This blog entry is work in progress. Harder Scottish mixed winter climbing (especially from approximately technical grade of 6 and above) requires some specific conditioning. I work at the University of Aberdeen as a lecturer in Molecular Exercise Physiology and my specific interest are the molecular mechanisms that mediate the adaptation to exercise especially in skeletal muscle. However, as an active mountaineer I am also interested in the practical aspects especially of conditioning. This year I have decided to offer a Honours project on conditioning for Scottish mixed climbing. Stuart Leslie has decided to do this project.
The photos below show some training methods that we currently use.
3 Bachar ladder
5 Steep bouldering on big holds
6 Indoor drytooling
8 Drytooling on lead
9 Drytooling on top rope
Back to Stuart's Honours project thesis. The chapters of his thesis are likely to be: 1) Introduction to Scottish mixed winter climbing (history, style, North America & Europe versus Scotland, grading system, aims of the study). 2) Methods (systematic literature review, qualitative research, rating of the quality of evidence; identification of research needs) 3) Development of the conditioning programme (needs analysis, identification of training methods and interventions, production of an example of a training programme) 4) Discussion 5) References The first step is the development of a needs analysis from an anatomic (what muscles and organ systems need to be trained?), physiological/metabolic (what are the strength/metabolic requirements?). Ideally this should be based on sound scientific evidence but it is likely that much of this relies on subjective opinions. The second step is to produce a toolbox of training methods and other interventions that can be used to modify the factors identified in a needs analysis. For general training methods there is an abundance of descriptive and mechanistic scientific evidence but there will again be mostly subjective opinion when it comes to training methods. All these training methods may well be good but that is not proven. The final bit is to use the tools within the toolbox to produce an example training plan.