If you have enough climbing and training experience as a male climber, you may be performing at a high level (from 8a+ upwards, sport climbing; or 7c FB bouldering) so, it could be said that you are an ELITE climbing boy (according to science – link here).

Not joking though, you had always though that you were a rather mediocre climber, eh boy?

Well, perhaps you’ve noticed that I’m talking in masculine, right?

It is not a mere coincidence indeed.

This is because if you are a female climber, you will not have access to this “elitist group”, unless you can climb 7c (lead-climbing) or 7a+ FB (bouldering).

What are you talking about?? What is this thing? you must be thinking.

And you are totally right.

But hold on, do not get angry with me mate, I’m not saying this, honestly.

It is the scientific literature who is making this “positive” discrimination indeed (link here).

The authors of the previous paper (previous link) agreed on a scale of statistical treatment of climbing grades, and proposed a classification of sports levels associated with different ranges of climbing grades that (I can imagine all of them arguing about it) it ended up being different in between boys and girls.

Personally, I do not agree with this differentiation of levels by gender (neither with the range of grades established for each sports level), but I have to say that this paper was something totally necessary within the climbing specific scientific field, because until then (watch out!! It is from 2015, not from too long ago though) when you were reading a climbing study, you had to use your “imagination”(sometimes) to guess “with whom” the study had been done (and also the characteristics of the sample) because some authors called “expert” a climber of 6b, others “advanced” to a 7a climber, others spoke about recreational climbers to refer to low-level climbers (by the way, I know several recreational climbers who climbed 9th grade).

Summing up, a great contribution despite all the “buts”.

Having said all this, it is time to set aside this example of positive discrimination (for now) and go into what it really matters to us on this post.

THE GOAL OF THIS POST:

On the present post I will describe the advantages that you could have if you are a HIGH LEVEL climber when undertaking the self-testing process integrated on the R-Evolution Training App.

So, the first thing is that we all understand the same thing when we talk about HIGH level climbers.

But since this is not standardized (and I don’t think it will ever be) it is best to look at the statistics.

Based on the responses of over a 100 climbers (from 6a to 9a redpoint grade), climbing HIGH LEVEL nowadays would be to  redpoint at least 8a (Sport climbing grade) and 7b+ FB (Bouldering) (although according to the previous paper – link here) the climbers of this level will only be considered as “ADVANCED LEVEL” (this is why I chose this tittle on this post).

On the other hand, I prefer to talk about HIGH level and not ELITE Level, because elite is “the maximum level”, and nowadays this standard is associated with grades that go beyond the 8th grade (lead climbing, of course).

Also, for the purposes of this post, in my opinion HIGH level is to climb at least 8a Lead climbing or 7b+ FB Bouldering (being redundant, I know) no matter your gender (so, in my opinion, there is no reason at all to differentiate different ranges of grades and disciplines between female and male climbers).

Why is this?

Because, despite the existing evident differences between boys and girls, I do not think that we have to differentiate in different scales the “category of their achievements”, because the abilities used to climb a route or a boulder problem of a certain level/grade may not even be similar. Proof of that is that there are women climbing 9b Sport climbing or 8c FB, being 9b+ and 8c+ the maximum climbed grade under boys CONSENSUS (what I mean is that I do not think that the difference is that great that we have to classify them in ranges of different levels according to the gender of the climber).

Having said this, let’s jump into the business!!!

THE ADVANTAJE THAT YOU COULD HAVE FOR BEING A HIGH LEVEL CLIMBER

If you are one of those HIGH level climbers (no matter if you are a girl or a boy) and you have enough TRAINING EXPERIENCE, you may have an ADVANTAGE when doing the self-testing process with the R-Evolution Training App (either with the “Initial” or the “Follow-up” test).

So, which is that advantage?

TO BE ABLE TO DO THEM IN LESS TIME that the one suggested by the App!

More specifically, you may be doing them 1 day quicker than what is suggested by the App, and effectively you could be doing the FOLLOW-UP test in just 1 day (instead of 2 days) and the INITIAL one in 3 (instead than 4).

“Puff”, what an advantage?” -you’ll be thinking

BE CAREFULL!

Do not underestimate this benefit though, because it is one of the elements that play a greater role determining the effective performance of any functional assessment in the field of sports.

What do you mean?

Think about it!! If for this reason you have to alter significantly your usual climbing or training routine just because you are doing these self-tests, you won’t be very happy repeating this process again and again through your training season, right?

So, if you do not do them with certain regularity you would never know if you are getting better at what you are doing on your sessions (neither how much better), consequently you won’t be able to make appropriate decisions in order to guide your training sessions.

It’s not like if you must have to test yourself every week though…

But if you do not do them periodically: for instance, each macrocycle (as indicated in the App) or each mesocycle (if you want to have a more detailed control) the self-tests will lose their usefulness.

