• Coming Back From Injury
  • Get Trip-Fit Fast
  • Systems Wall and Symmetrical Training
  • Coaching Climbing - How To Train Juniors with Care and Caution
  • Grip Trainers - Gimmicks, or Worth the Money?
  • Hangboarding for Endurance: Not Just for Power
  • Simulation Training: How to Do a Move You Can't Do
  • Planning a Year's Climbing
  • Portable Training Rigs - How to Stay Fit on the Go
  • How to Keep Your Job and Family and Still Climb at Your Limit
  • Suspension Training for Rock Climbing
  • Eat Fat, Climb Harder - The Ketogenic Diet
  • Witness the Mental Fitness: Set Thought Aside to Improve Performance
  • Mental Training Made Simple
  • Counterintuitive Climbing Tips to Change Your Game - Part 2
  • Endurance Training Tips for Winter
  • Five Counterintuitive Climbing Tips to Change Your Game - Part 1
  • Staying Power - How to Last All Day at the Crag
  • Attack and Defend - Tips for Effective Resting
  • Change Up - Plug the Gaps In Your Strength Training This Winter
  • Training While Injured
  • The Hard Way, Easier: How to Cope with Redpoint Nerves
  • Climbing Literacy - Get Better Instantly by Reading Routes
  • The Numbers Game - How to Use Your Age to Your Advantage
  • Injury-Free Bouldering: 15 Tips to Keep You Healthy and Strong
  • Injury-Free Boarding: 14 Training Tips to Save Your Fingers
  • The Truth About Caffeine and Climbing
  • Pushing Past Your Training Plateau
  • Five Strategies to Sharpen Concentration and Climb Better
  • Five Ways to Get Better Without Training
  • 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 - Three Strategies to Prevent the Pump
  • 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
  • Staying Strong to Perform Your Best All Season
  • How to Lose Weight for Climbing
  • Building a Better Climber: Final Phase - Peaking
  • Building a Better Climber: Phase 7 - Power Endurance Training
  • Building a Better Climber: Phase 6 - Endurance II
  • Building a Better Climber: Phase 5 - Strength and Power II
  • The Training Effect - Steve House and Scott Johnston
  • Training for Climbing: Injured? Train Your Core!
  • Building a Better Climber: Phase 4 - Power Endurance
  • Building a Better Climber: Phase 3 - Strength Training
  • Building a Better Climber: Phase 2 - Low-Intensity Endurance
  • Building a Better Climber: Phase 1 - Conditioning Phase
  • Gain Confidence by Learning Not to Fear Falling
  • Get Better When You Are Scared and Pumped
  • Never Get Pumped Again
  • Gutbusters - Core Exercises for Rock Climbing
  • Rest ... or Else
  • The Intuitive Approach to Training
  • Free Climbing Tips: Why Get Stronger When You Can Get Better?
  • Crank Like a Russian - 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
  • How to Improve Slab Technique
  • How to Unlock a Crux
  • How to Use a Hangboard
  • 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
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    Building a Better Climber: Phase 5 - Strength and Power II


    Welcome back to the Rock and Ice yearlong training plan. If you stuck with the first four phases in this ongoing series, you should be feeling fit and ready to start strength training. If you missed the previous action, simply start with two weeks of endurance training, then commence with the strength phase outlined here.



    Kevin Jorgeson powering up for the Dawn Wall with another lap on <em>Evolution</em> (V10) at the Buttermilk boulders. Photo by Ken Etzel.This next phase is the second strength phase of the overall training program and hence it is similar in nature to Phase 3

    The main focus is bouldering, with a small amount of supporting hangboard work. The bouldering session is the same as in Phase 3, but the hangboard session has changed slightly. There is also a small amount of low-intensity endurance work. Take three or four rest days after the first three weeks and then resume. 

    At the end of the phase, take four rest days and see Rock and Ice No. 214 for the next phase. Those who have limited access to a climbing gym should substitute bouldering sessions with a home hangboard session.



