Lock Off Strength

I’d like to address a common issue women often face: Lock off strength. Typically, not always, women initially rely on solid technique and great foot work to climb and they climb well. But so often I hear “Carolyn, I need to be stronger.” “Steep climbing is so hard for me.” There are times where just going climbing can make us better and stronger but at some point we have to train weaknesses and that’s where lock off strength training will help you the most.

Why do you need to lock off strength in the first place?

A lock off is most commonly called for when you have to reach an arms length (or slightly longer) to the next possible hand hold. In this case you will need to perform a “lock off” to reach the next handhold. You’ll find this type of move most commonly on steep sport climbs, boulder problems and even crack climbs. Lock offs require a certain amount of strength from any given climber. Most lock off strength is generated from your shoulder and latisimus dorsi, so training these muscles is a good idea to prevent injury while performing a lock off.

What is a lock off?

A lock off is a static move, meaning there is no jumping or dynamic movement involved when you move to the next handhold. You start off by grabbing a handhold with one hand, and pull that hold down as far as necessary to reach the next hold with your free hand. Generally when this move is done, the hand you are holding on with is level with your shoulder as you reach for the next handhold.

How do you lock off?

1. No matter what level of climber you are, establish good footholds and make sure you are balanced over your feet as best as possible.
2. Pick two good starting holds and identify the target hold you will reach to. Typically this target hold will be a full arm length away.
3. Grab onto your two starting holds and stand up on your feet until your arm is in a bent position with your hand level with your shoulder.
4. Reach with your free hand and grab the target hold identified in step two, keeping eye contact with the target hold.
Now that you have an understanding of why, what and how you lock off, it’s time to do some practice drills. Here’s a fun way to break through the lock off strength barrier.

The Three Second Lock Off Strength Drill: aka The Hover

You can do this inside at the climbing or outside at the crag, top rope or bouldering is usually the most effective. Find a route or boulder problem that you can do that is comfortable for you and slightly overhanging. Instead of climbing the route as you normally would here’s your challenge: For every hand movement on the climb, as you reach to the next hold, you have stop with your hand just hovering over the hold you want to grab next then count to three before you grab it. And I mean a real one thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three, three second count. Repeat this for every hand movement up the entire climb or boulder problem.

This will require you to lock off with the arm/hand holding on as well as focus on foot placement and complex core strength. The route that used to be reasonable for you just got hard. Possibly really hard. Try this drill at least once a week when you climb after a warm up. Use it as what it is, training, its a drill designed specifically to train lock off strength applicable to climbing. 


We can train lock offs in the gym (e.g. pull ups, bent over row, type-writers), but as I’ve mentioned in past training tips, lock off strength tends to be fairly linear. It will help, however having a tool to transition that strength to the complex multi-planar sport of rock climbing will be the icing on the cake!


One to two times a week for 4 – 6 weeks, try this on multiple routes or boulder problems each session, and not always the same route. 
2 – 3 routes/4- 6 boulder problems per session. 
Try this and let me know how it goes. If you want to put this technique to practice on the rock in one of Chicks’ programs, consider Maple Canyon, Rifle and Red Rock. They all offer great single pitch sport and crack climbs that you can apply your new lock off strength upon.
Until next time!
Carolyn Parker,

Single Pitch Trad Climbing

…Simply Beautiful in its Complexity

The beauty of climbing is that you can experience it in so many forms – sport climbing, trad climbing, multi-pitch climbing, and big wall climbing.  You can climb on slabs, technical face, as well as overhanging rock.  And don’t forget the nuances of climbing a particular form of rock such as granite, sandstone, cobblestone, limestone, and quartzite.  We have certainly been blessed with endless options and variations as rock climbers.

One of the most gratifying single pitch trad climbing experiences I have ever had was in Arapiles, Australia.  We walked across a dusty expanse to the base of a small quartzite sandstone dome.  The rock was golden and grey streaked, hard, and polished.  This area is world- renowned for its 2000+ sustained and technical faces.  I looked up at the route and could see a few defining holds but some sections seemed devoid of gear placements as well as holds.  As I racked up, I added a set of HB off-set nuts, which were designed in Australia for small flaring cracks.

