So let's say you have a month off to go climbing. You want to go on a climbing trip and be strong for the trip. How does one go about sorting it out so that the climbing trip comes off as a success? I've compiled some things that have helped me to have some successful trips (avoiding some of those methods culminating in unsuccessful trips).
Step one: Figure out what time period (month, week, etc.) you are going on the trip. Go to 8a.nu and click on the crags icon. On the right you'll see a graph plotting out the posted ascents from that crag by month. Compare the month you are going on your trip to the graph. If there are no ascents at said crag during the time you want to go then you might want to re-consider this crag for your holiday. A best bet is to look for the time period that has the most ascents listed and match that to your vacation time. If the crag is in Europe keep in mind that the European vacation period is June through August so the numbers will be inflated during this period. You can also look at postings. I would suggest that whatever grade you intend to climb look at 13b (8a) ascents for routes and V10 (7c+) ascents for boulders. The reason being that for most humans moderately good conditions are required to climb a 13b or V10.
Step two: After selecting the crag(s) that is in season start YouTubing or Vimeoing video footage from this crag. The things that need to be determined are:
1. What is the length of the routes or boulder problems (more important for routes). Again I suggest trying to find routes in the 13b range and V10 boulder problem range to figure this out. You want to know roughly whether or not you want to train endurance (>40 moves), strength endurance (12 - 40 moves), maximum strength (<12 moves). This information will aid in the training leading up to the trip by increasing the percentage of time devoted to training one of these energy systems.
2. What type of grips are predominant in the area, crimps, pockets or tufas. Again look at the mid-range hard routes. All 5.15s have small holds. Once the predominant grip type is determined, spend more time training this grip.
3. Is the area steep, vertical, slightly overhung. Again spend more time training on wall aspects that resemble the climbing area.
4. If there is a particular route or boulder problem you want to do and are not concerned about blowin' the onsight then do all of the above for the particular route or boulder problem.
Once the above information is determined, figure out how long you have until you go and start by training high volume low intensity on the type of terrain you will encounter.
What does this look like in practice? Let's suppose you have the month of June off. Looking at 8a.nu we can see that the Frankenjura has a pretty high ascent rate in June. Looking around on the intra-web I have seen tons of video footage from the Frankenjura in the 7c+/8a range. What you're looking at is 25 move (or less) routes on pockets. The angles tend to vary between steep and slab. Though not always evident from the videos, in general steep pocket climbing requires locking off holds. The training will then focus on:
1. Strength endurance 12 - 40 moves though more on the low side. 2. Pocket strength. 3. I'm going to say steep climbing strength here because climbing steep routes can be improved by getting stronger whereas slab climbing usually requires being on the actual route for improvement.
Stuff to do:
1. 4x4s on shorter problems (4 problems straight through no rest between then rest 2-3 minutes repeat 4 times). Traversing into a boulder problem to make the problem roughly 15-25 moves. Campus board endurance ladders for 12-20 moves. Up-down-ups on boulder problems (climb up a problem then down on pretty good holds then back up a problem). One thing to note on up-down-ups is that the down climb should be pretty easy because a hard down climb puts a lot of stress on the elbows particularly the biceps brachialis. Also, when down climbing never ever crimp. If your foot pops while down climbing the shock load on your fingers is way more than if your foot pops moving upward.
2. Fingerboard strength training on first 2, middle 2 and mono. The first two should be trained because you take a lot of holds in the Frankenjura with the first 2 and injuries can be avoided by having these two being used to pulling together. Also, training the fist two will improve crimp strength. It is my opinion that a training program for climbing should consist of the minimum number of exercises needed to accomplish the training goal. Training the first 2 is an example of this in that one grip position trains three grips (first 2 open, crimps and slopers). Finger board training for a climbing trip is a very effective injury avoidance measure. When training on a finger board the environment is very well controlled. There is no unexpected loading and the force being applied to a hold is measured. If you spend most of your time crimping on granite and roll up to the Frankenjura and start yarding on monos you better be psyched for some serious beer drinking because your climbing days will be few.
3. Lock off training: Weighted pull-ups and 3 second lock offs on a boulder problem (climb a problem holding each move for about 3 seconds), system wall and rings.
When training for a climbing trip or a particular project gather as much information about the physical demands you can expect from climbing at this area. Once the physical demands are determined try to replicate them as best as possible in a controlled environment and then train the demands systematically by repeating the movement or hold over and over again and increasing the intensity of the movement.