Thursday, 9 April 2015


Going back to sterile strengths, it doesn't get much more sterile than focusing on a singular exercise in the bland environment of the gym. Then again when you've been bouldering the previous day, 2 tips are bleeding and the other 6 are progressing well towards the same state, and you're as disillusioned as usual by CV training, and you still want to push your muscles, pushing large lumps of metal around does have a certain appeal. It is something I actually I enjoy down the gym, which probably correlates to the time spent doing it (very little), and the relevance to my fitness issues (very little). It's also quite good fun pushing my body to it's strength/power limits (as opposed to endurance ones), something which happens in very few activities other than bouldering training and weight lifting?

So within 5 heavy weights sessions (my first since winter 2012/13), I managed my goal for the year, the succinct, UKBouldering-inspired 2XBW deadlift. Actually it was 2.06 times body weight, as after weighing myself at 77.5kg, I did 155kg and then 160kg twice (a much more elegant number!). Maybe small numbers for other people but quite a big deal for me, especially since the BW is still far too high and no amount of gym CV sessions, climbing days, micro-runs and diet-watching seems to get it down. It's quite a nice benchmark as it makes it a sort of body-weight exercise and a more personalised goal, a bit like BW benchpresses (on 75, I will do 77.5 soon, I'm not sure about 80), or numbers of pull-ups or something like the splits. On the subject of pull-ups, I felt a bit guilty achieving something so non-climbing-related, so I also did 3 x 2 sets of pull-ups with 30kg added, which makes 107.5kg pullups, I will aim for a neater number there too and I'm sure that can't hurt hauling my weight up a rock face ;).

As for the 2XBW itself, I did it with wrist straps (recommended here, confirmed by gym instructor, and any arguments take it up with this guy - although I think I will try to do more without straps as it will provide a challenge without having to up the weight) but without really heavy gabber or drum and bass, which must average out as a handicap. I've been carefully building up in the last few sessions, warming up with some brisk rowing and then getting into a tapering session. I'd got to 140 previously, 140 this time felt easy with straps, as did 150. Then I had to get serious.... Doing 155 and 160 (both times) was interesting, I rested a few minutes between each time, and got just the same butterflies in my stomach as before attempting an at-my-limit boulder problem, the anticipation of having to try very hard and maybe not succeeding. Getting the 155 and 160 off the ground was the hardest physical thing I've ever done as it's so absolute, either the weight moves or it doesn't. Even something as pure as hanging Beastmaker 45°s (also at my limit) has more variance, sometimes I can do it 0.25 seconds, sometimes 1 second (yup, *that* much).

Still I should probably be focusing a bit more on the Beastmaker from now on. And by Beastmaker I mean Ratho of course. In between weights sessions I had a few reassuring stamina sessions there recently - normal leading, doubled up easier leading, and quadruple auto-belay routes (the latter being by far the pumpiest). Despite weak beginnings the punterdom seems to be decreasing as the pump is increasing so maybe there is hope for me yet. 

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