I decided to focus on breathing and precise footwork.  “Trust and commit”, I told myself repeatedly.  Miraculously, when I reached the blank sections, small cracks appeared in the rock that accepted my HB’s and tiny edges appeared for my feet that I could not see from the ground. Finishing the route, I once again reveled in the accomplishment of a climb that seemed impossible from below.

It seems to me, that rock climbing in its various forms is like an artist, writer, or a cook.  You start with the foundation – the movement skills – like an artist starts with a framework, a writer starts with a theme, and a cook starts with the main ingredient.  Then you add layers, which adds interest and complexity.  A climber would take their movement skills and add complexity by learning to protect not only bolted climbs, but also climbs which only take gear (trad climbs).  And to carry the analogy, the artist would add color, the writer would add character development and the cook would add spices.  When you piece it all together, the achievement is like a masterpiece.

You don’t have to go to Arapiles, Austrailia to experience the thrill of learning to climb single pitch trad climbing routes.  We are psyched to offer clinics this fall in two of the most popular trad climbing areas in North America – Red Rocks,  and Joshua Tree.  Although both have an abundance of bolted sport routes, they also are renowned for a plethora of classic trad routes in the 5.7- 7.9 range.  Whether you are just learning, or wanting to develop your lead skills, we can help you reach your goals. Join us.

Chicks in the City of Rocks

chicks in the city

The Chicks in the City (of Rocks) are back in town and we are all still grinning ear to ear!  We just returned from an amazing wom
en’s climbing weekend at the City of Rocks National Reserve in Idaho. There’s no better way to spend a long weekend away from the constant connectivity to our digital world and plugging back into our natural one.

city chicksThe world-class climbing mecca lived up to its name and provided us with extensive opportunity to climb routes of any difficulty and type: We climbed anything from slabs to cracks to face climbing. We also worked on skills, building up to lead climbing, cleaning anchors, and multi-pitch climbing by the end of our stay. We saw impressive achievements all around, from venturing out on the sharp end for the first time to pushing one’s limits on new terrain.

Camping life was great, too, with a sweet spot in the aspen trees located close to all the rock formations. Without cell service or nearby towns, we were able to just enjoy being out in high country, away from the stress and fast-paced everyday life, eating meals grouped around the picnic tables, telling stories, and becoming friends.

On the last evening, we scrambled up to the Cowboy Route to the top of Bath Rock, one of the largest formations in the City of Rocks.  We sat on top of the mountain, taking in the views under the evening sun.  It was spectacular.

city chicksAll in all, Chicks in the City was an experience to take home and remember for a long time.

How to Tie Ropes together for Rappelling

When tying two ropes together, or two ends of a cordelette, I look for a knot that is low volume and easy to tie. I find a double fisherman’s knot welds the rope together, is time consuming to tie, and is very likely to get jammed. So for years I used a Flat overhand to join two ropes, even if the diameter differed. The Flat overhand is easy to tie and untie, and I could use the flat overhand with ropes of varying diameters. Then my friend Mike Gibbs talked to me about knots “rolling.” After the conversation, I switched to the Gibbs Bend, also known as a Barrel Knot.

Need to see it to get the idea? Check out Chicks Guide Dawn Glanc on the very subject

The Gibbs Bend, is another way to tie two ropes together for rappelling, and the benefit is that it won’t roll. What do we mean by this? When a knot “rolls” it literally flips over on itself when under weight and it can keep rolling until the tail of the knot becomes shorter and shorter. If the tail of the knot becomes too short, the knot literally can “roll” off of the tail ends of the rope. Yikes!

Enter the Gibbs Bend. We were introduced to it by the folks at Rigging for Rescue, a training company that specializes in safety systems and testing. They work with rope rescue teams from across the country like the National Park Service’s Search and Rescue Teams and the Special Forces of the US Military.

Rigging For Rescue’s Mike Gibbs explained the Gibbs Bend to me as follows:

“From a kN standpoint if you compare the Gibbs Bend vs Flat Overhand, the kN ratings are similar. Most ties break at around 2/3 of manufacturer’s rated breaking strength (MRBS). Climbing ropes do not come with published MRBS as they are not tested for that value based on the applicable standards. Regardless of the kN, the same knotted tie principle is in play. The derate of the tie is caused by radius bend of the rope.  Since both ties have the same radius bend, their respective strengths will be similar. In both cases, plenty strong.

