• Beat the Burnout: Only Ondra Should Train Like Ondra
  • Effective Gym Training Strategies (for Route Climbing)
  • Should You Add Weight or Use Smaller Holds on a Hangboard
  • Map Out a Plan with the Radar System
  • Managing the Fear of Falling
  • Projecting 101 – 6 Tips For Sending
  • Slowing the Pump Clock
  • Training on the Go
  • How to Train for Compression
  • Nutrition: Eating Your Way to Better Climbing
  • How to Dyno
  • General Conditioning for Climbers
  • Transitioning from Gym to Crag
  • How to Keep Your Job and Family and Still Climb at Your Limit
  • Staying Strong to Perform Your Best All Season
  • How to Lose Weight for Climbing
  • Building a Better Climber: Part 7
  • Building a Better Climber: Part 6
  • Building a Better Climber: Final Part
  • Building a Better Climber - The Rock and Ice Training Series
  • Building a Better Climber: Part 5
  • Building a Better Climber: Part 4
  • Building a Better Climber: Part 3
  • Building a Better Climber: Part 2
  • Building a Better Climber: Part 1
  • Gain Confidence by Learning Not to Fear Falling
  • The Unnatural Way to Climb
  • Get Better When You Are Scared and Pumped
  • Never Get Pumped Again
  • Pushing Past Your Training Plateau
  • How to Power Train for Climbing
  • How to Mentally Train
  • Boost Power With Eccentric Training
  • Tips for Better Onsighting
  • Should You Lose Weight or Get Stronger?
  • Is Protein Important?
  • Getting Strong After a Layoff
  • Does Running or Biking Improve Your Climbing?
  • Training While Hungry
  • How To Use Microcycles
  • Improving Slab Technique
  • How to Unlock a Crux
  • Using Your Hangboard the Right Way
  • Using a Weight Belt For Training
  • Training During Pregnancy
  • Maximizing a Small Home Wall
  • How to Stay Psyched
  • How to Prevent Bonking
  • Best Ratio of Resting to Bouldering
  • The Importance of Finger Strength
  • Regaining Confidence After a Fall
  • Overcome Anxiety and Send!
  • Maximum Training in Minimum Time
  • Dynamic vs. Static Stretching
  • Do Forearm Trainers Work?
  • Ultimate Strength
  • The Secrets of Warming Up
  • Periodized Training For the Year-round Approach
  • Resting the Perfect Amount
  • How To Recover On Route
  • Does Creatine Work?
  • Recovery Supplement Truths
  • Euro Training Secrets
  • Can Old Guys Get Stronger?
  • Training With an Injury
  • How to Beat Fear
  • How Often Should You Rest?
  • Warming Up Without Warm-Ups
  • How to Develop Sloper Strength
  • Beating the Lactic Acid Pump
  • Video Spotlight
    The Angry Beaver
    The Angry Beaver

    Rock Climbing Training: Can Old Guys Get Stronger?

    04-Dec-2009
    By

    As an older climber with a long history of climbing and athletics, I find that age, lifestyle, work commitments and other responsibilities have been taking their toll on performance. While I still maintain a dedicated and refined training routine, progress seems to be stalling. Any advice from the coach that will help the baby-boomer crowd stay in the game?

    — Richard M. Wright, Lakewood, CO

    You can't realistically expect to get stronger or fitter as a veteran if you have been climbing and training all your life. Only veterans who are new to climbing can hope for pure strength improvements. Remember, however, that climbing is not track and field. Tactics, skill and technique play a larger role in our sport than strength gains. Improvements in overall climbing performance are truly in the cards for older climbers, whether novice or experienced, if you use brain over brawn. I’m not saying don’t train; but over time, training should focus more on technique and you should incorporate more recovery into your schedule. Without seeing your program, I can’t say why you are stalling, but if you are still doing the same volume as you did when you were younger, then inadequate recovery is the most likely reason for the plateau. Less is more as a veteran, and if you rest more you will gain more.

    In addition, completely avoid high-intensity exercises such as campusing or deadhanging. The extra five or 10 percent you may or may not gain by doing these high-impact exercises is not worth the six months out with injury. The older you get, the more the scales should tip towards endurance training, and I would suggest cutting powerful bouldering out altogether by the time you hit 60. Pay extra attention to nutrition and hydration and get sufficient sleep. I would also advise regular antagonist training sessions (including push-ups and reverse wrist curls) as these become exponentially important to stave off injuries.

    Above all else, don’t stray from trying to climb with perfect technique. Give yourself continuous technique prompts—laser-precise foot placements, straight arms, twist in on steep terrain, regulate the breathing, and so on.

    Pay close attention to your warm-up and listen to your body as if you were tuning a piano. Warm-up using a pyramid sequence of routes—not too many, nor too few, and in the perfect ascending grade order. [See Ask the Coach No. 172 for advice on warming up]. Get your rest just right between each burn, and above all else pick the right routes! The older you get the more demoralized you may become if you select routes that are all about raw power or withering endurance. Stick to climbs that require a bit of skill and subtlety and you can continue to meet the challenge long into the future. [See No. 167 for Coach Gresham’s comprehensive article on training for veterans.]

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