Average Climber Tried Lattice Lite Training - Worth The Hype?

Posted by Matt Eaton on

Lattice Training claims to be the world’s first data driven systematic assessment and training tool for climbing and is the brainchild of Tom Randall and Ollie Tor. They offer personalised training regimes based on standardised climbing assessments, aimed at measuring a climber’s strengths and weaknesses. Using data from thousands of climbers they have developed algorithms aimed at predicting a climber’s ability. As of writing this they have compiled data from; 4264 hours of assessments, 287,000 seconds of dead hanging and 18,200 laps of the lattice board.

I first came across Lattice Training (maybe 2 years ago) while scrolling through various climbing websites looking for that one tip/trick that would catapult my climbing to the next level. It wasn’t until about a year or so later that I noticed that they had released an app called ‘Crimpd’ which is fully dedicated to all things climbing. Having dabbled with basic climbing specific training such as hang boarding and campusing, this app was a game changer. It had a number of exercises that I had heard about but never tried and a whole lot more that I hadn’t come across before. I picked 5-6 of these exercises and stuck at them for 6 or so months – I was happy with how I was progressing, but it was slow and getting repetitive – so I decided that it was time to put up the cash and get a Lattice Training program personalised to my goals and ability, and try and reach my goal of progressing from grade 24 (7a/+) to grade 26 (7b+) by the end of 2019

I opted for the Lattice Lite Program, this consists of a mini assessment, a survey that collects details on your; climbing history, training history, time availability and goals. Then the Lattice team will design a completely customised training plan, which lasts for three months and is supported by the free Crimpd app.

 Lattice Training for Climbing - is it worth it - pic 1

My Experience

 

I did the mini assessment in early May 2019 - This climbing assessment is specially designed to require the simplest climbing equipment possible. All you need is a 20mm edge, a pull up bar, some weights and a basic pulley setup. It consists of measuring;

  • Height
  • Weight
  • Ape Index
  • Box split stretch (distance between heels)
  • Max hang strength (7 sec hangs on 20mm edge {Beastmaker 1000 bottom outer edge})
  • Max 2 arm, 2 rep pull up strength
  • Power endurance (7 sec on, 3 off hang board protocol @ 60% of max hang weight - for time)

 

Initial Assessment Results

  • Height – 178 cm
  • Weight – 74.6 Kg
  • Ape index – 178.5
  • Box Split – 148 cm
  • Max Hang – 101kg (BW +25 kg) – 134%
  • Max 2 arm, 2 rep pull up – 114.6 kg (BW +40Kg) – 154%
  • Power endurance – 3mins 15 seconds

 

Once I sent this data off along with my goals for the training cycle (being able to climb au grade 26 or French 7b+ by the end of 2019) lattice summarised the following for each aspect of testing and future training;

1) Finger strength - High Priority

My finger strength score of 134%BW is similar to my predicted finger strength from both route climbing grade and bouldering grade. Compared to my other attributes, my finger strength score was significantly lower. Thus, an improvement in finger strength would be a key determinant for my goal of 26 (7b+).

2) Power endurance - Moderate Priority

My score on the 60% hang test suggests that I had a good level of climbing fitness. To further improve my power endurance ability lattice included mileage sessions which focus on aerobic capacity work and anaerobic capacity work.

3) Upper body pulling strength - Low Priority

My score of 154%BW suggested that I have an excellent level of pulling strength. Apparently, the male gold standard is around 150%BW. Thus, my training plan will have additional conditioning sessions to maintain this score. Further core work and TRX sessions will be implemented to improve my body tension.

4) Hip Flexibility - High Priority

As I am an average height climber, hip mobility is important for efficient climbing movement patterns. My score said I have a poor level of hip flexibility. As a result, my plan will have regular stretching sessions. This will allow you to make further improvements on your hip flexibility.

 

 

Rundown Of The Plan

My plan had a primarily focus of improving finger strength. It had a secondary focus on improving my aerobic capacity and anaerobic capacity to improve recovery for redpointing and reduce the risk of powering out.

My plan was broken into two rough phases:

Phase 1 –focusing more on endurance (Aerobic Capacity) but also to increase my strength and power endurance – build the base

Phase 2 –focusing more on power endurance (Anaerobic Capacity) and strength/power – making gains

 Lattice Training for Climbing - is it worth it - pic 2

(Example Training plan taken from Lattice Training info Pack)

The Training Table

  • Each week of training is represented by one column.
  • Each row represents a specific training session which can be found on the Crimpd app.
  • The number in each column dictate how many times you should complete a given session that week.
    • 1 = 1 session that week
    • 2 = 2 sessions that should be completed separately within the same week
  • Strength and Power Exercises (higher intensity exercise) should be completed when fresh.
  • Endurance exercises (lower intensity exercise) can be done while fatigued
  • Conditioning exercises should be done at the end of a session.