Personally, I would de-emphasize kN of breaking strength when comparing the two ties. Breaking strength is not the issue. The issue is security and the propensity for one tie to capsize/roll under certain conditions and the other tie to remain secure.  The Flat Overhand Bend gets its infamous moniker, The Euro Death Knot,  from the fact that it can capsize and have the tails sleeve through the tie. When the tie is suspended in free-space with adequate tails, it appears to be a non-issue. Or I am not aware of it being a risk and I think there is plenty of anecdotal evidence of successful rappels with the Flat Overhand Bend supporting that supposition.  

If, however, the tie can bump up against an object – like a rock edge, for example- in just the right place (due to tie positioning and/or rope stretch, etc) then it may capsize and roll. By passing the tails of the flat overhand bend once more around, the capsizing issue is negated. That is a very secure tie, albeit bulkier than a Flat Overhand Bend.

I have been rappelling with the Gibbs Bend for 15+ years and never once jammed the tie while pulling the lines on a retrievable rappel.  I highly recommend the tie and personally refuse to rap off of an Flat Overhand Bend, which all my climbing partners know and accept. “

— Mike Gibbs, Owner of Rigging For Rescue.

Efficiency is something I strive for in my climbing systems. I like to keep things simple and elegant so that I avoid chaos in stressful situations. Clean systems produce easy to use anchors and thoughtful solutions to complex problems. Along with efficiency, I like to use the best tool for the job. The Gibbs Bend fits the bill when it comes to tying two ropes together for rappelling.

To Summarize why the Gibbs Bend is a good choice for tying two ropes together for rappelling because:

  1. Quick and easy to tie, easy to double check.
  2. Lays flat over the rock surface so it is less likely to get snagged when retireving your rappel.
  3. Won’t roll.
  4. Good for using with ropes of varying diameters.

To learn how to tie the Gibbs Bend, watch this video by Chicks Guide and Co-owner Dawn Glanc. I think you will see that passing the tails through a second time takes no effort and is well worth the extra security.



Sterling Rope Helix Review

sterling rope helix review

Sterling Evolution Series – Helix 9.5mm Rope 

When you and your partner are up two pitches on the crux of a multi-pitch climb the last thing you want to worry about is your rope. If you’ve done your homework and selected the right cord for the job it’ll give you the confidence you need to focus on the climb, not the rope. You have to trust it just like you trust your partner belaying you.

When I pick ropes for our multi-pitch climbs at Chicks, I put a lot of thought into it and make sure we have a small quiver to choose from. The top qualities I seek out for a multi-pitch rock climbing rope are durability, lightweight and a good hand (not too stiff or too soft). I prefer bi-color ropes but any rope with a good middle mark will work for descents when only one rope is needed.

Chicks partners with Sterling Rope because we believe they are the best in the industry.  Their R&D process is robust, dedicated to excellence and has produced what I am confident to say are the best ropes you can buy.  In addition to choosing which Sterling ropes we use at Chicks, I test Sterling Ropes as a member of their Team, which I’ve done for many seasons and used most of Sterling’s ropes extensively.  I know first hand, which rope is the best for the job.

In my opinion, the best multi-pitch rope out there is Sterling’s 9.5mm Evolution Helix. The Helix, and it’s smaller sister the 9.2mm Aero both have some unique qualities that set them apart from anything else on the market and make them our go-to ropes for multi-pitch adventures. I’ll break them down into the qualities I mentioned above; durability, light weight and hand.  I’ll also refer back to classifications I laid out in our Tech Tip on How to Choose a Rope

