integration training
September 8, 2010 posted by

WFH: Integration

Today let’s get back to the Workout From Hell, which has now moved way beyond Largo’s vision. I’m still working with PAP training, and will post my actual workouts when I feel as though they are good. Currently it’s a lot of trial and error. I call this phase of training Integration since it takes the base fitness gained during the program and integrates it into sports specific strength.

As usual, I put too much verve and too little caution into my first trial with PAP, which forced me into a recovery phase to avoid injury. So I’ve taken nearly two weeks off of intense upper body work. My recovery has included some intense lower body PAP workouts that are addressing some hip instability. After 12 weeks without a break a recovery block was in order anyway. I should have scheduled it prior to needing it.

These PAP workouts are structured as thus: a lengthy ballistic warm-up, followed by two rounds of complexing. The first round is usually four exercises: a slow heavy muscle contraction movements done 8-10 reps, followed by an explosive movement that targets a similar area for 4-6 reps, followed by two more movements of 30 seconds (each side is it’s unilateral) for a targeted weakness for something in the chain that supports the above. A sample would be:

Bulgarian Squats, Split Jump Squats, Side Bridge, Wall Slide

I move through each complex steady, not resting but also not hurrying. The key is that each movement should be hard and done at 100%, which perfect form. I then do another complex series of three movements, and then cool down with some mobility workout that features a lot of proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) stretching.

I realize the above sample is not very climbing specific. That’s because I’m unsure how to best accomplish a climbing-specifc complex series. I’ve been experimenting with the usual suspects: campus board, hangboard, systems wall. I think I’m on the right track but still searching for the “a-ha” moment when I know I’ve stumbled on that perfect sequence.

So far I’ve done no bouldering. I’ve been steadily climbing but it’s all been static and controlled in an attempt not to cross over the slow and controlled movements of the WFH. As integration progresses I’ll introduce dynamic climbing back into the equation.

A lot of people are afraid of dynamic training. But when you are involved in a dynamic sport—as climbing is if you’re actually trying—your body should be able to handle force under controlled situations (like campusing) if it’s going to withstand force in an uncontrolled situation (dyno for an unknown hold). Otherwise it’s not a matter of if you’ll get injured but when. The trick is controlling the training loads so that you don’t get injured. This is a lot harder than it sounds as climbing training tends to get competitive, which very often ends badly. For example, here is me being silly (wrist and ankle weights along with a weight vest) and getting injured:

pic: the legendary ron kauk integrating his strength onto the rock. chi is also a form of integration, hence the karate pants for added power.


  • Anybody seen Kauk lately?don't think he's quite that ripped anymore.

  • Yeah, but he's a poet.

  • Saw him a few months ago. He still has some muscle…but a lot of old guy on top of it…It was pretty humbling for him to beta me down on No Holds Bard…cool day.

  • When you say you move streadily between the exercises in each round is it sort of like supersetting? You do the slow lift reps and then move immediately to the explosive reps? How much rest do you take between each round?

  • It's like supersetting. The rest is based on when you're ready. That should, it should not exceed a minute-ish. The science on PAP shows elevated muscle cell motor unit recruitment for 30 minutes beyond contraction but in a training setting we're trying to maximize this. Form, however, superceeds time. If you're not ready take more time and then do a strict set at your max with good form.

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