Round 177

Hey Eric, I’m looking for some advice on how to train my 12 year old son. He’s on a climbing team and wants to break through to the next level. He can climbs V2s no problem, but gets stuck on V3s. What would you recommend, more volume/campus/moon board? Or is more general strength building an idea. There’s some controversy with kids and hangboard routines, so I’m not sure about that. I’d appreciate your input on this. –Frank (Canada)

Hi Frank! I’ve written extensively on the topic of youth climbing. For starters, here’s a recent youth training article I wrote for the  NICROS Training Center. Additionally, you can explore a series of articles I’ve published on my web site over the years:.

As you point out, there’s a fair amount of controversy (and bad advice) with regarding to what’s appropriate youth training. My beliefs, as outlined in the above article links, is based on a growing body of research and my own 12+ years of coaching kid climbers. I hope you find them useful–if so, please share the links with other parents of youth climbers!

Hi Eric, First off I’m a huge fan, and am currently digging into the latest edition of Training For Climbing! My question: About 4 years ago I had a compound fracture of my right arm (non-climbing injury) and had a plate and screws put in (still there). I have made an amazing recovery back to my old climbing level, and I’m continuing with rehab and training. In doing internal/external shoulder rotations on my antagonist workout days (2 x a week) I get some pain in my right arm and it’s noticeably weaker than my left. How important is it for me to regain equal strength? Should I do more (or heavier) training to spur on strength gains and “balance”? –DJ (Pennsylvania)

Hi DJ! Thanks for the kind remarks. First of all, almost everyone has some difference in shoulder/cuff muscle strength between left and right—personally, I have about a 3 pound difference—and it’s sometimes hard to create a total balance of strength between sides. Anyway, as far as training…keep with your in/external rotation work—maybe add one extra set of slow negatives (5 negs to a 10 second count) to your session with the weaker arm. Also, I’d recommend some TRX/sling training with Ys and Ts—very helpful to get the all the shoulder and scap muscles working together. Hope this helps!

Hello Eric, I just finished reading the third edition of your Training for Climbing book, and I want to thank you for the huge amount of well-explained information. This book is by far the best about climbing training! When planning my max strength/power workouts, however, I get a little confused about durations and numbers of sets—my workouts end up being too long. Perhaps I’m missing something in the design? I believe I’m confused on the proper number of exercises to select for a given workout—should I be doing everything you detail in Figure 10.7? –Arne (Germany)

Hey Arne, Thanks for the kind words! Indeed, I’ve packed a lot of exercises into my book…as detailed in the various summary tables and figures. Many of the exercises have a range of sets–an intermediate climber should use the low end of the range whereas an elite climber needs the higher end of the set range to get the training effect. Furthermore, you do not want to do all the exercises on a given list (say, for finger training exercises)—each workout you select the appropriate amount for your situation and time allotment. As a rule more advanced, climbers will have longer workouts. Also, if your time is limited, you’ll need to do some other exercises during rest periods–for example, a set of core between each set on the finger board or pull-up training. Here’s a link to my workout programming spreadsheets, which you can download and modify to create your own personalized workout. Happy training!