Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Over trained or under trained?

Dual Factory Theory (Overtraining) or  Single Factor Theory (Supercompensation)...or Both for climbing?

My experience has been to use both when training for a specific medium term goal such as 6 to 8. The over training tactic was used in the early preparatory stages of my program aimed at endurance and developing the body, ready for more intense specifics where as the Single Factor theory was used for specific conditioning of strength & power by utilizing Supercompensation in recovery to maximise quality of absolute strength sessions:
What most of us call overtraining is really over-reaching. For most of us, "over-reaching" is what we're really referring to when we say overtraining. Over-reaching-is pushing yourself into a mild state of fatigue with your training. Regression in performance sometimes does occur during an over-reaching period, yet performance rebounds back very quickly, usually above and beyond it's previous level, with a short period of rest or lowered volume (within days). It can be good or bad depending on how you use it.
Overtraining occurs when you chronically over-reach for months or years on end. This leads to performance regression that can take months to recover from. Most athletes don't ever reach a true overtrained state. Another important term is Under reaching.
Under-reaching occurs when you intentionally "take it easy". This is like taking your foot off the gas in your training intentionally. It also can be good or bad depending on how you do it.
It has been my experience that, the reason many people train hard and consistently and don't make the gains they feel they should, is because they spend too much time over-reaching and not enough time under-reaching. This doesn't apply unless you train both hard and consistent. Allot of people don't train hard or consistently and look to answers within the minutia of their or (more commonly) other's program's and they may simply find that a more consistent and focused approach to their own training would deliver far better gains.Over-reaching by design can be a very good thing.
Recovery and Supercompensation:
Recovery can be defined as - regaining what was lost - however, for the climber this is not enough as it returns us only to where we started. Adaptation can be defined as the process of long-term adjustment to a specific stimulus. This process of adaptation can include adjustment in a number of factors such as the climber's physiology, psychology and mechanics. These alterations can ultimately lead to improved performance - which is a more satisfying goal. 
We train to get fitness and strength. We want to climb longer harder routes etc. In order to get fit we must stimulate some fatigue so that our body adapts. We must push ourselves beyond our limits some of the time - which is fatigue.
There must be an optimal blend of both fatiguing oneself or over reaching (in order to improve) and resting oneself or under reaching, so that you can see the gains from the over reaching you've done. Under reach too much and you won't get the results you want because you haven't forced your body to adapt; over reach too much and you won't get results because the body is knackered.We have to determine how to intelligently over reach at the beginning of a training cycle, under reach at the end of a cycle, in order to boost the overall results of each training cycle. 
Dual factor theory:
The Dual factor theory represent the relationship between fatigue and fitness. One factor is fitness the other factor is fatigue.A stress adaptation model that bases a training plan around the long term relationships between stress and fatigue. When you train you accumulate both fatigue and fitness. However, what many may not realize is that the fatigue that accumulates over the course of a training cyle itself "masks" the fitness gains that you make. However it has been acknowledged, that fitness persists about 3 x longer then fatigue. This means that when all traces of fatigue are gone from a bout of exercise or a cycle of training, the fitness gained will persist for 3 x as long as the fatigue. That's why most people make gains when they take a few days off from time to time.
The Single factor theory:
Is the basic stress adaptation model that is more common, and the model used to explain high intensity training. With this theory you look at physical ability as one short term factor. You load, recover, load, recover - always recovering fully before loading again.
The problem with this approach is you are left with the problem of timing sessions to correspond to the supercompensation wave. Anything sooner or later will lead to a bad session. Another problem is there is only so much systemic stress that can be thrown on the body in one session. If you prolong the length of the stress (loading and fatigue) period by days or weeks, instead of a single workout, you increase the overall stress. Therefore, providing you do allow recovery to take place after prolonged loading, you increase the height of the supercompensation curve as well.
With Supercompensation, one workout represents a period of fatigue. But, in the Dual Factor Theory, up to 6 weeks would represent a period of fatigue. With Supercompensation, a day or two (up to a week) represents a period of rest. But in the Dual Factor Theory, up to four weeks may represent a period rest.

When setting up dual factor periodization for the climber, it is important to remember to plan for periods of fatigue and periods of rest. During the build up to a fatigue period (say, 3 weeks), you slowly build up fatigue, and never fully recover. Then you have a period of recovery (another 1-2 weeks) where you train with reduced frequency, volume, or intensity...

Saturday, 25 January 2014

1 to 1 Coaching Sessions at The Indy Climbing Wall (North Wales, UK)

We are available for 1 to 1 training sessions to help lift your grade (working around the F7a to F8a grade range) using our training methods based around our online programme; Strength > Power> Power Endurance...

Contact to arrange sessions.

Monday, 20 January 2014

1 to 1 coaching at The Beacon Climbing Centre (North Wales, UK)

Coaching in Montserrat
Mark McGowan will be available for 1 to 1 coaching at The Beacon Climbing Centre.

The sessions will specialize in sport climbing techniques and for improving your red point between F6a to F8a and supporting strategies that facilitate an increase in performance. The sessions will last around 2/3 hours and cost £50 per session.

Please contact to book sessions.

Coaching in Siurana

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Monday, 13 January 2014

February with a talk from top female climber Emma Twyford.

  • The Llanberis Mountain Rescue Team's winter lecture series continues into February with a talk from top female climber Emma Twyford.

    With an ascent of Rare Lichen E9 6c in summer 2013 and previous ascents including a redpoint of Predator F8b at Malham and a flash ascent of Statement of Youth F8a at Lower Pen Trwyn, Emma is one of the most accomplished female climbers currently operating in the UK.

    Emma was born in Exeter in 1986, but grew up in the Lake District where she started climbing at a young age with her Dad. During the lecture, Emma will talk about her climbing through the years from growing up in the Lake District, competing in youth competitions, living in Sheffield and finally moving to North Wales where she currently resides.

    Venue: Beacon Climbing Centre
    Address: Cibyn Estate, Caernarfon, LL55 2BD
    Date: Friday 28th January 2014
    Time: 7:30pm (bar open all evening)
    Tickets: £8 donation online (available shortly through the Llanberis Mountain Rescue Team website).
    (or £10 suggested donation on the door - cash only)
Cibyn Industrial EstateLL55 2BD Caernarfon

Referrals from clients:

"...This training season I decided to get all the help I can to speed up my improvement. I needed guidance to work towards my goals in long term. I also needed more vision and opinions about my exercises and weak links. I am glad I can share my training with Mark..." (Ville Mustonen, Finland)

" I met Mark in Glen Nevis on his return to climbing to check out some lines he had in mind for me, I wasn't really training at this point but after a day or two talking and training with him I had a much more structured idea of what to do to improve and I did" (Kev Shields)