Sunday, May 23, 2010

Will Gadd On Threshold Training

As usual, Will Gadd has a lot to say about training and how it relates to mountain sports.

We all choose to train three main performance components (our skill, muscles, and head); how we perform is the test. An athlete's performance will generally depend not on which one of these three are the strongest, but which one is the weakest…But, and this is the almost funny part, the easiest things to train are muscles, so that's where most people focus most of their time while trying to get "better" at a mountain sport. I really believe this physical-centered approach is wrong for most athletes in the mountain sports I know… In my experience the fastest performance gains for athletes are usually made when they train their sport-specific weaknesses, specifically skills”

Here’s what he considers the threshold strength levels for a few mountain sports:


  • Hike up 3,000 feet in under one hour, 5,000 feet in under three (Messner could reportedly do 1,000M/3,200 feet in under 30 minutes or something...).
  • Do 10 pullups (not because pullups are necessary, but because anyone who can do 10 real pullups is sorta trained up)
  • Do "Angie" in under 20 minutes if you think you're "elite."
  • Climb grade IV ice all day on minimal gear and be relaxed about it, lead 5.6 with a pack.

Technical rock climbing at a solid 5.13 level

  • Do 10 pullups on a half-inch ledge.
  • Hang a 1 inch ledge for 5-10 seconds one-handed.
  • Campus up the smallest rungs in your climbing gym.
  • Climb ten 30M pitches of modern mid-5.12 a in a day (all different pitches, no laps).

Trad Rock climbing 5.10:

  • Do one pullup on a one-inch rung.
  • Do three pullups on a bar.
  • Hike 1,000 feet vertical in 30 minutes.
  • Climb all day on 5.7 and still think it's fun
  • Read his whole post for the details.
  • 1 comment:

    Lisa said...

    well the last list seems do-able...