Training for an Outdoor Peak Period of Performance by Oli Grounsell

For many of us, when the good weather arrives, we want to climb outside for as long as possible, and preferably perform in this time as well.

However, building to this sort of peak period may look quite a bit different from a two week sport climbing trip to Margalef, to a weekend trip in Fontainebleau.

~ Photo by Mark Rankine

For ROUTE CLIMBERS –

We need to consider how much aerobic power work we are doing prior to the peak period. Aerobic Power tends to reach a ceiling at around 6-8 weeks of training. If you do 6 weeks of aerobic power training prior to an 8 week stint outdoors, you are going to reach that ceiling very quickly once outdoors.

Therefore, it could be worth doing very little beforehand, and then getting fit on the rock / project.

~ Photo by Liam Postlethwaite

For ALL CLIMBERS –

We need to consider the detraining effects that occur during a peak period. These won’t be noticeable during a shorter trip, but certainly rear their head during a longer period of performance. That said, they do tend to be countered by movement effeciency on the rock that is developed. 

To minimise this detraining, consider maintaining one training session a week. For a sport climber who is climbing 3 times a week on their project, a short fingerboard / board session will help maintain that top end recruitment.

REST WEEKS – 

Just like when we are training, rest periods during a prolonged peak period are recommended. 2 weeks on 1 week off would be my suggested approach with regard to mesocycles.

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~Oli Grounsell