Question S&S and CNS fatigue

Alexei Smirnov

My Fourth Post
Background: 33 year old male, athlete most of my life, currently weekend warrior with a desk job. main focus - rock climbing
Question: Looking for advice on programming with main concern of overloading central nervous system (CNS)

My main purpose for training is rock climbing and mountaineering. For next several months I will be doing a lot of climbing max strength work (isometric finger hangs, iso pulls, hard bouldering, etc.) Plan is to do 2-3 of such sessions a week to allow for recovery and adaptation with easy aerobic work in between sessions. I was considering adding S&S protocol for overall development, but now I am starting to worry that if I do too much I will put too much stress on my CNS, especially if I do S&S 5-6 times a week. Is there a good way to incorporate S&S into my rock climbing training program? If so, would it make sense to do it on same days as climbing and completely rest between sessions, or would it make sense to do S&S between climbing days? Splitting training into PM and AM sessions is also an option. What would be some of the signs of CNS fatigue?
 

offwidth

> 7k Posts
Alexi...
S&S compliments training for climbing quite nicely, however depending on your climbing goals and aspirations there may be better ways to train. As you are probably aware... except at pretty high levels, grip and pull strength are seldom the limiting factors. If you are pushing 5.13+ then maybe; but your bigger bang for your training buck will be honing your technique. So lots of climbing, skills practice, and bouldering on a wide variety of rock types...

Mountaineering on the other hand... a big aerobic engine is what is needed. So tons of LED work (especially rucking), and any leg stuff, to support that, including one legged work.

Alpinism of course requires a bit of both ( well a lot actually) and even more so building up an unshakable base of experience, along with fear management. This is really where you need it all, and need to be bullet proof.

S&S can certainly help fill in any blank spots, but I would focus elsewhere first.

A lot will depend on your existing fitness, experience, actual age, training age, and like I mentioned before what your climbing goals are.

I train in a similar fashion during parts of the year in preparation for significant climbs. I am almost 63, and never once have I been concerned about CNS overload.

There are a few climbers here...

Disclaimer: I have ... 4-1/2 decades of Alpine, Rock, Trad, Aid, Ice, Bouldering, and wilderness travel on 3 continents
 

Alexei Smirnov

My Fourth Post
Offwidth, Thank you for taking time to respond. I appreciate your input. I will say that in my case I do find that finger strength is my biggest weakness. Although certainly not as experience as you, I have been climbing for over a decade myself in many terrain types, including ice, alpine, etc. Technique is something I pay a lot of attention to, do drills, etc., but in my 10+ years of climbing I've had little opportunity to truly train climbing specific strength (fingers, lock-offs, etc.) and now I can finally focus on that. My climbing training programming is pretty set at the moment and I was looking to incorporate S&S to develop my general fitness and health. Being a father with a 10 month old, it seemed like a very efficient programming to add to my weekly schedule. I have done mountaineering/alpinism training as outlined in "training for new alpinism", but I wanted to see how S&S would fit into the picture. At the moment alpinism/mountaineering isn't the main focus, so I'm not looking for specific type of work.
 

Ryan Johnson

Second Post
Alexei,

I also have used the S&S program while training for climbing. More info on your specific goals would allow for a better response. IMHO the S&S protocol works wonders for the general preparedness.

I had great success doing 'light' S&S between my sport specific training days and taking 1-2 full rest days per week. I use the term light as i kept in mind that the climbing training 'mattered' more so I was careful not to smoke myself with the bells, leaving plenty in the tank for the next session. I of course had a similar mindset on my climbing training days because i knew i had a date with the iron the next day.

FWIW I am trying to climb on 13+/14- bouldery sport climbs.
 

offwidth

> 7k Posts
Offwidth, Thank you for taking time to respond. I appreciate your input. I will say that in my case I do find that finger strength is my biggest weakness. Although certainly not as experience as you, I have been climbing for over a decade myself in many terrain types, including ice, alpine, etc. Technique is something I pay a lot of attention to, do drills, etc., but in my 10+ years of climbing I've had little opportunity to truly train climbing specific strength (fingers, lock-offs, etc.) and now I can finally focus on that. My climbing training programming is pretty set at the moment and I was looking to incorporate S&S to develop my general fitness and health. Being a father with a 10 month old, it seemed like a very efficient programming to add to my weekly schedule. I have done mountaineering/alpinism training as outlined in "training for new alpinism", but I wanted to see how S&S would fit into the picture. At the moment alpinism/mountaineering isn't the main focus, so I'm not looking for specific type of work.
Well... if one is going to train for climbing strength Sonnie Trotter told me "it's all about the fingers"
I also concur with @Ryan Johnson ... if you don't smoke yourself with the bells you will be fine. If you keep the weights reasonable and don't rush you might actually find it restorative
 

Alexei Smirnov

My Fourth Post
Alexei,

I also have used the S&S program while training for climbing. More info on your specific goals would allow for a better response. IMHO the S&S protocol works wonders for the general preparedness.

