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We ordered some new swag for the gym- and it’s on its way right now. We wanted to thank everyone who stuck with us during COVID19; we know that everyone felt tight with cash, and your support meant and means a lot to us.
So, we have a little gift coming your way!
We also wanted to pass along the small business support by using local screen printer Tiny Planet Ink ( thanks Dan ) , located in Globeville, to make these awesome Hat and t-shirts for our members. ( If you need shirts hit them up, and tell them Mountain Strong sent you )
As for stickers, we went out of state, but to a equally badass company Sticker Mule – they are cool folks who make rad, affordable stickers ( we ordered some of the holographic kind- because we’re fancy)
Hello, world! For over a year now, we have been hard at work writing “Mountain Strength: Strength and Conditioning for Mountain Athletes.”
Creating this book has been a dream for us, aggregating our decades of experience into one comprehensive resource. As we designed and built the training programs listed in this book, we were coaching as well, allowing us the unique ability to test every concept and workout in the 300 plus pages of this book. The process was slow and tedious, writing, re-writing, and then re-re-writing some more, then testing and re-testing our training programs & techniques to ensure there efficacy. Writing and creating a book like this has been a real labor of love. We have spent countless hours aggregating everything a mountain athlete needs to know in one place. This book is more than just a list of workouts; it includes tips and tricks to help along the way, advice on things to avoid, learned from or own failures, and explanations of broad concepts and philosophies we adhere too in the gym.
After more than a year of nonstop work, we are close to completing our vision. It’s now time to print this bad boy and get it into the hands of the people we care about- the tribe of mountain savages that we know and love. This Kickstarter campaign’s purpose is to help raise money to allow us to publish this book in the quality and style it deserves. Your pre-order will help us with the upfront cost of ordering books in bulk, which will enable us to print the highest quality book possible. We’re doing this all on our own, without a fancy publishing company, or a big dollar budget- we are coaches after all!
click here to buy your copy https://mountainstrongdenver.lpages.co/mountain-strength-book-v1
Mountain Strength is a training manual written for mountain athletes. The strength and conditioning programs outlined in this book have been painstakingly tested and designed to build better skiers, runners, and climbers, no matter your specific discipline or fitness level. We have spent years testing every workout in this book to create a comprehensive training manual just for athletes like you. Learn about our methodologies and how to take your training to a new level.
Included in Mountain Strength vol.1 :
- Over 500 unique workouts, warmups, exercises, and recovery
- Specific training programs for route climbing, bouldering, skiing, and mountaineering
- Scaleable in difficulty for beginners and elite athletes alike
- Tips and advice included along the way to take your training to the next level
- Full-color with vivid images and a quality binding
- Lessons on topics like caffeine in sports, the benefits of intensity in practice, the neuroendocrine response, speed and cadence for climbers, developing mental toughness, shoulder rehab, and prehab.
- Includes power and endurance centric broad non sport-specific training programs for those who want to do it all.
- Train a la cart by selecting one of our accessory programs such as deadlifting, squatting, rowing or Olympic lifting.
Occlusion training: aka Blood flow restriction
Below is a collection of articles and information I gathered from a verity of sources to help get you up to speed on BFR training and its benefits.
What is blood flow restriction training?
Wikipedia definition:“Blood flow restriction training (abbreviated BFR training) or Occlusion Training is an exercise approach whereby resistance exercise or aerobic exercise is performed whilst a tourniquet is applied to proximal aspect of the muscle. Limb blood flow is restricted via a cuff throughout the contraction cycle and rest period. This results in partial restriction of arterial inflow to muscle, but, most significantly restricts venous outflow from the muscle. Given the light-load nature and strengthening capacity of BFR training, it can provide an effective clinical rehabilitation stimulus without the high levels of joint stress and cardiovascular risk associated with heavy-load training ”
Explain the physiology:
Excerpt from Menshealth.com
“In order to understand how BFR works, it’s important to do a quick debriefing on how your circulatory system (also called vascular or cardiovascular system) works. Your arteries are blood vessels that carry oxygenated blood away from your heart to your body. Your veins are blood vessels that carry mostly deoxygenated blood from the body back to the heart.
