Weight Training

KB Swing vs. Deadlift

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When you say that kettlebell swings are a good hip hinge option, I assume you are talking about HEAVY swings, right? Like sets of only 5-10 reps? If so, how do you manage progression here? It’s not like I can just add a plate to the bell every session. Is there any strength benefit 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…

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…

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 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 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?…

Unilateral Strength

Unilateral Strength

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The Plan Unilateral strength training is simply training one limb at a time. When we do squats or barbell bench press or pull-ups, we are training bilaterally – both sides of the body at the same time. Most of the time, this is a perfectly effective mode of training. There are two reasons, however, to…

KB Wall b&w

Base Strength 2

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The Plan Base Strength 2 is obviously the next phase behind Base Strength 1. For the most part, you can stick with Base Strength 1 for 2-3 cycles before you need to make a change. This phase uses the same basic framework, but the set progressions change slightly. Each of the sessions features six movements, as…

Brad Hilbert Bouldering, image courtesy of Butora USA

Introduction to Training for Bouldering

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By Steve Bechtel Bouldering is exactly the same as rock climbing, except that it’s way harder. In an attempt to do this way harder sport, we often employ rock climbing training programs, yet they don’t quite work. This article is intended to highlight these differences, provide an introduction to bouldering training, and suggest an alternative…

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