Planning Articles

What Does it Mean to Hire a Coach?

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By Steve Bechtel –  I never wanted to be a coach, I only wanted to be better. I wanted so badly to get rid of the fat around my middle and get past the feeling of not being able to hold on any longer, that as a high school student I read every book I…

Pendulum Plans

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By Steve Bechtel Program design is complex. Figuring out how to arrive at the weekend fresh for climbing is tough enough, let alone building a high peak for a trip or competition. For years, climbers have tested out different versions of periodized programs, mostly stolen from track and field or weightlifting. In typical periodized plans,…

Quality Over Quantity

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by Charlie Manganiello   Where were you when you first heard the phrase “quality over quantity?”  I was in Mrs. Joyce’s art class. I must have been in 7th or 8th grade. The classroom was tucked away down along a hallway that was dark except for a few flickering fluorescent lights. I remember actually being…

Advancing Training Load

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If you haven’t heard by now, the way you get better at doing harder things is to do harder things. If you are constantly playing it safe, building volume, and avoiding discomfort, well guess what – you’d better get used to doing the same routes over and over again. For those who want to advance,…

Fundamentals of Program Design

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It has never been a better time to be a performance-oriented rock climber. In the past few years there has been an explosion of good information on training, and a huge number of great tools to help you train. From better handhold designs, to improved hangboards, to ingenious tools such as the Tension Block, we…

Sequencing of Training

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By Steve Bechtel It’s easy to get stuck in a week-to-week rut of doing the same training over and over again, with very little purposeful structure aimed at actually progressing our ability. In truth, progress can and does happen somewhat accidentally – you keep going out to the crag and spend a whole day, so…

Breaking Plateaus in Bouldering

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by Steve Bechtel As much as we like to think we are training when we hit the bouldering gym, most of us are performing or even just exercising. Remember that training is planned and progressed and controlled carefully in order to achieve desired results. Performance is all about showing what your training has produced. In…

Understanding Training Notation

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As a young climber, I would frequently talk to my parents about climbing. They were genuinely interested, and my father even did a few climbs with me early on. They wanted to know enough to be sure I was safe and careful, but didn’t need to know more. As I improved, I started to talk…

Wooden Boxes and Dumbbells B&W

The 2014 Survey

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By Steve Bechtel When I was in college, I got interested in which physical traits and abilities were consistent among high-performing climbers. At that time, in the mid-1990s, there were some basic assumptions and many things we considered common sense. It was clear that climbers had to be relatively thin, relatively strong, and somewhat flexible….

Max Sport Climbing, Looking for Next Move

Factors Affecting Training Outcomes

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By Steve Bechtel Imagine, if you will, two friends that are the same age, same height, weight, etc. Imagine they both start climbing at the same time, both follow the same training program, and both show steady progress. They climb at the same crags, usually together, and start projecting the same route. You might think…

Ouray Ice Climbing Location Unknown

Advanced Strategies for Progress: Volume Variability

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by Steve Bechtel All you have to do is read the title to know that this isn’t one of those lovely “simplify it” articles. It’s no secret that I’m a fan of simple plans – yet sometimes, at the very tippy top of your ability, things need to get complicated when you try to move…

Kevin Wallingford Demonstrating Deadlift B&W

Direction

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By Steve Bechtel Once the fever to train sets in, awareness of one’s body becomes paramount. Buying into the excitement and perhaps difficulty of this or that training fad, an athlete can actually change direction and drift further from his goal by training harder. Unfortunately, in the world of difficult climbing, simply working hard does…

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