The goal of blood flow restriction training is to restrict venous return while still allowing arterial flow by strategically wrapping the topmost portion of your limbs. By restricting the veins and not the arteries, blood can keep pooling into a working muscle and it stays trapped there. It’s like filling a water balloon to max capacity (without it popping, of course).
By bringing in all of that blood to the working muscles without letting it leave, a couple key things happen.
One, you get a crazy pump. Seriously, your muscles become supersized. The theory is that this leads to cellular swelling which shocks the muscles into new growth.
Two, it’s gonna burn like hell. Your muscles quickly become deprived of oxygen and can’t get rid of accumulating waste materials and this creates a lot of metabolic stress or acidosis. Metabolic stress is one of the three major mechanisms of muscle growth and should not be overlooked.
Dr. Brad Schoenfeld is a regular Men’s Health contributor and one of the leading authorities on hypertrophy (the scientific term for muscle growth).
In his book Science and Development of Muscle Hypertrophy, he says: “The prevailing body of literature shows that BFR training stimulates anabolic signaling and muscle protein synthesis and markedly increases muscle growth despite using loads often considered too low to promote significant hypertrophy.”
Brad goes on further, saying that “it has been speculated that metabolic stress is the driving force behind BFR-induced muscle hypertrophy.”
Another really cool thing that happens with BFR is since your oxygen-dependent slow-twitch fibers fatigue way faster than normal, you have to quickly start tapping into your fast-twitch muscle fibers, which have the biggest potential for growth.
What’s crazy about this is your fast-twitch fibers typically don’t get hit unless you’re using heavy loads or moderately heavy loads performed explosively. But BFR allows you to go fast-twitch with loads less than 50 percent of your one-rep max. In fact, one study from the Journal of Applied Physiology showed increased muscle cross-sectional area with BFR training using loads as light as 20 percent of one-rep max. That’s the equivalent of pink baby weights in some cases.”
Show me the evidence:
How to incorporate this into my cross training and climbing :
At Mountain Strong, we like using the somewhat standard program of :
30 fast succession reps (or: 45 secs of work) at a low eight ( >20%1rm ) followed by a: 30-second rest repeated 4 times. We like to do this in a couplette (with two different exercises- 4 rounds each – resting and releasing the cuff once after the first 4 round set and on completion of the second).
We find this methodology is best put into practice for our climbers by selecting Zottman curls and grip squeezesfor their BFR training. For a less sport-specific approach, we like calf raizes, air squats, and triceps extensions.
exsample workout :
Tighten band just above the elbow:
4 rounds of :45 sec rapid squeezing with rubber grip trainers followed by :30 of rest
Release the band – rest for 3 min –
Tighten the band just below the shoulderat the top of the biceps then:
4 rounds of 30 reps of the zottman curl followed by :30 seconds of rest
Links to learn more:
Buying a BFR band :
A few weeks back we hosted a movement seminar, member and good friend Fletcher wrote some words about it
scope it here :
It’s not what you do today that counts. It’s what you do all year, day in and day out. Athletically we are the sum of the work we do. As a coach I often see people come into the gym and destroy themselves in a 2-hour suffer-fest workout, only to not come back in a week or more. Unfortunately, this type of intermittent training has little value concerning performance. I’m not saying it doesn’t have any value, but instead, it’s an inefficient use of your time.
Here are some quick tips to help you get the most of your workouts:
Do less- Huh? You heard me. You don’t need to kill yourself in the gym and spend the next week obliterated. It’s OK to leave the gym feeling good and not destroyed! 20 minutes is plenty of time if you walk into the gym focused and with a plan.
Do less but do it better- The goal of a workout is to stimulate the body, thus manifesting change (in the industry we call this super compensation). We can boost our bodies by increasing the weight (stack on those weights bro!), volume (number of reps or sets) or intensity (how much or how little you rest during your session) AND by improving and changing your movement patterns (i.e using proper form). Don’t just focus on one of these, rotate through each to keep the body guessing.