No matter what the rock type, friction and sharp edges are factors unless your route is entirely overhanging. The friction of the rope running through carabiners and over rock adds to your drag. Sharp edges are common and present one of the most problematic concerns for climbing ropes. Even in a perfect world of glaciated granite slabs, ropes wear over time with use.  If you’ve ever used a “Skinny Bitch” (referring to 8.9 to 9.2mm ropes discussed in the link above) for repetitive multi-pitch ascents you’ve probably had a core shot or extensive fuzzy bits on the sheath that aren’t very confidence inspiring.  If you’ve used your “Workhorse” for longer routes you’ve experienced strain on your elbows with belaying and the weight on your back from carrying it to and from the route. Although these ropes will both get the job done, they don’t compare to the middle of the road, “All-Around” ropes typically from 9.4 to 9.7mm for multi-pitch use. The “All-Arounder” is going to stand up to more abuse, but still handle like a skinny rope while taking up less space in your pack and wear on your back. This is the Helix at 9.5mm. What makes the Helix stand out when it comes to durability is an incredible 41% sheath to mass ratio. The durability of a rope depends on it’s sheath.  With 41% of the Helix (and Aero) being sheath, this translates to unrivaled abrasion resistance.  If you go with Sterling’s new DryXP treatment, you lower the friction and water resistance even more, further increasing it’s awesomeness.

Regardless of how many pitches or how long the approach, we just don’t want to carry more than we have to. Whether on your back or tied in leading a long pitch, a heavy rope is a drag. This is why we usually leave the “Workhorses” on the ground for top roping and take the “All Around” or “Skinny Bitches” up longer climbs. The “All-Around” Helix is our top choice for a rope balanced with lightweight and durability.  Weighing in at 59 grams per meter (g/m), a 60 meter Helix is only 7 lbs. and 12 oz. Thats’ completely reasonable for all it’s other great attributes.

Sterling has produced a super tight weave with a unique pattern on the Helix that gives this rope a solid hand out of the bag.  “Hand” is a term rope manufacturers refer to for the feel of the rope when coiled, knotted or working a belay. Many ropes when new can be stiff and don’t hold a knot well or they’re soft and feel almost lifeless. On the contrary some ropes are supple out of the bag but when they get dirty tend to stiffen up.  The Helix is instantly easy to work with, holds the knot as you tied it and pays through belay devices like butter.  The tight sheath resists twists, dirt and it plays through carabiners with remarkably low friction. The hand doesn’t change over time, which leaves this rope remarkably consistent and easy to work with.

What’s really quite remarkable about the 9.5 Helix is it’s UIAA rated to withstand one more fall than it’s bigger sister the 9.8 Evolution Velocity (Helix = 7 UIAA Falls as compared to the Velocity’s 6). The Helix’s lighter yet more robust core construction is the difference, also boasting greater water resistance. Also unique to Sterling; you can purchase the Helix and most of their ropes in whatever length suits your adventure… 40, 50, 60, 70 or 80 meters.

This is the last determining factor which some will place first when purchasing a new rope.  Your rope is your lifeline out there in the vertical realm.  My opinion is that price should be the least of your deciding factors, but sometimes that just isn’t practical.

MSRP:  A 60m non-dry Helix will run you $212.95 with the BiColor option bumping that up to $276.85.  Add the new DryXP treatment and a 60m goes for $238.95, with the BiColor DryXP option bumping that up to $309.95

Sterling marks all of their non-BiColor ropes with a durable middle mark, so you can’t go wrong.  Spend the money and focus on the climb, not your rope. Read the many other Helix reviews on the web and decide yourself.  We’re sticking with Sterling Rope.

How to Build your Multi-Pitch Climbing Kit

Are you asking yourself, what in the world is multi-pitch climbing? The answer is pretty simple but the process of multi-pitch climbing can seem daunting at first. Let’s start our with the basics. First of all, a single pitch climb is a route that you can climb without any intermediate belays. That is to say that you climb up to an anchor and you descend by either lowering or rappelling back down to the ground where you started. Therefore, multi-pitch climbing is very simply a bunch of single pitch climbs stacked on top of each other.

multi-pitch climbing

To have a fun and rewarding multi-pitch experience, you’ll need to prepare and put together a slightly modified gear list from what you would typically use for a day of single pitch climbing. Our friends at Petzl have but together a great article on How to Build Your Multi-Pitch Kit. Petzl breaks it down into a gear list and some things to consider when putting it all together from choosing personal equipment, rope selection, what the second should bring, and the best rack for the job.

