Tag: ice climbing training

Ice Climbing Training 6 Week Preparation

Ice Climbing Training? It is indeed that time of year. So let’s get this show on the road. I promised a few weeks ago to post my current ice climbing training program.

Ice Tool Chin-ups for Ice Climbing Training
Ice Tool Chin-ups for Ice Climbing Training

I know from previous years that six weeks of good hard work set you up for a much more successful and fulfilling season out on the ice. Ice climbing training is way worth a little bit of effort for about 6 weeks, or more if you have it. I think if you get into a late season, or are mainly going to Ouray, this program could be done for eight or more weeks and work great.

Ice Climbing Training 6 Week Program

It’s the one I’m actually doing right now. Though I am using slightly different weights for it. For myself I’m really posterior chain dominant. That means I can train hamstrings and glutes all day long and get a lot of bang for the buck. So whereas in this ice climbing training program when it says something like 8 x 8 @ 50% – for me that might be more like 8 x 8 @ 100% (the % being percentage of bodyweight for the training load). For example, like with Leg Curls where I’ve actually maxed out the machine at the gym I currently go to. I say that not to impress, but rather to explain that there is a lot of variance in this program. If you can recover fast enough, there is plenty of room to do a lot more weight in the shoulders and chest exercises.

 

I promised this first to my newsletter subscribers, so if you want your copy, please sign up now and get one without the waiting. It’s a 4 day a week program you can use in just about any gym, even a well stocked home gym. There are a few different options listed, but if you need more let me know and I’ll make a revised version and send it to my subscribers.

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If you’re looking for a more generic, long term training program, I’ve had quite a few people contact me about my latest training manual Summit Success: Training for Hiking, Mountaineering, and Peak Bagging

It’s 16 weeks that will get you in amazing shape. Check out the reviews.

Ice Climbing Training is sometimes a do-it-yourself task
Ice Climbing Training is sometimes a do-it-yourself task
Stand Up Paddle Board Cross Training

Stand Up Paddle Board Cross Training

First of all, let me tell you, my hips hurt. Right where my lower obliques tie into the iliac crest. Yep. And I owe it all to stand up paddle board training. I had a chance to try the Stand Up Paddle Board at Keystone Lake near Mountain House Base Area. I used to canoe a lot when I was in my 20’s. I canoed several hundred miles on rivers and lakes in Wisconsin, Utah, Montana, and Nevada. In the past few years I’ve had the chance to also canoe and kayak on Keystone Lake and when they got a stable of stand up paddle boards I became curious.

stand up paddle boards all in a row
stand up paddle boards all in a row

I have a friend who volunteers in my BSA group who is a river guide, and he said that he uses a stand up paddle board while teaching beginner kayak skills. At a recent BSA week long camp out, we had a lake day, and the life guards were all on stand up paddle boards. So I was really curious now. So I arranged to go try it.

a beginner stand up paddle board
a beginner stand up paddle board

Stand Up Paddle Board as Training

I didn’t know there were different stand up paddle boards for different skill levels, but I had to start on a beginner board. It was weird to say the least, but by keeping my knees low and using my hips to drive the paddle with stable shoulders, I was going about 2 + MPH and getting in a good workout. I then switched to an intermediate stand up paddle board. I actually liked it a lot more.

an intermediate stand up paddle board
an intermediate stand up paddle board

That first day I did a little over .8 miles with an average speed around 1.7 MPH. Not too shabby and it felt great on my shoulders, lats, and core. Here’s my Stand Up Paddle Board session from Movescount (Suunto Ambit2 S GPS Heart Rate Monitor – CLICK HERE).

Movescount Stand Up Paddle Board Statistics Day One
Movescount Stand Up Paddle Board Statistics Day One

I went back the next day for another session, I had so much fun. I went back to the intermediate Stand Up Paddle Board and booked it around the lake. I worked on improving my technique and speed and did several laps around the fountains and buoys and got in 1.2 miles.

Stand Up Paddle Board stats from Strava
Stand Up Paddle Board stats from Strava

That’s the view of that workout on Strava, synced from my Suunto. I averaged 2.3 MPH over that 1.2 miles. Much faster than the previous workout.

Movescount stats for Stand Up Paddle Board workout day two
Movescount stats for Stand Up Paddle Board workout day two

Then this morning I had some business meetings to attend and my side hurt quite a bit so I did some mountain bike riding as my cross training instead. The fact that I was hurting proves that I have some weakness there to address. I have to admit though that I’m hooked and will most likely do quite a bit of stand up paddle board training for as long as the lake is open.

Though I am by no means an expert on this topic, I recommend a low balanced stance keeping light on the balls of your feet. Set the paddle into the water in as straight a line as possible to keep from having to switch from side to side with it so often to stay in a straight line while paddling. Try it, it will make sense in motion.

Stand Up Paddle Board on Keystone Lake at 9,300' in Colorado
Stand Up Paddle Board on Keystone Lake at 9,300′ in Colorado

For cross training, these are the muscles that come into play while ice climbing. The lats and core get quite the endurance training session out of this. If someone does know more about cross training with the stand up paddle board and would like to share, please, message me below.

