• 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
  • Video Spotlight
    First Repeat of Jeff Lowe's Metanoia on the Eiger North Face
    First Repeat of Jeff Lowe's Metanoia on the Eiger North Face
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    Training on the Go


    Niccoló Ceria, fit after hangboard training, on a holiday send of Ninja Skills (V14), Ticino, Switzerland. Photo by Stefan Kuerzi.Long holidays, extended business trips, bad weather, with nothing to do apart from slouch around and pile on the pounds. It’s a familiar dilemma. Many rock climbers struggle to know what to do during downtime, especially on vacations when they’re away from their usual training facilities or shut down by storms. Sometimes there’s no point in trying to maintain peak fitness and you might as well enjoy yourself and play catch-up later—especially if you were due some rest anyway. But sometimes an enforced break will sabotage your momentum, and you do need to improvise in order to keep the ball rolling.

    Here’s what to do:

    1. Make a Portable Hangboard

    This is a three-hour job that will make a ton of difference for your climbing, especially if you spend a lot of time on the move and away from decent climbing gyms. A porta-board is no more hassle to lug around than a laptop and should fit easily into hand luggage. All you need is a small piece of ¾-inch plywood, approximately 20 inches x 6 inches, and a campus rung. Order a rung or make one yourself from a wood dowel or a strip of pine. Intermediates (5.10 to 5.12) should use a 1-inch rung. Advanced (5.12 and up) use a 3/4–inch rung. Beginners shouldn’t train on a hangboard.

    Simply screw or glue the rung to the base of the board and drill holes in the top corners so you can thread 5mm cord loops to secure the board in place. I’ve tied my rig to the pull-up bars in gyms, swing-sets in children’s playgrounds, wooden beams at hotels, trees and so on. Drill holes in the bottom corners of the board to attach cords or bungee loops to use for assisted training (i.e. off weighting with a hand or foot).

    Keep in mind that you’re much better off training this way than settling for the easy option of going for a run or using weights. Building finger strength is the priority for climbing and a hangboard can deliver it as effectively as any bouldering session. In fact, using a porta-board can be a really positive step for your climbing. Back home, we all tend to favor climbing over hangboard training, so a portable board will provide you with an opportunity for some dedicated, measured training.


    2. Hangboard Strength-Training Routine

    Here is a standard hangboard session for intermediate climbers. Elites may choose to add extra sets and exercises. Beginners are not advised to use hangboards.




    3. Hangboard Endurance-Training Routine

    There are many different options here, but the classic “quick-hit” workout is to perform sets of fingertip pull-ups with a fixed-rest interval. You’ll need to determine the exact number of reps and rest time yourself, but a good generic formula is to do each set “on the minute.” In other words, rest one minute between sets. A rule of thumb is for intermediates to do 5 or 6 pull-ups, advanced to do 8 to 10 and elites to do 12 to 14. Do 5 or 6 sets continuously, with 5 or 6 minutes rest between each block, and aim to complete between 3 and 6 blocks total. You can follow this up by doing the same thing with straight-leg raises hanging from a bar to train power endurance for your core muscles.


    This article was published in Rock and Ice 227 (July 2015)

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