Still a little apprehensive about the whole idea of climbing hundreds of feet off the ground? Not to worry! Chicks is road tripping to Red Rock, NV just outside of Las Vegas on October 5-9, 2017. Red Rocks is one of the best places to be introduced to multi-pitch climbing because there are literally over a thousand options for multi-pitch climbing, for all grades and abilities. It’s the perfect place to gain experience with multi-pitch climbing and see what it feels like to climb hundreds of feet off of the ground and take in the beautiful desert wilderness of Red Rock National Conservation Area.

multi pitch climbing in red rock

Your Chicks Guide will literally show you the ropes and teach you what you need to know to get off the deck on a multi-pitch climb. Skills you’ll learn along the way are: lead belaying, how to follow and “second” a multi-pitch climb, rappelling, anchor building and lots of rope management strategies.

We hope you will join us at one of our favorite climbing destinations in the United States, and experience multi-pitch climbing with Chicks in sunny and beautiful Red Rock, NV.


The Importance of Rest and Recovery

Rest and Recovery is the secret to improving your climbing performance:
Training Tip #22

rest and recovery
I hope you’ve all been having a blast training hard and pulling down. Now it’s time to talk about rest and recovery. We all want to climb harder, run faster, feel stronger and better at everything we do athletically. The number one mistake most athletes make is doing too much of a “good” thing. By that I mean… the idea that more is better right? Not exactly.
Having adequate rest and recovery is the most important piece to improved performance and often overlooked. If one of my athletes is tired, under performing or gets injured (aside from an actually impact trauma) it’s usually because she is “under” recovered, not over trained.
Even though we love our sports and training for them we need to keep in mind that even the things we love athletically are also stressors and take from our bodies. To stay healthy and balanced take an honest look at your life and try and correct imbalances in your recovery plan where you can. Here are some guidelines.
  • One full rest day a week.
  • 8 – 10 hours of sleep a night depending on how hard you are training.
  • Balanced training week and long term rest schedule (I will elaborate).
  • Honor outside stressors, take more rest and get more sleep if you have elevated life stress; in a relationship or at work for example. 
  • Hydrate properly.
  • Eat quality foods and plenty of food, balanced with healthy fats, proteins and carbohydrates.
  • Practice Yoga or other balancing muscle elongating or stretching modalities weekly.
  • Massage and/or Chiropractic, Acupuncture or other body work 1- 2 x a month minimum, weekly would be ideal.
  • If you are not following these guidelines some where along the way we will have breakdown in the athlete. Injury, illness, decreased performance, and/or burn out.
How to further balance your training program with rest and recovery:
We’ve discussed this in prior training tips on a weekly format and a monthly format.
Need a reminder on how to get started? Or perhaps you’ve moved on to the next step of strength training
WEEKLY: Your week can look like this or something similar that fits into your life and work schedule.
  • Monday – Yoga or active recovery
  • Tuesday – Strength session gym and power climbing
  • Wednesday  – Strength session gym and Strength Endurance for climbing
  • Thursday PE session gym/Cardio vascular output
  • Friday – Rest and recovery day
  • Saturday – Climb
  • Sunday Climb or Rest if overly tired, listen to your body this is a lot of volume. Climb  2 – 4 days a week to the best of your ability.
  • Week 1 – 3 hard weeks push yourself
  • Week 4 – easy week- take three rest days and just have fun, don’t train with any structure or you’ll burn out or worse break.
  • Week 5 – 7 hard weeks push yourself again.
  • Week 8 easy week – take three rest days and just have fun, don’t train with any structure or you’ll burn out or worse break.
If you have been following these tips through out, have built your training program and are following these guidelines, eventually you need to take a more extended break. Often many of us are forced out of a sport due to the change of seasons however now we have so many indoor facilities, I’ll use climbing as an example, we can continue training through the winter.
If you have been training in a focused manner for 8 weeks or longer you have been making gains and are psyched and don’t want to stop. However you should. By stop I mean take a break, take that training time to do deeper recovery. 1- 2 weeks based on age and length of training cycle.
In your 20s:
12 week intensive training cycles are usually fine, following this cycle of Week 1 – 3 hard weeks push yourself Week 4 – easy week- take three rest days and just have fun, don’t train with any structure or you’ll burn out or worse break.
Then take a one to two week break, off from climbing.
Then start up again ((: 
In your 30s:
10 week intensive training cycles are usually fine, following this cycle of Week 1 – 3 hard weeks push yourself Week 4 – easy week- take three rest days and just have fun, don’t train with any structure or you’ll burn out or worse break.
Then take a one to two week break, off from climbing.
Then start up again ((: 
In your 40s:
8 week intensive training cycles are usually fine, following this cycle of Week 1 – 3 hard weeks push yourself Week 4 – easy week- take three rest days and just have fun, don’t train with any structure or you’ll burn out or worse break.
Then take a one to two week break, off from climbing.
Then start up again ((: 
In you 50 – 70s:
6 week intensive training cycles are usually fine, following this cycle of Week 1 – 3 hard weeks push yourself Week 4 – easy week- take three rest days and just have fun, don’t train with any structure or you’ll burn out or worse break.
Then take a one to two week break, off from climbing.
Then start up again ((: 
80 and older: you rock keep doing what you’re doing! (((:
Now you’ve established a weekly, monthly and long term training schedule. I always recommend for people to write this down and make a plan. Random disorganized training will lead to decreased potential and frustration in most athletes. Remember, set a goal, make a plan, write it down, execute! And most of all have fun.
Until the next newsletter…
carolyn Parker knows how to rest and recover during trainingCarolyn Parker

