Challenges, Threats and Stress in Climbing

One constant across all disciplines of sport is that of stress. Athletes under copious amounts of stress are still expected to perform at a high level.

There are many examples of climbers who have ‘frozen’ or ‘choked’ under pressure, and have not to liven up to the high expectations.

Still, at the same time, there are climbers whose performance is not impaired, who succeed despite the pressure.

Stress is not inherently good nor bad, but how a climber appraises that stress – how they view it, that is what makes the difference.

According to the research, when we encounter a stressful climbing situation, a mental evaluation occurs. The result may determine if we want to avoid the sport altogether or certain aspects of it (lead climbing, competitions, very long routes)

It is what is known as a demand resource evaluation, where the task at hand (the demand) is weighed against what we perceive we possess (our resources).

To take an example, the demand might be a climber clipping a far-high quickdraw under the heavy pump, and the resources is his own skill.

If resources outweigh demands, we enter what is known as a challenge state, whereas if demands outweigh resources we enter a threat state. But what do these actually entail?

When we enter a challenge state, we feel that we have the resources capable to get the job done, no matter how stressful it is. As a result, we enter into a much more efficient cardiovascular state (ensuring greater blood flow to the brain for decision making, and the muscles for work), we interpret our anxiety much more positively and we also have boosted self-confidence, all of which help our performance.

However a threat state is the opposite, we end up with a much less efficient cardiovascular state, we interpret anxiety as worse than it potentially is and we also often have decreased self-confidence and performance.

Obviously then, climbers and coaches want to ensure that they are in a challenge state as much as possible, but there a few things worth considering as well. Firstly, challenge and threat states are not long-lasting, that evaluation mentioned previously is constantly occurring as new information arises.

This means that although a climber may adopt a threat state in one aspect of performance (solving a crux under fatigue), they may enter a challenge state in a different one (when solving a boulder problem fresh). It is so viewing challenge and threat not as two separate states, but instead opposite ends of a spectrum.

So how then we promote challenge states as much as possible? If we go back slightly, it is all about the demand resource evaluation. Therefore we can attempt to do two things, try to reduce the demands of the task or increase the perceived resources.

It is going to be very difficult in attempting to reduce the demands of a climbing challenge, so instead, the best course would be through enhancing the resources.

One way could be through increased skill practice so that the climber is more confident of their own abilities.

Challenge and threat states allow us to explain the differences we see in climbers performing under pressure. More importantly, by having an understanding of the mechanics behind it – means we can begin to design and test training programs that will enable climbers to succeed.

The TOTAL collection is the most comprehensive climbing training resource dedicated to increasing the fundamental energy and skill types required for the sport.

Click here to download the TOTAL Collection


Climbing Harder: How bad do you want it?

Climbing performance depends on your mind’s relationship with the perception of effort. The perception of effort causes you to slow down and quit on a climbing route, or make you give it the best shot. If you change the perception of effort, you get closer to your physical limits.

You can do this in two ways. One way is by increasing motivation, to tolerate more perceived effort. This works well because you will see fatigue and exhaustion as part of the climbing process. When your perceived climbing effort is high, it is a high level of motivation that allows you to endure. If you’re not as motivated, you will give up once your perception of effort gets intolerable.

Another way is by getting the best performance out of the motivation that you have. In other words, getting the best performance out of any given amount of effort. Do this by making your performance feel as easy as possible. The harder your sport feels, the less you’ll get out of your motivational fuel. The easier your climbing feels, the more you’ll get out of your motivational fuel.

You can use inhibitory control and focus on relevant stimuli rather than distractions that increase the perception of effort. There are things that increase the perception of efforts, such as negative thoughts, self-consciousness, and fatigued muscles. If you can remove these factors from your mind by staying focused and positive, you will increase your performance by keeping your perception of effort lower.

The best way to lower perception of effort is by increasing your physical limits with training. The better you program your you training, the fitter you become. The fitter you become, the easier your sport feels.

This “mental fitness” is the ability to use coping skills and improve your relationship with the perception of effort. Any cognitive, emotional, or behavioral regulation that improves your mental fitness is a good coping strategy.

Here some skills that improve mental fitness for Climbing.

Setting goals and projects.
Proper goal setting helps to pace the amount of effort before getting to the top of a route.

Letting the pressure go.
Reducing pressure and self-consciousness helps reduce the perception of effort. You can do this by entering a “flow” state, which is a total immersion in an activity. Some climbers can’t complete their projects because they put too much pressure in achieving the route. It is no surprise that harder climbs can be better achieved with a pressure-less mindset.

Motivation can come from physical setbacks. If you know you need to compensate for physical limitations, you will be more motivated to give your best effort.

Getting a bit fed up.
Great motivation can come from being fed up with failure, and resolving to succeed once and for all. Great motivation can come from proving doubters wrong.

Friendly peer competition and collaboration.
Climbing hard alongside your buddies can produce a “group effect”. This helps reduce the perception of effort (by increasing endorphins in your brain).