IMPORTANT NOTE:

In order to know in which ways and how much you are improving, you should COMPARE THE RESULTS OF THE SELF-TESTS. The current version of the App (5-25-2021) does not integrate any function that makes these comparisons directly, so I have prepared a specific FORM for you to download (totally FREE of charge) so that you can do ALREADY those comparisons directly (click here to download the form to compare your self-tests). The worksheet includes a video tutorial (of 5 min) so you won’t get in trouble when using it.

If you are not a high level climber, you must be wondering…:

Why they can and I can’t?

Simple answer mate:

The local adaptations that you have developed so far are probably not enough to perform these tests with sufficient reliability in less days than suggested by the App.

And where does this hypothesis come from?

So, it is based on my own observations (which I have been doing over 100 climbers who participated in the studies of my PhD thesis (abstract link here) and also in further observations afterwards), as well as in the observations of Limonta et al., 2009 (link of the study here).

In my case, I did notice that climbers with a level under 8a showed a different endurance time dynamics than what it should be desirable (increasing exponentially or potentially on the lowest intensities) when these tests where done with a little recovery time.

On the other hand, Limonta et al., (2009) showed that high level climbers (Lead climbers) had a higher proportion of FTIIa fibers than those of lower level. These fibers are more resistant to high intensity stresses, therefore these myotypological adaptations (and surely other associated) would play in favor of high level climbers, who could possibly (due to the above explained) recover better from high intensity stresses such as those made in the self-tests (which would also explain the observations made on my thesis).

As a result, high level climbers could perform a greater number of distributed efforts in less time without the results being significantly affected by fatigue.

All of the above would only apply to sport climbers, who are the ones in which I did observed these specific adaptations.

So what about the boulderers?? Don’t they have the same advantages then?

Yes they do, but their advantages are applied in a slight different way, as explained below.

THE ADVANTGE APPLIED TO THE PRACTICE

If you are a high level climber (as we have stated) you can definitely save 1 day/session on the assessments of the INITIAL SELF-TEST (jumping from 4 to 3 days/sessions).

If you are a sport climber, see the process below:

PROCEDURE TO PERFORM THE INITIAL SELF-TEST IN THREE DAYS
FOR SPORT-CLLIMBERS

DAY 1: SESSION 1 + SESSION 2

DAY 2: SESSION 2 + SESSION 3

DAY 3: SESSION 4

Following this procedure, the Occlusion Threshold is calculated just in 2 days instead of 3, saving  one full day of self-testing.

If your discipline is bouldering you can spread de Initial self-testing process as it is explained below:

PROCCEDURE TO PERFORM THE INITIAL SELF-TESTING PROCESS
IN 3 DAYS FOR BOULDERES

DAY 1: SESSION 1 + SESSION 2

DAY 2: SESSION 2 + SESSION 3

DAY 3: SESSION 3 + SESSION 4

Following this procedure, the Occlusion Threshold is calculated in 3 days, but with a slightly different process.

The whole self-testing process is completed in three days (instead of 4) saving the day of the intermittent hangs (not needed for boulderer’s physiological profile).

The reason for doing this is that the information provided by the last testing day is not too relevant (in theory) for bouldering specialists, for whom “it does not matter” if this indicator (Aerobic component indicator) is being developed or not, and this is based on my own observations with specialists of both disciplines.

ATTENTION!! If you do check the ultimate scientific evidence, because there are contradictory findings about this last bit (on one side because of the sample size used, and on the other side by the tests carried out to assess these abilities, in which the hemodynamic condition was not taken into account, and neither the protocol used was specific enough for the boulderers, using “effort:rest” ratios that were a little disproportionate for this discipline).

AND WHAT ABOUT THE FOLLO-UP TEST?

As I did tell you before, this advantage is not only applied on the INITITAL SELF-TEST, also to the “FOLLOW-UP” test, being able to do it in just 1 day instead of 2.

In this way, the interference becomes minimal and the value of the information obtained is very significant.

FINAL CONSIDERATIONS

It is very important indeed that whenever you are doing any of the self-tests, that you introduce the right discipline which you would like to train for (sport climbing or bouldering), because as well as your physiological profile (Balanced or Unbalanced profile) as the training dynamic suggested by the App are determined by the discipline chosen.

Since performance in climbing is multifactorial, it could be that you were climbing at a high level but you had not developed deeply the local adaptations that partly determine climbing (some explained on this post) and those would be crucial in order to perform the self-test in a reliable manner in less time that the standard proposal suggested by the App. The self-tests just measure physiological adaptations, so being a High level climber does not guarantee that these shortcuts would be useful for you (however there is an increased probability that it will be).

That’s why at the beginning of this post I said that you could benefit from this advantage if you are a high-level climber and that you have quite a lot of training experience, because having this training experience will increase the probability that you may have developed adaptations that would allow you to take advantage of the benefit explained on this post.

I really hope that this post will allow you to save your time when you will be doing the self-testing process, and that the information that they give you will be useful for you to find out if you are gaining the adaptations that you are after or not, so you can make the best decisions in order to guide your training sessions.

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