Need Continuous Energy for Endurance?

Karen Bockel, co-owner Chicks Climbing and Skiing, refuelling with some apres ski Gu ©Kitty Calhoun

Karen Bockel, co-owner Chicks Climbing and Skiing, refuelling with some apres-ski Gu ©Kitty Calhoun

  • Have you ever felt the high, and then the crash, from a sugar rush?
  • Have you ever felt sluggish after lunch?
  • Have you ever felt nauseous because you were exerting yourself and could not digest the badly needed energy snack you had just eaten?

GU gels can help.

For 25 years, GU has been driven to answer three questions:

What to eat? When to eat? How much to eat?

  1. The gels (and their other products) are designed with the maximum amount of fructose and glucose – and in the optimal ratio – for digestion and energy.
  2. If you are exercising for 1- 2 hours, the focus should be on hydration and light energy. So you might eat a gel and drink 16 ounces of liquid after 45 minutes if the workout is over an hour and repeat every hour.

News Flash! Gu announced a new flavor on June 11—French Toast. The National Interscholastic Cycling Association, which aims to get more kids on bikes, helped create the flavor GU had a group of high schoolers come into their office to work with their R&D team to pick the flavor they liked best, and it was French Toast.

Stay tuned for information on GU hydration and BCAAs, your muscle insurance policy, in a future newsletter.

Hangboard Workouts

Hang 10 sec / Rest 5 sec, 4 times . . .

Hang 10 sec / Rest 5 sec, 4 times . . .

A KEY part of rock climbing is finger strength.

Fingerboards, also known as hangboards, are both inexpensive and a great way to develop finger strength.

Hangboards are particularly efficient if you are too busy to get to the climbing gym.

The first rule of training on a hangboard is to err on the side of caution. Build up to smaller and smaller holds, especially if you’re new to it or haven’t been rock climbing in a while.

You can place a fingerboard over most doorways, out in the garage, or some other convenient spot. This allows you to get a super productive workout, in a short period of time, all in your own home!

Get some recommendations on purchasing a fingerboard here:

Three Great Fingerboard Workouts




30 sec push ups / 30 sec rest

Rest 2 min



5 pull-ups / 60 sec rest

Rest 2 min


Choose 5 fingerboard grips that you can hang onto for 10 sec (e.g. jug, pinch, crimp, sloper, three finger pocket)

For each grip complete 4 rounds of:

10 sec hang / 5 sec rest

Between grip hang rounds, take 2 min to complete one of the following 4 core exercises:

1) 20 x sit-up

2) 60 sec v-sit

3) 60 sec plank (on feet)

4) 60 sec flutter kick

(Rotate through core exercises until each grip-hang round is done.)



30 sec push ups / 30sec rest



30 sec push ups / 30 sec plank

Rest 2 min


10 – 1 Pull-Up Ladder:

10 pull-ups / rest 30 sec, 9 pull-ups / rest 30 sec . . . continue down to 1 pull-up. (

Use assistance like a chair under your feet or a band if necessary.)

Rest 2 min


Choose 4 hangboard grips that you can hang onto for 8 seconds (e.g. jug, pinch, crimp open hold, three finger pocket).

For each grip, complete 3 rounds of:

8 sec hang / 5 sec rest.

Between grip hang rounds, take two min to complete one of the following exercises:

1) 20 x sit up

2) 60 sec v-seat

3) 60 sec flutter kick

(Rotate through core exercises until each grip hang round is done.)


Pick 5 handboard holds (e.g. jugs, pinches, crimps, open, three finger pocket).

On each hold type do 3 rounds of:

10 sec hang during which time you complete a pull-up while hanging /

30 sec rest

Rest 3 min between hold pull-up groupings


8 x 20 sec work / 10 sec rest of the following movements with 1 – 2 min rest in between:

1) Sit Ups

2) Push Ups

3) Flutter kicks


Final Tips

If you’re new to Chicks Training, I encourage you to take a few minutes. Read the previous Chicks Training Posts. Training is incredibly beneficial and there’s a lot of great information there to get you started.

If you are looking for some motivation, consider that implementing new movements and concepts into a regular workout pattern in almost any fashion will create positive change.

And, if you’d like to discuss training for a specific climb or trip of any nature you can contact me at:

Carolyn Parker

Founder Ripple Effect Training

Gym Jones Certified

AMGA Rock Guide

Uphill Athlete Coach

Advanced Rock Climbing Training Program

Carolyn Parker taking a hike on Wanderlust,  Kalymnos, Greece, ©Robbie Klimek

Carolyn Parker taking a hike on Wanderlust,  Kalymnos, Greece, ©Robbie Klimek

Advanced Rock Climbing Training Program

For more advanced climbers, read 8-Week Basic Rock Climbing Program Part 1 and Part 2 first.

