Strength

Pinch Block with Kettlebell, Photo by Mei Ratz

Making Sense of Hangboard Programs

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by Steve Bechtel I’ve been asked to weigh in more than a few times on various discussions on which was the “best” method of hangboard training. Although this is much like deciding which is the best dumbbell workout, it got me thinking. To truly decide what the best hangboard program for you is, you’ve got…

Alex Bridgewater Demonstrates a Mono Systems Board Hang, B&W, Photo by Mei Ratz

Training Contact Strength

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By Steve Bechtel Contact Strength is a term unique to climbing. It refers to one’s ability to grasp a hold with maximum strength “on contact.” The ability for different climbers to do this varies widely, and many climbers have to “ramp” their strength a bit each time they grab a new hold. Although we see…

Steve Bechtel Overhead KB Press, b&w, Photo by Mei Ratz

So You Started Lifting…Now What?

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by Steve Bechtel Over the years, many climbers have started weight training at my urging, but it doesn’t take long before the questions start rolling in. So you started lifting, now what? How much? How heavy? How many exercises? It always depends on the athlete, but we keep coming back to a few guidelines. The…

Forearm Dumbbell, Photo by Mei Ratz

Forearm Hypertrophy Training

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By Steve Bechtel Unless we’re talking about super lean people, about the last thing any climber wants to do is get bigger. The bigger you are, the more you weigh, and the harder it is for you to climb. But climbers can really benefit from creating more mass in the forearm musculature; it helps improve…

Charlie Manganiello Inverted Row TRX b&w, Photo by Mei Ratz

Improving Arm and Back Strength

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By Steve Bechtel Fingers aren’t the only part of a climber that can be weak. On hard routes and particularly in bouldering, we often see arm and back strength as a limiting factor. The ability to move between holds effectively, to lock off on holds, and the ability to keep your body close to the…

Charlie Manganiello Weighted Pull-Up b&w, Photo by Mei Ratz

Pull-Ups Are a Waste of Time

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By Steve Bechtel There’s nothing like a title almost everyone disagrees with. It’s a sure-fire way to make people at least look at the article. So, now that you’re looking, I’ll be more clear. If you’re interested in actually improving your climbing ability, you’d be wasting your time if pull-ups were a major part of…

Charlie Manganiello Pistol Squat with Kettlebell B&W, Photo by Mei Ratz

Leg Strength as a Limiting Factor, Revisited

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By Steve Bechtel This is a re-post of my article “Leg Strength as a Limiting Factor” published in 2009. I’ve updated it with a few more ideas and a couple of videos that better illustrate the exercises. — Sure, your fingers peel off the hold and you fall, but is it always the fingers’ fault?…

Charlie Manganiello Ab Wheel b&w, Photo By Mei Ratz

Strength Session Design 2

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by Steve Bechtel I wrote my first article on designing strength sessions a few years back, and I thought it might be useful to update that article with the changes we’ve made to our programs over the past few seasons. In general, climbers agree on the need for climbing – sport specific movement – to…

Ab Wheel, Photo by Mei Ratz

Strength Training for Rock Climbing (Part 3)

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By Steve Bechtel There was never supposed to be a third part to this article, but I’ve received a few good questions about what was in the first two parts, and I’d like to elaborate. One of the biggest misconceptions about resistance training is the belief that it can directly ¬†improve your sport performance. Resistance…

Charlie Manganiello deadlift set-up

Strength Training for Rock Climbing (Part 2)

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By Steve Bechtel In part one of this article, I talked about why many climbers should consider supplementing their climbing-specific training with resistance training. In this article, I’ll talk about how. First, let me say that I think resistance training is terribly misunderstood and misused by climbers. When we talk about strength training with weights…

KB Wall b&w

Strength Training for Rock Climbing (Part 1)

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By Steve Bechtel   Although rock climbing is my favorite sport, my day job is that of a strength coach. At our facility, we train athletes of all walks of life, and the majority of what we do is strength training with weights. We also have a climbing gym at our facility, and we often…

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