Matt – thank you for sharing your experience. At some point, I will probably go through this training plan (currently following the mountaineering plan) and this review is helpful.
I just finished Week 8 of the Beginner/Advanced Intermediate Ice/Mixed 8 Week Plan. There’s not a ton of user feedback on this program here in the forums that comes up via search so I thought I’d add a thread for people curious about the program.
I’ve been ice climbing for about 5 years, climbing in general for ~10. Not a great climber but competent. I climb WI4 confidently and have done a couple of WI5s, red pointed 5.11a sport and 5.10d trad. I’m 37, 6’2″ and vary between 205 and 230 depending on diet, training, time of year, etc. I was around 220 for the duration of this program b/c I took it easy on diet at the conclusion of my rope season. Not a typical climbers build but it helps keep me warm in the winter.
I bought the plan as I’d like to be able to walk up some WI5 routes this winter, and I had great success with a self-built plan for a trip to the Bugaboos using TFTNA so figured this program would be intelligently constructed.
I followed the program to the letter, with the exception of missing one climbing workout in the middle of the program.
I found the first 3 weeks or so of the program very easy with the exception of pullups (too fat for high reps), but knew from experience from my alpine TFTNA program that things would ramp up quickly and I didn’t want to burn out, so followed as written.
The specific strength weeks were incredible in how quickly my body adapted. At the beginning of the program I was only able to hold a one-armed bodyweight hang for max 2 seconds before my grip opened and my shoulder couldn’t handle it. I just tested my one-arm hang max time last night and I can hold for 15-18 seconds, which is a huge improvement. My PE+1 exercise was one armed hangs with +35lbs, which I was able to hold for 3-4 seconds.
For context, my max one-arm hang time last season was 4-5 seconds. This would have coincided with climbing the harder WI4+ and WI5 routes I’ve done.
I’ve also noticed huge improvements in the 3 point hold and hanging leg raise time/reps.
Our local season seems to be delayed by 2-3 weeks so I don’t expect to be climbing until January. I’m going to continue to run the final workout in the plan every 3-4 days, while I add in additional cardio volume, until the season starts. I’ll treat the first couple of weeks of the season as training deload week while conditions firm up, then will likely include one workout in the middle of the week to keep my strength up for the short duration of the season.
I’ll update this thread at the mid- and end-points of the season.
My temporary review is that the program is very simple to the point of being kind of boring, but has produced really incredible adaptations in a very short time. I’ll know more once I actually get on the ice, but expect to have my best season based on what I’m seeing already in one-armed hang time improvements.
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