T Nation

Rock Climber Limited Equipment


#1

Hello everyone,

I have been rock climbing for just over a year now. For the first year it was all I did in terms of training. Now I'm adding additional movements into my training to bring up weak areas and to keep my body balanced. I've been doing this for two months and I've noticed big improvements in both my climbing and my general strength and athletic ability. I am a 23 year old male, six feet tall, 160 pounds, 11% body fat.

Here's what I have in terms of equipment:
-Climbing training wall. It's very steep and I use it to train for power. I don't train for endurance right now because I'm also sport climbing outside a lot, and that's the best way to build endurance. Also, as the saying goes, "without power, you have nothing to endure"
-Two dumbells, with weights to load them up to around 25 pounds
-Two 45-pound plates and two 35-pound plates (no barbell)
-Row machine
-Reverse fly machine
-Paralettes

My main goal, both right now and long term, is to build as much relative strength as possible. I'm not yet strong enough for advanced calisthenics movements but I am building up to them (almost have an L-sit, following progressions for dragon flags and front levers). Most importantly, I train to be the best climber I can be.

Most of my training involves bouldering on the training wall, and it needs to stay that way because it allows me to get strong while building efficient technique and movement patterns. Here are the additional movements I'm training.

Warm-up is always Essential 8 Mobility Drills
https://www.T-Nation.com/training/essential-8-mobility-drills

DAY 1 (This is a climbing day)
-3x5 box jumps (after warm-up, before training)
-5 sets of deadbugs while warming up on easier boulder problems
-3x10 bulgarian split squat
-3x12 reverse fly

DAY 2 (This is a climbing day)
-3x5 plyo pushups (after warm-up, before training)
-5 sets glute bridges*
-5 sets pushups*
-3 sets pullups*
*I haven't figured out appropriate weight/rep schemes yet for these. Today is day 2 of this new training schedule and I need to assess where my strength is at.

DAY 3 (not climbing)
-12 minute ab and glute fix
https://www.T-Nation.com/training/12-minute-fix-for-abs-and-glutes
-5 sets side planks (leg elevated)
-Hip, shoulder, and t-spine mobility (These are weak points for me in climbing. I also have poor posture which is why they are included)

DAY 4
Same as day 1

DAY 5
Same as day 2

DAY 6
-Cosgrove's Evil 8 complex
https://www.T-Nation.com/training/screw-cardio-four-complexes-for-a-shredded-physique
I use a 6>1>6 pyramid with 90 seconds rest between rounds. Cosgrove advises only going 6>1 but I don't have heavy enough weights to become tired after that.
-5 sets side planks
-Hip, shoulder, and t-spine mobility

DAY 7
OFF

Let me know what you think. I'm open to suggestions for better reaching my goals. Just please remember I'm not a bodybuilder or powerlifter :slightly_smiling:

P.S. I use Plazma pre and intra and MAG-10 post on climbing days. I also take Flameout and ZMA daily.


#2

Yoga.


#3

Hi man, looks like you’ve got a good workout set up there. I used to climb a fair bit and as I’m sure you know one of the most important things is grip and finger strength, do you do any fingerboard work? One thing a climbing instructor got me doing is climbing sprints on an indoor wall.

You top rope with a partner, pick a relatively easy route for your grade then climb it as fast as you can, no pausing at all on the route, just go! When you hit the top you get lowered as quick as is safe then go again with no break. Do this 3 times then take 1 minutes break and start again and do 3 sets like this. It has a lot of benefits, it’s great cardio, it teaches you to think quick about your movement and body position, you’ll also learn to use your legs more as your arms tire, plus you’ll get really pumped and shaky like you will on a real outdoor climb when you’re pushing your grades, so you’ll learn to trust yourself more when you get like that! It’s killer and you’ll be on your knees after but you get the pleasure of putting your belay partner through it when your done! lol


#4

[quote]Dave_70 wrote:
Hi man, looks like you’ve got a good workout set up there. I used to climb a fair bit and as I’m sure you know one of the most important things is grip and finger strength, do you do any fingerboard work? One thing a climbing instructor got me doing is climbing sprints on an indoor wall. You top rope with a partner, pick a relatively easy route for your grade then climb it as fast as you can, no pausing at all on the route, just go! When you hit the top you get lowered as quick as is safe then go again with no break. Do this 3 times then take 1 minutes break and start again and do 3 sets like this. It has a lot of benefits, it’s great cardio, it teaches you to think quick about your movement and body position, you’ll also learn to use your legs more as your arms tire, plus you’ll get really pumped and shaky like you will on a real outdoor climb when you’re pushing your grades, so you’ll learn to trust yourself more when you get like that! It’s killer and you’ll be on your knees after but you get the pleasure of putting your belay partner through it when your done! lol[/quote]

