Ramp Up Your Training Program

By this time last winter, I’d probably climbed more days outside than in the gym, thanks to a dry and warm weather pattern. This year, however, I’ve spent maybe four days outside since the beginning of December, which means my footwork is probably going to crap, but I have been able to do a bunch of focused training.

It seems like each winter, I get more and more into putting time into the gym, into a deliberate program for improving as a climber. When putting a training program together, however, I’ve found it can be challenging to sort through all the advice out there, what’s good, what’s bad, what’s just silly. Recently, I’ve come across a few excellent resources on the subject that I thought I’d share, hopefully you’ll find them helpful as well.

A big problem I’ve had with a lot of training articles is that they never give you specifics, like what workouts to do, how long to rest for, etc. And I realize everyone is different, but it would be nice to at least get pointed in the right direction. While both the latest issues of Climbing and Rock and Ice offer some good, tangible workouts, the one I’ve found the most useful this winter is detailed over on the Climb Strong website. Whether you are looking to get stronger at bouldering, or up your sport climbing fitness, there’s detailed workouts on here that you can take and tailor to your needs.

There’s a relatively new train of thought about injuries in the climbing world that goes like this: climb through it. A couple years ago I would have dismissed this as the uninformed ranting of the genetically gifted, but the truth is, there is more and more evidence that a disciplined approach to climbing through an injury may actually be the best thing. I applied this to my last finger injury, and found it to be incredibly effective. I originally saw this idea on Dave MacLeod’s blog (read this, this and this), an invaluable resource, and there are two other great articles over on the Power Company site, one about dealing with finger and elbows, and another with shoulders. Check them out, very worth the read.

You can read all the books you want, but when it comes down to it, climbing better is actually a fairly simply process. There is no magic bullet, but there are tried and true strategies to follow. Andrew Bisharat gives some great guidelines for pushing yourself to the next level, whether that be 5.10 or 5.14.

Last but not least is Mark Anderson’s Lazy H Climbing club. He goes into the specifics of things like hangboarding, campusing, periodization, etc. Again, I think there is some great stuff here, and it’s beneficial to pick out what’s relevant for you and apply it to your program.

Happy training everyone, spring is right around the corner!

3 Responses to Ramp Up Your Training Program

  1. Thanks for the blog BJ! This has been on my mind all week. I have spring fever and want to climb harder this year than ever.

    Jeff Cole February 6, 2013 at 2:18 pm
  2. having an easily accessible and adjustable wall helps a lot too cragwall.com

    Kent Olmstead February 23, 2013 at 11:17 am
  3. This really got me thinking! I’m new to climbing, as in I started last year. And I caught the bug immediately. All I want to do is raise my abilities and climb harder! Cannot wait for this summer!

    Nolan Schacherer March 13, 2013 at 5:37 pm
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