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Last December I had the honour and the privilege to attend a workshop by Patxi Usobiaga, PUC training. The event was organized by Black Diamond and hosted by my local gym Wupperwände in Wuppertal.
Since I started climbing, Patxi has always been one of my inspirations. Actually not so much for his competitive career but for his incredible comeback to climbing, after the accident he had left him for two years without touching the rock.
I recognize him immediately as I arrive. Of small stature, looking a bit “grumpy”, holding his inevitable coffee mug. I will find out later that day that he had crashed his laptop by pouring the breakfast coffee on it, losing not only a valuable working tool but also the power point presentation of the same workshop. Workshop aimed at introducing the PUC Training method, created by Patxi himself with the goal of building a personalized climbing training.
In my opinion, not having the official power point presentation made it all much more spontaneous and exciting. We had a couple of hours of theory – full of technical topics but also personal experiences – followed by a practical training session in circuit style.
PUC training is a macrocycle that is divided into three mesocycles: Accumulation, Transformation and Implementation.
The Accumulation phase creates the fitness base on which the subsequent phases can be built. It includes high volume, low intensity exercises.
Transformation is the most delicate phase because it brings the body into a sort of controlled overtraining, needed to achieve supercompensation. While the training volume remains the same, the intensity increases. Every drill should be performed “a muerte”, giving the maximum.
Realization is the phase immediately before our goal, whether it is a climbing vacation in Spain, an official competition or that very difficult project that has remained in our hearts. Realization is the mesocycle that allows us to preserve the physical improvement of previous cycles and lets us rest more, in order to fully get our goal.
During the theoretical part, Patxi also spoke of other climbing elements that are not directly related to motoric: fear of falling, the relationship with own body weight, the “slavery” of the route grade. He was sincere and very open with us and made examples and connections with his personal history.
Although we have different stories, I felt very attuned with him: a professional who is less “glamorous” compared with other more famous colleagues; an introvert who likes to work hard; a passionate climber and a fitness lover.
I will not go into details of what has been taught us. I can only tell you that Patxi is the right person if you are looking for a climbing coach. On his site Pucseries he offers personalized online workouts. It is also possible to attend workshops such as the one I attended and Master Classes.
But the most important thing is that Patxi manages to share something great and overwhelming: the love that we all have for climbing.
We have edited a short video to remember this special day. Hope you enjoy it!
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