Over the past few years I have diligently kept track of any and all training that I have done.  Not only for myself but for the climbing teams that I coach.  I have all this information in stacks of notebooks in which I constantly use as a resource when constructing routines for the kids, my clients, myself and everyone in between.  A couple things about these notebooks:

They are;

  • extremely detailed in regards to specific training plans
  • constantly used to modify current and future training plans
  • the culmination of many different routines broken down following my philosophies

After spending countless hours combing through my logs I have came across a some tidbits on training that are worth sharing.

The majority of my training plans have followed a periodization schedule.  Using this type of training plan lets me pin point the 2-3 week window in which I will peak and be at my full potential.  I have built these plans any where from 8-16 weeks leading up to a trip (or for the kids leading up to a competition).  The down side of this type of training is that once you peak you will soon start to regress which will result in a rest period prior to starting a new plan.  The phases of this type of training include:

General Fitness & skill accusation (ARC) phase

Power phase

Power Endurance phase

Performance phase

Rest/Recovery Phase


All training plans should include ARC climbing (Aerobic Restoration & Capillarity)

-Key points of ARC climbing

  • base fitness training consisting of continuous climbing for 10-45 min at maximum steady state level of intensity
  • start w/more difficult moves to gain a sustainable pump
  • do not pump off wall
  • vary moves to achieve moderate pump & ability to stay on
  • if pump is to great, blood flow will be occluded, preventing adaptations stimulated by high blood flow and high blood pressure (proper pump, more is not always better)
  • major goal of ARCing is to improve the forearms local ability to utilize aerobic energy metabolism and to aid recovery from intense training and performance efforts


Power Training (end workout when no longer able to move explosively)

-Limit bouldering has been a key proponent of my training plans

  • 1 or 2 crux moves @ limit, low volume high intensity
  • hard dynamic moves to improve contact strength, dead point to small target hold

-Campus board training has been used in my training plans.  However I have found that spending long periods of time campus board training is less than effective, except for the extremely experienced climber (V10 plus).  It takes away from valuable time training and practicing on the wall. If you would like to do some campus sessions (because it is fun) keep them short and intense and go into it extremely warmed up.

Power Endurance (start 1-2 weeks prior to performance phase, continue up to 4 weeks)

-Necessary to perform both low and high intensity endurance training to ensure that all types of fibers are trained

  • High intensity = Linked Boulder Circuit, long boulder problem (45-90 sec sets w/10-20 moves, 1:2 or 1:1 work/rest ratio)
  • Mid intensity = Linked Boulder Circuit, boulder Power Endurance routes (90sec-4min sets w/ 20-40 moves, 1:2 or 1:1 w/r)
  • Low intensity = Route Intervals, pumpy endurance routes (4-15 min sets w/ 40-100 moves, 1:1 w/r)

-Interval training is preferred way to develop power endurance

  • the problem with 4×4’s is the seconds following dropping off the wall.  This does not accurately simulate true endurance climbing (unrealistic rests interfere w/ desired adaptation by reducing training stress


Performance “Sending Phase”  (occurs at the end of your many weeks of training)

-Performance process

  • warm up on easy routes (error on easy side to avoid flash pump) 30-45 min, rest about 30-45 min
  • climb during warm up w/ same pace you would on goal route (don’t rush through familiar easy routes)
  • don’t tell yourself you are pumped during red point attempts, you have trained to deal with the pump
  • BREATHE, Consistency, Mental cues
  • stay calm, get proper rest, maintain deep relaxed breathing
  • keep excitement at bay when you nail crux, return to calm and find rest

-When in the performance phase you need to know when to call it quits

  • over extending is more problematic than cutting it short
  • keep track of rest/recovery & power.  Rest goes up power goes down, then time to move onto next phase, Recovery, no more performance.

-When your are in the Rest Phase (no climbing ) you should reflect on past sessions goals and achievements

  • accomplishments, weaknesses improved?
  • how to adjust training plan
This is just a small snippet of information in regards to what I do with training for climbing.  Feel free to contact me if you are interested in more specific information in regards to how to partake in a routine of your own.  I am always taking on new clients of all ability levels and I love to specialize climbing routines to fulfill everyone’s needs.