Jan 19, 2012

Pyramids, Diamonds, and Hourglasses

A plan doesn't have to be complicated to work. Let's look at the simplest plans for climbing performance and training:

Pyraminds are the most common plan and a great place to start. Build a base layer, 4 V7s in the example above. Then add another layer, 3 V8s in the example above. Keeping building up to the peak, V10 in the example above.

Pyraminds can be a good performance or training plan.

Intensity Zenith = 10
Intensity Nadir = 7
Intensity Total =80
Volume Total = 10
Intensity Average = 8*

Diamonds are the second most common plan. Start at the top, for example 1 V10. Then go down a level, for example 2 V9s. Continue one level at a time to the bottom. That last send feels very hard.

Diamonds work better for training than performance.

Intensity Zenith = 10
Intensity Nadir = 7
Intensity Total = 132
Volume Total = 16
Intensity Average = 8.25*

I saved my personal favorite for last. Start at top (e.g., 4 V7s). Work down one level at a time (e.g., 3 V8s, 2 V9s, and 1 V10). At the bottom of the hourglass, the climbs are objectively easier but have the same subjective difficulty. It creates a beautiful grind. Hourglasses are designed to provide the appropriate volume at the appropriate intensity for maximal training effect.

Hourglasses work for performance and training.

Intensity Zenith = 10
Intensity Nadir = 7
Intensity Total = 150
Volume Total = 19
Intensity Average = 7.89*

* The averages are meant to illustrate qualitative differences in the plans, not quantitative differences. In order to construct meaningful averages, data needs to interval scaled. Climbing unfortunately chooses difficulty measurements that might not be interval scaled.