I do have a fingerboard but I’ve never used it much. There just seem to be so many conflicting messages about how to train on them, and none of them seem to be crafted by people who understand the science behind it. There’s definitely a lot of throwing shit at the proverbial wall and seeing what sticks in climbing training. Also if you haven’t read “9 out of 10 climbers make the same mistakes” by Dave McLeod you absolutely have to read that. He goes into detail about how fingerboarding can be a great addition if you’re climbing a lot and your grip strength isn’t increasing. Mine is still increasing, so I’ll hold off on the fingerboarding for now as it is a high-risk activity for injury.

I love climbing sprints! I also do them on auto-belays so that I can downclimb. For endurance training I pick an easy route and climb up and down 10 times without touching the ground (resting is allowed). It’s been known to get people to puke!


#5

[quote]shralpinist wrote:

[quote]Dave_70 wrote:
Hi man, looks like you’ve got a good workout set up there. I used to climb a fair bit and as I’m sure you know one of the most important things is grip and finger strength, do you do any fingerboard work? One thing a climbing instructor got me doing is climbing sprints on an indoor wall. You top rope with a partner, pick a relatively easy route for your grade then climb it as fast as you can, no pausing at all on the route, just go! When you hit the top you get lowered as quick as is safe then go again with no break. Do this 3 times then take 1 minutes break and start again and do 3 sets like this. It has a lot of benefits, it’s great cardio, it teaches you to think quick about your movement and body position, you’ll also learn to use your legs more as your arms tire, plus you’ll get really pumped and shaky like you will on a real outdoor climb when you’re pushing your grades, so you’ll learn to trust yourself more when you get like that! It’s killer and you’ll be on your knees after but you get the pleasure of putting your belay partner through it when your done! lol[/quote]

I do have a fingerboard but I’ve never used it much. There just seem to be so many conflicting messages about how to train on them, and none of them seem to be crafted by people who understand the science behind it. There’s definitely a lot of throwing shit at the proverbial wall and seeing what sticks in climbing training. Also if you haven’t read “9 out of 10 climbers make the same mistakes” by Dave McLeod you absolutely have to read that. He goes into detail about how fingerboarding can be a great addition if you’re climbing a lot and your grip strength isn’t increasing. Mine is still increasing, so I’ll hold off on the fingerboarding for now as it is a high-risk activity for injury.

I love climbing sprints! I also do them on auto-belays so that I can downclimb. For endurance training I pick an easy route and climb up and down 10 times without touching the ground (resting is allowed). It’s been known to get people to puke!
[/quote]

Ya your right about fingerboards, I never used them to the extreme, just some hanging exercises as warm up. You’re right they can fuck up your tendons if you’re not careful with them. I nearly puked the first time I did sprints! lol I started doing then because I only climb indoors to train for outdoor stuff, there’s not really a great deal of crossover techniques from indoor to outdoor. There’s never that fear factor indoors but the not pausing thing really concentrates the mind on what you’re doing and does help when you get pumped and a bit freaked on a outdoor route. It’s kinda hard to explain but it sort of recreates that “fuck, fuck what now” you get going through your head on a tough climb and looking for the next move!


#6

[quote]shralpinist wrote:
Now I’m adding additional movements into my training to bring up weak areas and to keep my body balanced.

My main goal, both right now and long term, is to build as much relative strength as possible. Most importantly, I train to be the best climber I can be.
[/quote]
Which of these two is it? Is your goal to be the best climber you can be or to keep your body balanced? Because in my experience, the two are mutually exclusive.

What level are you climbing at right now?


#7

[quote]dagill2 wrote:

[quote]shralpinist wrote:
Now I’m adding additional movements into my training to bring up weak areas and to keep my body balanced.

My main goal, both right now and long term, is to build as much relative strength as possible. Most importantly, I train to be the best climber I can be.
[/quote]
Which of these two is it? Is your goal to be the best climber you can be or to keep your body balanced? Because in my experience, the two are mutually exclusive.

What level are you climbing at right now?[/quote]

You’re right about that. Let me re-state in (hopefully) a clearer fashion. Right now my primary goal is to be the best climber possible. My secondary goal is to increase my relative strength (all aspects, not just climbing). I understand that my body will remain out of balance and I’m not looking to be equally strong in other areas as I am with climbing muscles. However, I don’t want to be completely undertrained (or not trained at all) with the rest of my body.

