TEXT 4: MAKING SELF-TESTING COMPATIBLE WITH TRAINING

Doing functional performance tests is a common practice in sports training. The data obtained by this means, allows a better guidance for all the training process and to predict its potential benefits on the performance (1). Therefore, it’s normal to schedule several tests in a year, although their frequency will fundamentally depend on the degree of interference they may imply on the training (3). Well-designed tests are handy, simple and quickly done, and usually don’t involve major alterations of the normal training dynamics, so they can be integrated into a workout session as an additional content.

Self-tests meet the requirements of simplicity and accessibility as they are based on a very common exercise in climbing training: finger hangs. Therefore, they can be performed very easily, and in general, also very quickly. The initial self-test which is the longer and first one to be done, takes up to 4 days which may cause a greater interference in the training. Here are some recommendations to make easier combining each type of self-test with the workouts:

  • Initial self-test: you should ideally schedule it the at the beginning of the training season since its length (4 days) can cause a significant disturbance in the dynamics of your training if done at any other time. After a period of inactivity, you should do some introductory workouts before self-testing (1-3 weeks of low to moderate intensity exercises, progressively increasing the volume from low to medium, should be enough). Find here below some propositions that you could follow according to your available time during the week:

Act = Activity (workout or climbing); – = rest.

  • Follow-up self-tests: you can perform them anytime during the season to assess the capabilities that configure your physiological profile. We recommend you to carry out a follow-up self-test after completing any training dynamics proposed by the App to assess your global improvements, although you may also do this at the end of each cycle to obtain more detailed information of the process. This would also be valid even in the case you weren’t following any proposed training dynamics, since it would allow you to monitor the effects of each cycle in order to decide, with a better criterion, the next steps to take in your training. Anyway, you should perform these tests after at least a week of recovery behind any training cycle to minimize the deep fatigue you may have accumulated and to avoid showing depressed indicators as a consequence of this (2). You can also use them during the performance cycles (3-5 weeks long, usually) to evaluate your physical shape and decide for how long you can extend this period before starting a new specific cycle, which means knowing objectively the duration of your peak of form. A few examples of weekly distribution for these tests are shown here below:

Act = Activity (workout or climbing); – = rest.

  • Follow-up self-tests on a single day: we advise you to consider this option only if have a high sports level and enough experience with self-testing. This modality eases their integration at other moments of the season. To achieve valid results, it’s important to comply with the previous requirements and to recover completely between tests (resting for at least the recommended time) to minimize the risk of obtaining underestimated values. The single-day distribution includes one test that isn’t done in the regular follow-up self-tests, but on the other side it globally requires performing fewer tests. The general criteria are the same used for the rest of self-tests: reduce the training load during the previous week and recover completely the day before self-testing. This single-day distribution isn’t explicitly available in the App, but you can performed it as follows:
    • Do the general warm-up as usual,
    • then perform the specific warm-up proposed for the second session.
    • Do the day 1 tests as follows:
      • Input  on their corresponding text boxes, your body weight, phalanx size, and provided you known them, the room temperature and humidity.
      • Don’t do the test number 1, instead, input manually the size of the edge you’ve used during the previous self-test in the result’s text box. Only do this if you consider that your level has remained similar. If you feel you’ve achieved considerable improvements by training, you should perform a new test to adjust the edge size.
      • Do the tests number 2 and 3 using that edge size.
    • In the same session, do the day 2 tests:
      • Input the same body weight, phalanx size, room temperature and humidity as before.
      • Don’t do the test number 1, instead, input manually the value (in kg) obtained in the test number 2 of day 1 in the result’s text box.
      • Do the tests number 2 and 3 using the edge size of the previous tests.

REFERENCES

(1) Chicharro JL, Laín SA. Transición aeróbica-anaeróbica: concepto, metodología de determinación y aplicaciones. : Master Line; 2004.

(2) Gibala M, MacDougall J, Sale D. The effects of tapering on strength performance in trained athletes. International Journal of Sports Medicine 1994;15(08):492-497.

(3) Bartram JC, Thewlis D, Martin DT, Norton KI. Predicting Critical Power in Elite Cyclists: Questioning the Validity of the 3-Minute All-Out Test. Int J Sport Physiol. 2017;12(6):783-7.

LINKS

More about parallel activities during self-test days

More about the general warm-up for self-testing

More about the specific warm-up for self-testing

More about the training dynamics proposed by the App

More on how to combine the finger hang workouts with rock climbing or additional training