Round 171

For the HIT strip training, do you recommend laddering in a neutral position or do you recommend a hip-turning and drop-kneeing to climb in the most efficient style? –Zack

Hi Zack! Great question—if you’re doing the HIT strips to develop strength (added weight to cause failure in 10 to 15 hand moves), then climb neutral (no turning). However, if you are lapping up and down for say one minute, as strength endurance workout, then I recommend turning your hips and making it very climbing like (and as efficient as possible). Hope this makes sense!

In your Training for Climbing book, you recommend 3 days of climbing-specific training but you have said that you should just do 2 sessions of fingerboarding and campusing per week. So what should I do on the third (or fourth) day if I go to the climbing gym?  –Edvin (Sweden)

Hi Edvin, You want to do your 2 days of fingerboard/campusboard on the same days you are doing bouldering and other max strength/power work. A third and fourth climbing day is best invested in route climbing submaximally for volume so as to train local and generalized endurance. Of course, each climber needs to craft a unique program around their outdoor climbing and off-season (best time to do training cycles). Here’s a link to spreadsheets to help you plan your training.

I work remotely and live in a camp (no climbing gym, but we do have a fitness gym) 4 out of 7 days per week. I am coming off of a 2.5 year break from climbing, and I now want to climb 2 days a week with a rest day in between on my 3 days off.  I am wondering if you can suggest some training alternatives for me, especially during my 4 work days at camp. –Alicia (Canada)

Hi Alicia, Heading into climbing season, you want to maintain your base strength…and try to build out power endurance and strength endurance. Of course, rock climbing is a good way to do this, but hangboard repeaters and pull-up intervals (and similar) are good when away from rock. Perhaps buy a portable hangboard (i.e. crag warm-up board) to hang at your fitness gym…and do one rigorous hangboard session on day 2 of your 4-day work week. Also, I suggest doing a couple high quality core sessions per week (do a variety of core exercises to be complete) and maybe go for a run or two each week to build generalized endurance and a sense of “lightness” when you are on the rock. Ultimately, you’ll need to be creative and stay motivated, fit and fresh for your climbing days!


I’ve got a topic I’d like you to discuss on a podcast or on your next section of ask coach. I’d like to hear more information from you regarding HRV monitoring. My understanding is that most of the research surround HRV is geared primarily towards aerobic sports, such as running and cycling. There seems to be mixed reviews on the effectiveness or representativeness of HRV monitoring for other sports that are not solely aerobically based. Your thoughts, Eric?  –Ken

Hi Ken, I’ve address HRV in a previous podcast…and I think it has some use, especially for hard-training route climbers, but I’m not super convinced that it’s a huge benefit for the average climber. I believe climbers can benefit as much or more by using an autoregulatory strategy  to gauge “freshness” and degree of recovery during warm up. Autoregulation gives you a very specific assessment of lingering fatigue heading into a session…and empowers you to adjust the workout on the fly. Listen to the podcast for more details.

Hi Eric, I really enjoy and appreciate your work. I’m currently dealing with a persistent elbow tendinosis (medial epicondylitis). Do you have any health care providers who you could refer me to that understand this injury? I’m at my wits end and I’m looking for world class expert guidance. –William

Hi William, I hear from a number of climbers on this injury; unfortunately there are no quick fixes. One thing to look into is the new TENEX procedure–a possible road to a longer-term “fix” if you have a physician locally who does it. Failed healing needs a jump-started and TENEX (perhaps followed up by PRP) is worth a try. Good luck!