T Nation

Ancillary Exercises: Weekly Sessions or Weekly Blocks?


Hello everyone, as usual coming here in search of advice.

As you know, my main training focus is climbing, and bouldering especially, but I love every aspect of training, and seeing the gains I’ve made in climbing using all the info I got on T-Nation, I want more.
Ok, so aside from the climbing-specific training, I currently use three main tools for ancillary excercise: weights, rings, hill sprints and boxing bag.
The hill sprints aren’t much of a problem, in terms of planning. I can fit them in whenever I like.
I was wondering, for the other tools, whether it would be better to train each one once per week, or doing weekly blocks of each single tool.
Weekly sessions could give more continuity but could be harder to plan due to other committments; weekly blocks could give more specific gains but each tool would be used only once in a month, because after three mixed weeks (board climbing + ancillary excercises) I dedicate one week just to board climbing.
Please help.
Many thanks,


I believe in frequently training something to get better at it. So I would personally figure out what is most important to me.

If it is pebble wrestling or climbing, then make that your main focus each week and cascade everything else around that.

For example, try prioritizing everything in order of importance:
1)Pebble Wrestling/Climbing
2)Conditioning (hill sprints and boxing bag)
3)Strength Training/Weights

Figure out how many days you plan on devoting to climbing since it is the most important thing and what is given you the most pleasure (I assume), then figure everything else in depending on how much time you have left in your week and your ability to feel good for your climbing.

I would climb every week, as much as possible, then factor in some conditioning maybe 2 days per week and lift 1-2 days (depending on your overall intensity of everything).

I used to climb and my partner and I would sprint/run up the mountain with our packs on to the base of our climb. If it was a pretty long steep hike to the route (2+ miles) we would just speed hike that bitch and would be huffing at the top. Plenty of conditioning worked into your day right there.

Otherwise, I don’t think there will be very much success in overthinking it with weekly sessions or blocks or whatever. I mean, try it, but I would personally just look at my overall weekly physical energy exertion and time available and make something happen and adjust it over time with experimentation.


Cheers Evolv,
I appreciate the feedback.
Yes, I’m probably stressing too much around this thing. My training is already centered on climbing, so I’ll have to just insert the right ancillary excercises at the end of the climbing session depending on how I feel.
I was asking because I’ve seen that, for example, now that I have the boxing bag - which is very fun to train with - I’ve neglected the weights a bit, so I was looking for a way to be sure to dedicate more or less the same time to every tool.
I’ll start experimenting and will report back.

By the way, are you British? The term “pebble wrestling” is usually referred to grit climbing.



lol, na man, I am from North Carolina, US. I grew up trad climbing and ice climbing, and some of the old school dudes from the '80s that I learned to climb from referred to boulderers as pebble wrestlers. I always thought the phrase was hilarious and it stuck with me.

Yeah, if I started roping up again (which I hope to do again one day) I would probably do this along with my climbing:

1 day per week: Squat, Deadlift
1 day per week: Overhead press, row, dips, chins
Climb every day I can.

I enjoy hitting a heavy bag and speed bag too, and I would just do it after my strength training. When I did climb I felt my conditioning was pretty on point with humping a 30 pound pack around a mountain all day. Here you have a solid approach to just about any routes/crags.

Where at are you located?


I live in Italy, Tuscany!
I used to climb a lot in the Dolomites, when I was young, then I switched to just sport climbing, then to just bouldering.
Right now I main climb on my own home board, because I am quite busy. I enjoy training so much that most of the times it’s a satisfaction in itself. Then whenever I can, let’s say two or three times per year, I take a couple of days off and generally go to Switzerland for some granite bouldering.
I’m happy about this formula, I’m living my climbing quite happily at the moment!


Very cool and I can totally relate on the training thing. Beautiful area you are in, at least by the photos I have seen. I have always wanted to climb in the alps and visit Italy of course. One of these days I’ll fly out there. Happy training and climbing!


Happy training (and climbing) to you as well.
Thanks for the input.