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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 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…

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…

Alex Bridgewater Demonstrates a 1Arm Hang Lock Off

Hangboard Ladder Training 1

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By Steve Bechtel Over the past few years, we’ve seen some incredible climbing gyms opening around the world. We’re talking multi-million-dollar indoor crags here, some so diverse and huge that you might never want to wander outside again. Strangely, though, the gyms aren’t cranking out superstars as fast as you’d think. I had a great…

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…

Cowboy Up

4x4s and Other Variants for Training

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By Steve Bechtel It was probably about 25 years ago – we were mid-session in the bouldering gym and someone suggested we do some “4x4s.” At first I thought this had something to do with the lumber of the same name, but in climbing, this is simply four sets of four boulder problems done back-to-back….

Alex Bridgewater Demonstrates a 1Arm Hang Lock Off

Introduction to Density Training

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By Steve Bechtel You either boulder or do routes, right? So what happens when you want to get ready for routes by bouldering? You end up feeling like you’re not quite training right, and you’re correct. We have several good ways of training beyond the boulder problem, but training with a repeatable workout and definable…

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…

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…

Another Way To Endure

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By Steve Bechtel Endurance training comes in many forms and it can be argued that any climbing you do that makes you tired makes you better at enduring fatigue. As I’ve said before, most climbers who boulder indoors are, in fact, training endurance when they think they’re training power. Problem is, they are training an…

Systems board hand, b&w, Photo by Mei Ratz

Rhythm Intervals Revisited

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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…

route climbing b&w

Endurance 3.0

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by Steve Bechtel Of all the facets of training for climbing, I think training for endurance is the most controversial and misunderstood. Most of us agree that a hangboard is the best way to build finger strength and that bouldering on an indoor wall is a good way to build power, but what about endurance?…

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