Core & shldr warmup

Bear crawl & Inchworm/founder


Modified Density

V2-3-2 M’s on the 2 mins.



40-45-50 lbs on smallest metolius rung. 3 min rests.



I worked one V8, tried it 5 times, sent it on the 5th go. 3 min rests.


The density was harder than I thought it would be. Not sure if I’m going to succeed at my next progression.  Felt good to do my maintenance hangboard session.  Bouldering felt like a good idea, at least for my confidence.




core and shoulder warmup

bear crawl & inchworm


Modified Density


Failed on:

1st round: 3rd V4

2nd round: 3rd V3, 2nd and 3rd V4


I wasn’t too surprised at my performance today.  I didn’t feel completely rested going into it, especially after doing some one arm hangs yesterday.  Not sure if those did me in, or maybe I’m just plateauing with this program.


I will regress to my previous “med-hard” day for the next session, and then repeat this day again. If I fail again, I will take a rest week and go into a power block.



This “med-hard” day was harder than I was hoping it would be.  I’m getting anxious about my next “hard” day.

Core and shldr Warmup
Bear crawl & inch worm

Modified Density



40, 45, 50 lbs

Smallest Metolius rung


1 round of skip ones

Could not complete 2nd half



This was a “hard” day that ended up not being too hard.  Again, it’s that last set in each round that is challenging.  I’m dialing in the problems, so I get them done fast and can rest about 60-80 seconds before my next go.  I’m really curious to see how the next hard day will go.  V2-3-4 sounds very challenging right now.

  1. Core & shldr Warmup
  2. Modified Density
    1. V2 –  3 –  3


Lb & shldr Warmup

Modified Density

V2-2-2 M’s on the 2 min, 3 rounds, 9 total. Rest 20. Repeat 1 more time.


Metolius smallest rungs. 40,45,50 lbs. 10 sec, 3 min rests.

1 round of campus
The V2’s felt easy, which I felt was a good sign of progress.  Although the overhangs were being re-set, so I didn’t get to include much of that.  Still, I think my endurance is improving.  Next session will really tell.  I barely got a pump, mostly just on the last couple M’s of each round.
I did some maintenance hangs and campus.  Thinking about putting these on the med-hard days of this program.  Or alternate hangs and campus on each session. Thoughts?

05/12/14 Monday

At Home

3 rounds with 20, 24, and 32kg

  • 8 goblet squats
  • 10/10 inverted rows
  • 10/10 OH swings

At Redmond gym

Modified Density

V2, V2, V3

This is getting tough already.  I had 3 days off since my last session, and this was still too hard to finish.  On some reps, I barely get any rest before having to start the next one.  I had to stop on problem 7/9 on the second round.  I was thinking about changing up the rest structure, doing a set 1 minute rest after completing each M, but I kind of like it how it is, with the clock pushing you.  Not sure how the rest of the sessions will go.  If I keep failing to finish, then I will either do a set rest amount, or just do a problem every 3 minutes (instead of every 2 mins).

I don’t feel too wasted today, the day after.


Did my second session of density bouldering M’s.  It felt good, and easy.  It’s supposed to be a medium-hard day.  I could have paced myself better.

Core warmup followed by

M’s of V1,V2,V2 (3 rounds in 20 mins)

Rest 20

M’s of V1,V2,V2 (3 rounds in 20 mins)

In the first 20 mins I had about 6.5 mins left on the clock after I finished my 3rd round.  I felt like I should have kept going, but I’m going to try to stick to the plan.  Maybe I should do a problem every 2 mins instead of doing rest as needed.  Yes, I think that would work better.

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.

05/02/14 Friday

Going to start logging my sessions again, after taking a break from it. Hopefully I’ll see some progress or be motivated by it in some way.

I’ve been working on building up to the 32kg kettlebell, so that’s taken a lot of my training energy.  Climbing has been on hold for 2 weeks.  I’m feeling very low endurance, so I’m going to do a bout of density bouldering to build some of that back up.  It’s hard for me to let it all go, and just keep pushing strength and power.  A block of power will be up next, after about 3 or 4 weeks of density.

Warmup @ home

  • Goblet squat x 8, Inverted rows 2 in x 10, OH swings 10/10
  • With 20kg, 24kg, 32kg = 3 rounds
  • rest as needed
@ Redmond VW
  • Density
  • 20 mins work, 20 mins rest, 20 mins work
  • M ladders on V1, V2, V3
  • 3 ladders each work period (9 total M’s)

The M’s (up-down-up-down) feel like a good middle endurance ground for me (too long for bouldering, too short for trad).  Most of my goals this year are bouldering related, but I’m also looking forward to some trad at Index this year, so I’m not quite willing to go all-in with the bouldering training.

Measuring Progress (or Stagnation or Failure)

After reading this article from PN ( http://www.precisionnutrition.com/low-carb-convert ) I was reminded of how challenging it is to measure the results of my climbing training. I’ve even slacked off with my training journals because of this.  My journals showed progress on paper, but it didn’t feel like it was enough to keep me motivated with my climbing goals (the real problem was that I didn’t have any climbing goals that were related to my training, but that’s another story).

I like to see progress.  I like knowing that I’m getting better.  So for those of us who train and climb mostly indoors – where the grades are inconsistent, and the problems are always changing – what sort of metrics can we keep to know that we’re on the right track?  You need a way to evaluate your training program, to make sure that your work is being rewarded, and to know when you need to make course corrections.

Consistency Is Key

The best way is to measure your relationship to something that is not changing (standard).  For me, the only things in my gym that stay the same are the weights, the hangboard, and the campus board.  If you have a static system board, or a project wall at your gym, then you can use these too.  I’ve been working on my hangboards using Eva Lopez’s ideas, and now I’m venturing into some power training on the campus board.

My Metrics

Currently I only have a couple of metrics to work with:


2nd smallest rung of the DRC V5.12 board with 50 lbs for 10 secs x 3

Plate Pinches

25lbs 3×3

After spending some time with the campus board, I’ll have an idea of how to track progress there as well.  I don’t plan on spending a lot of time on the campus board.  I feel like I still have much to learn from working boulders. But it’s just one more tool to evaluate my training programs.

I also onsight about V6 or V7 in my gym, but that can change dramatically based on route setting variables, so I try not to use this to evaluate progress.  It’s just a rough guide.

The problem with these indoor metrics is that your strength on the hangboard and campus board are only minimally related to your ability to climb hard boulders.  That’s why I’m going to do some bouldering outside this year.  It will be a chance for me to measure the effectiveness of my training.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to battle with the same boulders, season after season, and keep seeing progress.  Even if I lose the battle, I can use that info to change up my training and keep it efficient and effective.

How do you measure the effectiveness of your climbing training?