Are you ready to Self-test yourself with the R-Evolution Training App?
Or… do you just would like to know a little more about all this thing?
In any case, this post it really is of your interest, TRUST ME!!! And carry on reading, you will see.
If your case is the first option, WAIT A SEC!!!! Read this from A to Z, so you won’t get mess it up.
If you answer more to the second one, here is a really short summary kind of intro thing so you get to know a bit more about what self-testing is about.
The Self-tests are a set of specific physical tests for climbers, which will give you information about the level achieved in specific adaptations that you would have developed at local level (mainly on your finger flexors), thanks to the training routine you have been doing so far (and this obviously includes your rock-climbing sessions, of course!).
Right, so is that all about self-testing (I said it was going to be brief, wasn’t it?)
If you are looking for the scientific fundamentals of these tests (click here) or if you would like to get more info about the physiological profile that you will obtain with them (click here), DO NOT carry on reading and click on the links to find out more about those things, because on this one we do not talk about all that. The aim of this post is to offer you practical and useful information for first time undertaking the self-testing process. Below you will find basic things that are SUPER IMPORTANT if you want to do these tests correctly. In this way, the self-tests will be really useful for a lot of important climbing related stuff, I’ll promise you will not be losing your time, because we do not want to be wasting our precious time, right?.
Nice one!!!, I won’t go any further, let’s go straight into the business!
Below I have gathered the 10 FUN-DAMENTAL POINTS that are crucial for you to do perfectly the whole self-testing process.
Making them perfect it does not mean that you will be obtaining the same results as Alex Megos or Janja Garnbret (I bet you’d love to..). It really means that every one of the tests will be done to the limit of your abilities and in right way. What it means is that your results will be valid and reliable, so they will really be useful in order to monitor your climbing specific fitness, and also to measure and monitor the adaptations that you will be gaining throughout your training sessions (more info about why these tests are so important, click here: spanish text).
Let’s get started!!!
- The very first thing you should do before cracking on with your first auto-tests is to be 100% sure that you meet all the basic requirements to do weighted dead hangs, because some of these protocols include some tests of this type (to check the basic requirements, click here).
- If you do fulfill the basic requirements, the next thing on the “to do list” will be to READ carefully all the GENERAL characteristics of the auto-tests (see here), so you get to know broadly what they are about (it makes sense, doesn’t it?), and then you should have a look at the specific requirements of each of the auto-tests that you will be doing. It could be your very first time (see here) or just a control-test if you have already completed the initial one (see here). Yes I know, we all wish to be using an app that does everything just in 3 clicks (if they are just 2 clicks even better), so we can start training (I’ll be the first one of that list though).
But if you really want this whole thing to be really useful, you should know what to do and how to do it. Right, this is not the Holly Bible either a European Law about whatever thing. Reading this whole article it won’t take you longer than 5-10 min (reading it slowly) but the benefits will be priceless.
- Right, now I hope you are more familiar with this whole thing. So now we have to set a day and a time to start with your tests (someone might even be nervous!). If this is your very first time, calm down, it won’t be painful at all (at least, not too much, not cheating). If it really is your first time this point is not minor, the R-evolution training App will only let you start on the initial auto-test, and all these ones are spread on 4 days!! You’ve read correctly 4 days of testing, like a testing machine. OMG!! what is this thing? I’ll be dying!!!. You are right though, you and everyone. Don’t panic, relax and carry on reading, what is really important is that you won’t die before doing the self-tests correctly so the results will be sent for its analysis and also to improve the App (Afterwards you can do whatever you like).
No worries, I’ll get to explain this thing of sending results on the very last point. Now let’s move on the timing of the tests, which is not as tricky as it looks… Unless you are about to redpoint your project, and nothing can change your bio rhythm and your concentration towards that fundamental aim on your life, honestly, 4 bits on four days, everyone can make it though, for example a recovery week (although is possible that you’ve been training so hard so far, that recovery week might sound weird to you). Using this tool you’ll be able to do things in a better way.. Come on we are about to finish this bit. It really is about organizing yourself a little bit, so nothing will affect your results, and you can make the max off this process. On the text 4, Science and more about the App (click here) you have all the information and specific proposal on how to distribute the tests along 1 or 2 weeks, without a dramatic change on your lifestyle.