Having the spotlight.
Being in the spotlight with many spectators and fans encouraging you can help raise motivation and confidence. Encouragement also lowers the perception of effort.

Passion and a positive personality help you age slower as an athlete (an aging body increases the perception of effort).
Believing that your reasons for training/performing are WORTH it helps cement and deepen motivation.

All these strategies are applicable not only to climbing but to life in general.

The TOTAL Collection prepares you for the psycho-biological model of climbing performance. This is basically a set of “field guides” that explain how to improve your ability to climb harder grades… By becoming physically and mentally tougher.

Even though the manuals are for sport climbing, this model can be applied to every human activity, because every discipline requires mental toughness to cope and endure through stress.



Total Training for Climbing: From the fundamentals to the specialized climbing skills.

Total training for climbing is the philosophy of training from the fundamentals toward the specifics. This methodology is a complete integration of skills for climbing. As the sport grows, many climbers decide to go hyper-specialized, boulderers-only, gym goers, crack climbers, speed climbers, competition gurus or rock warriors, but what about training to be an all-around climber? Total training embraces a holistic, more Olympic climbing spirit: Integrating difficulty, endurance, speed with agility. Using the technical foundation of efficient movement. Total climbing explores a diversity of climbing methodologies with sports training science backing up these concepts:


The approach to this training program is to perform a combination of exercises to train raw finger strength while also being able to apply it in real movement while climbing. The program gives you a variety of exercises so you will gain practical finger strength without getting bored. Your goals for strength should be based on your projects, but you can also define a grade that you want to accomplish. A goal can be to hold on a 10 mm edge for 10 seconds. Goals should be measurable, testable and applicable to different parts of your climbing: projects, a new onsight grade or competition. The chart below shows the energy types targeted as the main objective.


In the context of fitness, the technical definition of power is the time rate of doing work, which is basically the speed at which you can apply force. It’s all about explosive movement, and there are many ways to go about increasing it, but two of the most common are circuits and route climbing. To increase power by circuit training, the typical advice is to perform multiple sets of 12-24 explosive reps using 75 to 90 percent of your 1RM (repetition to max). You’ll need to rest for 2 to 3 minutes between sets to allow for sufficient power recovery. You must periodize your sessions so you don’t burn out, over train or risk injury.


This training manual will present a variety of exercises and routines that you can follow to get an increase in endurance. In this manual, we define endurance as any climb that takes longer than 5 minutes on the wall, or approximately, 40 to 100 moves. These types of routes push your anaerobic lactic threshold and you feel a long lasting pump that builds up slowly. This training approach uses a combination of exercises that ensure you stay on the wall for extended periods of time but also for a greater number of moves. You will be given the tools to create your own training routes and circuits targeting various types of movements and forcing you to go from one style into the other within the same session. This approach is appropriate for any climbing season of the year.


Veteran climbers will tell you that climbing technique is all about footwork, this is not far from true. Climbers often think that climbing is all about upper body strength but as you aim to send harder routes and prevent injury, a strong upper body isn’t enough. Strong footwork can increase the efficiency of your climbing so you can do more hard moves in a row for a longer time and take the stress off your fingers and biceps.

Total CORE

Following the core training program is simple, all you have to do is understand the key training concepts, the exercises, and follow along. Each core exercise workout a specific climbing skill or movement. The core training system is based in you picking up the drills and exercises that are more suited to your goals. You may decide in putting together a core-exclusive training program, or use what you learn here to create your own specific multi-day training program for the core.

Get The NEW TOTAL TRAINING Collection. 5 energy-specific climbing performance programs. A powerful and updated single bundle of climbing manuals covering the most critical rock climbing skills: finger strength, core, power, stamina, and endurance. Each manual is highly targeted and specialized, to be applied at any gym or your home wall, for climbers from 5.10a to 5.13b (6a-8a+)




How to Train for Pinch Strength the Right Way

When thinking about “strength” in climbing what comes to your mind? Probably bouldering, pull-ups to exhaustion, relentless series on the campus board or hammering multiple sets of dead hangs on a fingerboard in madness mode…The point is what kind of “climbing strength” are we talking about?

What about pinch strength?

Climbs with open handed holds and pinches require a greater deal of strength, BUT mainly in your thumb. If you acquire this hand-holding skill, your climbing level will go up.

So what do you do about it? You must program your training to target your pinch strength with effective workouts and exercises. this video will show you a few drills you can try right away in your next session at the climbing gym.


How to Train for Strength Endurance using a Reclining Wall – Climbing Training Tutorial

This climbing training video will show you a workout that consists in setting up a 15 move circuit using a reclining wall. Try the circuit 4 times adding 5 degrees of inclination on each try. You must aim to complete the circuit on every single try. The climbing grade will increase as you incline the wall. When you get to the last set, you will be at the maximum incline and at the peak of your fatigue. This workout is effective because you can match exactly the level of the circuit with your personal climbing level.

