Healthy balance of repeating old and sending new things indoors

Lets assume that indoor bouldering is life and i go outdoors only 10-20 days a year spread over 2-3 trips. We know that to progress we would like to have some sort of combination of training intensity and volume. One way to organize your sessions to achieve it is to do limit bouldering and boulder repeats. Limit bouldering is good for developing strength, power, coordination and working on crux specific micro beta. Bouldering repeats contribute to strength training and session stamina, but moreover, let you perfect the beta, work on your anxiety of failing at complete boulders aka “unsending” and try your previous max projects with some degree of fatigue which on success can be a good confidence booster and a measure of progress. What would be a healthy amount of repeating old projects and sending new projects?

At the moment i have a 3 day a week training program. Wednesday is dedicated to a 3 strike repeat circuit where the goal is to complete as many as possible hard old projects during timed 1.5h session. Projects that play too much to my strength are usually discarded from that circuit after few sessions. Projects that hit my weaknesses, have unstable beta that i forget, or where i’m most anxious about “unsending” stay much longer. Other 2 days are about sending new projects in 2 session to 1 month of projecting work range. Each of those sessions is in a different gym for variety of wall angles and setting style. After a good warmup that primes me for limit session i pick 2-4 projects and work on them for 20-30 min each depending on how recovered i am.

I`m not asking here if this is optimal because i quite like it, so will stick to it for next few months for sure. But does this split make sense for you, and i;m curious to know what is your balance of repeats to new sends?

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Makes sense to me. I do something similar, but also occassionally take a more macro view to repeats and spend a few weeks just repeating boulders, often managing the rests taken and number of boulders in a session to achieve a specific outcome - though that is nearly always related to an outdoor season or upcoming trip.

One repeat type drill that I do relatively often, that blurs the line with limit bouldering, are Mastery Repeats. I have a small circuit of these that I work on once a month or so, and I end up with a couple of new ones each year. Occasionally, when I have a lightbulb moment during the drill, these get removed from this list and put on a quicker repeat list.

MASTERY | Hard Boulder Repeats - YouTube


Great, thanks. I recently realized the potential of repeating boulders for both physical and technical gains. But as a follow up question to you as a coach: how do i convince my bouldering buddies to do it? Some of my partners feel bad if they dont make progress on new stuff session or even have FOMO if the new reset is up but were not working on it. Some other ppl will be even harder to reason with because they say once you done it you’re wasting time and staying in your comfort zone by not trying new things. Of course, those give 0 solid argument against repeats and even sounds ridiculous, however, you always want your partners on your side for healthy mental game.

The best way I’ve seen to reason with folks who argue against repeats is that when trying to send something hard, you end up repeating parts of a boulder over and over anyway - and it’s often a tweak that’s made to that “easier” part that allows the send. If you can get better at that process, at figuring out what to tweak to make it better or more efficient, you’ll send faster.

Why not treat those repeats as perfecting that process that you’ll eventually use on harder sends?

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Ratio of sending new vs. repeating old projects seems ok. As you progress, you can try to include some of old projects into skill drills (if you do those). Including them helps you hone your skills on what becomes your second tier and makes progress visible. For example, what used to be my mini project becomes Perfect Repeat and then, once I optimize the beta, it becomes One Touch.


As wise man said (more than once) - get rid of your friends they’re holding you back :grinning:
Joke aside, I have similar situation with some of my climbing partners. Due to mixture of FOMO and fear of “unsending” problems, some of them refuse to try repeating projects. In my experience, it really depends on willingness of your friends to recognize benefits of such practice.

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