Review: Logical Progression by Steve Bechtel, ClimbStrong.com
"you started out climbing and you got better almost every time you went out. Occasionally you would surprise yourself by jumping two whole grades from the last time you went to the cliff. But one weekend, you felt flat, the next no better.........Most climbers get to a point after a few years that just 'working out' in the climbing gym no longer leads to improvement. Many of us face a constant up-and-down battle between being in shape and falling out of it. Yet at the same time we see other climbers continue to push up through the grades and we can't figure out why...."
One of the great signs of a great coach or teacher is the one who is consistently honest in their learning journey, where they've pulled/seen ideas and taken for their own use, and adapted progressively in the same way a training plan should adapt. Steve Bechtel, owner of ClimbStrong.com and author of 'Logical Progression' (Amazon links: UK/Ireland, USA) is just one of those coaches and the book is littered throughout with ideas of where the methodology of ClimbStrong developed, and the reasoning for specific ideas developed throughout the book.
One of the key tenets of the training philosophy of ClimbStrong is the idea of 75/25 rule: 75% of is actually practising the sport, and the other 25% is 'training. It's a philosophy that I have used in my own climbing and while coaching, and I can definitely say there was some inspiration based on previous readings of Steve's work. In short, this book preaches the idea of climbing a lot, and not spending all the time under a fingerboard or lifting weights - although one of the other fantastic parts of the ClimbStrong approach is a recognition of the benefits of the deadlift (hint to Irish/Euro climbers: go find yourself a brilliant coach to teach you the correct methods and see what a few minutes every week of it will do to your climbing....).
The book is written in big, friendly, text and no section goes into too much detail as to overwhelm the ever-psyched climber's mind. If you want in-depth detail on a topic, this isn't the book (but that isn't a bad thing!) and, as is written in another book I'm currently reading at present, "after reading the 'Rock Climbers Training Manual' [another highly regarded training book] I knew all the science and methodologies of how to train and improve my grade. But I was also completely worn out and had lost all my motivation for climbing!".
'Logical Progression' is not that type of book: enough info to point you in the right direction with training methods, but not enough as to melt the brain of someone, especially beginner or intermediate-grade climbers, in best practise training methodology.
In short, the first book that came to mind when reading 'Logical Progression' was the well-known, Training for Climbing (UK/Ireland, USA) by Eric Horst, and I mean that in a complimentary way. 'Training for Climbing' was the first of the 'accessible' books I came across myself when starting out in this sport and looking to take my practise to another level - I regard it as a must-have in your library if you're in any way interested in taking some responsibility for your progression in climbing. This new book, Logical Progression, should be held in the same regard: friendly, clear with simple plans to help anyone on their journey.