Strength

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…

Alex Bridgewater Goblet Squat b&w, Photo by Mei Ratz

Strength Session Design Part 2

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by Steve Bechtel I wrote my first article on strength session design 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…

Weighted Pull-Up, Photo by Mei Ratz

Pull-Up Progressions: The Rules

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by Steve Bechtel Sometimes, the simplest movements are the hardest to master. When we look at the value of particular resistance exercises, it’s hard to dispute that a very few movements can make or break a training plan. Working with just a squat, a deadlift, a push-up variant, and pull-ups, you can develop a life-long…

Close up of Systems Board, Photo by Mei Ratz

Introduction to System Board Training

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By Steve Bechtel The System Board is simply a small climbing wall outfitted with regularly spaced matched pair of holds. Although anything from 2 pair to 10 pairs are common, most companies providing packages of these holds sell them in sets of 6-8. More critical than cool tiles, however, is to set them up with…

Example of Mono Systems Board Hang, Photo by Mei Ratz

Hangboard Training for Finger Strength – A Primer

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By Steve Bechtel The hangboard is perhaps the best tool for developing finger strength in climbers. Unfortunately, it is too often “over-sold” by manufacturers as a one-stop training device for all climbing movement. When your desire is stronger fingers, let that be your goal; don’t be fooled into trying to get a pump or do…

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 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?…

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