The workout:

15 Movement circuits, 4 times, resting 2 minutes in between, adding 5-8 degrees of incline after each set.

This video is about climbing training, climbing for performance, power endurance, stamina training, finger strength, climbing workouts. Download your training program from here


Climbing Training Workout for Pinch Strength (Video)

Pinch strength drill: Dead-hanging and pulling on narrow pinches assisted by a resistance band. As you hold for longer, decrease the size of the band until you can eventually hold on the pinches without any aid…3 times to max. Resting 2 mins in between.

This exercise carries a risk of injury to fingers, arms, shoulders and the joints connecting them. Take every precaution to avoid damage to yourself; warm-up, stretch, don’t overtrain and listen to your body. Remember, even under the best of circumstances, injuries can occur.

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Cutting Loose Drill for Finger Strength and Coordination

A lot of times when we climb, we find we have to reach a high handhold and cut loose, during this process we tend to fall since we’re basically dead-hanging for few seconds trying to gain back control. You can try this drill in order to body-memorize the body responds when you encounter this situation.

The Drill:

Place a surface that you can use as a foothold, move it far apart so you’re forced to do long swings to reach it, try 10 of these swings or so… start with easier handholds and decrease the size as you get used to the movement, make a pull-up and kick back with your legs as you swing in order to control the pendulum.


Isometric Climbing Drills: The Secret to Gaining Strength—Without Moving a Muscle

Some fitness trends make it seem like in order to get in climbing shape, you have to pull up like crazy, throw to far-apart holds, or destroy your skin after every workout. But believe it or not, you can build serious strength without even moving a muscle… It’s called isometrics. In these exercises, your muscles tense up, but don’t actually move. Since you’re not relying on movement to fatigue your muscles, you’ve got to squeeze them hard. The technical term for this is “maximal voluntary contraction,” which means you should tighten up your muscles as much as you can.

Yet when doing isometrics, you don’t need to give 100 percent of your maximum effort each time. Research shows that benefits can occur at about 60 to 80 percent of your max effort. Isn’t that a relief for anyone sick of hearing “go beast mode!” before every set? Click here to unleash your climbing potential with the Premium Collection Manuals.


Powerful 6 Set HIIT Climbing Workout for Maximum Endurance

The IMMERSION training concept:
On this training, you’ll do 6 sets, each one will be a five-minute climb with a specific style and a specific set of requirements. This is going to result in endurance gains and a more fluid type of climbing. This workout should take no longer than one hour and a half, including your warmup, your stretching, and the main load. All you need is a pair of climbing shoes and access to the climbing gym. If you don’t have access to a climbing gym, all you need is one climbing panel.
Getting Started with Immersion Training: Intervalic Workout for Endurance.
The way we break this workout into components is 20% warmup, 70% training, and 10% stretching. Let’s get into the meat of the training. You hit the climbing gym, you get ready and put your shoes on, get into a wall and climb 20 free moves, count them in your head. As you move between the holds, make sure you’re climbing very slow, you are doing easy climbing, 20 free movements that you’re going to self-point. Next, you take a three-minute rest and do 20 moves again. This time faster, harder, but not too much. Couple more minutes after, go for a third warmup set, 20 extra moves, count them in your head faster, decrease the size of the holds, and that’s what it is. Now, take a three-minute break, drink some water and here we go into a next routine. Number one, you’re going to climb.
Set#1 – 5:00
Using your timer, stopwatch timer, or your phone, set a five-minute countdown and climb in a vertical wall using long moves on big holds. Start climbing, you might end up doing 40 to 50 moves depending on your speed, but because you’re going slow, you’ll do something between 35 and 40 moves. After youíve finished, take a five-minute rest and then go for a set number two.
Set#2 – 5:00
Step number two is five minutes on the tiled wall. 
So, I’m talking about 30 degrees of inclination, and in this set what you’re going to do is shorter moves with smaller holds, or include slow person crimps, and make sure the holds are more uncomfortable than in the previous set.
Set #3 – 5:00
Now that you’re getting into to the middle of the workout, youíre going to climb five minutes steep overhang. 
This is 45 degrees to 60 degrees, or you’re going to go with longer moves, but better holds, so jog, buckets, positive holds, and focus more in your arms instead of your fingers.
Set #4 – 5:00 Now we move to step number four, set number four again, five minutes, keep the same angle, steep 45 degrees. This time you start to mix crimpy moves and shorter steps with richly, longer moves on better holds.
Set #5 – 5:00
This time you’re going to decrease the angle, decrease the halt size as well, so you go smaller, less inclination, and start climbing using this type of configuration.
Set #6 – 5:00
Number six, five minutes, same angle, tiled wall. This time what you do is, increase the size of the holds and make it richly moves.
Just to recap…
We talked about, number one, vertical long moves, number two, 30 degrees short crimpy moves, number three, steep long moves, bigger holds, number four, steep both big and small hauls, number five,we took about 30 degrees moves and also with combining holds and six, keeping that 30-degree intonation, reachy moves, bigger holds.
Regulating Intensity:
Regulate your load. If you’re pumping too fast, take a big hold and shake for 30 seconds, then go ahead. You want to have these peaks of pump followed by a resting position, that sort of the idea, so you don’t fall. If for any reason you fall, get back as soon as possible within 10 seconds. Okay?
Counting Movements…
Something else that you can do is use a piece of paper and count the number of moves you can do within those five minutes on each set, so at the end you’re going to have a list of, at least from one to six, and you’re going to notice which one is the set where you do the maximum amount of movement, meaning which was the set which your speed was the best.
The Pump is what Matters…
Remember, we are not aiming for the speed, we are aiming just to keep a consistent pump, so your body gets used to recovering faster. To stretch, make sure you stretch your fingers, elbows, shoulders at the end of this session, or you can wrap it up. This is incredible training that is incredibly simple to do and to follow. If you want to know more about these programs, go to, download the premium collection, or you can watch the videos in the climbing workouts channel. That is youtube/climbing workouts. You can also check their Facebook pageClimbing Workouts or the Instagram account, Climbing Workout. T
Click here to Download The Premium Collection and get five professional training programs for strength and endurance at a special price — including Essential Training, Progressive Training, along Mastering the Fingerboard and Circuit Training.