If you finished the 8-Week Basic Rock Climbing Program, nice work!
Try the advanced program outlined below.

Advanced Rock Climbing Training Program

The Advanced Program builds on the Basic program with

1) back-to-back climbing days

2) and, bouldering.



Monday – Yoga or Active Recovery

Tuesday – Bouldering and Strength

Wednesday – Gym climbing routes for climbing endurance

Thursday – Aerobic work 90 min, conversational pace

Friday – Rest

Saturday – Climb

Sunday – Climb or 90 min Aerobic work, listen to your body this is a lot of volume. Do the beneficial aerobic work if overly tired.


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, you’ll 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.


Monday – Yoga or Active Recovery—Self-explanatory

Tuesday – Climb

Warm up on easy routes if possible or easy boulder problems. This is a hard bouldering session for climbing power. Try problems you fall off of after a move or two. Try and do all the moves. Project the same problems for three weeks. In your session once warmed up complete:

3 x VO

2 x V1

2 x V2

1 x V3

Then, once your skin is done, head to the regular gym area and do a supplemental strength workout.

Following are two advanced strength training workouts to choose from:


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.


5 x

3 x Single arm body row

3 x KB Bosu Chest Press

10 x – Floor Wiper

Rest as necessary


2 x

HSPU Ladder (5 – 1)

Rest as necessary



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.


6 x

2 x Single arm offset pull up per arm

8 – 10 x Anchored leg lower add weight if appropriate, hold med ball between feet.

Rest as necessary


5 x

5 x Bent Over Row with lock off in three positions

10 x Archers (5 per arm)

10 x Hanging Windshield Wiper (5 per side) Legs straight, keep hips high

Wednesday – Climb

You may have to skip this workout at first. It depends on how sore you are from Tuesday and your capacity to recover from this amount of work. That’s ok. Listen to your body. If you have to skip it, then do active recovery, yoga, recovery endurance, etc.

Start with routes of difficulty. Warm up on two moderate pitches then, TR or lead with no hangs or very short hangs—if you fall, immediately get back on the wall.

Do three routes at, or close to, your limit back-to-back with no rest. I.e. 5.10, 5.11, 5.9. You should blow off the last route due to physical pump and mental fatigue. Climb routes you know, so you can be super efficient and finish them. Once you fall you are done, no hang dogging. Do 3 – 4 groups of three pitches. Vary difficulty so you are always falling on last the pitch or close to it.

As the weeks progress make the pitches more difficult: 5.10, 5.11, 5.11. Find a partner psyched on this as well, they belay you, then you belay them!

Then once your skin is done head to the regular gym for a supplemental strength workout.

Thursday – Aerobic work 90 min, conversational pace

Friday – Yep, rest, or active rest. Go on a walk or easy ride. The discipline to work hard at training takes a lot of mental and physical energy.

Give your body and brain a down day.

Saturday and Sunday – Go outside and climb both days. Or, get endurance greater than 90min on one of the days.

Saturday – Climb hard. You should feel good coming off a recovery day.

Sunday – Climb easy, take a nice long ski or ride, rest .

Repeat the week.

Move things around as life demands.

Get a friend to train with you—so much more fun.

Remember, have fun, train hard.

Carolyn Parker
Ripple Effect Training

8-Week Basic Rock Climbing Training Program-Part 2, The Second 4 Weeks

Carolyn Parker climbing the Great Escape, Sandias, New Mexico.

Strong and confident, Carolyn Parker, Founder Ripple Effect Training, climbs above her gear. Sandia Mountains, NM ©John Kear

I’ve said before that climbing technique is more important than strength.

Still, I encourage you to get stronger.

Strength and training brings more than how much a pull-up, or 10 pull-ups for that matter, will help your climbing.

Training and getting stronger gives you CONFIDENCE.

Pushing through a hard workout will make both your body AND your mind stronger. Working out teaches you about commitment. It gives you a better understanding of how to move the temporary and subjective threshold of discomfort.

These changes create a positive feedback loop that spins off as increased calm and focus—particularly useful climbing skills!

Continue to follow the weekly schedule outlined in Part I as closely as your schedule allows. But only strength train after climbing, or on a completely different day. This way you will be fresh for climbing.

Climbing Skills to Practice on Climbing Days

Reading and remembering:

  • Before you climb a route try to “read” the hand and foot sequences from the ground. This same practice transfers to outside climbing.
  • Remembering the moves on a climb is also a skill. As you do a harder route, try and remember how you climbed it so the next time you do it, you’ll climb it more efficiently. Efficiency brings success on more difficult routes
  • Remember to have fun!

