Effective training can’t be haphazard, nor done ad-lib. In this podcast, you’ll learn a supremely effective conceptual model for training that adopts an “intelligent system” approach. Eric describes the nine elements of an intelligent system, and how you can incorporate this system to optimize training results and accelerate goal pursuit!


1:30 – Intro to the TFC podcast

3:19 – Learning to climb is simple; learning how to train effectively is complex!

8:10 – Employing a “systems” approach to your training and goal pursuit.

10:32 – The value of waking each morning with a mission.

16:20 – Eric shares some climbing history…and names 5 legendary, transformative climbers that influenced him and helped inspire this systems approach to training/climbing.

17:55 – #1 Warren Harding…applied a mission approach to big wall climbing…and took commitment and suffering to a new level. His classic, hysterical book, Downward Bound.

20:00 – #2 John Gill – The father of modern bouldering and training for climbing. Read his biography, Masters of Rock (by Pat Ament). Gill was climbing V9 (in hiking boots) in 1959!

22:00 – #3 Wolfgang Gullich – Applied a systems approach to training and hard climbing…and opened up the world’s first 5.14a, 5.14b, and 5.14d. Wolfgang helped invent the campus board, a climbing-specific form of plyometric training. Life in the Vertical, by Tillman Hepp.

23:50 – #4 Todd Skinner – A pioneer of big wall free climbing, hard bouldering, and limit sport climbing, Todd employed a mission approach to climbing on a massive “all-in” and multi-year scale. Search for the book Big Walls, by Paul Piana…and read Todd’s Beyond the Summit.

25:15 – #5 Lynn Hill – First female 5.14 ascent, World Cup Champion, and Free Ascent of The Nose of El Cap (1994). Lynn, like the other four legendary climbers, employed a systems approach to her climbing life. Read Lynn’s biography, Climb Free.

27:40 – Two more important influences: my parents! My father, an engineer and inventor, helped shape my innate sense of needing to employ a systems approach to training/climbing.

29:10 – (oh yeah, climbing influence #6)….Jim Collins, a leading climber in the early1980s; later a best-selling author and business consultant, Jim described my mega-goal concept as a “BHAG”. Big Audacious Hairy Goal! Jim’s best-seller, Good to Great.

30:30 – Conceptual model of a “System”.

30:40 – Five elements of an open system: 1. Input, 2. Output, 3, Structure, 4. Transport, 5. Conversion.

33:30 – Making a system into an “Intelligent System” with four additional elements: 6. Goal, 7. Sensor, 8. Controller, 9. Disturbance.

40:00 – Applying an Intelligent System approach to your training and goal pursuit. If you’re an advanced or elite climber, then employing a highly personalized system approach to training is essential for pursuing your genetic potential…and mega goals!

42:00 – Some climbing-specific examples of employing an intelligent system approach to training. Examples of how each system element relates to daily training activities and mission pursuit.

53:35 – Tips for applying a systems approach to your training and non-training activities

55:00 – Importance of having a mega-goal. What’s your BHAG? You also need a series of short-term goals to make your journey more rich and enjoyable…and to help maintain motivation and a sense of progress.

57:00 – Importance of consciously selecting your INPUTs—training, rest, food, things you do to support recovery, etc.

1:01:50 – SENSOR…your subjective sense of movement quality and fatigue while climbing and training; but also via objective measures…such as tracking of metrics of fitness (grip strength, bodyweight, etc.)

1:04:30 – The power of DISTURBANCES to covertly sabotage your training and knock you off course from your goals. Strive to anticipate, avoid, or quickly course-correct. Learn more about avoiding your kyrptonite!

1:07:20 – Most important: Be proactive and fully engaged in the process of training, climbing, and living. Don’t be an NPC!

1:09:30 – Wrap-up: PLEASE support this podcast! Visit PhysiVantage.com to explore the first performance nutrition products designed for climbers. These products are research-based, used by pros and amateurs alike…and they work! Save 10% off non-sale items with the code “save10” at checkout.

1:13:00 – Do you value this free podcast? Please write a review, and please share with a friend.

schematic of intelligent system -- by Eic Horst -- training for climbing

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Music by: Misty Murphy

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