The Most Effective Climbing Training Programs for Beginners

As you well know, finger strength and sustained power are the ultimate difference makers when it comes to success on climbing hard grades.

The climber with the greatest ability to hold on, pull and endure high-intensity movements has a huge advantage over the rest. However, only a small percentage of climbers have a systematic approach to develop their core, speed, power, and strength to the greatest.

(2 finger scorpion pose on the Yoak – One of the many workouts for isometric strength and finger resistance developed by Climbing Workouts)

Strength training volume is a key factor of muscle development that happens after a sequence of workouts. However, exactly how we should best measure and plan volume is unclear.

Common methods of measuring training volume include counting the number of sets and movements to failure or the volume load (sets x reps x weight), although many other approaches have been used by researchers.

In spite of their positive intentions, the vast majority of climbers are missing the boat when it comes to developing long duration, explosive power. They’ve bought into the outdated and false belief that power can’t be kept for more than a few seconds. Or they kept doing what they’ve always done resulting in the same results.

That’s exactly why Essential Training Advanced was developed. To stay on the cutting edge and make sure that you have the latest and most effective climbing strength development methods. The full program is completed implementing a complete system that addresses:

  • Effective Warm Up
  • Core Conditioning
  • Vertical and Overhanging Movement
  • Coordination and Speed Mechanics
  • Isometric Positions
  • Quick Recovery Skills
  • Power Development
  • Finger Strength Training
  • Upper body and Arms
  • Flexibility

If you already have this program, you don’t need to read the rest. otherwise, we have good news for you:

One of your main objectives in getting immersed in a training program is to take your casual climbing sessions to the next level. Over the past 10 years, thousands of climbers have benefitted from our Complete Climbing Training programs

For those climbers who have committed to making their routes harder, We knew we had to raise the bar and deliver a resource with the most effective and advanced techniques, drills and methods. Click here to check out essential training

Check out Essential Training (vol 3), the new released Essential Training Advanced (vol 4) -or- Get the full pack of specialized trainer guides for the beginner, intermediate and advanced climbers: Check out the Premium Collection.


14 Climbing Drills for Strength Conditioning, Flexibility and Technique

This workout shows a selection of drills you can employ for your conditioning session, the last 2 are awesome. With this 14 drill routine, you can super-boost your skills with a sequence of exercises designed to condition your body to handle bigger loads and intensities. Play the video to see a full session and to your local climbing gym to try them out. This is just one of the dozens of other workouts you can find out in the Climbing Workouts videos. Get even more from your Climbing Session. Click here to download and a training program.


The most difficult things about climbing training by yourself – And how to tackle them

Many climbers have become interested in learning to train in recent years.

They either find their way into training through online videos, gym courses or through climber folks or are just simply trying to experiment with new ways to gain skills.

Tools like the campus board, boulder walls and fingerboards are becoming more and more popular. There are numerous c, and videos available on YouTube.

But training isn’t easy and should not be too randomized. Here are some challenges we all face when learning to train.

climbing 1. Finding the “right” amount of time to train on schedule.
If you are training by yourself at the climbing gym, chances are you have other responsibilities in life. You could have a part-time job, or a fulltime job, or you can be a stay at home parent. The point is, everyone is busy in this life and not all of us can afford to be full time climbers. Even the elite climbers look to do some work, since sponsorships alone can’t cover the costs of living (and traveling) So how do you find the time to train on schedule?

Some people may say: “Well, if you are dedicated enough, you can always find the time.” True. You may agree with that.

So then the question becomes: “How much time should you dedicate daily to train? If I can only get half an hour per day, does that still count?”