Learn how to sport climb outdoors

Learn how to sport climb outdoors with Chicks Climbing by attending one of our outdoor sport climbing trips. Our trips are perfect for indoor gym climbers who want to learn to learn how to sport climb outdoors. We have 4 different levels that you can sign up for, so you will be grouped with others who have similar experience and climbing goals.

If you’re stuck in a climbing plateau and not seeing much improvement for one reason or another, and you have the desire to be more knowledgeable and skilled, then these trips are your ticket to climbing success. Our all female climbing trips are ideal for:

  • Top rope climbers who want to learn how to lead climb
  • New lead climbers who want to try their hand at lead climbing outdoors
  • Seasoned lead climbers who want to push themselves on the sharp end and climb higher grades.

No matter what your experience level, you will walk away with the knowledge and skills necessary so you can learn how to sport climb outdoors. There is more to sport climbing than just clipping bolts. We will teach you everything you need to know to take charge of your climbing. Here are a few things that you’ll learn:

  • Rope Management and Clipping
  • How to Clean an Anchor
  • How to Project a Route
  • Stick clipping
  • Efficient Movement
  • Resting and recovery
  • Movement skills on vertical faces and overhanging climbs
  • Fall Practice
  • Lead Belaying & Giving a Cushioned Catch
  • Mental Focus

Not only will you learn valuable skills and strategies that you can take back to your home crag, but you’ll get to experience two of the best sport climbing destinations in the country. 

Maple Canyon, UT
Learn how to sport climb outdoors in Utah This area in Central Utah is known for it’s “cobble climbing” The rock is a conglomerate type rock with embedded rocks ranging in size from basketball to pebble sized round stone, naturally cemented together into cliffs ranging from vertical and gently overhanging walls.


Rifle, CO
learn how to sport climb outdoors in ColoradoLocated in Western Colorado, the blocky limestone single pitch sport climbs that characterize Rifle will teach you how to use opposition and compression forces.


Our certified female guides will provide you with a fun and supportive environment to allow you to learn and try new things. To reach your full climbing potential you may face some challenges that will push your comfort bubble. Our guides will facilitate that process with care and understanding so that you feel empowered to go for it.

This trip will be lead by Chick Guides Dawn Glanc and Elaina Arenz. They are psyched to share their combined 40 years of climbing experience to help you achieve quick results. Under their trained eyes and through individualized instruction, you will see a huge improvement in your climbing ability and technical skills by the end of these trips. What are you waiting for?








