• Rock Climbing Training: How to Lose Weight for Climbing
  • Rock Climbing Training: Building a Better Climber: Part 7
  • Rock Climbing Training: Building a Better Climber: Part 6
  • Rock Climbing Training: Building a Better Climber: Final Part
  • Rock Climbing Training: Building a Better Climber - The Rock and Ice Training Series
  • Rock Climbing Training: Building a Better Climber: Part 5
  • Rock Climbing Training: Building a Better Climber: Part 4
  • Rock Climbing Training: Building a Better Climber: Part 3
  • Rock Climbing Training: Building a Better Climber: Part 2
  • Rock Climbing Training: Building a Better Climber: Part 1
  • Rock Climbing Training: Gain Confidence by Learning Not to Fear Falling
  • Rock Climbing Training: The Unnatural Way to Climb
  • Rock Climbing Training: Get Better When You Are Scared and Pumped
  • Rock Climbing Training: Never Get Pumped Again
  • Rock Climbing Training: Should You Add Weight or Use Smaller Holds on a Hangboard
  • Rock Climbing Training: Pushing Past Your Training Plateau
  • Rock Climbing Training: How to Power Train for Climbing
  • Rock Climbing Training: How to Mentally Train
  • Rock Climbing Training: Boost Power With Eccentric Training
  • Rock Climbing Training: Tips for Better Onsighting
  • Rock Climbing Training: Should You Lose Weight or Get Stronger?
  • Rock Climbing Training: Is Protein Important?
  • Rock Climbing Training: Getting Strong After a Layoff
  • Rock Climbing Training: Does Running or Biking Improve Your Climbing?
  • Rock Climbing Training: Training While Hungry
  • Rock Climbing Training: HowTo Use Microcycles
  • Rock Climbing Training: Improving Slab Technique
  • Rock Climbing Training: How to Unlock a Crux
  • Rock Climbing Training: Using Your Hangboard the Right Way
  • Rock Climbing Training: Using a Weight Belt For Training
  • Rock Climbing Training: Training During Pregnancy
  • Rock Climbing Training: Maximizing a Small Home Wall
  • Rock Climbing Training: How to Stay Psyched
  • Rock Climbing Training: How to Prevent Bonking
  • Rock Climbing Training: Best Ratio of Resting to Bouldering
  • Rock Climbing Training: The Importance of Finger Strength
  • Rock Climbing Training: Regaining Confidence After a Fall
  • Rock Climbing Training: Overcome Anxiety and Send!
  • Rock Climbing Training: Maximum Training in Minimum Time
  • Rock Climbing Training: Dynamic vs. Static Stretching
  • Rock Climbing Training: Do Forearm Trainers Work?
  • Rock Climbing Training: Ultimate Strength
  • Rock Climbing Training: The Secrets of Warming Up
  • Rock Climbing Training: Periodized Training For the Year-round Approach
  • Rock Climbing Training: Resting the Perfect Amount
  • Rock Climbing Training: How To Recover On Route
  • Rock Climbing Training: Does Creatine Work?
  • Rock Climbing Training: Recovery Supplement Truths
  • Rock Climbing Training: Euro Training Secrets
  • Rock Climbing Training: Can Old Guys Get Stronger?
  • Rock Climbing Training: Training With an Injury
  • Rock Climbing Training: How to Beat Fear
  • Rock Climbing Training: How Often Should You Rest?
  • Rock Climbing Training: Warming Up Without Warm-Ups
  • Rock Climbing Training: How to Develop Sloper Strength
  • Rock Climbing Training: Beating the Lactic Acid Pump
  • Video Spotlight
    Death Wish Second Ascent
    Death Wish Second Ascent

    Rock Climbing Training: How to Power Train for Climbing

    04-Nov-2010
    By

    I'm looking for a new method for structuring my power-training sets on the hangboard. I've used the pyramid structure many times, but surely some different combinations are equally effective?

    James Harrison | Flagstaff, Arizona

    Strength athletes commonly adapt very quickly to the classic formula of pyramid training this is where you do sets of, say, 8, 6, 4, 2, 4, 6, 8 -- and many find that they have to change to avoid hitting a plateau. There are plenty of other methods out there, and I've picked one for you that is hot off the press, as well as a little controversial. It is adapted from a Russian power-training coach, Pavel Tsatsouline's, technique called greasing the groove. Tread carefully, as this program is geared toward elites (a few top-level competition climbers such as Leah Crane, British bouldering champion, have had exceptional results with it). The extent to which it can be down-geared and adapted safely for intermediates is not yet proven. Go carefully and monitor your body for signs of injury.

    First, pick an exercise in which you want to get really strong (for example, a pull-up on a finger edge) and then add weight so you can do only one set of three reps, to failure, three times a day: in the morning, at lunch, and in the evening. Elites should do this for a block of five or six days in a row before taking a rest day and then repeating this cycle. Intermediates might extrapolate that they should train for two or three days in a row, probably only twice a day instead of three times. The important part is always to keep making the exercise harder, so that you can only just complete the three reps. The only time you should stop increasing the weight is if you fail to do two reps, in which case go back to the previous weight. If you are training with two arms on a fingerboard, then you can use a weight belt. If you're training with one arm, you can use a pulley and counter-balance with weight. With this method, simply remove a small amount of weight from the counterbalance (for example, half a kilogram) every time you make a target. The idea is that it gets harder and harder to make the three-rep target as you reach the later stages of the program, but you always make it in the end, and find yourself getting loads stronger if you stick with it.

    This methodology contradicts conventional theories on strength training and the big questions are how you can get sufficient recovery when you train so frequently and how can one maximum set be enough to trigger the strength gains? We've always thought that the best way is to do several sets.

    Tsatsouline maintains that the reason we find walking so easy is because we do it all the time, and that we should treat strength training the same way. If you can teach your body to adapt to a higher level of frequency, you get more gains than by training sporadically. He also maintains that any more than one set is over-kill for this method, provided you give it your all. Doing just one set each time rather than three should reduce the risk of injury, provided, of course, you always warm up thoroughly before each maximum set.

    You asked for something different, so you got it! Good luck, train safe and don't forget that this type of training is all well and good provided you have the climbing skills to go with it! Power alone is never sufficient to get you up a hard route or boulder problem.

    Reader's Commentary:

    Don't want to use Facebook, but still want to comment? We have you covered:

    Add Your Comments to this article:
    Hello