Lattice Training Log Part 2: Goals. Assessment results. The training plan.

Meeting my Coach

I’m getting coached by Billy Ridal. We had a nice 30 minute chat, mostly going over my history and goals. Billy is a beast, and I’m really excited to work with someone who has spent a lot of time competing. He also seems like a nice guy and I think we’re going to work well together.


During and after the conversation, I realized I’m a bit torn on what my actual goals are. I think it’s something like “get better at bouldering” but based on the hundreds of hours of goal-setting edutainment I’ve consumed, I’ve been lead to believe that this is not specific enough.
I think overall I’ve always measured myself by my ability to complete every kind of climb of a certain grade. So I’m not as excited about doing “a V10” as I would be at being able to flash any V7, or by being able to complete a larger number of V8s.
I currently flash 90% of V6s, complete 75% of V7s in 1-5 tries, and have to project V8s for multiple sessions, with something like a 25% completion rate (before they’re taken down at the gym). I think if I could bump that up one grade in the next 6 months, I’d walk away happy.
I think more generally, I am someone who values vulnerability and discomfort. So another goal for me is to get out of my comfort zone, which leads me to:


During the conversation about my goals, we did end up touching on identifying weaknesses in my technique. Billy was game to analyze my climbing and incorporate what he saw into my plan. I had a bouldering session scheduled in my second week, so I decided to wake up early, head to the gym when it was empty, and record myself on the boulder problems.
This… didn’t go exactly as I planned. For a variety of reasons I wasn’t really feeling like I climbed well that day. After seeing the video, I felt self-critical and rather disappointed. Either way, I figured it would be best if Billy saw at least some of my climbing before putting together my plan, and I didn’t really have the room to rest and try again.
Here is the video that I sent to Billy. [video link]. I also sent this description of what’s in the video:
pink v4 - I include this in my warmup because my feet have a tendency to slide off on the beginning section.
blue v5 - I include this in my warmup because I find the lie-back movement quite awkward.
purple v5 - this is a 5 that I haven't done yet. Something about the way this climbs feels so awkward to me. I feel like I can't really put weight in my feet. I ended up figuring out more efficient beta for the bottom, but I think because my fingers are quite tired from testing, I ran out of power on the last hold.
yellow v6 - I tried this one a couple of times before and couldn't figure out the intro sequence. Doing it with low feet is really tough for me! I'm not sure if it's the intended beta, but getting a backflag caused me to swing in a more favorable direction and I was able to control it.
red v8 - I find it pretty easy up to the crux. I experimented with a couple of approaches, but I feel like I can't really engage when I catch the hold.
purple v7 - I didn't end up getting it, but this is my general approach for working dynos like this.
pink v8 - it took me a little while to figure out the early move. On the latter move, I couldn't really find tension in the right hand to go for the tiny crimp with my left.
black v7 - I've worked this before and done it in two halves. I usually fall on the dynamic move to the right hand hold below the lip (as I did in the second attempt). This was the first time I managed it from the ground in the first attempt, but ran out of power near the top.
red v7 - I've done this one before - it took me 3-4 tries. I think I was really tired so I couldn't really move on the left hand near the top. I ended up pulling up into a really weird position and couldn't find my feet.

Note to the reader

In the following section I will describe my own impressions that I sent along with the video to Billy. Before reading my reflection, he wrote some notes about his impressions of the video, that I will share below. It might be an interesting exercise to the reader to try and analyze the climbing footage before continuing to read. What do you think my weaknesses are?

My reflection on the video

- I guess overall, I think that maybe power endurance is an issue for me. Now that I see these videos, I think that I tend to not send things until I really figure out the beta quite perfectly. If I have some inefficient movement on the attempt, I do tend to power out and have a hard time finishing, even on the final moves.
- Watching these, I feel like my hips are pretty stiff, and generally I look more clunky than I imagined. I have this constant anterior pelvic tilt which is sort of weird.
- Also, I think I have a hard time finding engagement. On the red and pink v8s, the last move I can't do is dynamically moving up into a position and latching a hold with tension. I find that I end up tinkering with momentum for a long time to get myself into just the right spot before I can really engage. Like I need a super long duration of float, to actually find the hold. Maybe building a little more robustness/speed in that respect would be good.