Sport Climbing Strength Training

sport climbing strength trainingChicks Training Tip #21
Advance Rock Climbing Training Part II: Sport Climbing Strength Training
It’s here already gals the next newsletter and training tip. Hopefully you were able to practice most if not all of the movements I recommended in Part I of Advanced Rock Climbing Training featured in last months newsletter.
Now we need to discuss how to implement them into a structured sport climbing strength training cycle. 
Step 1. Pick a 6-8 week Training Window
Look at your calendar and make a commitment to yourself and your training and pick a 6 – 8 week window to train consistently.
Step 2. Pick exercises to train your weaknesses
The week before that start date choose 8 – 10 movements from the list below that you can do and you want to get better/stronger at (some may be too difficult still). Pick movements that are challenging for you, do not just train your strengths, train your weaknesses. Make sure to select two to three pushing movements, as well as pulling, one to two core movements, and a leg movement or two. The TGU (Turkish Get Up) counts as all three. After you’ve selected the movements you’d like to train we can build workouts based those movements. Here’s the full list to choose from:
  • Single arm body row 
  • HSPU 
  • Floor Wiper
  • Anchored Med ball raise lower between rounds
  • Bent Over Row with lock off in three positions
  • Archer
  • Static holds
  • KB Swing
  • Superman
  • Weighted sit up
  • Toes to bar 
  • TGU – Turkish Get Up 
  • Hanging Windshield Wiper
  • Single arm offset pull up with lock off use band for assistance if necessary 
  • KB Chest Press on Bosu 
  • AB Wheel 
  • Weighted pull up
  • L-seat pull up
Step 3. Establish a Baseline
The week before you begin structured training, and on two separate days, warm up and test all movements selected to see how many reps you can do or how much weight you can move, for 1 – 5 repetitions. If you can do up to 10 reps on any movement its too easy and we need to make it more difficult. Write your numbers and weights down and use these as a reference for difficulty when you do your workouts, try to increase weights and or reps each week or every couple of weeks depending on how you feel.
Step 4. Put together your workout
I’ve selected a group of movements from the list above and created a few WOs (workouts) based on these movements as an example:
  • Single arm body row
  • Single Arm Pull up
  • Weighted Pull Up
  • KB Bosu Chest Press
  • HS holds  or HSPU
  • Archers and Supermans toes
  • Anchored leg lowers
  • Hanging Windshield Wiper or Floor Wiper
The following workouts are templates and examples to guide you in the process of setting up your own workouts during your strength for climbing training cycle. Depending time available you’ll want to add one to two strength workouts a week and keep track of those workouts, weights used, and reps completed:
Example Work Out #1 
10:00 warm up light aerobic work
2 x 8 shoulder opener
2 x 5 cuban press
3 x 5 wall squat
and any mobility work you need to work on.
3x Single arm body row 
3x KB Bosu Chest Press
10x – Floor Wiper, 5 complete cycles
x 5 Rounds
Rest as necessary
HSPU Ladder  (5 – 1) x 2
rest as necessary
** The first number is sets, the second number is reps
Example Work Out #2
10:00 warm up light aerobic work
2 x 8 shoulder opener
2 x 5 cuban press
3 x 5 wall squat
Any mobility work you need to work on
2x Single arm offset pull up per arm
8 – 10x Anchored leg lower add weight if appropriate, hold med ball between feet.
x 6 rounds – rest as necessary
5x Bent Over Row with lock off in three positions
10x Archers (5 per arm)
10x Hanging Windshield Wiper (5 per side) legs straight keep hips high
x 5 rounds
** The first number is sets, the second number is reps
Example Work Out #3
10:00 warm up light aerobic work
2 x 8 shoulder opener
2 x 5 cuban press
3 x 5 wall squat
Any mobility work you need to work on.
3x weighted pull up
3 x 5 Supermans
5 x 5 HSPU
2 SLSLDL per leg with Heavy KB or Barbell
5 Dip or Ring Dip
** The first number is sets, the second number is reps
You’ll notice the set and rep structure calls for more sets of fewer reps. This is because we want to focus on building sport climbing strength. Once the athlete understands the lift, the movement, the skill to be performed and the athlete is properly warmed up; you will want to focus on a total rep count for that movement of (12 – 25 reps) this can be done in sets and reps as such: 5 x 5, 5 x 3, 8 x 3, 6 x 2.
The goal is to find a body weight movement, and external object movement or lift that requires a high muscle output from the athlete where finishing this low number of reps causes near failure (but not failure) on the last rep or two. Failure is that of strength NOT form, do not let your form go! This is the basis for the set and rep structure above, the first number is sets, second reps.
Your training Week may look like the following:
  • Monday – full rest and recovery day, light movement, easy aerobic and stretching or mobility work.
  • Tuesday – climbing and strength day: Focus is bouldering and a strength workout.
  • Wednesday – recovery, light aerobic work and/or yoga
  • Thursday – climbing and strength day: Focus is route climbing and strength workout
  • Friday – full rest and recovery day, light movement, easy aerobic and stretching or mobility work.
  • Sat and Sun – outdoor fun climbing days!!
On training days try to increase reps or weight as mentioned before each week or every few weeks depending how you feel, keep track of these numbers. This invaluable information to track your performance and provide motivation for continued hard work and focused training.
As always, I highly encourage you to seek professional help to make sure you have the best form possible on all movements and you understand the formula to put together a well structured training plan.
Please feel free to contact me with training needs at:
Carolyn Parker