This is a question only you yourself can answer. It is hard to estimate how many hours you should train each day. Some people suggest to keep it short and sweet. 15 minutes is already good enough.

On the other side of the spectrum, I’ve also heard beginner climbers got into the climbing training arena within a year or so by training 2 or 3 hours a day. If you want some motivation you can give that a try.

The bottom line is this: only you yourself know how many hours you can train per week, and making it a habit of doing it, without getting burnt out. Here is when training planning comes into play and how specialized climbing programs can make the difference. Remember this:

“It is not about your daily progress, it is about progress daily.”

An in ideal commitment seems anything in between 2 to 5 90-minute sessions per week, of your availability, age, experience etc.

2. Finding the balance between “not making a good enough progress” and “getting burnt out.”

Many climbers struggled with this a lot.

There are days you just could not complete a single set of 10 pull-ups. It just wasn’t sinking into your mind. You would get burnt out so bad that you’d have to calm yourself down, cut off the session, and take a deep breath.

From that point onward you would keep reminding yourself not to overwork it to the point that there was no coming back.

Training is not easy. It requires you to concentrate, especially when you are learning new stuff. It is mentally and physically taxing, and there are times that you can’t figure it out — why your training didn’t work, or even why it did.

I found I was most productive whenever I was concentrated on the problem I was working on right then, but simultaneously I was relaxed, enjoying the whole process.

So, to put it bluntly, you need to love what you do. Which leads us to the next point.

3. Loving training is the only way to survive all these obstacles.
As cliche as it sounds, sometimes this is simply just truth. If you love the path you are taking, love the job you are doing, love the direction you are going, and love the sport you practice… you don’t need acknowledgments from the outside world. This fulfillment cannot be borrowed faked or replaced.

4. Keep coming back to training AFTER committing to other responsibilities in life.
The reality is when it comes to self-directed training, it is never gonna be you yourself, being there, learning.

In life we all have all kinds of responsibilities we need to commit to. You might be a husband, or a wife, or someone’s parent. You need to take care of your family, or you have a job you need to attend to. Or maybe you are a student that needs to finish your diploma or degree. With all the duties that are lying upon us, where do we find the time to train?

The truth is, sometimes you don’t or you simply just can’t. But after that, you go back to training immediately. ” This is the moment you just have to persevere, have to grind it out.

You need to tell yourself, “Okay, this first hour of training might seem painful, boring and not that productive. But that’s okay, I will make it up by climbing more tomorrow.”

There is no way to sugarcoat this but to keep on going, keep on keeping on. Try a new training plan or keep a journal to express your frustration. But once you’ve done that, immediately go back to training.

5. Keep yourself motivated, in any way.
Training for climbing is different from attending school. There is no one around you judging when you are training. There are no classmates telling you jokes, there are no social interactions, you cannot find that “grand ceremony” waiting for you at the end of the tunnel. So you need to find some type of motivation to keep yourself moving forward. There is nothing more rewarding than going through a training cycle to come out of it climbing way better than before. Also, reward yourself, and make it a habit.

It could be small, or it could be big. It could be a hot chocolate at the end of the day or a cold beverage. Prove yourself that you are doing a great job. It is often needed when learning to train. Write up in a wall the grade or route you want to climb — because you got to believe one day you can complete that project.

6. Do not fall into the fallacy of “training for the sake of training.” To to the gym, stick to your plan, and grind through the exercises. There are times we can get side-tracked when learning to train. I felt there are moments that you just want to be lazy. Not in a way that you don’t want to climb anymore, but in a way that you secretly hope that by trying fun problems and routes all day, you don’t have to face the real challenge: Getting stronger as a climber with more strenuous exercises.

Do not fall into that fallacy of thinking “I am climbing so that’s good enough. I will think about a training program later when I am ready.”

So next time when you walk into the gym, you are clear in the work you need to do. It will add value to your skillset. The first step is always the hardest. But you have to do it no matter what.

All the above are challenges/situations you are gonna face on the road to becoming a better climber. Acknowledge them, face them with the right attitude — those hurdles you face can only make you stronger and better athlete.

Last but not least, happy training! Enjoy the progress you are making, whether it is towards your next project or your future climbing trip.

Want to start with a training program you can do in your own schedule? Download the premium collection of climbing workouts or try one of the manuals including Essential Training.


7 Tactics to Master Climbing Skills

Climbing Memory is the ability to store and recall information about a movement. Climbing memory involves learning and retaining physical skills. Recognizing, naming movements and coaching techniques can accelerate the memory and retention process.

Short-term memory is temporary, say about 20-30 seconds that is unless we work on retaining information through repetition and rehearsal. Its capacity is also limited. According to neuroscientists, we can keep 7 items or chunks of information plus or minus 2. In contrast, our long-term capacity to remember seems to be unlimited in amount and duration.