Do less but do it more often- Training 20 minutes a day, 5 days a week will do more for your performance than training 2 hours, once a week. Wrap your head around this because it’s a brainbuster.
Have a plan- When you walk into the gym, know what you’re going to do, how fast you’re going to do it, and then get it done. Trust the system. It’s not magic, but it works.
I’ve included two quick 20 minute burners to get you rolling. Workout #1 is climbing specific, and Workout #2 is general conditioning. Do them both if your feeling feisty, if not alternate each day or workout around your climbing schedule. You can find more workouts at www.mountainstrongtraining.com
Workout #1: Climbing Specific
Things to focus on: this workout is about FAILURE. To get better you can’t just let go every time you get a little pumped, that would be weak sauce. Hold on until your grip FAILS. You know this happens when your hands pop off the wall, it hurts your tender skin, and you land on your butt (probably not very gracefully). You wouldn’t believe how often I see people let go instead of falling.
3 Rounds of:
-10x Scap Pullups
-10x Arm Circles (one arm at a time, forward and back)
-20 sec Deadhang from a good sized edge ( his should feel fairly easy but a bit pumpy)
6x 3-5 Kipping Pullups (that’s 6 rounds of 3-5 pullups). Scale the reps based on your ability/fitness level. Kipping helps recruit more muscles in the shoulders and back, so while it makes the pullups “easier” you’ll get a broader impact on your body. Kipping is a skill and it’s harder to master than it looks. If this is hard for you, or pullups are not available to you yet, work on your kipping swing for 5 minutes instead of doing the prescribed rep scheme.
Hold size for this is subjective: scale this based on your ability/fitness level.
Speed 5 minutes finding the worst edge or hold you can hang onto for 15 seconds, open-handed with straight arms and no feet.
Complete 3 rounds of the following:
-Unweighted, 6 rounds of hanging for 7 sec on/ rest for 3 sec (1 min total, each round)
*rest for 1 min between rounds
-Weighted, 6 rounds of hanging for 5 sec on/ rest for 5 sec (1 min total each round)
*rest for 1 min
*use a weight vest or put on a backpack and put some weight in it. Scale (modify) this, so it’s difficult but not impossible to hang for 5 sec. Don’t change the size of the hold; the idea is to elicit change without putting too much strain on the ligaments and tendons (so you don’t need a tiny edge). This type of training pays substantial dividends in the long-run.
Workout #2: General Conditioning
Focus on intensity: let me put it this way…you can go run for an hour+ OR you can run for 5 min, the choice is yours. If the hour+ session is more up your alley, then get after it. The goal of this workout is to get you feeling smoked… Welcome to metabolic conditioning! This only works if you push yourself. Consider timing yourself or challenge a friend to do it with you. Intensity is king here.
3 Rounds of:
-10 Pushups (scale these to your knees if you struggle with pushups)
-10 Air Squats
Complete 3 minutes of cardio (run around the block, up some stairs, row on an ERG, or do some jumping jacks. The goal here is to get a little out of breath so push yourself a little in this part of the warm-up.
Hips swings and arm circles
Complete this rep scheme as fast as possible. You will need to take some breaks, just keep them to a minimum. Try and stay consistent, keep good form and remember to try hard. This workout can be as tricky as you make it!
*10 Pushups, 10 Pull-ups, 10 Burpees, 9 Pushups, 9 Pull-ups, 9 Burpees, 8 Pushups, 8 Pull-ups, 8 Burpees… Continue down to 1 of each movement.
*Record your time. Next time you do this try and beat it.
Go for a walk as you cool down after, and do some light stretching.
