Campus Training – Part 2

Campus Training (CT) is the gold standard for developing contact strength and upper-body power. CT is also extremely stressful and, thus, not appropriate for beginner, out-of-shape, or young climbers. As a guideline, you might consider adding some CT to your workout mix if you’ve been climbing three or more years with no incidence of injury (fingers, elbows, shoulders) and if you already possess a moderately high level of fitness and ability (can you do 20 pull-ups and boulder V5 or climb 5.11?). Begin training for a few months (or more) with some of the basic CT exercises described in the first article, before graduating to the Double Dyno (truly an elite-level exercise which is inappropriate for the average weekend warrior).

Double Dyno
This dynamic up-and-down, fully air-borne exercise is most recognized as true Campus Training. While not quite as difficult as it first appears, the exercise is extremely stressful and potentially injurious if over used. Always perform a lengthy warm-up of dynamic stretching, climbing, and other upper body exercises (pull-ups, hangs, etc.) before campus training.

Begin on rung number 3 (photo 1). Let go with both hands simultaneously, dropping down to catch rung number 2 (photo 2) and immediately explode back up (photo 3) to catch rung number 4 (photo 4). This is one full repetition, but don’t stop! Drop from rung 4 down to rung 2 and explode back up to rung 4.  And continue up to 5 cycles or until you are unable to make the explosive up movement and catch (whichever comes first). Try to avoid failing on the drop-down catch (have a crash pad in place just in case). The difficulty of this exercise depends on the size and spacing of the rung–you can make it harder by using small rungs or great distance traveled.




Initially, do only one or two sets of Double Dynos per workout. As you gain comfort and strength you can do up to five sets, being sure to fully recovery between sets (at least 5 minutes rest). As with the easier CT exercises described in the previous article, it’s useful to record in a notebook the number of reps and sets performed as well as the rung numbers used.

As a final note, the dynamic nature of this exercise dictates use of the open-hand grip–never attempt to campus train with a closed-crimp grip!  Cut back or cease campus training at the first sign of any pain in the fingers, tendons, or joints.