Climbing Memory: Training Tips
Principles for learning motor skills are based in psychology and applied to movements used in performance. The following techniques can facilitate climbing skill memory and retention:

1. Make an effort to learn skills correctly the first time. Initial learning is most impressionable. You should pay extra attention in the early stages of learning a new movement. A climbing movement skill learned incorrectly is often difficult to re-pattern after neurological pathways are established. The more ingrained the motor program becomes, the more difficult it is for you to change or correct that pattern.

2. Learn skill rhythms first, then refine the movements. Climbers can learn and recall rhythmic movements more quickly than isolated movements, just as rhymes are more readily remembered in verbal learning. For example, practicing a complex movement involving pulling, knee dropping and reaching for a high hold, is more effective than doing pull-ups or drop knees in isolation outside of the climbing context.

3. Chunk movements. Movements can be learned and processed if they are “chunked” or grouped into larger movement sequences. This grouping increases a climber capacity to learn and perform climbing skills. Break skills down only as much as is necessary (crimping, pinching, locking off, stepping up etc).

4. Make new skills meaningful. Find a real route or climb at the gym or outside where new skills can be used, so that you understand what the skill requires, and why it is executed that way. This will allow you to explicitly see how a skill applies to sports performance.

5. Associate new skills and concepts with well-learned skills. climbers learn new skills more quickly if key movement concepts are relevant to them. Knowing a climber previous experience is helpful for creating associations. Learning to make an awkward movement by itself won’t be as interesting as if that movement was the crux of the route you are projecting to climb.

6. Recognize specific cues or concepts that require your full attention. Intention to remember alerts a climber to important aspects of a skill or situation.

7. Overlearn climbing skills to correct errors. Over-learning means practicing movements beyond what was necessary to learn them. It is effective when incorrect movement patterns are ingrained. You may be happy completing a boulder problem or a route, but your body will learn more if you repeat that route few times. This will allow your body to find more efficient ways to make the same sequence.

Leaning to climb efficiency goes beyond working on your muscles. You don’t need a climbing coach to improve your climbing, but having a training program will speed up the process while cutting down the guesswork. Click here to check out a collection of self-paced climbing programs you can try on any gym.

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How to Train for Maximum Endurance with Limit Circuits

This climbing workout session will prepare you for the high demands of sport climbing routes at your limit. The training concept is simple: you set 45 moves in the wall, you install training quick draws across the route, you tie yourself a rope, and as you climb, you thread the rope simulating a lead route. You may combine difficult moves with resting spots, vertical angles with steep overhangs, short moves with small holds and long moves with better holds. Variety of movement, limit intensity, and flow are the key. Check out the video and follow along!


Training Module: Fingers of Steel

A killer routine focused on finger strength and fingerboard. Hold on harder edges, pinches and crimps, hammer down those routes where the holds are the problem.

Workout Breakdown:

Slow Boulders
Minimum Edge Deadhang #1

2:00 rest
Minimum Edge Deadhang #2

2:00 rest
Minimum Edge Deadhang #3

2:00 rest
Minimum Edge Deadhang #4

2:00 rest
Minimum Edge Deadhang #5

2:00 rest
MaxPinch Deadhang #1

2:00 rest
MaxPinch Deadhang #2

2:00 rest
MaxPinch Deadhang #3


12 Gymnastic Exercises for Climbing Conditioning

Gymnastics can teach us a lot about our bodies,  gymnastics is a body weight sport and climbing can benefit from it, here 12 exercises you can apply for your climbing conditioning:

Arch: In an arch, your hips are pushed forward, the chest is open. Lie on your stomach with your arms by your ears. Lift your heels while keeping your legs straight, and lift your arms while keeping your arms straight.

Bridge: A bridge is attained by lying on your back. Place your hands on the floor by your ears and bend your legs. Push your hips towards the ceiling and arch back. Ideally a bridge should have straight legs and shoulders pushed out over the hands.

Candlestick: A candlestick is a position where you are essentially standing on the back of their shoulders with your feet pointed towards the ceiling. Your arms can either be by their head, or back pushing on the floor to assist with support and balance.

Handstand: A proper handstand is extended towards the ceiling, shoulders are open, the body is hollow.

Head In/Out: Your head is “in” when their chin is tucked on their chest, or close to. Your head is out when their head is tilted back.

Hollow: In a hollow, your hips are turned under, legs are tight chest rounded inward. Lie on your back on the floor with your arms by your ears. Lift your legs slightly off the ground. Lift your head slightly off the floor. Your lower back should maintain contact with the floor.

Layout: In a layout, a gymnast is not bent at the hips nor the legs. A layout is a term used for a rotating skill in which your body is essentially straight. A layout can be performed either hollow or arched.

Lunge: To do a lunge start standing feet together. Take a large step forward. Bend your front leg. Both feet should be turned out somewhat. Arms should be extended upwards so that the line from the rear foot to the hands is straight.

Open/Closed Hips: Opening the hips is proceeding towards an arched position. Completely closed hips is a fully piked position where your chest is flat against your legs.