The Most Essential Climbing Gear

When heading out to climb, many of us do a simple gear check. Helmet, Harness, shoes, rope, draws? Check. But remember, the most essential climbing gear, your chalk bag. Yes, that is right, your chalk bag is the most essential climbing gear pieces you will ever own. Many think of this equipment as a mere fashion accessory and you can definitely tell a lot about a person by their choice of chalk bag. But it is a much more than that.

This essential climbing gear can make or break your success that day. That’s why we’ve partnered with Krieg Climbing to make our very own Chicks Chalkbags. If you attend one of our trips, you’ll walk away with one of these bad ass chalk bags to call your very own. The Krieg Chalkbag is the perfect balance of style, volume and size. Here are a few tips to be sure you are using this piece of gear to it’s fullest potential.

essential climbing gear1. Secure the bag to your body with a belt.

You will notice that most chalk bags are sold with a belt, not a carabiner. The belt is to be used to attach the bag around your waist. There are many advantages to using a belt: 1. The belt allows you to freely move the chalk bag. 2. The belt allows you to slide the chalk bag  around if you are in a chimney or an odd stance.

Wearing a chalk bag on a carabiner is not ideal. The carabiner attachment will often position the bag incorrectly on your harness and the carabiner fixes the bag in one place. To be sure to get the maximum efficiency in your systems, wear the bag on a belt.


2. Make sure the bag is open and full of chalk before leaving the ground.
essential climbing gearThe opening of the bag should be big enough to easily dunk your hand into the chalk.  When you are climbing, actually coat your hands in chalk until your palms and fingers are white. Just putting chalk onto your finger tips is not enough. We at Chicks prefer Friction Labs chalk because it is not cakey and the different formulas give us a variety when we are in the gym or on real rock.

On really hot days, I also use liquid chalk as a baselayer to keep away the slimy feeling. Then as I climb, the loose chalk provides the extra that I need to grab the small holds.  When you return to the ground, don’t forget to close your chalk bag. This will help you keep the gym and the crag a little cleaner.

3. Chalk wisely.

essential climbing gearThe act of chalking your hands, is more than simply drying your sweaty palms. Chalking is a time to rest, relax and plan ahead when on a route. Chalking up can be calming and even meditative when trying to keep it together in the crux. I personally find that the more I chalk, the bigger the holds feel.

Feel free to chalk as much as needed, however please remember when you are finished with the route to brush off the holds that you caked with chalk. An old toothbrush works wonders to restore the friction on a hold. Also scrub away any tick marks that you made. This is a courtesy to the next climber and will also keep the route in better shape.

To learn more about the small nuances that will make a huge difference to your climbing, check out a Chicks Rock Clinic this summer. Even if you have been climbing for years, our certified female climbing guides have something to share with you. Climbing is a life time sport, it is impossible to climb everything and learn everything there is to know in a lifetime.