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

Running Away From Redpointing

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By Steve Bechtel Since the dawn of time, man has been obsessed with finding an easier way to get past hard work. Wonderful things like the wheel, the incline plane, and the internal combustion engine have helped us get past the drudgery and pain of too much tedium and work for too little reward. Much…

A Child Climbs in a Bouldering Gym B&W

Sessions For Any Climbing Gym

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By Steve Bechtel One of the biggest barriers to effective progress as a rock climber, ironically, can be training sessions in a commercial climbing gym. Oh, sure, there are good gyms around, but they’re rare and many lack certain very useful things. These things can range from lacking a good hangboard, to limited hours, to…

Angled View of Campus Board, Photo By Mei Ratz

Advances in How We Look at Density Training

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by Steve Bechtel When you look at intensifying training, there are really just a few ways to make it happen, each having a different result. You can increase the volume of training, such as doing more total pitches in a climbing day. You can increase the intensity of the training, such as trying to do…

Close Up Image of Campus Board B&W, Photo by Mei Ratz

Progressing Endurance Training I

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By Steve Bechtel The email subject line read “Help!!” Opening it, I saw no fewer than 20 paragraphs describing how the sender wasn’t sending despite “religiously” following one of the plans I’d put together. There was no doubt, the climber was training. It was clear she was training hard and adding difficulty to her sessions….

Cedric Bouldering

Volume-Driven Bouldering Plan

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By Steve Bechtel Here is what a bouldering session looks like for probably 90% of all climbers everywhere. Show up when friends suggest showing up. Warm-Up by doing some “easy” problems. Start working some “hard” problems, rest as needed. Finish up with some more “easy” problems. As silly as this looks when you see it…

Notebook with pages of Climbing Notes

Quantifying Bouldering Sessions

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by Steve Bechtel One of the greatest things about climbing, and I think one of the things that attracts many of us to the sport, is that no two moves are ever the same. Even the very same climbs can be executed differently each time you do them. This is endlessly entertaining for the mind,…

Charlie Manganiello spots a child as she climbs in the climbing gym

Revisiting Bouldering Training for Novices

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by Steve Bechtel One of the most powerful tools we can acquire for getting better is to figure out how much getting better there is to be done. I first wrote the Novice Bouldering Program in 2010, re-released it a couple of years back, and am revisiting it again now. Why? Because it is one…

Genetic Drifter Wooden Hang Board

Training Programs for Bouldering – Intermediate

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by Steve Bechtel This is the second article in this series. The first, on training for novice boulderers, should be read before this one, training programs for bouldering-intermediate.   As I wrote in the last article, we often like to think of ourselves as being more advanced that we are. I tend to do this…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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