Route Climbing Training Plans

TS Strawberry Roan

Unlearning “Endurance” Training

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By Steve Bechtel I think I’ve been to a dozen different crags where I’ve seen some dude doing toprope laps on a route he’s got totally wired to “train endurance” at the end of the day. The thing is, this guy has been doing the same thing for years, and getting nowhere. It’s not that…

Systems Board Hang b&w, Photo by Mei Ratz

Get Rhythm

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By Steve Bechtel There are a hundred methods of training endurance for climbing. Rather than going on a rant and bashing all the bad ways people use to get some more juice, let me tell you about one good one that even a boulderer can get his head around. If you don’t relish the idea…

TS Strawberry Roan

“Tolerance” Training

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By Steve Bechtel You’re strong, no doubt. You’re way stronger in the gym than most of the guys you climb with at the crag, but they routinely burn you off out there. There’s gotta be something they have figured out that you haven’t. What they have that you don’t is tolerance. “Tolerance” is the ability…

Route Climbing Performance 1

Route Climbing Performance 1

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There are a lot of good climbing exercises out there, and there are a ton of fun climbing gyms, so why don’t we see better progress from most climbers? I don’t think it’s a lack of a good facility, nor a lack of knowledge of exercises. I think it’s a lack of practical application of…

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High-Low Plan

The High-Low Plan

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The Plan This training program is designed for route climbers working on redpointing higher grades. This is the style of plan most of our climbers started using back in 2010 or so, featuring significantly reduced power-endurance training. The idea comes from the training plans designed by the legendary Charlie Francis, widely considered to be the…

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The Simplest Climbing Training Plan

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This program features a three week alternating cycle, aimed at keeping you close to top form for long cycles. Motivated athletes are more successful; if you need some down-time between phases, this is not the plan for you.For years, a large percentage of my emails from the climbers on this site have been about periodization…

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Rob Pizem, working for the first free ascent of the Frank Zappa Appreciation Society, 5.13+, Escalanta Canyon, CO

In-Season Strength – Program Minimum

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These days, climbers are well aware of the need to gain strength in the off-season. Many climbers I hear from spend much of the winter allocating time to the weight room and the hangboard. Where the system can break down is when someone quits strength training cold-turkey to switch to climbing full-time. There’s no arguing…

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route climbing strength 1

Route Climbing Strength 1

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The Route Climbing Strength plans are built to increase finger strength, core strength, and overall body tension, with the longer efforts of full routes in mind. This plan is appropriate for boulderers looking for a bit more capacity as well as trad climbers, though the plan emphasizes finger strength at a level that is not…

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route climbing b&w

Route Climbing Endurance 1

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The route climbing endurance plans are built around developing sustained power outputs for long duration. These marry the needs of most climbers, and neither focus on strength-endurance nor on the low-end and recovery-heavy training of pure endurance climbing. This program features maintenance of strength through weekly bouldering and maintenance-level finger strength training. The bulk of…

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Route Climbing Endurance 2

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Once you’re strong, then next most important facet to train for hard redpointing is your aerobic capacity, or endurance base as it’s sometimes called. For the past 20 years or so, climbers have participated in Aerobic Restoration and Capillarity (ARC) sessions to address this need. Although ARC training can be of great benefit to many…

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NBerry crop 2

Route Climbing Strength-Endurance 1

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This is a 6-week plan for climbers looking to maximize Strength-Endurance for short crux sequences and long boulder problems. There are no specific days assigned to these workouts, nor rest days specified. Just plan on doing the workouts in the order written, and rest as necessary.   Week 1- For week 1, you want to…

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Climbing Overhang

Bridge Season Training

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A “bridge” is a high-intensity training program that links two close-together peaks of fitness. Frequently, we see climbers ramp-up for the summer season, only to see fitness drift off after a month or so. This comes as no surprise to coaches and physiologists, as it is simply a result of too much intensity too soon…

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