Year: 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.

Training Log: Bonneville Shoreline Trail 12 Nov 2013

Last night I went to bed with a crazy idea. To do a 5K PR on the BST, or Bonneville Shoreline Trail. Along the Wasatch Front of Utah we just call it the BST for simplicity. Everyone who runs or bikes knows it. Here in Utah County it’s pretty dry and barren for the most part. It’s made up of various jeep roads along the base of Mount Timpanogos here in the Northern part of the County. Further South it has a few more trees on it, down by Rock Canyon.

Just after completing my 5K PR on the BST
Just after completing my 5K PR on the BST

I parked at a church near the Cedar Hills Golf Club, since they don’t mind much and the paved rec path is there to access the dirt road. I walked about a quarter mile to warm up, then hit the button on Strava [results] and my Watch. I monitored my progress closely, with the Pace View on the watch to make sure I stayed below a 10:00 pace, with a target of 32:00 minutes for my PR.

There were a few steep but short hills and a few longer gentler uphill grades, and I had to walk a few times. Then at 1.6 miles I turned around and gave it a little more speed. My legs and lungs were sore and I came in at the starting line, about 3.2 miles and then tapered to a walk to let my heart rate decrease. When I uploaded the run to Strava it did in fact meet my goal at 31:25 for the 5K PR.

Later I looked at my Polar results and my heart rate was over 160 for almost the entire return 1.6 miles. Awesome job, if I do say so myself. Below is the GPS track from Strava and then a gallery of some of my results graphs from Strava and Polar.

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Map and Splits
Map and Splits
Pace Overview - Elevation and Pace
Pace Overview – Elevation and Pace
Pace Analysis - Splits
Pace Analysis – Splits
Pace Analysis - Smoothed
Pace Analysis – Smoothed
Pace Distribution based on Tempo
Pace Distribution based on Tempo
Polar Heart Rate (in the red zone)
Polar Heart Rate (in the red zone)
Polar Heart Rate Zone Displayed
Polar Heart Rate Zone Displayed

Training Log: Squaw Peak 02 November 2013

I was going to be in Utah for family business and had contacted fellow Team Seven Summits Quest member Jen Hamilton to see if she could do a run on it. She was planning on starting around 7, and I couldn’t be there before 9, so I thought we could hook up on the trail.

Charles Miske and Jen Hamilton below Squaw Peak overlooking Provo Utah
Charles Miske and Jen Hamilton below Squaw Peak overlooking Provo Utah

I had two days of rest after my slow winter conditions run on Quandary, so I was hoping I could beat my last PR on Squaw. I took off from the parking lot and tried hard to run up the road, then gravel road, then narrow four wheel drive road up to the fork in the trail for Squaw, about 1.5 miles from the gate to the parking lot.

Squaw Peak map with Splits
Squaw Peak map with Splits

I ran about a 10:00 pace for the paved section of road, then settled into about a 15:00 uphill walk with a few steep sections of slower walking, trying hard not to drift below a 20:00 pace. I figured with a two hour head start I might be running into Jen somewhere up the fork, probably on her way down. I looked at my watch and saw that I was running a few minutes slower than I thought I needed to be for a PR.

About a half mile from the summit of Squaw Peak [photo by Jen Hamilton]
About a half mile from the summit of Squaw Peak [photo by Jen Hamilton]

The trail devolved into slimy mud over frozen hard dirt with some ice and snow in shady places. With the fallen leaves it was a bit slippery in places. I finally ran into Jen about a half mile from the summit as she was descending. We talked for a minute and I checked my watch. I felt like I was about four minutes off from a record, and after a couple minutes we decided to meet on my way down and I ran hard for the summit.

Squaw Peak Summit
Squaw Peak Summit

I checked my watch and was a bit fuzzy, since I had started it at the car, and there was a couple minute walk to the gate before the Strava Segment started. I hung out for a minute, took a couple of pictures, then headed back down. It was a bit more slippery going down, and I fell once, but no damage, so I kept on. Jen was moving pretty fast going down, and I ran into her about a quarter mile from the fork to the road and we went down that last steep narrow dirt trough together.

Frosty branches in the frozen mud
Frosty branches in the frozen mud

We continued on back to the car moving at a reasonably fast clip, but not running like I’d done on my last Squaw Peak training run. We discussed Elbrus Race 2014, possible gear selections and training methods, nutrition and her health and training goals.

It wasn’t until a while later, when I synced my Strava app that I discovered I’d achieved a handful of PR’s on this one. I was surprised, but quite pleased. One thing I’d like to add here is that I was not using trekking poles on this run, so I was using my arms to pump hard on the way up. Not sure if it helped or not though.

Strava Overview with PR's for Squaw Peak Run
Strava Overview with PR’s for Squaw Peak Run

I have been doing the Hoka Vertical Challenge on Strava too, which is one reason I’ve been doing a lot of vertical training this past week, instead of my usual runs on Keystone Gulch Road. I managed to top 4000 meters this week, which is a lot of vertical feet, especially considering that quite a bit of that was accomplished above 4000 meters on a Colorado Fourteener.

Hoka One One Demand More Vertical Challenge 4000 meter achievement
Hoka One One Demand More Vertical Challenge 4000 meter achievement

I’m heading back to Colorado now, and not quite sure what my vertical achievement goal will be for Monday after a rest day on Sunday. It will be exciting though to make this training goal. Here is a collection of images about my training from Strava Reports:

[map style=”width: auto; height:500px; margin:20px 0px 20px 0px; border: 1px solid black;” gpx=”http://sevensummitsbody.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/Squaw Peak 02 November 2013.gpx”]

Back Hyperextension to Superman Plank

I do Back Hyperextensions regularly in my training. I usually do them as a warmup for my other training especially on leg days. Getting the lower back prepared for squats and deadlifts is essential. In the video below I demonstrate a decent lower back position when doing Back Hayperextension exercises. Be sure to keep that back straight and don’t let the curve in your lower back collapse, like the classic angry cat image.

Back Hyperextension: close up of lower back and glute area

From the Youtube Page: I keep my lower back static while feeling the emphasis in my hamstrings and glutes. It’s not really a workout, but it’s a great way to warm up and cool down from your other posterior chain training.

In that back hyperextension video you probably notice that I don’t go for a large range of motion. About 45-60 degrees of movement is plenty. If you see someone doing this in a dynamic swinging movement with their shoulder pushed down and pulled back at the bottom and top, don’t imitate them. You can get hurt very badly. I think you should do back hyperextensions slowly and under control. It’s not strength training. You probably won’t be doing this with 200lbs on your shoulders. Ever.

Back Hyperextension to Superman Plank

I was talking to one of the people I train about fast uphill motion and they noticed some definite nagging pain in their Quadratus Lumborum area. I recommended back hyperextensions and Superman planks.

Back Hyperextension target muscle Quadratus Lumborum c/o Wiki
Back Hyperextension target muscle Quadratus Lumborum c/o Wiki

While training the other day it suddenly struck me to combine the two exercises into one set. It’s a lot easier since you are already set up to do the back hyperextension, and just lift your arms out for the plank. Here’s the Facebook Video I posted for this combination exercise.

The usual disclaimers apply. If you are hurt, injured, have some disability or pain or other issues that prevent you from doing this, please, check with a qualified professional before attempting it.