kinetic chain training
December 6, 2010 posted by

Winter 2011 Training Program

Big Wall Cribs with Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson on El Capitan from Black Diamond Equipment on Vimeo.

It’s the time of year, again, when I re-tool for a new training program. I think I learned more in 2010 than I have in a given 12-month period in ages. Thus, I’m thinking this may be my most complete training program yet. Of course—as is my M.O.—it’s going to be experimental. In fact, you’ll see these elements in our upcoming P90X mc2 program but only after they’ve been thoroughly tested on me first.

As it’s a 50-themed year, my off-season conditioning program is going to be in three 50 day training phases that will mimic what we’re doing with mc2. These will be coined foundation, strength, and performance.

Goal: since all training plans must have one, is to build a huge fitness base that will see me through an epic year of adventures.

Phase I: Foundation (Nov 18 to Jan 6)

Here we’re going to get more literal with terminology, as we’re referencing our foundation, or base, as in the thing that roots our bodies to the ground as opposed to its usually meaning of any requisite fitness conditioning that readies you for further training. The goal of this phase is to build a physique that is structurally sound and in balance in order to handle the rigors of athletics without breaking down.

Most athletic programs only pay lip service to this phase, instead of making it a priority to the point where actually sports-specific training is put on the backburner until the body is ready for it. P90x did a better job than most, which is why it’s so popular among athletes. This time around we’re targeting it with laser-like focus. This phase will target completely revamping weak areas. Granted, you can’t offset 50 years in 50 days but I’m going to do the best I can.

I’ve been talking about this for a long time but the training is ever evolving. What were once a lot of boring rehab-style exercises are gradually getting more fun, and more like normal exercise.

Key words: balls (balance, physio, medicine, massage), foam roller, instability (not just in the gym as it’s snow season, which is like one big stability ball), kettle bells, yoga, rice bucket.

Phase II: Strength (Jan 7 to Feb 25)

There‘s a fair amount of wiggle room under the strength moniker. In mc2 we’ll focus on hypertrophy for most people. Since I’m not looking for much size increase this is where I plan to build my strength to weight ratio in a non-targeted sense.

Why I say non-targeted is because the sports themselves—and the next phase—will target my training. Here, especially because I train for sports that are not complimentary (climbing and biking/running), my goal is to build a very strong overall base. But instead of base as in phase I (the human kinetic chain), it’s a solid base of performance-oriented muscle mass.

This means both hypertrophy (as needed) and power (for all muscles) in a foundation format (generic strength tests, like the 90x or mc2 fit tests).

Key words: static strength, lock-off strength, wattage, form.

Phase III: Performance (Feb 28 to April 19)

Here I’ll try and put my winter fitness to use towards some goals. Specifically, the Duathlon Nationals at the end of April and some targeted climbing goals (short powerful routes) before that. This phase will feature a lot of sports specific training, postactivation potentiation, and neuro-integrated stretching to bring my power base into focus for the season ahead. After these tests I plan to roll this fitness over towards endurance based activities for the long days of summer.

Key words: speed, power, explosiveness, PAP.

So that’s the overall structure. Of course there’s a lot of fill in, including the sub structure of each phase, which will bring up words that should be familiar to Xers, such as blocks, transitions, adaptation, and mastery. By following along you’ll get a preview of why P90X mc2 is what it is, and also get a feel for ways to incorporate P90X and our other programs into your own active lifestyle plans.

vid: since i didn’t have anything fun of my own to post enjoy this clip of life on el cap. the captain’s got to be on a list for this year somewhere, right?


  • So what are your thoughts on mc2 Phase 2 for women, most of whom (like me) aren't looking for hypertrophy? Is it going to be the P90X instructions (more reps, lower weight) or something different?

  • I'm not after much hypertrophy so you can watch here and see how it unfolds. But that is a very good question and my thoughts, which have yet to run though the team, are this:Each phase will be a variable amount of time. 3 weeks for the standard 90 days but those looking/needing more of one than another could extend each up to 5 weeks. So someone not looking for much/any size increase might do this phase for less time.Then, as you said, we'll have more instruction on reps/time for each movement with the workouts. There will be many options but some along the lines of my post "30 is the new 20" might be your strategy for this training block

  • Any recommendations on sport specific workouts that will transfer to the bike? (road biking) Training for some longer triathlons later next year, and I'm trying to get some extra power.I'm sure you've probably covered this sometime before, but I'm too lazy to look right now.

  • Having raced a lot over the years I've written about it, though not a ton since this blog started. And I'll be training for multi-sports, among other things, this winter. I'd say to train your weaknesses. There are a ton of plans you can read about on the cycling/multi-sport sites. Most are pretty basic. I like to read through all of them and borrow elements that I like. This year my focus is pelvic stability because I've always had a leg length discrepency that has led to knee problems. I can eliminate it when my hips are strong and balanced but my trained state is to go back into imbalance. So I'm working on that. Most cyclists work on my banal stuff, like leg power, during the off-season. And it is very important. In fact I'm worried about mine coming back and hoping, given I've been out so long, that skiing and some work on the trainer will be enough.

  • I've got the same problem with leg length. It's pretty much led to a permanent runner's knee that's manageable with yoga, a foam roller and some single leg workout days sprinkled in.I'm newer to the bike, so some of these workouts (single leg spin etc) are completely foreign to me. And, mentally, I don't think I can take disco pumping spin classes at 5:30 in the morning.

  • What city are you in? If you're new to riding it takes longer to develop it. I'd have your spin analyzed by someone good–the best you can find in your area. It's possible you'll want to ride with a shim in one shoe, even if you're on the road to not using it. But maybe not, and I think getting a good opinion is worth some money.Since you're behind on the bike I'd suggest training with a local bike team. A lot of multi-sporters don't like the aggressive pack riding nature of this but the training is straight up harder, especially for developing power. Most triathletes simply lack the ability to push proper gearing, which develops very quickly in a team setting.

  • I'm in Atlanta, so I'm sure I can find someone in this town who can analyze my spin. I know of some good group rides north of the city, so I'll check those out too. I appreciate the advice!

  • Hey Steve,I love a lot of the new ideas and techniques that you have been toying with..I am excited to see how they play out in the coming year.Just a quick question for you…I know you are a very talented climber and also a runner. For the past couple years I have been focusing on climbing, mainly bouldering and am (was) in a spot where I was climbing V10 pretty consistently. For the last month, I have been getting REALLY excited about trail running and have been running a lot…I am doing 12-18 miles a couple times a week and shorter hill runs in between…I have had this higher volume for about 2 weeks now….but I cant climb anymore!! It seems like my top end has just fallen off and I have been thrutching up V6/7's that I previously had wired..what gives?Id like to believe that running and climbing are vaguely complimentary, how do you balance your running and climbing efforts?THANKS!

  • D,THE eternal question, at least for you, me, and most of the rest of the outdoor world. Bouldering and trail running are just as different as sprinters and distance runners. When you focus on one there is no way not to sacrifice some of the other. Since this is exactly what I'm trying to do you're in the right place. Follow along and you can be one of the test pilots too. I'd love to hear any feedback on what is and isn't working for you. Our physiologies are all a little different and my goal is to find the best training scenarios for a broad population.

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