Off-Season Strength and Power – Logical Progression 2

The Logical Progression plans are built to function either as stand-alone training with no additional climbing days, or as in-season programs done between days at the crag. This plan is built around a priority of strength and power development in the off-season from performance climbing. The intensity and difficulty of the training is such that climbing hard between training would be difficult – and I want you to be training hard enough that you feel like you NEED the rest between training days. We focus heavily on strength and power in this plan, and the conditioning day is aimed at alactic interval sets, which is the top-end of endurance training.

This plan features three sessions, which are performed in sequence, irrespective of the day of the week or whether you did two sessions or four this week. You simply alternate between Sessions 1, 2, and 3 until you have worked through the sequence 6 times. Thus this program can run anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks depending on your capacity and intensity of efforts. Younger climbers might effectively train on this plan 4 to 5 days per week. Others might only be able to sustain 2-3. How do you know? Look at your numbers. Are you getting stronger fingers? Are you more powerful?

Test your finger strength at the beginning of the phase with a gStrength or via  a Simple Finger Strength Test. Test your vertical jump – a great indicator of power changes – with the JumpPower app on your phone. Both of these numbers should go up if this program is worth a damn.


Session 1: Finger Strength and General Strength (IS Format)

Warm-Up with a standard bouldering warm-up 10-15 minutes


Group A: [3 rounds]

Hang Half-Crimp Edge: 5 sec / rest 15sec / hang 5 sec / rest 15 sec / hang 5 sec

Single Leg Deadlift x5+5

Tug of War Squat x 60 sec


Group B: [3 rounds]

3-Finger Open: 5 sec / rest 15sec / hang 5 sec / rest 15 sec / hang 5 sec

1-Arm 1-Leg Push-Up x5+5

Prying Cobra x 60 sec


Group C: [3 rounds]

Pinch Block: 5 sec / rest 15sec / hang 5 sec / rest 15 sec / hang 5 sec

Lateral Step-Up x5+5

Superband Shoulder Opener x 60 sec


Session 2: Limit Boulder and Power Resistance Training

Warm-Up with a standard bouldering warm-up 10-15 minutes

Limit Bouldering: 45-60 minutes after warm-up.

Pick 3-5 very hard problems or sections of problems. Work these with an eye toward improvement and linkage, not necessarily sending. Make sure to stop the bouldering earlier than you’d like, before fatigue sets in.

Power RT:

4 rounds of:

2x Deadlift from Blocks

5x Box Jump (go to single leg if you can jump more than 30”)

5x Ball Slam

3+3x Campus Ladder moves or 3x Power Pull-Up

Frog Stretch with Side Split, 60 sec


Session 3: Alactic Power Intervals

“In endurance, not only does the magnitude of fatigue matter, but also its nature.” – V. Zatsiorsky, 1966


Warm-Up: Boulder and general strength exercises, 12-15 minutes. Finish with 2-3 minutes of continuous circuits.


10 rounds:

A: 10 sec Power Boulder – this might be only 3-5 moves, but make it explosive and challenging. Jump down at the 10 sec mark. Rest 50 seconds, then:

B: Pull-Up x4 – again, no more than 10 seconds total work time. Adjust down to 3 if time is short. Rest 50 seconds, then:

C: Box Jump x4, then rest the remainder of the minute.


Progress the difficulty of the boulders, the weight on the pull-ups, and the height of the box as you get more fit. Hold the session length, sets, and intervals fixed.


Training Notes:

  • Don’t get hung up in the details. If you need to sub something in for an exercise you don’t know or don’t have the tools for, do it.
  • Be willing to vary the loading on the hangboard and boulders. You are not a linear learning machine.
  • Be sure to eat a bigger meal after the intervals – this one can be hard to recover from.
  • If your performance is declining while training, you’re probably not resting enough. Add another full day of rest to your cycle and see what happens.
  • Write this all down as you do the training. If it works well, you should try to follow the program again to get similar results.