This 6-week training program is sport-specifically designed to prepare athletes for rock climbing or bouldering. It is designed to be completed directly before a climbing trip, or can be used as focused rock gym training.
Rock Climbing performance is primarily dependent upon finger, grip and forearm strength, as well as proper footwork and technique.
This program is primarily focused on finger, grip and forearm strength, work capacity and stamina. As well, using bouldering, it pushes an athlete’s technique progression and development, but the program’s primary focus is sport-specific, rock climbing fitness.
The plan does include some general fitness work capacity, strength training, and core strength training, but the focus on the plan is finger/grip and forearm strength and work capacity.
This is a 6-day/week training program, which gets progressively harder as you work through the plan. Training sessions are designed to be 60-70 minutes long, and the plan is designed to be completed in any rock gym which includes a general fitness area, or, a rock gym plus any commercial gym.
This is the second version of the plan, updated in March 2017.
CLIMBING FITNESS SPECIFICS
MTI’s Climbing Fitness methodology is unique in that we deploy time under tension to determine the specific climbing fitness attribute being training:
Climbing Fitness Attribute Time Under Tension
Strength Less than 1 Minute
Work Capacity 1-4 Minutes
Stamina 4+ Minutes
The climbing fitness in this training program hinges around four sport-specific training events.
1) Bouldering V-SUM
The Bouldering V-SUM pushes both rock climbing strength and technique.
Boulder for 50 minutes, completing a minimum of 8 problems. You can complete/attempt as many boulder roblems as you want, but you have to complete at least 8. Also, you can’t count the same problem more than once for your V-Sum.
For example, an athlete completes these problems in 50 minutes:
V0, V0, V1, V2, V2, V3, V2, V2, V1, V1, V2
His top 8 problems are these: V2, V2, V2, V2, V2, V3, V1, V1
His V-Sum is 2+2+2+2+2+3+1+1 = 15
The goal is to score highest V-Sum possible. Again – you have a 50 minute time limit after the warm up, and can’t repeat the same problem. Your V-Sum is computed from 8x different problems.
Take a notebook and record the date and your V-Sum. You’ll do the V-SUM every Monday during this cycle, with the goal to increase the total every week.
(2) Bouldering 4X4’s
Bouldering 4×4’s train climbing-specific Work Capacity.
Pick 24 problems you know you can onsite. Climb the four problems, in succession, without rest, This is 1 set. After you finish the four problems, take 1 minute rest. Then repeat 3 more times, taking one minute rest between sets.
After your 4th set, you’ve completed a “group”. Rest 5 minutes, then try to get in 3 more groups.
Each group of 4X4’s is 16x boulder problems. So if you complete all 4x groups you’ll do 54x problems total. You can change boulder problems between groups. Usually as you work into the session, you’ll get fatigued, so don’t be afraid to chose easier problems as you proceed through the session.
Stop at 60 minutes, counting the warm up. Record how many groups you get through. Our best climbers manage 4-4.5 groups, each effort. Here’s an Example: http://youtu.be/87P7MwKpqVQ
(3) Hang Board Primary Position Complex
This hang board complex trains strength while deploying interval training (beginning at 5 second hang, 10 seconds rest) and each of the four primary positions: Full Crimp, Open Hand, Half Crimp and 3-Finger Open Hand. More Here: http://mtntactical.com/exercises/hang-board-primary-position-complex/
(4) Campus Board Lock and Reach:
We use the campus board Lock and Reach to train finger contact strength and pulling power. More here: http://mtntactical.com/exercises/mnt3129-lock-and-reach/
(5) 2×15 Route Climbing Intervals
This cycle we use Route Climbing Intervals, or long efforts on a traverse board, to train climbing-specific stamina.
2×15 Route Climbing Intervals: Choose 3 Climbing Routes in the climbing gym, 2x at the highest level you can onsite, and 1x at a grade below. For 15 minutes, climb one after the other, only resting as needed. Rest 15 minutes while you belay your partner, then complete another 15 minute interval, climbing the same 3 routes for both intervals.
Record the routes used the total number of routes you climb each round and the total for both rounds. Here’s an example: http://youtu.be/MqBJdaaXvOg
This training program also trains general fitness, with a focus on endurance, strength and chassis integrity (MTI’s functional mid-section training methodology).