This week’s post is all about converting to the Zone Diet. The Zone diet has been around for decades and has generally been known as a weight loss diet; this is a shame because being in the Zone is about so much more than weight loss. It’s been proven that your body responds positively to meals balanced with 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein, and 30% fat. When you’re in the Zone, you’ll have better digestion, more energy, more power, and excess fat will almost literally fall off your body. The Zone diet is all about keeping your body “in the zone” as much as possible. This is the only diet I have followed that has given me the results it promises. I encourage everyone to give this is serious try for 30 days and watch your results both on and off the scale.
Zone measures your macro-nutrients. There are three of these: carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Learning about and implementing the Zone diet is not easy. There is so much information out there it can be hard to process. Try to keep it simple for at least a month before you begin to experiment with different balances and more complex measurements.
Everything you eat should be grouped into one of the three macro-nutrient categories (carbs, protein, fat) and broken into what we call blocks. This is to simplify the calculations.
1 block carbs = 9g carbohydrates
1 block protein = 7g protein
1 block fat = 1.5g fat
A meal or snack should consist of equal blocks carbs, protein, and fat. For example, a three block meal includes 3 blocks of carbs, 3 blocks of protein, and 3 blocks of fat. Other than a few exceptions (which we won’t even bother getting into in this post)everything you eat will fall into one of these categories based on its dominant macro-nutrient. Whatever the food item contains the most blocks of, is what it should count towards (more on that later).
The list below is designed to put you on the right track for success in your transition towards being in the Zone.
If you have any questions, please comment below or email me at email@example.com
1) Learn what the Zone Diet is. Diet is not what you eat for your attempt at a 30 day quick fix, diet is your lifestyle of eating. The definition of diet is not weight loss, contrary to what many people believe. Its true definition is what foods someone eats habitually. Read the below link to learn about what the Zone diet is:
Here is some more easy reading on Zone with examples of meals:
2) Find out what a ‘block’ is and how many you should be eating.
A block is 40% Carbs, 30% Fat, and 30% Protein. To simplify you can think about it as the following:
1 block carbs = 9g carbs
1 block fat = 1.5g fat
1 block protein = 7g protein
Zone assumes you are consuming some fat in your protein source or carb source, so there is no need to micro-manage your food. Everything you eat should be considered either a carb, fat, or protein. The dominant macro-nutrient will help you define what your food is.
For example, something that has 4g carbs, 6g fat, and 7g protein should be considered a fat source. While something that has 20g carbs, 2g fat, and 7g protein would be a carb source.
In the first example, where the primary macro-nutrient is fat, this item would equal a total of 4 blocks of fat within a meal. In order to complete the Zone-friendly meal, someone would need to eat an additional 4 blocks of carbs and 4 blocks of protein.
If you do not follow this method and micro-manage your blocks, you’re likely not going to eat enough and end up hungry (and possibly making a poor food choice as a result).
The calculator at the link below can help you decide how many blocks you should be eating each day (note that it’s only a guideline, everyone is a little different). Try following something for 30 days, then begin to tailor it to your needs:
3) Get a food scale. They’re cheap on Amazon and, trust me, you can’t accurately eyeball it no matter how slick you think you are. 1 block of broccoli or spinach (128g) is hard to eyeball.
4) Research Zone friendly recipes and PLAN AHEAD. You’re wasting your time if you’re not going to plan meals at minimum one day ahead of time. At the very least, stock your home with healthy options and all the ingredients you need to cook zone-balanced meals.
5) Speaking of planning…don’t forget to plan for healthy snack options, as well. When you get hungry during the day, go for a 1-2 block snack. (Example: 1/2 cup/3 large spoonfuls of cottage cheese (2P), 1 apple (2C), and a handful of sunflower seeds, or almonds (2F) would be a great 2 block snack)
6) Drink 32-48oz of water each morning as soon as you wake up, before you eat. This will gently wake your organs and digestive system, as well as get you ahead of the hydration curve for the day. It’s hard to do, but your body will adjust over a week of doing it and you’ll feel the difference it makes.