Indoors I project 5.12. For bouldering I’m at V5. Outside I typically drop a full grade below that, so projecting 5.11’s and V4’s. Obviously the grading system is subjective but for the most part that’s where I find myself.


#8

[quote]shralpinist wrote:

[quote]dagill2 wrote:

[quote]shralpinist wrote:
Now I’m adding additional movements into my training to bring up weak areas and to keep my body balanced.

My main goal, both right now and long term, is to build as much relative strength as possible. Most importantly, I train to be the best climber I can be.
[/quote]
Which of these two is it? Is your goal to be the best climber you can be or to keep your body balanced? Because in my experience, the two are mutually exclusive.

What level are you climbing at right now?[/quote]

You’re right about that. Let me re-state in (hopefully) a clearer fashion. Right now my primary goal is to be the best climber possible. My secondary goal is to increase my relative strength (all aspects, not just climbing). I understand that my body will remain out of balance and I’m not looking to be equally strong in other areas as I am with climbing muscles. However, I don’t want to be completely undertrained (or not trained at all) with the rest of my body.

Indoors I project 5.12. For bouldering I’m at V5. Outside I typically drop a full grade below that, so projecting 5.11’s and V4’s. Obviously the grading system is subjective but for the most part that’s where I find myself.
[/quote]

I’m confused, what part of your body do you think would be undertrained if you just exercise with climbing in mind? Good climbers are extremely fit and strong in all areas! They don’t have a bodybuilders muscle mass but they are very strong and look good. If you want to be big and jacked your climbing will suffer because if the extra weight. To be the best climber you can be you need to be light, strong, fast and have good endurance. Oh and big balls, unless you’re climbing sport routes which are just outdoor gyms! lol


#9

I’m not trying to be big. Climbing does not work all areas of the body to the extent that it works the back, biceps, and forearms. This is precisely why I’ve been adding work for other muscle groups on the side. It’s good for me in general and it actually has been helping my climbing. For example, you do not tax your quads while climbing. You are using them but not to their full potential, certainly not enough to be getting them stronger. However after adding squat variations I’ve noticed that certain moves feel easier (think big steps up on slab). I use the other movements to tax my body in ways that climbing simply does not.


#10

Training legs without equipment is a bit challenging, but with general climbing practice and a few other things your upper body would be solid. Check out Ross Enamait and his books, a lot of good stuff there for budget training (and a book dedicated to building grip strength).

One of the things I made from his book is a dip belt out of a pool noodle and a length of chain with 2 carabiners. Cost $13 all up and it works well. I’ve tested it up to 40kg for pull ups, but the cheap chain I bought should be good up to 90kg+. With that you can do pull ups, dips, and maybe hip belt squats. You can also make a T-handle for about $10 and use it for swings, much cheaper than a kettlebell and the weight is adjustable.


#11

[quote]Dave_70 wrote:

[quote]shralpinist wrote:

[quote]dagill2 wrote:

[quote]shralpinist wrote:
Now I’m adding additional movements into my training to bring up weak areas and to keep my body balanced.

My main goal, both right now and long term, is to build as much relative strength as possible. Most importantly, I train to be the best climber I can be.
[/quote]
Which of these two is it? Is your goal to be the best climber you can be or to keep your body balanced? Because in my experience, the two are mutually exclusive.

What level are you climbing at right now?[/quote]

You’re right about that. Let me re-state in (hopefully) a clearer fashion. Right now my primary goal is to be the best climber possible. My secondary goal is to increase my relative strength (all aspects, not just climbing). I understand that my body will remain out of balance and I’m not looking to be equally strong in other areas as I am with climbing muscles. However, I don’t want to be completely undertrained (or not trained at all) with the rest of my body.

Indoors I project 5.12. For bouldering I’m at V5. Outside I typically drop a full grade below that, so projecting 5.11’s and V4’s. Obviously the grading system is subjective but for the most part that’s where I find myself.
[/quote]

I’m confused, what part of your body do you think would be undertrained if you just exercise with climbing in mind? Good climbers are extremely fit and strong in all areas! They don’t have a bodybuilders muscle mass but they are very strong and look good. If you want to be big and jacked your climbing will suffer because if the extra weight. To be the best climber you can be you need to be light, strong, fast and have good endurance. Oh and big balls, unless you’re climbing sport routes which are just outdoor gyms! lol[/quote]

I strongly disagree with this. Look at some of the physiques of top climbers, I highly doubt there are many people who go to the gym with the goal of looking like Leo Houlding, for example.

Just from personal experience (In my younger days I would boulder at 7c/8a level inside, Fontein grading system), while I was not particularly advanced, I still found I was developing out of proportion.