tyrolean Traverse over 2000 foot drop on Carstensz Pyramid

Carstensz Pyramid was the fulfillment of a dream. I climbed one of the most difficult of the Seven Summits in spite of constant pain from my Costochondral Separation (diagnosed separately in Tembagapura, Indonesia, and Orem, Utah) and torn intercostal muscles from a serious fall early in the trek to base camp. I could barely breath and lifting and pulling with my right arm was agonizing. I gathered my courage and faced the fear of pain and failure and permanent disability to make the 2000′ ascent on jagged limestone cliffs to the summit of Oceania, the continental plate of Australia. [Read about it HERE]

“He who is not everyday conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

What kinds of fears do you have when you are contemplating your future?

  • Are you wanting to lose weight?
  • Are you wanting to look good naked?
  • Are you wanting to climb a mountain?
  • Are you wanting to win a race?

All of these things carry the risk of failure, and with it the fear of failure. Sometimes that fear is so strong you can’t even begin the long road that eventually leads to success. What kinds of motivation do you need? What kinds of inspiration do you need? What can I do to work with you to help you take those first steps on that long road you should be on?

Inspirational Sayings: Never Been Before

One of my favorite inspirational sayings, and the one that I am most stoked about at the moment as I sit in the hotel room in Ouray Colorado for the Ice Fest, is in this image I put together quick.

Inspirational Sayings: Do things you've never done before
Inspirational Sayings: Do things you’ve never done before

It’s a photo of my wife, who is a great figure skater reaching out of her box with this great stemming move in the Scottish Gullies area of the Ouray Ice Park. In my life she’s like a living breathing inspirational saying. I took a lecture session with Steve House, who spent almost three years writing a book on Training for the New Alpinism [Pre-Order HERE]. As a former certified personal trainer, a lot of the more technical details of the book were good solid basic information.

Inspirational Sayings: Never let go!
Inspirational Sayings: Never let go!

What appealed to me most were his thoughts on specificity in training and the various training zones, and his motivational goal setting suggestions. I loved that, and am contemplating ways to incorporate those snippets into my own life and training. It would be tough at this time to narrow it down to any inspirational sayings and make some more of these posters, but I totally have a slew of them in mind if you want to drop by or subscribe to the blog to get them as soon as they are published.

The Power of Inspirational Sayings

Do Inspirational Sayings have power, in and of themselves? If you don’t believe in magic, then no, it would have to be the power you give them through repetition and belief. As a coach I don’t advocate any type of magic, but I have seen the benefit, even in my own life and training and expeditions, of repeating simple inspirational sayings like a mantra in times of need.

Inspirational Sayings: I can do this, I am responsible
Inspirational Sayings: I can do this, I am responsible

In my bleakest moments, trekking in a downpour on steep wet slippery muddy boggy almost invisible trails through the Indonesian jungle, I kept repeating the Brian Tracy inspirational sayings:

I am responsible
I can do this

And it worked. I did Carstensz Pyramid in spite of a serious rib/sternum injury because I believed that I could, I knew that I could, and that gave me the power to do it. Check out the book [HERE] If you need help with setting and keeping your goals, let me know and we’ll see how I can help with coaching and accountability services.

Trap Bar Deadlift Video

I’m a fan of the Trap Bar Deadlift. The Trap Bar is a hexagonal bar that surrounds your legs as you stand, with the handles on the side and set front-to-back. This allows for a different position for your arms and hands. If you have any kind of shoulder, elbow or wrist issues this might be the answer.

Trap Bar Deadlift from the top showing the bar
Trap Bar Deadlift from the top showing the bar

I’ve included a video to help show you how I do it. Note that my arms and legs are very long in proportion to my torso. That changes my alignment a bit, so that I’m starting with a more forward position with less bend in the legs. I’m also using the upper handle on the Trap Bar Deadlift so it might be viewed as a type of “pulling from pins” exercise. I train hard with the Romanian Deadlift (RDL) so my lower back can tolerate it better.

One thing to pay attention to is that I duck down a bit to relax and stretch my tendons and joints, then put tension back on them as I rise up and prepare for the lift. I’m doing sets of two singles. I do a heavy pull from the floor and set it down. Then I rest up for about 3-5 seconds and do another pull from the floor. Be careful in doing any type of lift, but especially the Trap Bar Deadlift, to keep that arch in your lower back. If you hunch it into a reverse arch you could risk some damage to your spine or pelvis.

A Trap Bar Deadlift is fine if you’re not training to compete as a Power Lifter. In my opinion it’s valid as a way to lift heavy weight and improve strength and fitness. I’m also doing the negative, or eccentric motion. That’s setting the bar down under control for most of the way down. Many Power Lifting training articles will recommend against it, since it can increase muscle soreness for some people as well as fatigue that might result in a shorter duration workout.

Since I’m not training for maximum load or, again, as a Power Lifter, I’m not sure if it’s so relevant. I also like to train for the purpose of fat loss, and heavy Trap Bar Deadlift training to fatigue, in my opinion, can help with that goal.

Trap Bar Deadlift Video Demonstration:

Speaking of fat loss, be sure to catch my new book “The 100 Calorie Diet Plan” available on Kindle, Nook, Google Play and a print edition on Amazon. I cover the basics of journaling and measuring improvements using simple basic math and SMART Goal Setting Principles. Check it out HERE for more information.