Q+A: Triphasic Training in Climbing?

Q: Do you think there is value to incorporating triphasic training principles in climbing? Forearm curls seem to be a place where they could be applied. If yes, when would you add it. I am on a non-linear program with s strength day, power day and power endurance day. I also have bar campus rings which seem like another potential application.


A: Triphasic Training is a system of strength and power development from mastermind Cal Dietz. Originally a collegiate development program, Dietz has adapted the program and the ideas to several sports. In general, he divides focus on the main parts of a movement – the eccentric phase, the isometric phase, and the concentric phase – which are usually trained concurrently, into discrete 2-week phases.

I think this type of programming could work well for a climber whose strength training has plateaued in the gym. I can’t really figure how it might work with actual practice of climbing, but in the weight room it might work really well. The program is elegant once you know it, but can be a tough one to learn. I really recommend buying Dietz’s book if you are going to experiment with it. If you do test it out, let me know how it works! – Steve


  1. Climbnhunt on February 15, 2019 at 2:09 am

    I was thinking more specifically to use it on campus rungs.
    1) there is an older video of Patxi doing an exercise where he closes an open hand to a crimp. Concentric would be closing the crimp, iso holding it and eccentric lowering to open.
    2) I think it could be done on campus ladders with the same idea.
    3) this is a stupid dangerous idea

    • Steve Bechtel on February 15, 2019 at 8:40 pm

      I don’t think it is stupid or dangerous, but probably should be done when you’re already very strong! I think it could work well with the Triphasic session design. Good luck.

  2. dimeom on August 30, 2020 at 8:58 pm

    While Cal Dietz’s method can be applied to climbing specific exercises, the true magic comes from using it as a pre-season training. I have attended a few talks with him and his actual execution of this method is primrily as preparation for the training and competative season his athletes go through. The primary place that he uses triphasic is as a prep/injury prevention phase. The purpose is to build durability and general strength that can be transitioned to sport specific movement during the season.

    I recently returned from a deployment where I was unable to climb, I had a hangboard and a weight room, and no climbing for 6 months. I used triphasic concepts at the beginning and end of my training cycle while over there, when I returned, my technique had declined slightly, but my general fitness was excellent. After two weeks back on rock, I was climbing at the same level, and feeling more confident than when I left for the deployment.

    The way I applied this concept was in a 9 Week cycle, for my primary movements (Squat, Deadlift, Benchpress, and Pullups) and one accessory movement per movement pattern (squat, hinge, lunge, push, pull). I did this cycle the 9 weeks leading up to my re-deployment and return to climbing. Throughout the training cycle I was rotating repeaters and max hangs on a hangboard bi-weekly.

    Weeks 1-3: Eccentric tempo with a 3-5sec eccentric phase
    Weeks 4-6: 5-10sec Isometrics at and arounds sticking points (i.e. where I fail in my pullup)
    Weeks 7-9: Concentric phase, all efforts were at 50-70% 1RM or bodyweight, with a focus on bar/movement speed

    If you do not have 9 weeks then this can be done in smaller blocks. I already had over 6 years of olympic lifting and weight training when I started this program. It really appealed to me because I was working with a knee injury and because tendons respond really well to extended time under tension. I highly recommend trying this approach, if you have a decent amount of weight training under your belt already (3+ years)

    • Steve Bechtel on August 31, 2020 at 2:11 am

      This is great. Thanks so much for the detailed comment. I am a big fan of Cal Dietz, and I really like the approach.


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