 

 

Ice Climbing Training Upper Body [archive copy]

Part One of an in-season upper body Ice Climbing training program. You should alternate this with Part Two. Since this is an in-season program we’re not going to try to get stronger. Ice climbing training should assist the primary activity of ice climbing, but not take away from it. Proper strength training would require you to take 3-5 days off from training to let the muscles recover fully before training again. This would take away from your outdoor climbing fun, since most of the week you’d be recovering, and in the long run the load would be too high. Begin with about 5-10 minutes of a light duty warmup to get the whole upper body full of hot blood and nice and flexible. I like a full range exercise like the Concept2 SkiErg. You could substitute bands, which I’ll show you in Ice Climbing Training Upper Body Part Two.

Ice Climbing Training: Warmup on SkiErg

Remember, this should not be a workout or cardio. Just crank away till you’re nice and warm and your joints are soft. For most people 5:00 to 10:00 minutes should be good enough warm up for an ice climbing training session. I’ve actually gone without it a few times and been none the worse for wear and tear. But I do recommend it until you know your own body. My first exercise in this upper body program is a very light, fairly quick, nearly full range of motion power rack bench press. Since I’m alone I use a power rack to protect myself from dropping the weights. I set the safety bars about half an inch off my fully expanded chest. If you’re just starting out you might want to set it a few inches higher until you know what works best for you. I usually do a set of 25. I think anything from about 10 up will do, but if you can’t do 25 with pretty good form it’s probably too much weight for this type of in-season ice climbing training program.

Ice Climbing Training: Bench Press

UPDATE:

This is as far as it got when I saved it as a draft on March 13, 2014! I’m only putting it here for historical purposes and will get my new Ice Climbing Training articles up about once a week for the next few weeks. Remember, if you wanted the free pre-season General Physical Prep (GPP) training program – fill out this form. I’ll totally keep you in the loop.

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Remember – Train Smart and Hard for Best Progress!

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.

High Rep Calf Raises

I was talking to a friend a couple weeks ago. He was doing off-season training for ice climbing and mentioned how his calves would get tired while leading. In leading ice you normally stand on your front points and lower your heels to lock in your knees and keep your weight on your bones, or skeleton. This saves wear and tear on your muscles. Be that as it may though, it still takes quite a bit of flexibility and strength to do most efficiently. This made me think about my own training with high rep calf raises.

Without going into too much detail about muscles, the calf is built with two different ways of moving. Basically, the calf lifts your heel, or pushes with the toes. It’s the same thing really. One set of calf muscles does this while the knee is straight. Another set does it while the knee is bent. In the High Rep Calf Raises we’re going to see here, your knees are straight. The calf muscles are pretty small overall, and for many of us don’t respond well to hypertrophy. That means they won’t get very big. You use your calf muscles all day long. Every step you take. So they’re pretty well tuned to high volume work. Lots of repetitions. I like 25 for the weights I use for my high rep calf raises.

High Rep Calf Raises Progression

One thing about any type of training, including maybe especially high rep calf raises, is that when you first begin, you might not be very strong. Many people will start with only their own bodyweight, possibly even supported. Let’s begin with a stretch. In the photo below I’m stretching one leg at a time, and I’m fairly flexible there. At first you can use two legs. I’m standing on a 6″ stepping box, but anything sturdy will work like stairs or a deck. Use your hands for balance. Let your heel drop below your toes as far as you can with just a mild burn in your calf. Hold that position for about 20 seconds. That’s it. You’re done. Do it before and after your calf exercise.

Stretch your calf muscles before high rep calf raises
Stretch your calf muscles before high rep calf raises

If you’ve never done high rep calf raises before, use that same step to lift your body up, keeping your knees straight, with both legs. Just your body weight is good for now.

Bodyweight 2-leg high rep calf raises
Bodyweight 2-leg high rep calf raises

When you can do 4 sets of 25 at bodyweight with two legs, then you can begin to add weight. Barbells can be tough to balance on your shoulders while doing calf raises, so I like to use the Safety Squat Bar. But you can just use anything that has weight. In the photo below I’m using a 25 lb olympic size weight plate.

Weighted high rep calf raises
Weighted high rep calf raises

If you’re feeling pretty strong and want to give it a go, you can do your weighted high rep calf raises on only one leg. Keep in mind though that for many people balance can really be an issue. Don’t hurt yourself.

Weighted Single Leg High Rep Calf Raises
Weighted Single Leg High Rep Calf Raises

High Rep Calf Raises Video

In this video I’m doing a set of high rep calf raises. 25 reps at 245 lb. (4 x 45) + 65 (for the bar) = 245 lb. This is a Safety Squat Bar and I’m glad it is. Notice how it swings when I step up onto the riser at the beginning and how it leans when I set it into the hooks at the end? If it were a straight bar I wouldn’t be able to use my hands to help with balance. But that’s just me. You might not have any issues at all. I love how my calf muscles shake the last few sets in the inset lower right. I did this after my squat training session for the day. I did that after my elliptical warmup. My legs were pretty warm by then. I recommend you warm up too. Calf muscles are pretty small and can be pretty tight, so make sure you properly warm up before you train them hard.

For myself that weight and volume works for me. You can experiment with other sets and reps to see what works for you.