Billy’s response

- I agree your hips look a little stiff on the wall, and you seem to favour square boxes, but in situations where you were forced in to your hips it also looked like you have reasonable range, so perhaps it's more your mobility and a stylistic preference, it could be something to play with in your warm up, consciously trying to get your hips really close in to the wall and using them to take weight off your arms more.
  • Definitely some contact strength, particularly in more engaged finger positions, it's clear that you favour open handed quite significantly. I think this is best worked on a board where this and tension become the dominant factors.
  • It looks to me like you don't drive from your hips as much as you could in those tensiony dynamic moves and then that is exacerbated at the deadpoint of the movement where they drop back out of position making it harder for your fingers to engage in time. This is a bit of a tricky one, I don't think it is a weakness in your hip hinge (you've been working on deadlift up to a good level), it definitely could be core engagement which makes sense with how you have been getting on with the testing sessions and your feeling of anterior tilt on the wall. Alongside that, it is probably a movement pattern that you just need to spend more time working on, as I said I think this is best done on a board.
  • You look pretty confident in your feet on lower angles in general, I reckon ankle flexibility is a bit of a factor on that v4 warm up, which also came up in the testing, it looks to me like you are sticking further out from the wall than you need to in order to weight the feet at the right angle.
  • I'd say you look most comfortable with bent arms which could be a reliance on your biceps over shoulders and back. I think this is beneficial for most people regardless but I'm leaning towards some overhead antagonist and pushing work, and getting your lats working a bit more in your pulling as well as your arms.

Assessment & Results

Here are the things I did during the assessment:
Finger Strength: 20mm 2h Max Hang 7s +40kg / +86.7lb / 157% bodyweight 20mm 1h Max Hang 5s Left Hand -14kg / -31lb / 80% 20mm 1h Max Hang 5s Right Hand -9kg / -20lb / 87% 10mm 2h Max Hang 7s +16kg / +35lb / 123% Finger 7:3 repeaters time to failure on 20mm edge: 70% of max: 46s 60% of max: 82s 50% of max: 143s Strength: 2RM pull up +40kg / +87.6lb / 157% 5RM dumbbell row +41kg / +90lb / 61% front lever 2s: one leg tucked Endurance: max pullups: 14 max pushups: 27 Core: hollow hold: 40s plank: 90s left side plank: 63s right side plank: 80s Shoulder Strength: 1h hanging shoulder shrug 110% ring "prone I" - 135 degrees ring "prone T" - 170 degrees
I also did some ankle, shoulder and hip mobility tests.
I was surprised by how vanilla a lot of these were. I was really expecting something like a campus board slap or a vertical / horizontal jump to measure power. Or some nuanced way to get at finger speed / contact strength.
I guess these additional measures would be superfluous, or not predictive, or unreliable, or just difficult to measure in a remote setting. I’d be really curious to learn from lattice why they picked these measures and other measures they’ve considered but eliminated… but I suspect that this is the sort of business secrets they may not want to share too widely.

My impressions after doing the assessment

Before I was able to compare myself with other climbers in the Lattice dataset, I had the following thoughts:
Overall, I felt like I did pretty well in the things that I’ve trained - pull ups, levers, shoulder rollout / prone T, body row. I was expecting my pull up to be a bit higher - maybe closer to 180-190% body weight, but I figured it was probably still plenty strong.
I’ve always felt that my fingers were a weak point, so without anything to compare it to, I felt like the numbers I put up were pretty low.
I felt that my hips and shoulders were likely not mobile enough.

Assessment results from Lattice

Lattice compared me with V9 climbers (since that was the hardest boulder problem I’ve climbed). In some places they give a score as a number of standard deviations from the mean, and in others based on a point system.
Finger Strength: 20mm 2h Max Hang mean 20mm 1h Max Hang 5s 1/2sd below mean 10mm 2h Max Hang 1/2 sd below mean Finger repeaters: all around trash Strength: 2RM pull up 1/2sd above mean 5RM dumbbell row 4/5 points front lever 2s 3/4 points Endurance: max pullups: 1/5 points max pushups: 3/5 points Core: hollow hold: 40s / 105s plank: 90s / 240s left side plank: 63s / 240s right side plank: 80s / 240s Shoulder Strength: 1h hanging shoulder shrug 5/5 ring "prone I" - 3/5 ring "prone T" - 4/5 Mobility: box split: slightly below mean forward bend: 5/5 knee to wall: 2/5 wall superman: 3/5 shoulder mobility: 2/5
The positive strength results were not surprising.
I was surprised by the finger strength results. It turns out that I’m about average, or very close to average for a V9 climber. So while this could always get better, I’m not as far behind as I had always assumed.
It seems the main glaring hole is my endurance - both as measured by max pull ups, repeaters, and my abysmal planks/hollow hold durations.
The results were not too surprising, but I found that even with this information, I didn’t really know what my priority should be. Sure, my endurance is really poor, but does that really matter if my goals lie in bouldering?