Open/Closed Shoulders: Completely closed shoulders is defined as your arms being down so that your fingers are touching your legs. To “open” your shoulders lift your arms straight out in front and continue upwards until your hands are pointed straight at the ceiling.
Overgrip/Undergrip: Overgrip is gripping a bar so that your palms are facing the same direction as your face. Undergrip is gripping a bar so that your palms are facing the opposite direction as your face.
Pike: In a pike, a gymnast is bent only at the hips. Sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you. Pikes of varying degrees including where a gymnast is essentially folded in half at their hips are used in gymnastics.

Planch: This is a handstand in which the body is parallel with the ground.

Puck: A puck is a cross between a pike and a tuck. It’s pretty much a somewhat open tuck position or a pike with moderately bent knees.
Split, Side Or Front: In a side split one leg is forward, the other leg back. Hips are kept as square as possible. To get the splits or other flexibility it is more important to stretch often than to stretch for a long time in one sitting. Stretch every day.

Straddle: In a straddle your legs are separated with neither leg being forward or backward of the other. A straddled pike is a straddle in which the hips are closed or “piked” to some degree.

Tuck: In a tuck, you are bend at the hips and the knees. Sit on the floor with your legs in front of you. Bend your knees so that your knees are touching your chest and your feet are “tucked” in close to your body. A variation on the tuck is called a “cowboy” tuck in which you pull your knees out to the side somewhat in order to compress the tuck further. This enables faster rotation.


Element Workout: Climbing Training Session for Technical Strength

This workout is about the execution of 2 or 3 movement drills that you loop until failure. Each movement exercise listed below describes the pattern aimed for which you should pre-set on the wall.

Tools: Boulder Wall and/or System Wall
Total positions: 12
Repetitions per position: 2
Duration per position: 10 Seconds.
Intensity: Maximum

Workout Breakdown:

  • Deadhang lift to jump step (x2)
  • Wide swings to side on slopers, system wall (x2)
  • Wide swings to side on edges (x2)
  • High step and reach up (x2)
  • One arm- one feet pull and Lock off (x2)
  • Heel hook switches (x2)
  • Shockers (fall catch) (x2)
  • Foot Switches on low, offset micro foothold
  • Cut loose to Toe Hook (x2)
  • Bumps (x2)
  • Flag throws and Lock off back (x2)


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The 5 Rules of Training Climbing Technique

Sports biomechanics studies the effects of forces and motion on sports performance. Using laws and principles grounded in physics that apply to human movement, climbers can make sound decisions for developing efficient climbing techniques and training programs.

When climbers understand how forces work on muscles and affect motion in the practice, they have an advantage over those who lack this knowledge and its applications. Rock climbing training programs who account for the basic concepts have a rationale for dosing the correct way to execute skills. Knowing the reason behind learning a new, challenging technique give climbers more motivation to master it.

As coaches, the key to success is finding effective instructional cues that help climbers achieve correct mechanical technique. Coaches with a command of mental training tools and sports training principles can help athletes make amazing things happen on the wall.

Anatomy and physiology lay the foundation for climbing biomechanics. With a command of these areas, coaches can:

* Analyze climbing movements,
* Select the best training exercises,
* Reduce or prevent injuries,
* Design or choose the training equipment that best matches climber’ personal needs.
* Maximize economy and efficiency of movements.

The laws and principles of climbing biomechanics are particularly helpful for designing training activities that match the mechanical demands of rock climbing.

Professional Associations
There are several climbing programs that provide sound research-based information in this field. One of the most prominent is They strive to bridge the gap between climbing training and coaching.

Related Topics
Related topics under this heading highlight key applications of mechanical principles for sport performance. Training methods and tips show how to improve skill techniques common in climbing, such as maximum finger strength, footwork, isometric strength, dynamic power, core, balance, forearm endurance, and maintaining stability whether stationary or moving. These topics also lay the foundation of knowledge for professionals in climbing training. Get your training program from


Mastering Muscular Endurance Training for Climbing

In strength training, muscular endurance refers to the number of repetitions of a single exercise you can do without stopping for a rest.

On a climbing context, examples include how many times you can do a full pull-up on a 1/2 inch crimp, a campus move, or a triceps push with a light-to-moderate intensity before breaking form.

The specific type of muscular endurance used during cardiovascular fitness activities such as running, swimming, or cycling is usually called cardiovascular endurance or cardiorespiratory endurance and is different from the strength training definition. Endurance training for these types of physical activities builds the energy systems of the body, the muscle fibers, and capillaries that can sustain long periods of exercise, such as running a marathon or cycling a 100-miler.

Measuring Muscular Endurance

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends muscular endurance testing as well as muscular strength testing when you start a program of strength training. The results will help a trainer set the right intensity and loads for your exercises.

The pullup-on-edge test is often performed as a measure of upper body muscular endurance, also engaging your finger tendons which are essential for climbing.