    Number of Sessions per Week

          Beginner          Intermediate           Advanced/Elite     
    1. Bouldering  2 2 3
    2. Hangboard/Campus  - 1 1
    3. Low Intensity Endurance  1 1 1
    4. Conditioning and Flexibility  1 1 1
    5. Antagonists and Core  1 1 2




    Time: 2½ hours

    Warm up: Pulse raiser, mobility exercises and easy climbing movement: 15 minutes

    Progression of boulder problems: 45 minutes

    Project bouldering: 2 hours

    Intermediates/Elites: Try three different projects that you expect will take a minimum of two or three sessions to complete. Each individual move should take between two and five tries on the first attempt. All three problems should be overhanging but each should emphasize a different style and/or angle; e.g., slopey/pinchy holds, crimpy/positive holds, gentle overhang/severe overhang. Spend 30 minutes on each project and take a 15-minute break between each one.

    Beginners: Try five boulder problems that you expect to get in three or four tries. Don’t spend any longer than 15 minutes on one problem. Move on and return to it next time. Rest 15 minutes after every 30 minutes of climbing.

    Intermediates/Elites: Finish with the arms and core exercises given for the hangboard routine (one-armers and front levers), but not finger exercises.

    Warm down with easy movement and stretches. Eat a protein- and carb-based snack within 30 minutes of training.



    Warm up thoroughly. If you don’t have access to a bouldering wall, do gentle warm-up sets of hangs and pull-ups with one foot on a chair. Give gradually less assistance each time. Rest two to three minutes between sets of all exercises.

    1) Dead hangs (single hangs)

    One-arm or two, subject to ability. Aim to reach the failure point before 10 seconds on the first hang. You will need to calibrate the exercise by adding weight, switching to a smaller hold or using fewer fingers. Make each set slightly harder every time you train.

    2) Campus touches (for high intermediates and elites only)

    Only do this exercise if you can boulder approximately V6. Use first-joint (medium) campus rungs with a half-crimp grip (fingers bent at 90 degrees). Start with both hands level, pull-up and lead with one arm, touch (don’t hold) the high rung and then drop back down and repeat with the other arm, alternating to failure. The rung spacings will determine the number of sets. Rest two or three minutes and repeat.

    Warm-up set x 2

    6 – 8 reps (narrower rung spacing)

    2 – 4 reps (wider rung spacing) 

    6 – 8 reps (same rung spacing as for first set)


    3) Fingertip pull-ups OR campus offset pull-ups

    All sets are to failure, with a half-crimp grip using a campus rung or first-joint, flat hold. If your maximum capability for pull-ups is less than 15 reps, do standard two-arm pull-ups, with hands level. Use a weight belt to increase intensity and conform to rep targets. If you can do more than 15 pull-ups, do offsets on a campus board with your hands at different heights. Vary the rung spacings to conform to the rep targets. Repeat a second time, leading with the other arm to count as one set.

    > Set 1:  Approx 6 – 8 reps

    > Set 2:  Approx 3 – 4 reps

    > Set 3:  Approx 1 – 2 reps

    > Set 4:  Approx 3 – 4 reps

    > Set 5:  Approx 6 – 8 reps

    4) Pull-ups (on bar or jugs)

    Beginners, use two arms. Intermediates, use one arm with a knotted rope, poor handhold or bungee stirrup for assistance. Calibrate the exercise to hit the failure point at the given number of reps. Rest two to three minutes between sets and increase intensity each session.

    5) Straight-leg raises or front lever

    Intermediates should do straight-leg raises (hang from the bar with arms just less than straight, and raise legs out in front, using controlled form): four sets of 10 to 15 reps (to failure). If you can do 15 reps comfortably, do front levers with one or both legs bent (hang from the bar with arms just less than straight, bend legs, bring your feet up to the bar and angle torso horizontally, using controlled form): four attempts, hold for four to six seconds (to failure). Elites should attempt a full front lever (torso horizontal with both legs as straight as possible): four attempts, hold for four to six seconds.

    > Set 1:  Approx 6 – 8 reps

    > Set 2:  Approx 3 – 4 reps

    > Set 3:  Approx 6 – 8 reps



    As for Phase 2 (see issue No. 209) of the program, climb easy routes in multiple sets, selecting one out of the two given structure options.

    1) Three-in-a-row x 5 with 12 minutes rest between sets.

    2) Four-in-a-row x 4 with 15 minutes rest between sets.

    Use different routes and climb them in a rotation rather than lapping the same route. Lower off and pull the rope quickly rather than downclimbing. Alternatively, do long circuits of 80 to 120 moves or stints of random climbing for five to 15 minutes per rep.


    Go to Building a Better Climber: Phase 6 - Endurance Phase II
    Revisit Building a Better Climber: Phase 4 - Power Endurance



    This article was published in Rock and Ice issue 213


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