• Rock Climbing Training: How to Keep Your Job and Family and Still Climb at Your Limit
  • Rock Climbing Training: Map Out a Plan with the Radar System
  • Rock Climbing Training: How to Train for Compression
  • Rock Climbing Training: General Conditioning for Climbers
  • Rock Climbing Training: How to Dyno
  • Rock Climbing Training: Transitioning from the Gym to the Crag
  • Rock Climbing Training: Building a Better Climber: Part 8
  • 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: Part 5
  • Steve House Climbing Training: The Training Effect
  • 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 Nutrition: Eating Your Way to Better Climbing
  • 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 Nutrition: Power Your Climbing With Whole Foods
  • Rock Climbing Training: Should You Add Weight or Use Smaller Holds on a Hangboard
  • Training for Climbing: Injured? Train Your Core!
  • Rock Climbing Training: Pushing Past Your Training Plateau
  • Rock Climbing Nutrition: Anti-inflammatory Foods vs NSAIDS
  • Rock Climbing Training: How to Mentally Train
  • Rock Climbing Training: How to Power Train for Climbing
  • 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: Does Running or Biking Improve Your Climbing?
  • Rock Climbing Training: Is Protein Important?
  • Rock Climbing Training: Getting Strong After a Layoff
  • 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: Best Ratio of Resting to Bouldering
  • Rock Climbing Training: Training During Pregnancy
  • Rock Climbing Training: Using Your Hangboard the Right Way
  • 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: Using a Weight Belt For Training
  • Rock Climbing Training: Regaining Confidence After a Fall
  • Rock Climbing Training: Dynamic vs. Static Stretching
  • Rock Climbing Training: Overcome Anxiety and Send!
  • Rock Climbing Training: The Importance of Finger Strength
  • Rock Climbing Training: Do Forearm Trainers Work?
  • Rock Climbing Training: Maximum Training in Minimum Time
  • Dialing in Crampon Technique
  • Rock Climbing Training: Ultimate Strength
  • Rock Climbing Training: Periodized Training For the Year-round Approach
  • Rock Climbing Training: The Secrets of Warming Up
  • Climbing Training: Beat the Ice-Climbing Pump
  • Rock Climbing Training: Resting the Perfect Amount
  • Rock Climbing Training: How To Recover On Route
  • Rock Climbing Training: Does Creatine Work?
  • Rock Climbing Training: Can Old Guys Get Stronger?
  • Rock Climbing Training: Recovery Supplement Truths
  • Rock Climbing Training: Euro Training Secrets
  • Rock Climbing Training: How to Beat Fear
  • Rock Climbing Training: How Often Should You Rest?
  • Rock Climbing Training: Training With an Injury
  • Rock Climbing Training: Avoiding the Gear-Placement Pump
  • Rock Climbing Training: How to Develop Sloper Strength
  • Rock Climbing Training: Warming Up Without Warm-Ups
  • Rock Climbing Training: Beating the Lactic Acid Pump
  • Video Spotlight
    Sport Climbing Basics
    Sport Climbing Basics

    Rock Climbing Training: Building a Better Climber: Part 2

    10-Jun-2013
    By

    Lydia McDonald getting some mileage out of <em>Mr. Fantasy</em> (5.11c), New River Gorge, West Virginia. Photo by Chris NobleWelcome to the Rock and Ice year-long training plan. If you followed part one, outlined in No. 208, then you’ll be feeling fit and ready to move on to the next phase. You have laid down a base of general strength and fitness, and the next stage will move on to sport-specific endurance.

    LOW-INTENSITY ENDURANCE PHASE  

    [ 6 weeks ]

    For climbers this means focusing on high-volume, low-intensity training. In this phase you’ll start racking up routes in multiple sets and going for the burn. You must also keep up your bouldering sessions, at least one a week, but prioritize mileage rather than working projects. 

    For best results, add a personalized touch by adapting the plan to your goals or weaknesses; for example, by focusing more on specific types of holds or angles, but the overall effect will still be powerful even if you do exactly what’s set out here. 

    Be sure to warm-up and cool down, as well as to listen to your body and adjust the workload if you are not recovering.

    Weekly Microcycles 

    Select the appropriate weekly plan for your level. If you are required to train on two consecutive days, boulder on day 1 and do endurance on day 2.  It’s up to you how to fit the sessions into your weekly schedule. The numbers below indicate days per week.

