Research > Experimental Training > “The Austrian Protocols”
Header image: Charlie Osborne honoring the colors of Austria. Picture by Jennie Jariel.
Two Austrian National Team Experimental Training Protocols go head-to-head
DANGER: these are protocols described in research experiments. Extreme care should be taken before following these protocols.
Below is an experimental training protocol used in the following study:
- “The Effects of 8 weeks of two different training methods on on-sight lead climbing performance” by M. Philippe, I. Filzwieser, V. Leichtfried, C. Blank, S. Haslinger, J. Fleckenstein, W. Schobersberger (2018)
Context: Study used two separate protocols developed by coaches from the Austrian National team. Climbers averaged between 5.12b – 5.13b. Training lasted 8 weeks and involved either: Muscular Strength (Hypertrophy – MH) or Muscular Endurance (ME). The two groups were tested on an onsight route (roughly 13b) before training, after training, and after a 2-week “taper” period. Tests included: # of moves, climbing difficulty, climbing time (s), climbing moves per time, Lactate 1 minute after, Lactate 6 minutes after, Heartrate 1 minute after, Heartrate 6 minutes after.
Result: Neither group was superior to one another, but both groups showed significant improvements at the second and third tests.
The protocols – Experimental Training (MH vs. ME)
“MH” (Muscular Hypertrophy) Training – 5 days per week
- Warm-up: mobilization of all joints, 3×10 squats, 3×8 push-ups, 3×25 sit-ups, a side plank with 3×10 knee tucks and 1 hour of self-chosen sub-maximal bouldering.
- Bouldering Exercise (three times per week): Three sets of exercises based on hold type (Crimp; Pinch; Sloper) with 10 or fewer moves (designed to fall at or before 10) and 8 sets (per exercise). 2 minutes of rest between sets. 12 minutes between exercise.
- Campus Board Exercise (combined on Bouldering Days): First exercise à Ten sets (5 per starting hand) of 1-4-7. Second exercise à Called the “pull up ABC” which appears to be 5 sets of lock-offs until failure. Each lock-off appeared to consist of (1) pull-up and (2) lock-off (bend- at the elbow) at 120°, then a second pull up and lock at 90°, and a third at 60°. Each lock lasted 7 seconds. Not mentioned: Length of rest between hands and exercises.
- Lead Project Exercise (two times per week): 4 lead routes of 30 moves designed so that the athletes couldn’t do more than 10-12 moves without resting. Approximately 2 rests per route. 20 minutes of rest between routes. Not mentioned: length of rest after the 10-12 moves and HOW the rest occurred (e.g. taking on rope; resting on a good or bad hold, etc.).
“ME” (Muscular Endurance) Training – 5 days per week
- Warm-up: mobilization of all joints, 3×10 squats, 3×8 push-ups,3×25 sit-ups, a side plank with 3×10 knee tucks and 3 self-chosen lead routes, preceded training sessions 1-4. No warm-up on Training session 5.
- Hard Lead Projects (Sessions 1 and 3 each week): 3-4 sets of 15-30 moves in a row with 20 minutes of rest between routes.
- Extensive Intervals (Session 3 each week, weeks 1-2): 1 lead route, 10 times in a row (no break except to rope-up/rappel) OR
- Intensive Intervals (Session 3 each week, weeks 3-8): Used Driller et al Rower protocol (2009), 2 blocks of top rope climbing involving 8 sets of 25 moves. Difficulty was intended for climber to reach top on sets 1-5, but not on sets 6-8. Rest times were: 40-50 minutes between blocks. Rest between sets = 2/3rds time to climb first set.
- Easy Lead Projects (Sessions 2 and 4 each week): 30-50 move lead projects, 3-4 times with 20 minutes of rest in between sets. Not mentioned: states that these are projects, but unknown difficulty other than being “easy”.
- Basic Lead climbing (Session 5 each week): No Warm-up, climb eight sub-maximal, equally graded routes. Not mentioned: rest times or level of sub-maximal climbing.
Note1: We’ve e-mailed the authors to try to answer some of the questions we have about resting and the level of difficulty.