Round 173

Hi Eric! I’ve been bouldering for 3 years (7B), and I have a question about campus training. How would you organize an effective workout? For example, if I start by a long warm-up and then jump on the campus board…is it good to then do some max bouldering? What’s the best order of training on days I plan to campus train? –Christoffer

Hello Christoffer! You want to do your campus training mid-workout–that is, after a long progressive warm up to the point of doing a few max boulder problems. When you feel fully “tuned on”, as in being warmed up to the point of being ready for a turly maximal effort, proceed with your dose of campusing.  Then finish your session with more bouldering and, perhaps, a bit of hangboard training. You can do all of this in the same 2 to 3 hour workout…two days per week. Additional climbing days during the week would be best spent doing endurance climbing (routes) and exercise, if possible. Of course, a couple/few rest days per week are important, too. Happy training!

Hey Eric, I’ll keep it short – I broke my heel bouldering and can’t climb for 3 months. What energy system and muscle groups should I target to keep from losing all my strength (or endurance!) in that time? I can use my upper body just fine. Thanks, from a big fan of Training For Climbing! –Dan

Hey Dan, Sorry to hear about your injury…but you have the right idea–don’t take this time off completely, but instead strive to use it to your advantage! Make your #1 priority training your strength to the next level. I’d focus the next 8 weeks on all the various strength/power exercises: hangboard, campusing (if able), weighted pull-ups, one-arm pull-ups, etc. Do this twice per week, then on a third day do some kind of an endurance workout for these climbing muscles. You can do a variety of core on these 3 days as well.

The last 4 weeks (before returning to climbing), I suggest you switch it to 2 days per week of climbing endurance exercises (repeaters, frenchies, pull-ups, etc) and do one maintenance day per week of max strength/power stuff. This will begin the transition back into rock shape, but you’ll still need a month on the rock to get your groove back and make all the new strength gains work for you just right on the rock. BTW, I’d also invest some time twice per week on rotator cuff and scapular stabilizers–reference the TFC chapter on this. Do this stuff twice per week for the entire 3 months, and it will be a huge help on the rock!

Hi Eric, I want to devise my own training program as it seems I have plateaued at a v8/5.12d level. Which of your many  books is the best for me to develop a specific climbing program? Thanks, Maxx

Hey Max, Training For Climbing is absolutely the one book to get–it’s comprehensive and it will be a trusted resource for many years as you grow and change as a climber. If there’s a second book to read someday it’s Maximum Climbing—it’s a book about mastery. MC is an intense read, so maybe hold off until you’re close to breaking into 5.13s.

Hi Eric, I am a passionate climber of more than 10 years now but I am now stuck at 5.12a/b level. Currently, I can only train/climb twice per week, so I try to do one lead climbing (and endurance) and one bouldering (power) session per week…but I’m making little progress. Very frustrating. What do you recommend for advancing my climbing in the coming months and years?  –Andre

Hello Andre! Yes, only climbing/training 2 days per week is difficult–your current approach is probably the best way to go for now. Reading my TFC book will help you to understand the many things that go into making you a better climber. Improving technique and efficiency must be a constant focus, and this will certainly help you progress towards 5.13! Of course, strength and power must be built up as well, season over season. Perhaps install a hangboard at home so you can do a couple workouts per week nearly year around! Unfortunately, it’s impossible for me to give you a personalized program without working with you in person; but my most important tip for you is to find a way to climb 3 or 4 days per week whenever possible!

Hi Eric! I follow your books, Facebook page, and podcasts for years now. They have truly helped my climbing and I will definitely continue to use them in the future. I have a question regarding heavy finger rolls. I noticed that you removed this exercise from your 3rd edition of Training for Climbing. I wanted to know what the reason for that was—do you no longer recommend them? I came back to these exercises because I have noticed that many strong climbers have hypertrophied forearms. Do you have any advice on other forearm hypertrophy exercises that I could incorporate to my training regime? –Javier

Hi Javier, Heavy finger rolls were removed from 3rd edition due to space—the book was getting too thick! So, I pulled out a few of the less specific exercises, including HFRs. Still I do think HFR have a rightful place in training for climbing; in fact, there are included in my other recent book The Rock Climber’s Exercise Guide. One thing to remember: muscle size is significantly influenced by genetics—some people develop larger muscles than others doing the same climbing and training. Of course, for a strength-to-ratio sport like climbing, larger muscles may not be useful. Fortunately, a proper training program can make you a lot stronger without adding much, if any, weight. Check out my recent energy system training podcasts to learn more.