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Sport Specific > Climbing-Rock > Active Recovery

Active Recovery (IV of IV)

If you've participated religiously in the first three parts of this climbing program, you probably are ready for one-two weeks off from climbing. Most people find this to be the hardest part of the program, since they've been having so much fun and seen such tremendous gains in climbing ability. Yet if you go right back to 4 weeks of endurance training (another cycle of training) without resting, you may be setting yourself up for injury from overtraining.

This week of active recovery can include any sort of non-climbing exercise--light scrambling, hiking, cycling, running, stairs, skiing--but give your upper body muscles a break. Now is a great time to participate in a few yoga classes, stretching sessions, or even kickboxing, if you're into that sort of thing. If you ABSOLUTELY cannot POSSIBLY stay away from the climbing wall, then stick to routes that only involve stemming, manteling, and footwork, but by all means let your elbow and finger tendons recover.

Now is also the perfect time to reflect on your experience over the past 9 weeks by charting your progress in a training log or journal. Spend some time thinking about what your next goals will be: what would you like most to work on over the following week of endurance training? What new projects do you want to put on your plate for the next 3 week cycle of power training? Keep yourself mentally psyched as well as physically conditioned, and you will get the most from your climbing training program.

If at the end of a week you are not quite ready to launch into the next phase, or your elbows or fingers aren't feeling quite 100%, it's perfectly okay to take a longer break. You may find that a 3-3-2-2 (3-endurance, 3-power, 2-power endurance, 2-rest) schedule works better for you. You may also choose to do this sort of routine to get you into your climbing season each year, and then enjoy the trips you have scheduled throughout the summer. If you climb year round, your endurance trips might be easy bouldering routes that you can sustain for longer periods of climbing, with power trips (no pun intended) falling during weeks that you can work on difficult projects. By periodizing your climbing routine, you'll stay fresh, limit your injuries, and vary the types of climbs you do so that you become a balanced, well-rounded climber.


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