 

 

What I Struggled With

  • The pure volume of training. My body wasn’t really used to the amount and intensity of climbing. Previously I would go to the wall warm up, do some hang boarding and then either some bouldering/route climbing but with no real plan. Under the Lattice program there is a lot of exercises that needed to complete each climbing session. I probably spend as much time at the climbing gym as before, but I spent at least twice as much time climbing while there. In the beginning I struggled to complete exercises at the level of intensity they suggested for some exercises (like 6 in 6, climb 6 boulder problems in 6 mins, 1-2 grades below max) and had to drop the grade of climbing to finish the exercise.
  • Time spent training. Each exercise wasn’t that long by itself, but stack a warmup, a few 30 – 45 min exercises, stretching and some strength and conditioning exercises on top of each other and time adds up quickly. It was a challenge to balance social climbing, work responsibilities with the timetable of training. 
  • Getting adequate rest and having mental fatigue. I’m generally not great at getting enough rest and drinking enough water. Sometimes I would climb 3-4 days in a row to complete the required exercise each week, which is not good for the mind or body. The training sessions can be more focused and fun, but can also be demoralising when you’re in the gym with your headphones on and climbing the same boulder problems for the 30th time while your friends joke around and have fun.
  • Types of exercises were and still are out of my reach/ability. My program involved sessions on a system board (Moon Board in my case) – now we all know the Moon Board is generally sandbagged to hell and back, but I struggled to do even 5 problems in a row (out of 10) in the time that is allocated in the Crimped app. Now we could go into a host or reasons as to why I can’t climb on a board but that’s a whole other article. What I did find was that I could do all the moves individually, but I struggled to go from bottom to top in a single go. In the end I felt demoralised, so instead of sticking to this exercise that would have me hate climbing and feel depressed, I decided to swap it out for an extra Max Hang session a week.

What I Enjoyed

  • Clearly focused on a goal (be it the goal of the day or the overall goal of climbing grade 26 (7b+). You go to the gym with specific exercises to do, you don’t waste time thinking about what you should do or talking to people.
  • Easy to track and see progression. When you’re doing actual structured training, you can see numbers and things go up (grade that you complete each exercise at, max weigh hangs or pullups etc).
  • Unexpected focus on technique and conditions. My program wasn’t focused on this, but it was interesting to see how climbing the same problem on different days, at different power levels and at different times in the session contributed to being able to do the same move or not. I also found new beta for climbs that I thought I had understood before.
  • Training knowledge increased. Initially I tried to do certain exercises that did not work well together on the same day (doing strength-based hang boarding/climbing with power endurance exercises). After a few trial-and-error sessions I worked out what styles of exercises complemented each other well and, what order I needed to do them to keep the quality and intensity of training at the right level.
  • Someone else made it, it’s backed by data and I paid money for it. I know a lot of climbers make their own training plan, but I struggle to keep things interesting and evolving; I would usually get stuck doing the same exercises over and over. I liked knowing that there were data-reasons and other climbers experiences behind the things that were chosen for me to do, and I didn’t have to read through a bunch of training philosophies and schools of thought. And because I had paid for the program it had value to me, I stuck to it almost to the letter.

 

 

 

Results

My Goals and Progress

My goal for this year was to progress my climbing by two grades (24 -26), previously I had done a few 24s (7a/+) over a couple of sessions but never in a day, a few weeks ago I did a 24 second shot. I tried a few 26s (7b+) at the start of April, managed to do all the moves but couldn’t make good links. Due to the location of these climbs the winter months make it to unbearable to try them, so they will have to wait for some better conditions to try again. But with my new-found power and strength I think they will go down relatively quickly.

 

I think the plan is a good idea if you:

  • Don’t know your weaknesses and want an expert to objectively evaluate what you need to reach your climbing goals.

 

  • Want more structure and an actual training plan but don’t know/don’t have the time to make it.

 

  • Feel like you’re plateauing with your current strategy (or lack thereof).

 

  • Do well with self-motivation and following your own schedule.

 

It’s Probably Not As Great If You:

  • Have experience with highly structured training plans and already make your own.

 

  • Are injured.

 

  • Don’t do well with self-motivation.

 

 

So - Is It Worth It?

In short yes!!!!

I have just reassessed myself via the mini assessment with the following results:

  • Height – 178 cm
  • Weight – 73.9 Kg
  • Ape index – 178.5
  • Box Split – 155 cm
  • Max Hang – 110kg (BW +36 kg) – 148%
  • Max 2 arm, 2 rep pull up – 116.5 kg (BW +42.5Kg) – 158%
  • Power endurance – 4 minutes and 7 seconds

Ultimately, my voyage into a highly structured training program was an enjoyable one. I think the cost was worth it, and I felt like I had obvious gains in both, raw data and anecdotally. Currently I am thinking about upgrading to a premium plan and taking on a 6-month training plan.

For more information visit Lattice Training at

https://latticetraining.com

or on Instagram via @latticetraining

Lattice Training for Climbing - is it worth it - pic 1

Finger strength progression from March 2019 to August 2019 (Using the Lattice Training quick fingers tool on their website)

Lattice Training for Climbing - is it worth it - pic 4

  • The above graph shows how my added weight to both max hangs and pull ups, fluctuated throughout the training plan although– fluctuation is due to a business trip and being sick

Lattice Climbing training

  • Max % BW graph showing the change in max hang weight and pull up weight throughout the 3-month training cycle

 

 

Written by Ben Alsop

While Ben isn't climbing or training on rocks he studies and assesses them. Ben's also spent a number of years working for Mountain Equipment so he's all over this rock thing. 

Ben Alsop Rock Climbing Profile Image


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