- Right, you have made up your mind about which days you will be self-testing yourself. Now you should take another thing into account, where you will do them (normally where you had installed the R-Evolution Training Board) and when. You might be asking yourself why is this important, so here is the answer… depending where and when the external conditions might vary through the day, but also from one season to the other (unless you have your R-Evolution Training Board in isothermal isolated room – if this is the case you will get in the top100 of my cracks list). But I’m quite sure you will not be able to change the conditions of your training facility as you wish, so unfortunately you won’t have the honor of being in this list though, the only thing you will be able to do is to monitor the external conditions. So, having said this, get a thermometer and hygrometer (I have found them on the internet under 3€: here), and register the external conditions of every session. These data will allow you to analyze your results in a much better way (if you would like to know more about basic conditions to make basic comparisons between different self-tests, click here).
- Now were halfway passed the list of recommendations with another important element that presumably you will have taken into account in point nº 3: the level of fatigue before undertaking the tests. The least fatigue the better (if it is 0, even more appropriate), not only because your overall performance will be better, also because you will be able to compare your own results with greater precision (so they will be even more reliable). In this sense, it is also important to consider that the state of your skin is on optimal conditions, and more specifically your fingertips. A “worn” or deteriorated skin could be affecting your results (watch out guys!!!! Also a perfect looking skin but too hard or too dry will affect your performance negatively, this last tip only goes to “Antyhidral yunkies” lol!! so if you do not have a clue of what this is, no worries, that’s even better)
- VENGA VENGA!!!! Be a bit more patient, the time to start self-testing yourself is getting closer and closer. Once you have the days and the time, skin and conditions under control, it will be the time to crack on. However, here is a new recommendation, before doing any day of self-tests, either initial ones or just “follow-up”, you should read what do they really consist on (there are usually 3 tests every day: here you will see a description of all the tests that you will be doing). Take into account that the specific warm up suggested by the App for each of these days might also vary, because not every test will have the same approach (here you will find all the specific warm ups and a general ones for every day). So the day before (or whenever you would like), check them out so things will be rolling on the testing day.
- After all these introductory tips and tricks, let’s get into the business. You are already in the self-testing process (Finally!!). Did you introduce the initial data?: type of self-test, modality of climbing that you train for (Bouldering or Sport climbing, do you do both? then choose Sport climbing), your redpoint grade on the last 6 months and the size of your distal phalanx (to learn how to measure it with the R-Evolution Training Board, video here). OK, you’re in now. Check in your Body Weight (all dressed with the clothes and the harness that you’ll use on the tests) also temperature and humidity of your training facility (we have already agreed that we were going to monitor these values too, remember?). Well… ACTION!!!! General warm up… specific warm up of the specific day…, brief review of guidelines on the first test and…CRUSH IT!!! HOLD ON, before that a mini-tip/reminder: the App has 2 operational modes for any test or training you do with it: the MANUAL and the AUTOMATIC one. You can really do the self-testing with any of both but there are some tests that are better recommended with either the Manual or the Automatic mode. Although you will find the information in the description of each test, I do anticipate that one: if the test consists of making the maximum dead hanging time (either on one hang or doing repeaters, it is recommended to use the automatic mode, while if the test is based on determining a maximum weight for a given time, it is recommended to use the manual mode. In the first case, you will automatically achieve greater precision (something not insignificant, since it is an element that can determine the validity on the approximation of the Occlusion threshold – more info on this threshold here); in the second case, the manual mode will allow you to start the suspensions in a more controlled way, thus improving the performance in the test. The app’s default mode is the Automatic one, so switch to the desired mode, click on the word Automatic or Manual.