7) Read these articles:
8) Realize that the first 3-4 weeks will be the most difficult. If you dedicate yourself you will notice results in your first month, but understand there will be hard times. If you can make it to the point when you aren’t craving sugars anymore, know the hard part is over. Some cheat meals are ok, but get back on the horse and back to planning out your healthy meals and snacks ASAP after a cheat. One cheat can lead to two, which leads to three and after three what’s another one really going to cost you..? All of a sudden you’re not following the path you wanted. One great thing about following a zone diet is that you’re always only one meal away from getting your body back in the zone.
9) Smoked salmon…try it if you haven’t. If you have and don’t like it, try it again. When done right, the salmon not only tastes fantastic, but it packs well for snacks/lunches and contains a strong nutritious punch. I find smoked salmon with some fruit and nuts make an easy, delicious snack.
10) Finally (and possibly most importantly) remember what your goals are. Change is hard and there will tough times. Win the mental battles and you will be well on your way to optimizing your eating, athletic performance, and happiness!
A native of Minnesota who now calls Las Vegas, NV home. Andy owns and runs Origin, a state of the art climbing facility. Andy is a professional climber who has established new sport climbs up to 5.14D, bouldered V13 and won countless indoor climbing competitions.
I was able to corner him for a quick interview; check out what he has to say!
How many days a week do you train on average? Describe your average week of training…
Pretty much like clockwork I train 3 days a week, 2 indoor and one outdoor. In addition to that I have to forerun (climb routes in the gym to confirm the grades, often a mix of easy and hard climbing, but low volume) 3 different days a week as well. If I’m in bouldering season, two of the three days are power/strength and one is power-endurance. If it’s route season, two are power-endurance and one is power/strength.
What do your rest days look like?
Probably whiskey. Currently I only get one full rest day per week, but I’m honestly finding the forerunning to be fairly beneficial, because it ends up being a good warm up, but not a workout. Essentially a day where I get an active rest workout.
How does your eating and nutrition change as you approach a project?
It doesn’t. I might keep a closer watch on things, but honestly that shit is too stressful to do on your own.
What is your favorite form of recovery ? Foam roller, ice baths, etc.?
Hot tub, theracane, foam roller, lacrosse ball.
How seriously do you take sleep, how many hours do you get on average?
Sleep is hugely important. I try to get as much as I can, usually 7-10 hours is what I can get.
Describe the week directly before a project? Do you rest more, eat differently, change any of your habits?
Nah. The year before a project is what matters. Prepare, make goals, follow through.
Describe the night before, and the morning of a project, redpoint day or a competition…
The night before again is probably no different from any other. Get a good night sleep. Changing your habits in the extra short term only causes stress and can be detrimental. Unless your normal habits are shit to begin with, but therein may be a good place to improve ones performance without even having to workout.
Do you have any rituals or habits that help you get “ in the zone?”
Visualize the route, calm breathing, and focus.
Do you have a mantra you tell yourself before or during competition?
Don’t be a little bitch!
Actually, I just try to keep my mind as empty and focused as possible.
You have been competing and training for a long time, any ninja tips or rules to live by?
Get enough rest and recovery.
Plan ahead and make goals that are one year out, and follow through with your goals.
Be extremely competitive, but not too obsessive. It’s a fine line.
LEARN HOW TO ACTUALLY TRY HARD. I made a my first 14d FA this fall. I later found out that on the send I popped three ribs out of place, one wrist bone, and misaligned two vertebrae.
Do you have any quirky habits that help you succeed at your sport?
I almost without fail put on my left climbing shoe before my right. In the thousands of times that I’ve put climbing shoes on I doubt that I have skipped that more than 5 times…
watch a video of Andy Crushing rocks here :
Why We Scale
by Matt Lloyd
The Crossfit journal puts it like this: “CrossFit workouts are scaled to preserve the intended stimuli despite athlete limitations such as experience, injury, illness or range of motion.”
A properly scaled workout safely maximizes relative intensity (load, speed, range of motion) to continue developing increased work capacity despite limitations.
