The Best Training Plans You’ve Never Heard Of

I have no idea what training plan this random Italian guy is on, but it didn’t help him get through the steep section of the classic Rombo di Venti in Finale. Maybe he should try one of the ones listed below…

Everybody is training these days. Pros, recreational climbers, even folks who’ve only been at it for a couple months think they need to train. And there’s no lack of information out there, in fact, maybe the hardest part of finding a training plan is sorting through all the noise to figure out what actually works.

My advice would be to look at something from Power Company, Steve Bechtel or the Anderson Brothers, but if you have tried all those and want something a little more outside the box, here are some unverified (and mostly untrue) methods that might (or might not) be worth checking out. Some I’ve even tried myself and can vouch for the effectiveness of (or not).

Get Sick & Injured for a Month

January started out strong for me, with a fun week in Red Rocks getting back into the flow after Christmas break. I came home ready to train hard for our trip to Italy, and then bam! I bruised my ribs out skiing and had to take three weeks off. During that time, I also got sick twice. When I finally was able to climb again, I felt like a rocket, lighter than air. I hadn’t done much that was physical in the month that I was healing, but I was so eager to climb again that stoke alone took me up the rock. The take away here is to make yourself feel so awful for a month that even just getting back to baseline feels like the best thing in the world!

The Train Only in the Gym and Never Climb Outside Plan

When I first got into “training” I will admit I got sucked down this road. Like with traditional weightlifting, in training you can track and analyze and record everything, so it’s easy to see progress. Way more so than climbing outside on the nebulous “grades” that some of us use to measure our egos, er, success with. Adding more weight on a hangboard, hitting a new PR on the campus board, these are tangible accomplishments, and can be addicting in their own right. Plus you never have to go outside, deal with bad weather, lack of a partner, etc. However, if this doesn’t sound like a good way to measure yourself against other climbers, you can always try what I do and use height. That automatically puts me way ahead of many people, regardless of how much stronger they may be.

The Weird Diet Program

Everybody has a diet these days. Talk about first world problems. I’m vegan, I’m Keto, I’m Paleo, I’m only eating the fat of baby dolphins that were raised in a spherical tank listening to Enya. Imagine trying to tell the 800 million people in the world who are starving every day what your diet is. Anyway, there are people that swear by these tings, so find the one that will make you the most hip with your friend group and attribute all of your sending success to it. You can probably even write a magazine article about it, sometimes they have slow months and have to publish something.

Go Somewhere You Suck for a Couple of Weeks Program

This one has actually worked really well for me the last couple of springs. I am crimping impaired, and two years ago I spent a week in St George followed by a week in Red Rocks, and then last year two weeks in Siurana. After both those trips, where I never climbed anything respectable for me grade-wise, I came home and crushed some local hard routes very quickly. Surprisingly quickly, in fact, but after so much effort onsighting in a style that was hard for me, redpointing on familiar terrain was casual by comparison! Changing things up was just the thing I needed to get a new perspective and break through some mental barriers.

Good luck if you embark on one of these. I can only really recommend the last one, but if you try the others let us know how it goes (or not)!

3 Responses to The Best Training Plans You’ve Never Heard Of

  1. > Get Sick & Injured for a Month

    Worked for me. I was in bed with flu for three weeks prior to an Easter trip to Fontainebleau that I was afraid I was going to have to cancel. Made it in the end though, and spent a week pottering up sandbagged slabs between rainstorms.

    Came home, thought “shit, I have to finally get *something* done”, headed out to my local very-definitely-not-Fontainebleau-in-fact-downright-crappy bouldering area – and over the course to three sessions successfully projected my first 7A. Yay, I suppose.

    Alan May 10, 2018 at 5:29 am
    • That’s awesome! Makes you realize how much of the game is mental.

      BJ Sbarra May 17, 2018 at 11:05 am
  2. I agree with BJ Sbarra! The mind is the most important thing to face all the challenges! Thank you for all these tips, I just wanted to react on the diet. I think that’s a very important aspect of physical preparation. I went 2 weeks in Ecuador to climb several volcanoes! My goal was cotopaxi, and I did not have much time to acclimatize to altitude! (5897m) I contacted an agency in Quito who gave me good advice and nottament food. The 5 days preceding the ascent it is very important to have a healthy diet and to get enough sleep … the mind does the rest and takes over when the body is gone! I advise you besides the experience of Cotopaxi! It’s to be done at least once in a lifetime! I was able to achieve this climb through the agency Gulliver Expeditions ( if it can help you, I recommend!

    Ursula Stadelman May 31, 2018 at 9:47 am
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