These days, climbers are well aware of the need to gain strength in the off-season. Many climbers I hear from spend much of the winter allocating time to the weight room and the hangboard. Where the system can break down is when someone quits strength training cold-turkey to switch to climbing full-time. There’s no arguing that climbing more is better, but coaxing your strength through the whole year lets you avoid drop-offs in strength that have to be regained each winter.

I hate hitting weights as much as the next guy, but I hate being weak even more. This plan assumes you trained strength through a more-intense phase earlier in the cycle, such as the Base Phase outlined in the Climb Strong: Strength manual. Using this plan, you should be able to maintain your strength for 8-12 weeks before needing to add time and get building again.The training in this program is so minimal you might think it wouldn’t work. You’ll train two days a week in conjunction with your normal redpoint days. You can combine these strength sessions with whatever energy system work you’re doing during the climbing phase, for a longer session.

For many of our climbers, the week will look like this:

M – rest

T – climbing

W – strength

T- rest

F – rest

S – climbing

S – strength

The training takes about 20-30 minutes per day, after you’ve warmed up. All exercises are done at a “hard but not max” level. You should never miss a rep. Rest plenty between each set of weights. I like to mesh the weights and hangboard together into a single session if possible. So, one might do a half-crimp hang, walk over to the weight room, pull a double on the deadlift, then rest 2-3 minutes. Hang again, back to the deadlift, etc. It is perfectly feasible to split the session in two, but keep them within 30 minutes of each other to avoid needing to re-warm.

Remember, the more you rest, the stronger you get.

Session 1
Resistance Training:

Deadlift 3 sets, 2 reps

Overhead Press 3 sets, 5 reps

Pull-Up 3 sets, 5 reps


3 positions, 3 sets each, 8 second hang with 30+ seconds between.

Session 2
Resistance Training:

Deadlift 2 sets, 3 reps

Overhead Press 2 sets, 3 reps

Pull-Up 2 sets, 3 reps

The exercises are the same, but the loading will differ from session 1. Rest accordingly.


3 positions, 2 sets each, 4 second hang with 60+ seconds between.

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