    Beginner     

    Intermediate     

    Advanced/Elite

    1. Low-intensity endurance

    2

    3

    3

    2. Bouldering - volume

    1

    1

    2

    3. Conditioning and flexibility     

    1

    1

    1

    4. Antagonists and core  

    1

    1

    2


    SESSION-PLAN DETAILS

    1. Low-intensity Endurance

    Two different structure options are given both for the lead wall and the bouldering wall. Do not attempt more than one in each session, and the best approach is to alternate between the two.

    a) Routes / Option 1 

    [ 5x3s ]

    Warm-up first. Select 3 different routes of the same grade that you can climb consecutively, “3 in a row.” See guidelines below for optimum wall angle.
    Note that the grade will be at least 2 or 3 below your onsight grade for beginner/intermediates and 4 below onsight grade for advanced/elite.
    Lower off and make the transition to the next route as quickly (and safely) as possible.
    Climbing 3 routes in a row equals one set. Do 5 sets with rests equal to climbing time.
    Aim to make subsequent sessions slightly harder by bumping up the grade of the three routes by one letter.

    b) Routes / Option 2

    [ Up-down-ups ]

    The aim is to climb up a route, then back down a route (usually approximately 2 grades easier), and then back up the first route. For beginners and intermediates, the grade of the up-climb should be at least 2 below your onsight grade and the down-climb will be 3 below .For advanced/elite, the grade of the up-climb will be at least 3 below your onsight grade and the down-climb will be 5 below. Do this a total of 5 times, with rest times equal to climbing time. Aim to make subsequent sessions slightly harder using the following target sequence: 1. Make the up-climb a letter grade harder, 2. Make the down-climb a letter grade harder.

    c) Low-intensity endurance on the bouldering wall 

    [ Random climbing ]

    Find an easy and quiet area of the bouldering wall. Warm-up first, then climb around, selecting holds at random for 10 minutes. Go up, down and diagonally, as well as traversing. Try linking color-coded problems together, provided they are easy enough. Aim for a moderate and continuous level of pump . If you get too pumped, find a resting position and work at recovering before continuing. If you have a training partner, take turns pointing each other around the wall using a stick.

    [ 5 mins on /5 mins off ] [ 10 mins on /10 mins off ] [ 15 mins on /15 mins off ] [ 10 mins on /10 mins off ] [ 5 mins on ]

    >Optimum wall angle for low-intensity endurance training

    [ Beginner / Low intermediate ] 

    vertical

    [ Intermediate ] 

    5 - 10 degrees overhanging

    [ Advanced ] 

    10 - 20 degrees overhanging

    [ Elite ] 20 - 30 degrees overhanging

    >Finish all endurance sessions with sets of pull-ups and straight-leg raises to failure. 

    [ Beginners ] 2 sets

    [ Intermediates ] 3 sets

    [ Elites ] 5 sets 

    ==

    2. Bouldering - Volume

    Climb the problems in pyramid formation. The hardest problem, at the top of the pyramid, should take 3 or 4 tries. Rest 1 minute between problems at the first two grade levels. Rest 2 mins between problems at the third and fourth levels. Rest 3 to 4 mins between problems at the highest grade level.  Aim to do 1 more problem at the highest or second-highest grade level with each session.

    [ Beginner / Low intermediate ]

    V0 x 4; V1 x 3 ;  V2 x 3; V3 x 1 ; V2 x 3; V1 x 3 

    [ Intermediate ]

    V0 x 4; V1 x 3 ; V2 x 2; V3 x 2 ; V4 x 2; V5 x 1 ; V4 x 2; V3 x 2

    [ Advanced ]

    V1 x 4; V2 x 3 ;V3 x 2; V4 x 2 ;V5 x 2; V6 x 1 ; V5 x 2; V4 x 2 ; V3 x 2; V2 x 2

    [ Elite ] 

    V2 x 3; V3 x 3; V4 x 2; V5 x 2; V6 x 2; V7 x 2;  V8 x 1; V7 x 2; V6 x 2; V5 x 2; V4 x 2; V3 x 2


    3. Conditioning & flexibility

    This session remains the same. See No. 208 or go to Training on rockandice.com for the article and videos of conditioning exercises and stretches.

    a) Run (30 mins)—include 3 or 4 intervals.

    b) Conditioning circuit (10 mins)—Burpees or rope skipping e.g. [ 1 min on /1 min off ] x 5

    c) Flexibility (15 mins)—hold stretches for 20 secs, twice each.


    4. Antagonists & Core

    This session remains the same. See No. 208 or go to Training on rockandice.com for the article and videos of antagonists and core exercises.

    a) Antagonists

    Do 3 sets of 20 reps of the following exercises with 2 minutes of rest between sets. Don’t go to failure (or, optional, go to failure on last set).

    1. Push-ups (kneeling if required)

    2. Reverse wrist curls. Use a weight that you  can handle comfortably for 3 sets of 20 reps. 

    3. Finger extensions (with rubber band).

    b) Core

    1. Extreme plank

    10 reps x 3 sets with 2 minutes rest.

    Do an extra rep each session.

    2. Iron cross

    (As extreme plank but spread arms/legs wide).

    10 reps x 3 sets with 2 minutes rest.

    Do an extra rep each session.

    3. Leg paddles

    Lie on your back in a half sit-up position. Hands on temples, crunch-up to mid-way. Stretch legs out straight in front, hold feet just above the ground and paddle up and down.

    50 reps x 3 with 2 mins. rest.

    Do 5 additional reps each session.

    Go to Building a Better Climber: Part 3.

    Revisit Building a Better Climber: Part 1.

    [ ABOUT THE author ]

    Neil Gresham has been training climbers since 1993. Check out his training DVDs at climbingmasterclass.com. 


    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