Photo: Powder goatee, Vail Pass backcountry, 1984. Photo by David Bispham

Deliberate Training Week Five: Strength Part Two

I am glad Week Five is over. Last Friday at the climbing gym I was dead. Two hard weeks of building strength and now it is time to back off. After a week of recovery, we will enter Week Seven, the endurance and power phase of my Nine Week Periodization Program.

Over Five weeks, I achieved strength gains of 40% to 50%. The highlights were squatting my body weight at 175 lbs. and deadlifting close to 200 lbs. Aerobically, I increased my cycle power output for various intervals by 10% to 25% and my VO2 max by 5% to 57. I climbed 1560 vertical feet in the climbing gym in under three hours. Finally, I dropped two pounds in weight, lost 2% body fat to 13% and reduced my waist circumference to 33 inches. Not too shabby for 64 years old.

Here are the results at the end of Week Five:

Week One                          Week Five


Squats                                                95 lbs. /8 reps                    175 lbs. /8 reps

Deadlifts                                            135 lbs. /8 reps                 195 lbs. /8 reps

Bench Press                                      95 lbs. /8 reps                    135 lbs. /6 reps


Average Watts/Two Min.              300 watts                           330 watts

VO2 Max                                           54                                         57

Sport Specific

               Climbing gym                                    1560 vert/day                    1020 vert/day

Body Measurements

Weight                                               179 lbs.                               177 lbs.

Body Fat Percent                             15%                                     13%

Waist Circumference                      34                                         33


Most of the progress made over the last four weeks is in strength. That is by design. I can help most anyone in reasonable fitness achieve strength gains of 50% in 30 days. After that, gains come more slowly.

I am close to my program strength goals.  From now on, my weight training will focus more on endurance sets. For example, by the end of Week Eight, I should be able to do 100 squats: 5 sets at 20 reps each, with 95 lbs. of weight. That exercise is more meaningful to my program than just lifting heavy weight.

I have a ways to go on my aerobic fitness. Gains here come slowly. I will gradually expand the duration of my intervals. On the spin cycle, I would like to achieve a Full Threshold Power test (FTP) of 20 minutes averaging 250 watts. That should get my VO2 max back up over 60.

I went backwards in climbing. I was already at a high level of endurance. Multiple days of strength and aerobic training took a toll. Over the next four weeks, I will be outdoors ice climbing and XC skiing.

I am close to my body measurement goals. For many older athletes like myself, this is the hardest goal to achieve as it requires rigorous discipline. You have to know what to eat, how much and when.  My goal is to get my weight to 175, BF % to 12 and my waist to 32.

Workout: Week 5_Strength Training Part Two 12_1_18

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