General fitness endurance is focus not only for transfer to the rock, but to help cut weight. You’ll train endurance two ways: Running, including and assessment and hard mile repeats, and long, easy runs on Saturdays pushing to 8 miles.
Here is the training week:
Mon: Climbing Strength/Technique (V-Sum)
Tue: Climbing Strength (Hang Board Complex), Gym-based endurance, Chassis Integrity
Wed: Climb Work Capacity (Bouldering 4×4’s)
Thurs: Endurance (3-mile assessment or 1-mile repeats), Gym-Based Strength
Friday: Climbing Stamina (2×15 Route Intervals)
Saturday: Endurance – Long, easy run (6-8 miles)
What Equipment Is Required?
This training program is designed to be completed in a Rock Gym with a bouldering area and a general fitness training area (dumbbells, pull up bar) or a Rock Gym with a bouldering area and any commercial gym. It is possible to complete this program in just a Bouldering Gym with a general fitness area, or a Bouldering Gym and a commercial Gym.
The weight training in the program deploys dumbbells and a pull up bar.
The Gym-Based Endurance/Chassis Integrity Training in the plan does deploy one piece of special equipment – a sandbag. Women will need a 40# Sandbag, and Men will need a 60# sandbag. If your gym doesn’t have sandbags, make your own and take to the gym with you. You can make sandbags out of any durable duffle bags, purchase them from any equipment vendor online, or buy one from us here for $50: https://gear.mtntactical.com/collections/gear/products/sandbag.
A sandbag is an essential piece of equipment for this plan.
Finally, you’ll need a stopwatch.
My Rock Gym has a General Fitness Area and hang boards, but now campus board. Can I still do this plan?
Yes … The program includes an alternative if your gym doesn’t have a campus board.
How long should the training sessions take?
60-75 minutes, Mon-Friday. Saturday’s long runs push to 8 miles and depending upon your pace, may push to 90 minutes.
What if I can’t keep the Monday through Saturday Schedule?
Do not skip any sessions. Do your best to train 6 days per week, but If you can’t, do the sessions in their exact order. The program is progressive and you should not “skip around”. Start again where you left off.
What does 2/4x Pull ups Mean?
2x Pull Ups for Women. 4x Pull ups for men, etc.
What does 25/35# mean?
25# for Women. 35# for men, etc.
Please Explain This Circuit:
(2) 10 Rounds in Gym
5x Walking Lunge – Increase load rapidly each round until 5x is hard, but doable
3/4x Scotty Bob @ 15/25#
2/5x Pull Ups
Hip Flexor Stretch
– This is a strength circuit you’ll work through for 10 Rounds, or 10 times. You’ll do
– 5x walking lunges with dumbbells (5x each leg, 10x total), then
– 3/4x Scotty Bobs @ 15//25#, (3x women @ 15#, 4x men @ 25#), then …
– 2/5x Pull Ups, (2x Women, 5x men) then,
– Hip Flexor Stretch
This is 1 Round. Repeat 9 more times.
For the Walking Lunges above, Explain “Increase load rapidly each round until 5x is hard, but doable).
We want you to work up in loading rapidly until 5x reps of walking lunges is “hard but doable.” This is how I would likely work up:
How Long do I hold the Hip Flexor Stretch?
15 Seconds each Leg
How Fast should I work through this circuit?
Briskly, but not frantically. The Hip Flexor stretch is designed to be “working rest” for each round.
Go to MTI’s Exercise Page Here: http://mtntactical.com/category/exercises/
What about my diet?
We strongly recommend a strict diet as you complete this training plan. Cutting excess fat will directly improve your rock climbing performance. During this program ….
Eat This: Meat, vegetables, fruit, nuts
Drink This: Water, Coffee, Tea, a little fruit juice.
Don’t Eat: Sugar, grains (wheat, bread, rice, etc.), Beans, Dairy.
Don’t Drink: Soda, Alcohol, Milk. With the exception of fruit juice, try to avoid drinking any calories.
Note: There is no caloric restriction with this diet. Eat when your are hungry, just avoid the “don’t eat” list.
Can I see a sample of the training?
Click the “Sample Training” tab to see the entire first week of the training plan.
What if I have more questions?
– Rob Shaul