Andy Raether bouldering in Rocklands, South Africa.Photos by Keith Ladzinski
28 Days of Training with Andy Raether
Editor’s Note: Andy Raether, 22, tackles harder lines at a higher volume and at a faster pace than the rest of us. Nevertheless, you can use the principles Raether lays out below to turn your self into a lean, mean sending machine.
My training schedule comes as a result of eight years of focused effort. When I train well, I can redpoint climbs like Stockboy’s Revenge (5.14c FA; Rifle), an 80-foot limestone power-endurance route, but I can also tap raw power, say that required by the Rocklands’ roof The Vice (V13/14). Although the sends came a year apart, I used similar training methods in the month preceding both: namely, resistance, or climbing at sustained difficulty over technical climbing, three letter grades below my redpoint ability. I also used my gym’s 60-degree wall to maintain power.
During “The Month,” I climb at least four days a week; I do approximately 6,000 moves, 550 minutes of stretching, at least 150 one-arm pull-ups, and several days of cardio. After The Month, I’ll rest briefly (a few days), and then work the project in earnest. By applying similar volume principles, at several letter grades below your redpoint ability (i.e., if you redpoint 5.12a, then train 5.11b/c), you’ll see similar results.
Goals My goal after The Month is an 18-bolt 5.14c open project near Eldorado Springs Canyon that challenges my technical abilities and power endurance (PE). Thus, I need to maintain (but not increase) bouldering strength and increase route fitness.
Whether at 5.11c or 5.13c, training high-intensity PE (e.g., a challenging bouldering circuit) one day a week, and then regular PE (e.g., resistance climbing) three days a week, will yield incredible results. Rest at least one day between each session, but don’t limit your training to the gym — use the crags, as well.
Training PEThe Treadwall, a vertical treadmill with medium-sized holds that can tip as steep as 45 degrees overhanging, has taken on a prominent role. I’ve taken my lead from European climbers, who love their Treadwall mileage.
I climb on four “routes,” each running 150 moves total, with a 20-second rest (pressing “stop” while on the wall) every 40 moves. I follow this up with 10 to 20 minutes of passive rest (i.e., off the wall) between each route. Sans Treadwall, you can achieve the same mileage via long traverses on a bouldering wall or by running lead laps at the gym.
On days when I favor power over endurance, I’ll boulder relatively nonstop (two to three hours) in a gym, at anywhere from 40 to 70 percent of max power, on roughly 30 problems. This constitutes my “high-intensity” PE training. Although I try to make each problem unique, I often “two-scoop” the same problem to accumulate volume. This approach effectively maintains power while increasing PE.
Recovery I give as much attention to recovery practices — icing, massage, electrical muscular stimulation (E-Stim), and diet — as I do to training itself.
E-Stim E-Stim sends electrical pulses through specific muscles, making them lightly contract (i.e., flinch) and increasing blood flow, thereby flushing out lactic acid, a by-product of PE training. The Euros, like Dani Andrada, use E-Stim often — it’s more efficient than, say, solely resting or light massage. I use an E-Stim unit ($300-1,000 online; visit compextechnologies.com) daily for 30 minutes.
DietI average 3,000 to 3,500 calories and a gallon of water daily during The Month. For each meal, I ingest “good” fats, like olive oil; a source of protein, like chicken; and a healthy carbohydrate, high in dietary fiber and with a low glycemic index, like lentils. I graze on healthy snacks (granola, energy bars, fruit, or carrots) during the day to keep a constant level of energy.
Andy Raether enjoys long walks on the beach, holding hands, and ponies.