Don’t take it personally. You have limitations. No one has mastered every movement at all the load, speed, range of motion variations available . So we the coaches set you up to achieve the goal of a specific WOD based on your personal skill set. We do this by modifying the weight, volume or movement of a particular workout while maintaining the original intent and time domain.
We can scale a workout in several different ways. Firstly we can scale weight or volume to maintain a specific time domain ( how long the workout should take / the intensity of the workout ) . If the WOD calls for 30x 135lbs clean and jerks , we can lower the weight to 115 lbs and maintain the reps or have keep the 135lbs and have you complete 20 reps instead of 30.
The reasoning behind this is less obvious than you might think. Often athletes confuse the ability to complete a workout with ability to reach a certain intensity in the workout. The latter being much more important.
Here are two workouts and scaled versions of them.
Coach Glassman says to remember this potent but simple saying: “The poison is in the dose.”
Simple enough right? The problem arises when athletes neglects the intent of a workout when considering the scaling option.
To understand intent and intensity you need to understand fitness.
What is fitness? and how this correlates to scaling?
“Total fitness, the fitness that CrossFit promotes and develops, requires competency and training in each of these three pathways or engines. Balancing the effects of these three pathways largely determines the how and why of the metabolic conditioning or “cardio” that we do at CrossFit.
There are three metabolic pathways that provide the energy for all human action. These “metabolic engines” are known as the phosphagen pathway, the glycolytic pathway, and the oxidative pathway. The first, the phosphagen, dominates the highest-powered activities, those that last less than about ten seconds.The second pathway, the glycolytic, dominates moderate-powered activities, those that last up to several minutes. The third pathway, the oxidative, dominates low-powered activities, those that last in excess of several minutes.
The motivation for the three standards is simply to ensure the broadest and most general fitness possible. Our first model evaluates our efforts against a full range of general physical adaptations, in the second the focus is on breadth and depth of performance, with the third the measure is time, power and consequently energy systems. It should be fairly clear that the fitness that CrossFit advocates and develops is deliberately broad, general, and inclusive. Our specialty is not specializing. Combat, survival, many sports, and life reward this kind of fitness and, on average, punish the specialist. “ – Crossfit main site ( read more on this @ http://journal.crossfit.com/2002/10/what-is-fitness-by-greg-glassm.tpl )
So when we offer your a 8 min AMRAP , or a 20 EMOM or you attempt Grace you are doing a workout specifically created to illicit a change in a specific metabolic pathway. Deviating from that specific pathway alters the effect of the WOD.
Which brings us back to scaling. Lets use “Grace” again as an example.
“Grace” 30 Clean and Jerks @ 135/95 lbs for time
This workout is designed to be completed in a certain amount of time, staying firmly in a specific metabolic engine or pathway . We are aiming for this WOD to be completed in roughly sub 7 min, aiming for about 4 min. You might not know what time restraint we are looking for in a particular workout but your coach does.
Read more about grace @ http://www.cebul.la/whats-a-good-grace-crossfit-time/
Obviously these times are done by elite athletes and the very peak of there fitness.
To use myself as an example, at the RX weight it would take me around 10 min to complete RX Grace. The result of my specific skills, and limitations puts me in a different time bracket and thus effects my relative level of intensity and ultimately altering which metabolic pathway i will reside in for the WOD. The result is the programming that our coaches take so much time and effort to develop is changed and the individual athletes fitness suffers ( although you may end up working very hard anyway ) . The remedy is to scale the weight or the reps down to maintain the intensity.
“Intensity is one of those words people misuse. Intensity is defined as extreme degree of strength, force energy, or feeling. The magnitude of a quantity. CrossFit puts that into more understandable terms in its definition of Intensity: Intensity is exactly equal to average power.” —as said by the fine folks over at CrossFit Invoke.
When your coach says to scale , they are not saying you can’t lift a certain weight , although they could be, what they are saying is- we are looking for a certain intensity and that the weight or the volume has to be altered so that you can maintain that desired intensity for the workout.
“Be impressed by intensity, not volume.” —Greg Glassman