Training Plan

The plan is fairly complex - there are a lot of pieces, and a lot of different reasons for each thing. Overall, it’s going to be about 8 hours of training, and 3 climbing sessions per week (not including at-home mobility work). I’ll go into more details about everything I’m doing and why in future posts, but I think I’ll start by explaining the major themes.

Fix my trash endurance

Billy thinks that addressing my holes in endurance will be helpful in allowing me to express more of my strength on the wall, and also stay more engaged in my core as I climb. He has observed that people who have high peak strength, but don’t have much of a pyramid in terms of being able to express their strength at different volumes sometimes struggle with applying their peak strength in their climbing.
Repeaters: For fingers, I’ll be doing a session of repeaters each week. Each session will be 6 sets of 50s 7:3 repeaters, with 3 mins rest between. I’ll progress this to larger volumes through the cycle.
Core: I’ll be doing two core sessions per week - one on the pull up bar (leg raises, levers, etc), and one on the floor (plank, boat pose, etc…). The focus here will be to complete long sequences of exercises without rest. I suspect this will be quite painful.
Pull ups: I’ll also be targeting endurance in my pulling muscles, with a high-volume bodyweight pull up workout which I will progress by removing rest.
I’ll round this all out with a power-endurance bouldering session, where I will be repeating a high-intensity overhanging boulder 3 times with 1min rest in between. I’ll be doing 5 problems per session, with 5 minute rests between problems.
I’m really curious what impact this will have on how I feel on the wall. Making fun of boulderers who train planks is a trope I’ve seen a bunch, and deeply internalized — to the point that I’ve almost approached other climbers to suggest more high-intensity core work. To me this just reiterates that climbing training is a very complex and highly individualized thing.


I’ll have two 30min play/experimental bouldering sessions per week. I will not be doing intense climbing, but rather exploring new movement. I suspect I will struggle with this a lot (I’ve never really made up my own moves or problems), but it will be nice to have some dedicated time to focus on it. I think this will be a mix of attempting comp-style boulders at the gym, and making up my own movements on the wall.
I’m also going to be doing a 40min tension board session each week to work on tension and contact strength. The goal will be to find 1-3 move sequences that are at my max, and practice them with ample rest between.
Finally, I’m planning on doing some technique work during my warmups and recovery work. On easier routes, I’ll focus on loosening up my hips and climbing with more high feet, rock-overs, twists, etc… and really focusing on taking weight off my hands. I’ll also try and work on loading more into my shoulders, rather than the “squared off” bicep-heavy position I seem to be most comfortable in.

Overhead / antagonist work

During my testing, I scored pretty poorly on shoulder mobility. I also struggled a lot with overhead squats during one of the sessions during my first week. Finally, one of the observations Billy made of my bouldering video was that I tended to be the most comfortable with bent arms, loading my biceps instead of my lats and shoulders. He thinks that working on mobility and antagonist muscles should help.
The plan here is that I’ll be doing some shoulder mobility and high-volume overhead pressing work, as well as more standard strength-focused pressing work.

Reflections on my training so far

I made a calendar of all of my training (I started on Aug 8, 2022). Here’s what my first two weeks looked like:
So far I’m really happy with my decision to hire Lattice. Doing the testing was really interesting, and I feel like I got some actionable results. I’ve already gotten out of my comfort zone with filming myself, and writing this blog. After my experience with filming my bouldering, it’s funny to go back to last week’s post and read:
I’ve been bouldering for a long time, and I feel like my movement quality is quite good.
During these last two assessment weeks, my time was spent very differently than at any point in the last 5 years of training. I’ve done a combined 7 hours of mobility work, which I’ve never before managed to turn into a habit. I think the coming weeks will also look drastically different than what I would have done on my own, with the endurance, experimentation and continuing mobility sessions .
Finally, it’s been really amazing to have an experienced thought partner in Billy, rather than marinating in my own juices. While I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time stretching, I feel like I’ve spent considerably less time than usual agonizing about what to do at my next training session, which overall seems like a huge win.
I think I’ll try and stick with a weekly cadence for this blog. In future posts, I’ll get into some more details of the training plan, the rationale behind it, and how it’s impacting my perceptions as a self-trained climber about what training should look like. And hopefully, in a couple of months I’ll be able to reflect on how it’s affecting my climbing. Stay tuned!