I had great success doing 'light' S&S between my sport specific training days and taking 1-2 full rest days per week. I use the term light as i kept in mind that the climbing training 'mattered' more so I was careful not to smoke myself with the bells, leaving plenty in the tank for the next session. I of course had a similar mindset on my climbing training days because i knew i had a date with the iron the next day.

FWIW I am trying to climb on 13+/14- bouldery sport climbs.
Ryan, my current climbing goal is to be a confident 5.12+ sport, 5.11+ trad climber. I am working with a professional climbing coach for the climbing portion of my training and S&S was something I wanted to add on my own. My initial thought was to do as you described, prioritize climbing workouts and go a little easier on the kettle bell work. My question for CNS fatigue, however, is more on the physiological recovery level. For instance I could train climbing specific strength 2-3 times a week and fill days in between with lighter S&S training, or I could do S&S on same days as climbing workouts and split them into AM/PM sessions and then have a more "complete" rest days between training days. So in summary either train semi-hard every day or train hard 2-3 days and give my body more recovery.
 

Alexei Smirnov

My Fourth Post
Some things to take note of..

Not resting long enough between sets.

Aggressively adding a set or two of 1-2 bell sizes up

Not stopping and resting longer when rep speed slows down

Watch these carefully and you'll lower your chances to overtrain
Mark, I am also interested in your opinion on the question I posed to Ryan above: "My question for CNS fatigue, however, is more on the physiological recovery level. For instance I could train climbing specific strength 2-3 times a week and fill days in between with lighter S&S training, or I could do S&S on same days as climbing workouts and split them into AM/PM sessions and then have a more "complete" rest days between training days. So in summary either train semi-hard every day or train hard 2-3 days and give my body more recovery. "

Thanks!
 

Ryan Johnson

Second Post
Mark, I am also interested in your opinion on the question I posed to Ryan above: "My question for CNS fatigue, however, is more on the physiological recovery level. For instance I could train climbing specific strength 2-3 times a week and fill days in between with lighter S&S training, or I could do S&S on same days as climbing workouts and split them into AM/PM sessions and then have a more "complete" rest days between training days. So in summary either train semi-hard every day or train hard 2-3 days and give my body more recovery. "

Thanks!
Each person responds differently in these situations. You should do a block of both options. Or have an in depth look into how you have historically thrived when the load and volume were high.

I have experimented with both scheduling options and have found I like to practice climbing or Kettle bells more days in the week rather than do double days.
I historically prefer to climb many more days per week rather than take extra rest days, so the scheduling makes sense for me.

When I did double sessions, I found that climbing and any kind of strength work was too much for me. I have no trouble doing double sessions 4 or 5 days a week if the additional session was hang boarding or bodyweight / core work.
 

Oscar

> 1k Posts
Is there a good way to incorporate S&S into my rock climbing training program?
Alexei, I dont know much about climbing, but here are a few ideas that might help adapt S&S to your training:
  • S&S, being sets of 10, has an hypertrophy component to it. Maybe as a climber you dont need the hypertrophy. You could consider sets of 7 instead of 10, which would reduce growth and also help with recovery.
  • You could try to do the swings GTG during the day. This reduces fatigue significantly. It allowed me to use 8 kg heavier than my normal weight and recover from day to day anyway. In your case, you could use your regular weight and take advantage of the reduced fatigue. Try doing 10 sets of 7 reps GTG. This would further reduce the hypertrophy response, if that's what you want.
  • I have found that TGU can progress with less frequency than swings, at least for me. You could try doing TGU 3/week, again, to reduce fatigue.
Hope it helps.
 

Mark Limbaga

> 2k Posts
Elite Certified Instructor
Mark, I am also interested in your opinion on the question I posed to Ryan above: "My question for CNS fatigue, however, is more on the physiological recovery level. For instance I could train climbing specific strength 2-3 times a week and fill days in between with lighter S&S training, or I could do S&S on same days as climbing workouts and split them into AM/PM sessions and then have a more "complete" rest days between training days. So in summary either train semi-hard every day or train hard 2-3 days and give my body more recovery. "

Thanks!
Try both out and take note which allows you stay healthy and progress at a steady rate..

Since we're making educated guesses at best, you'll have to be the one to serve as our eyes on how you feel with either approach
 
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