Tuesday, 11 November 2008


I thought I'd share some thoughts on my typical workout week.

Sunday: Climbing (20 minutes)
Monday: Gymnastic Session (30 minutes)
Lau Gar Kung Fu (1 hour) *
Tuesday: Rest
Wednesday: Lau Gar Kick Boxing (1 hour) *
Thursday: Climbing (20 minutes)
Friday: Gymnastic Session (30 minutes)
Saturday: Rest

The Lau Gar workouts are class based, so are static entries in to my weekly timetable.

The two gymnastic sessions are similar quite fixed (and usually performed at lunchtime), although the Friday session may be brought forwards or pushed back by a day or so.

Similarly the climbing training may 'slosh' around a bit in the week. Although what is above is 'typical'.

The climbing training and gymnastic training routines take the form of mini circuits.

Between them, the gymnastic and climbing session are 'modular' in that you could combine the workouts one after the other (in any order). The gymnastic sessions seldom work the shoulders or back with intense pulling movements (that is for the climbing session to do). If there is much overlap, I will drop the more limited back exercise from the gymnastic session (e.g. 'ring rows'), favouring to keep the more varied ring routine implicit in the climbing session.

The gymnastic sessions will share some skill and flexibility work such as back bridges, planche and levers. They will differ in the leg work - so I might do some jump-work on Monday but at the end of the week I might hit pistols.

In addition the Friday gymnastic session may be done after work and - if I missed Thursday's climbing session, will combine with climbing training. Any overlap between the routines will be mitigated by dropping exercises as necessary.

The two climbing sessions focus primarily on finger strength and shoulders (using a short ring routine.) In addition, I will sprint in at least one of these sessions. The weekend climbing session frequently involves a trip outdoors, in which case there is no sprinting or ring work - meaning shoulder/back exercises will be accentuated in the weeks' gymnastic session.

Rest days are never idle. I just take it much easier.

Further Notes:
The point I want to make here is that several sessions drift between days - and may be ignored altogether.

Each session can be adapted - gaining or losing and exercise depending on fatigue, time constraints and the content of future planned routines. The ring training versus 'traditional' back and shoulder work is an example of this. Sprinting is another good example - as long as I get around two sprint sessions in a week.

I try to mix protocols for any given body part in the same week. Thus the legs get hit with sprints one day, jump another and the week after that, use pistols. Handstand work may be replaced by vertical basketball throws or some kind of press work where I concentrate on raising a dumbbell explosively. Keep it mixed up.

Example of my Climbing Session
Climbing is inherently playful as is basic ring training - thus passing the Play Test. The sprinting angle and the ring training makes it also a gold star routine for passing the Rhino Test!

I have posted my usual warm up routine here (it really needs some pictures!) A condensed form follows:

Warm Up Phase 1:
I start off by doing joint rotations of the wrist, shoulders, neck, waist and knees (10 in each direction).

Warm Up Phase 2:
I progress on to arm swings, gradually increasing the range of the swing (it is NOT a wild swing). I perform a set of about 10 vertical arm swings and then 10 horizontal arm swings.

I then perform leg swings off each leg, starting of well within my movement range and raising the height with each swing. I'll do ten to the front for each leg, ten to the side for each leg and then ten to the back.

At this point I feel warm throughout and my heart rate has been raised. I have also engaged all of my key muscles.

The main part of the workout goes like this:

1) Sprint up my road for about 10 seconds (not necessarily in a straight line, and over the weeks, with each sprint emphasising a different quality such as top speed or acceleration)
2) Retreat to garage and do a simple ring routine (muscle-up, skin the cat, levers) - which takes about 30 seconds
3) 30 second kicking drills (Lau Gar) or Ring Scissors
4) Fingerboard Laddering/Dead hanging sequence

The sprinting means that there is loads of fresh blood pumped to my extremities for the duration of the workout. This is important when working the delicate parts of the body like the fingers.

The rings take care of arm, back and shoulder strength and the dead hanging optimises the finger specific training - also ensuring I rest up to 4 minutes or so between attempts on the fingerboard.

The whole session is over in around 25 minutes. I add bits in or remove bits as I see fit but as you can see above, I want to improve my splits so dropped in the ring splits to accommodate this.

Through my paleo lens I know that this routine would enable me to sprint from a predator and scale a tree to safety.

Bottom Line
There is a lot to take in here. The main points are:

This is a climbing specific routine (with a side order of training for kicking!)
Perform it about twice a week.
Vary the exercises as you deem fit (make up ring routines and vary the sprinting).
You can do additional training sessions in the week as long as they compliment this routine (i.e. your other sessions are not shoulder and upper back intensive).

Time constraints don't allow me to climb as much as I used to. This routine has allowed my to keep my finger strength nearly up to my maximal levels on a fraction of the climbing I did at my peak. As I make gains, I can maintain intensity and perhaps get stronger that I have ever been!


Chris said...

Good stuff - thanks for posting.

Most of my workouts are at www.hillfit.com if I remember to record them

Asclepius said...

I will check hillfit out!