Crosstraining for Rock Climbing: Beginner on the Spin Bike

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by sloper, Feb 28, 2011.

  1. sloper

    sloper New Member

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    Hey all. Great forums. I'm a climber who took a nasty fall descending off El Capitan in Yosemite last May, busted a bunch of ribs and destroyed an ankle, and has been sedentary (except for physio) since. I'm now healed but horribly unfit...as in the 'I gained almost fifty pounds' kind of unfit. At 33 years old and 6' tall, what I consider my 'fit weight' for climbing is around 165-170 lbs. I'm now 208. Ouch.

    So I bought a spin bike to help drop the weight and increase my aerobic capacity as I train for the upcoming climbing season. I've done a lot of mountain biking but never any road. I'm loving the spin bike and am now interested in trying the real thing outdoors...kind of like people who start climbing in the gym but eventually move outside.

    I've never done any HR or threshold specific training (both are rare in climbing) and I've been doing the following routine on the spin bike for two weeks now. The workout is actually the "Endurance Routine #28" from this website:

    http://www.trihardist.com/p/cycling-workouts.html

    So, I've been doing six days a week on the spin bike, for an hour at a time. My HR calculations (likely wrong) put my Resting HR at 78 and my max around 184. I'm pushing hard during this hour, HR rarely below 160 and frequently into 170's. Some observations: I feel generally rubbery afterward, no fatigue longer than an hour or two after the workout. I'm also not getting 'sore' in the classic sense, which is kind of strange. I sweat a shitload even though it's minus five Celsius in the garage where I workout.

    I'm climbing indoors about three days a week (nine hours total) and I know I've lost a bit of 'juice' because of the spinning (I feel weaker than normal) but this is a trade-off I'm willing to make as I get back to a higher level of general fitness. When that happens, I'll cut back on the cross-training and spend more time just climbing.

    Averages for the last two weeks (twelve sessions):

    289 Watts
    94.8 RPM
    Heart rate: 162.8 BPM
    28.2 Miles

    I'm wondering what a 'normal' RPM might be when mountain biking outside? My feeling is that the 94.8 I'm at right now feels fast.

    Also, does this workout seem reasonable for someone cross-training to lose weight and increase general aerobic fitness? Or am I headng into a massive bonk and over-training? I've read that I should be doing more work at a lower HR...Zone 2 (?), but in all honestly I find it really hard not to push up into Zone 3 or 4...spinning endlessly in Zone 2 is *boring*.

    Any comments/suggestions you have would be appreciated. Thanks!
     
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  2. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    Bummer about your accident, were you descending the East ledges? I'd hate to think of a tumble down there especially with a haul bag on my back.

    The plan you're on makes sense and no you're not necessarily headed towards over training or failure. A lot of us do our base work up in SST and Threshold ranges which means pretty solid riding that pretty much prevents any casual conversation and results in sweating buckets even with a big fan running full blast in cool basements and garages. It's really good quality work and makes a lot of sense if you're on the trainer and only getting an hour or two max per session. Sure back off and listen to your body on days when your head or legs just can't rally for the the same power range you manage on your harder days but don't feel you need to pull back as long as you can sustain the efforts for 20 to 60 minutes per effort.

    Back in the day I lived not to far from the valley and tried to balance bike racing and climbing. They can work together but beyond weight management and basic fitness there's not a lot of crossover. Sure the cycling made big approaches and long days a bit easier and keeping my weight down helped with climbing but that's about the extent of the cross training benefits I saw.

    Yeah, I'd expect average cadence to drop substantially outdoors on a mountain bike and in general mountain biking doesn't lend itself to steady speed or steady cadence for very long. Too many quick short technical obstacles and quick terrain changes even on an extended climb that keep you from just settling into a road like cadence. Still it's not going to hurt you to spin a bit more while on the gym bike but things will likely feel different and a lot more dynamic when you get outside on dirt.

    Good luck with your recovery,
    -Dave
     
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