Planning Articles

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…

Alex Bridgewater, Steve Bechtel, Charlie Manganiello Discuss B&W, Photo by Mei Ratz

Breaking Free of the 7-Day Week

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By Steve Bechtel The structure of time, of the calendar, and of months is incredibly useful in society, but is often more a problem than a solution for athletes. Even though we live on a 24-hour schedule, and most of us work or go to school for five days followed by two days off, our…

Charlie Manganiello Kettlebell Rack Hold b&w, photo by Mei Ratz

Concentrated Loading

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by Steve Bechtel It doesn’t really matter what I write. It seems that within two hours of putting an article up, I get a “yeah, but…” email explaining how whatever I wrote just won’t work in x program and could I please explain how one might do y… Clearly, most of us have all the…

Progress

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By Steve Bechtel It happens every year at a hundred different climbing areas. There is a glimmer of talent, a hint of drive, and a motivated climber is born. He cruises up through the grades, doing several 5.10 and 5.11 routes with his friends, he makes progress, and then he starts to pull ahead. Finally,…

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…

Charlie Managniello Climbing on a Sunny Day

Brick Programming

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By Steve Bechtel Going bouldering is not training. If you’re one of the lucky few, you can hit the gym a couple of nights a week and continue to get strong, avoid injury, and enjoy the sport. Most of us, though, will reach a plateau where progress is no longer possible on the “whatever” plan,…

Organizing Your Cragging Program

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by Steve Bechtel Training is more popular than it’s ever been in the sport of climbing, and it warms my heart to see people actually training in the gym rather than just hitting another bouldering session. The word is out that a focused attention to improvement really works. At the crags, though, it’s another matter:…

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