- A final detail for the last 2 tests you will be doing on the self-testing, either on the “Initial” or the “Follow-up”, check out your accuracy or precision doing them. These 2 tests are the only ones that you will do intermittently (description here and here), and their results are used to calculate the indicators of your specific endurance. In order to know this precision, or how close you have been of being precise, resting what you are expected to rest, you should do them in automatic mode.
Moreover, it is important to do a little practice before doing them, so you can get the feeling and the coordination as suggested in the description of the tests (see the links above and see here a video with useful suggestions to perform better when doing repeaters). If you do not know the precision of your intermittent hangs you won’t know how reliable these exercises are, and also the validity of the self-tests could doubtful. You would ask yourself, Why am I saying this? Easy peasy: the amount of Oxygen (O2) that is recovered on your forearms each time you release a handhold to catch the next one (or relative re-oxygenation) equals to the amount of phosphocreatine (PCr) that is restored in them, one of the most determinant substrates of the climbing specific endurance though. There is scientific evidence (Fryer et. Al., 2016) that the amount of O2 recovered in the forearms in 1 second (or O2HTR – see the infographic) translates into more than half a grade difference (on the sport climbing French grade scale). Therefore, imagine what it means to not know if you are doing a protocol with medium (or even 1 second) above or below what is determined in these intermittent hanging test… That’s called blind measuring, or throwing science into the bin.
- Well, we just got to the end of this “mini-tutorial”. I’m sure you will do very well if you follow all the instructions I’ve given to you, you will see. Days will pass by and you will have everything under control, giving your 100% in each of the tests… And as every effort has its rewards, here it comes: your physiological profile (or the best possible map to guide your workouts – more info on the physiological profile – more info on the physiological profile here). In addition, in the App, you will find information on how to do any dead hang training shown on ”My workouts” (click here), how to adapt them to your specific case (click here), how to combine these workouts with others contents that are not dead hangs and look for your performance peak (click here), on what is based each type of dead hang training that the App can offer you (click here)and also you will even find tutorial videos of each of them (link here). Interesting, isn’t it?, well, the best thing is not this, but to see how you evolve, how you improve during the season to assess if what you do in your training is working in order to reach the adaptations that you need. And for that, just compare improvements obtained in each capacity expressed in the indicator of your physiological profile. Easy, no? Well since this function is not yet integrated into the App (although in the future you will have specific updates that will take them into account) you can download it for free right here (click here: currently inactive link) a simple template to perform these analysis. Just tell me your name and your email address and I’ll send it over (if you see how long it takes, you’ll probably have it on your spam tray).
- And now it comes the generous part (or selfish, as you look at it). What do I mean? Very simple. Most of this App (or its content) is based in current scientific evidence. That is to say, it is the result of what the sports scientists have been adding to the community since years ago, and especially the ones focused on climbing research.
All that is now available for you, thanks to a few climbers who once contributed as part of the sample of all these studies. Thanks to them and the data they provided, we have been able to develop all this thing. Obviously, these climbers are just a few compared to the worldwide climbing community, so the more we do generate data, the better for the scientific knowledge, so we can know better what is more important in performance of the different disciplines of climbing.
That’s why I am asking you for your kindness of sharing the values that you will obtain in the tests of the self-tests, all these results will go into a anonymous database. Being honest, it won’t be useful if you haven’t recorded your actual level of climbing (which is requested at the start of any auto-test), or If you have not done the tests to failure, or with poor precision. In all these cases don not share your data. The more we receive, the better our understanding, and the more accurate the indicators of the App will become in the future. Basically, at the end of the run you will be making a favor to yourself (to send the results, go to the section “App settings” and press “Send auto-test now”. There is an option that makes it automatically, but I recommend you not to activate it, in case you do something wrong through the whole process…, in this way you will be on time to delete it from the auto-test log history, so it won’t be sent to the database).
If this entry has been useful to you or you think that it may help someone else, feel free to share it straight away or just on your social networks. This will help me to reach more and more climbers. Thank you!
For more information on the history and features of the R-Evolution Training Board and its App (click here: spanish text). If you are looking for the scientific foundation of the auto-test and everything that integrates the R-Evolution Training App (click here).
AUTHOR: Pedro Bergua