A Modified Density Bouldering Program

Steve Bechtel taught me about density bouldering.  I’ve had fun with it in the past, but haven’t spent much time with it recently.  Recently though, my endurance has gone flat, and I don’t like the feel of it.  My plans to train some power have been sidetracked, and I’m also just not really psyched about it right now.  I know this probably isn’t the best reason to try something new, but I don’t got a lot of other things going on, so I’m sort of haphazardly shifting gears.   Hopefully, I won’t screw things up too badly.

This program starts off with some fairly easy sessions for me.  But they are still taxing to the skin, and I think it’s best if I build up to some harder sessions right now.  I just got done training max strength for about 6 weeks (too long), which means that I haven’t worked any “problems” that are longer than 1 to 3 moves total.

If you’re going to run this program yourself, I’d start with a ladder that you can comfortably complete (PLE 6-8).  Then you alternate between hard days and medium days. For progressions, I dropped the top of the ladder on hard days by one rung to create the next “medium” day.  Then to progress the hard days, I added a grade to the bottom of the ladder. The next hard day, I increased the middle of the ladder, and then the top rung on the next hard day, and so on.  Pretty simple, but it works.

It’s a bit more drawn out than Steve recommends for a power endurance phase, but I think the wave will make it tolerable, and maybe even make it stick better.  We’ll see.

Density Bouldering =

20 mins work, 20 mins rest, 20 mins work, with the goal being to cram as much volume in those 20 mins of work as possible.
This is modified in this program in 2 ways. (1) Intensity is increased by bouldering difficulty instead of adding volume. And (2) problems are done every 2 minutes instead of just doing as much as possible in 20 mins.
Do boulder ladders in sets of 3.
3 sets = 9 total M’s
An “M” is:
  • up, down, up, down;
  • minimal rest;
  • down climb any holds;
  • don’t touch the ground until you finish the M.
Do one M on the top of each 2 mins and rest the remainder of the 2 mins.
Start timer for 2 mins and do a V1 M, then rest until the timer goes off.  Start timer again for 2 mins, do a V2, then rest for the remainder of the 2 mins.  Continue with V3 .  Repeat for 6 more M’s (V1-V2-V3, V1-V2-V3), then rest for 20 mins, then do another round of 9 problems (V1-V2-V3, V1-V2-V3, V1-V2-V3 M’s)
Progression – 2-3x/week sessions wave between hard and medium days for about 4 weeks total.
  1. V1-V2-V3, V1-V2-V3, V1-V2-V3
  2. V1-V2-V2, V1-V2-V2, V1-V2-V2
  3. 2-2-3
  4. 2-2-2
  5. 2-3-3
  6. 2-3-2
  7. 2-3-4
  8. 2-3-3
  9. 3-3-4
  10. 3-3-3
  11. 3-4-4
  12. 3-4-3
  13. 3-4-5

Let me know what you think.

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