kinetic chain training
January 6, 2011 posted by

Phase II: My Friends, It Is Time To Get Serious

Winter training moves into phase II tomorrow at which time The Straight Dope will get back to business. Party time is over and, to borrow a phrase from Tony, “my friends it is time to get serious.” This not only goes for training but for work. There are a lot of changes in the fitness and nutrition world that need to be addressed and I’ve been holding off on them until the New Year. Let’s get busy.

Phase I Recap: The last 50 days have been a combined rest and foundation phase. These are commonly coupled because athletes don’t like doing nothing and foundation training movements are less intense (and usually somewhat foreign) than actual sports training. It’s also a good time for endurance athletes to do some base training, which is essentially long slow distance or some variation. I’ve been doing daily stability training and not-very-long slow distance. It could have been way more focused but, as it’s also a rest phase, lack of structure was a planned.

Phase II Plan: Strength

All sports training should begin with an analysis of your strengths, weaknesses, and goals. My goals are in climbing, riding, running, and to improve at skate skiing. The latter, being a technical pursuit, isn’t a part of the training plan except as a note to self to plan recovery and aerobic conditioning on skiing days until I get good enough at it to do targeted high-level workouts.

Running: my base conditioning is very good but I’m having some foot issues, which I think will be cured by some more targeted speed and skill work (including more barefoot drills). So while I will continue to do a lot of aerobic conditioning to get ready from long days later in the year, I will begin to do more focused speed work.

Cycling: my cycling is in the worst form in years. This is because I completely shut it down when I hurt my back twice in the last two years and, thus, have essentially gone three years since I was in racing condition. Since It’s winter, most my aerobic conditioning will happen running or on skis and my riding will be doing short intense work for VO2/max, lactate turnpoint (more on this term later), and power training on my stationary trainer.

Climbing: I’ve been in full shut down mode for climbing and plan to milk this a bit longer. I feel I need more shoulder power, back, and forearm strength and will use this phase to increase all of these before I begin to apply them to rock. I’ve never found intense weight training and climbing to be effectively done together. This phase will focus on the gym work and will flip-flop in phase III.

I have essentially six weeks, which I’ll break into two three week blocks that I’m going to call hypertrophy and power. There will be overlap, as you’ll see, but the idea is to build all the mass that I want (not much) and big muscle absolute strength (aka power, and the big muscle term simply means not climbing specific, which is all attached to your fingers) in this phase. Then I’ll transfer it to performance in the next phase, and then roll it over towards mega-endurance for ultra events during the latter part of the year.

One big change in this year’s program is that I’m combining the same training focus for different, NON-RELATED sports. I generally break these up so that when I’m, say, training for power in climbing I’d be training endurance on the bike. This makes a lot of sense but, as a lab rat, I feel it’s my duty to try something new. After all, the ultimate goal here is not my own performance, which is only a barometer to assess training effectiveness, but a growth in my knowledge of training that I can then impart to you.

That’s enough for today. As the pic suggests, party time is not quite over. The actual workouts and structure will be reported as I go.


  • I'm very much a data/stats guy, but I'm wondering how you are going to measure success in the area of hypertrophy and power ? Is it a data thing ? visual ?

  • I used to keep a ton of data but have gone old school and just look at improvement during the overall program. I do record certain elements, usually resistance progressions. So I'll do that, and perhaps think up a before/after fit test (maybe the one I made for 90x). Then I can adds some graphs for you.

  • Sounds good Steve. I didn't do the fit test on p90x, but I do record all of my data for pushups/weights. I love seeing improvements in overall # of reps and weight. It's like a fun personal science experiment. This is my first consistent lifting/fitness program, so my results have been fantastic.I imagine you know your body pretty well and know when it's weak/strong, etc. Really excited for MC2 & PAP…..always looking for the next level.

  • Good luck with it. Quite a bit of celebratory consumption and a bout of illness have pimp slapped me back into reality as I tried to get serious this week. Under 9 months until race day… sigh.

  • Fit tests are misleading when you are fit. I took it last night and my low scrores are more a function of having not done those exercises recently more than fitness. I'll almost certainly double everything in a month, which sounds impressive but it's more a function of specificity than actual fitness gains. I wish I could improve 100% in a month. Then we'd really be on to something. I'll record my workouts and we'll see what kind of graph it'll make. Lee, 9 months is forever. Ullrich used to be 12 kilos overweight 7 months from the Tour.

  • Is that right about Ullrich? Damn. My fitness is fine, just a little rusty after the layoff. I'm pretty much following your model. Build strength and endurance for 4-6 weeks, and then translate it to the bike, running and swimming for the last 6 months of training.

  • Cyclists have a long history of getting way overweight in the off-season. LA was one of the first to famously not get overweight but he'd still start a season needing to lose 4 kilos. A lot, sure, but to get their wattage where they want it those guys are way underweight when they peak. But Ullrich was classic. He loved his off-season partying and would get huge. I'm reading through the "top cycling books of all time" and am shocked at how poorly some of the best cyclists cared for their health. If I lived like Marco Pantani I would't be able to ride a bike at all, much less win the Tour de France.

  • If you lived like Marco Pantani, well, you'd probably be dead too.

  • True indeed. His book is worth reading for shock value of cocaine tolerance alone. 20,000 Euros on coke during his last month. And he was jacked up almost his entire professional career. And, oh, they test for coke and he never was positive. So much for the "never tested positive" defense.

  • What about the "sorry for partying'" defense?

  • Looking good steve! I don't remember the last time I climbed, maybe soon if my tendons can handle it. I gained over 30 lbs and not in the best condition for climbing.

  • What?! That had better be all muscle. Switching from climbing to football?

  • LOL Yeah It's all muscle, hanging around 9% bodyfat, so I gained maybe a few pounds going from 6 to 9. Got into bodybuilding. Climbing is still a passion but not that extreme anymore. I guess you can say I have those dumb muscles, got hell of a lot stronger though (lifting wise). Never was into football, too many injuries IMO, I have too many phrases rather than sentences in this post hmm…

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