You do as many on-edge pull-ups as you can before you break form. This may also be a timed test to see how many you can perform in a minute. You can compare how your performance matches up with previous and future tests you make. By tracking this number over time, you can see increases or decreases in climbing-applicable muscular endurance.

Improving Muscular Endurance

To improve muscular endurance. The weight load should be less than 50 percent of the repetition maximum (the maximum weight you could use for one repetition of the exercise). This is a light to moderate intensity load. You perform a relatively high number of repetitions, 15 to 25 per set, for one or two sets. Resistance training with moderate to low weights and high repetitions has been shown by most studies to be the most effective method to improve local muscular endurance and high-intensity (or strength) endurance.

Exercise Selection for Muscular Endurance: The exercises you choose should work large muscle groups or multiple muscle groups to fatigue, which stimulates changes in the muscles that will build endurance. A muscle endurance program can use a variety of exercises, including those using one or two limbs or one or two joints. Programs can develop sequencing combinations for novice, intermediate, and advanced training.

Loading and Volume: The evidence shows that loading is multidimensional and different programs can be used:

Novice and intermediate training: Relatively light loads should be used in the range from 10 to 15 repetitions.

Advanced training: Various loading strategies can be used for multiple sets per exercise in the range of 10 to 25 repetitions per set or more, in a periodized, progressive program leading to higher overall volume.

Rest Periods: Short rest periods should be used for muscle endurance training. For example, one to two minutes for high-repetition sets (15 to 20 repetitions or more), and less than one minute for moderate (10 to 15 repetitions) sets. Circuit training is good for building local muscular endurance, and the rest periods should only fill the time it takes to move from one exercise station to another.

Frequency: The frequency of training for muscular endurance is similar to that for building larger muscles:

Beginners: Two to three days each week when training the entire body.

Intermediate training: Three days per week for total-body workouts and four days per week if using split routines for upper and lower body workouts.

Advanced training: Use a higher frequency of four to six days per week if the workouts are split by muscle group.

Repetition Velocity: Different speeds of contraction can be used based on the number of repetitions:

Intentionally slow velocities can be used when performing a moderate number of repetitions (10 to 15).

Moderate to fast velocities are more effective when you train with a larger number of repetitions, such as 15 to 25 or more.

A Word From Climbing Workouts:

Muscle endurance training must be related to your target climbing style, whether it’s doing speed pullups on jugs or shorter micro-contractions using smaller holds. You likely have limited time for training each week, and you have to consider whether you spend it doing specific muscle endurance training or practicing on specific climbing routes or sequences.

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5 Training Tips to Gain All-Season Climbing Speed and Agility 

“Speed Kills” is a common expression heard around the sporting world. And, its no surprise, because in the increasingly competitive sporting world, all core elements of the athletic movement are dependent and related to speed. Climbing is also sensitive to the effect of speed and movement velocity. The longer you are hanging on a wall, the fastest you get a pump. Look at Adam Ondra, he climbs fast, he is aware that by climbing with speed, he gets to use less energy and the top can be reached in less time, with less endurance required.

All athletes are measured for their speed and there are speed records almost for any sports from alpine climbing to chess – how fast you can run, jump, change direction, swing, and throw, and also, climb and get to the top. These physical attributes are a critical component of an athlete’s skill set and success on the field or court. For climbers, being able to combine fast movement with precise technique, can make a huge difference in results.

Now, it’s important to remember that not everyone can be Adam Ondra, who can onsight 9a climbing at a higher speed than average. But, if you want to gain climbing speed this off-season, here are 5 ways to get it done through agility training:

Tip #1: Increased Flexibility

A flexible muscle is a fast muscle. The general elasticity of your muscles, the ability for them to contract and expand when required and called upon is essential for building muscle speed. You can achieve gains in flexibility through many different ways, including:

Dynamic Stretching: Muscles are propelled into an extended range of motion. PNF Stretching (Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation) – that takes advantage of muscle and its increased vulnerability. This method trains stretch receptors to become used to the increased range of muscle length.

Core Strength: Superior core strength is vital to elite climbing performance. The strength of your core has a powerful effect on the ability for transfer energy to limbs – your core is what keeps the body tension during a strenuous climb. Core strength can be improved by Abdominal and lower back strengthening exercises that are dynamic in nature and simulate athletic movement.


Tip #4: Improve Elastic Muscle Strength

Improving elastic muscle strength helps an athlete’s ability to contract muscles quickly in order to overcome other forces on the field or court. Ways to improve elastic muscle strength include:

Tip #5: Technique
Running is a natural movement but correct form is learned. I strongly suggest you find a speed and agility training coach in your area to help you improve in this area. Proper technique will make your movements proficient and fluid, as well as eliminate poor habits that could be holding you back.

There no substitute for speed. If you work hard on improving in these 5 areas of speed and agility training, you’ll see tremendous improvements in your overall climbing performance. Try one of the programs from