Replace the Strength Training part of the workout with the following:

Basic Strength Training Workout (2nd 4 Weeks)


5 – 10 minutes of light aerobic work, indoor rower, jump rope, bike.


2 x
8 x Shoulder openers
5 x Push-ups
8 x Supermans on floor
2 x 30 secs dumbbell push-press/30 secs overhead-hold
8 x Good mornings


5 x
3 x Single-Leg, Straight-Leg Deadlift
10 x Toes to Bar (If 10 is too many, begin with the number you can complete.)


5 x
5 x Bosu or Bench press DBs or KBs (Weight should allow you to finish the reps with good form.)
5 x Single-arm, single-leg Strict Press (This is an overhead, standing movement. Stand on right leg, strict press with left arm. Stand on left leg strict press with right arm. Use same weight for both arms even if one is weaker. Pick a weight that is challenging to finish five reps.)


3 x
60 sec Overhead Plate Hold + 30sec Mountain Climber + 60 sec rest


Cool Down
10:00 minutes easy cardio + foam roller and stretching.

Stay tuned for the next Chicks Training article and ways to make this basic program more advanced.

If you are trying this program or have any questions, we’d love to hear from you. Leave comments or questions below!

Yours in strength,
Carolyn Parker
Founder Ripple Effect Training
Gym Jones Certified
AMGA Rock Guide
Uphill Athlete Coach

Chicks Training: 8-Week Basic Rock Climbing Training Program (First 4 Weeks)

Carolyn Parker climbing in the Sandia Mountains

Carolyn Parker, founder Ripple Effect Training, gamboling on sunny rock, Sandia Mountains, NM ©

For Gals looking to fit training into a busy work/life schedule

Over the years I’ve taught hundreds of women to climb.

By far, their most common “fear,” or concern, is: “I’m not strong enough.”

The truth is no climber was strong for climbing when they started.

Climbing makes you strong. Anyway, not being a “thug” can be an advantage because it forces you to learn good technique, which will get you further than strength any day.

So, practice! Get some good coaching to learn great technique, and then add some strength and you’ll be off to a fantastic start.

Following is a weekly schedule. After that each day is broken down with more specific suggestions, including details for a basic strength-training workout.

If you’re a new climber, avoid climbing on back-to-back days unless you must for scheduling reasons. The following schedule is “ideal” but move days around, as you need, for the “reality” of life.

Most gals need to work on flexibility. Try to squeeze in a yoga class and do a little on your own.

Keep a climbing journal. Track the difficulty and style of the routes you climb: i.e. steep or technical. This way you will remember where you started. It’s easy to lose perspective because there’s always someone better.

8-Week Rock Climbing Training Program

Weekly Schedule:

Monday – Yoga or Active Recovery

Tuesday – Climb

Wednesday – Aerobic + Yoga

Thursday – Climb

Friday – Rest

Saturday – Climb (Outside, if possible)

Sunday – Strength Training + Aerobic


Let your muscles recover from the busy weekend.

Yoga or Active Recovery: 45 – 60 min easy walk, jog, bike, hike or other. Stay aerobic which means easy conversational pace, the kind of pace where you and a BFF could sort out a plan for world peace.



Warm up—pick an easy route for you—you shouldn’t get pumped, or not very pumped. Let’s say, for you, that’s 5.7.

Then try this grouping with a total of 7 – 8 routes:

1 x 5.7

2 x 5.8

2 x 5.9

1 – 2 x 5.10

1 x 5.8 (cool down)

The hardest route, or peak difficulty, in this case 5.10, is a climb or grade where you have to hang to figure it out. In other words the route SHOULD take you more than one try. At first, pick routes that are your style. Do not move on because you couldn’t do a route.

Instead, use the route as a teacher. Work the moves, memorize them, and then complete the route. This may take more than one day. That’s ok. You are building the strength to climb at this grade. Once you complete your “training project” pick a few new routes to accomplish.

Note: start at and attempt whatever grade is appropriate for you, easier or harder.

The goal over the 8 weeks is to complete as many routes that are hard for you (routes that force you to fall or hang) AND increase the number of attempts you make on routes of that difficulty.

The key is to consider both goals. If your projects are too difficult, you’ll have many attempts but no completions. If they are too easy, you’ll have lots of completions, but no attempts.

Balancing these two goals, you will learn technique and build strength/endurance at the same time. If a route is too hard, technique falls apart. If it is too easy, you won’t have the opportunity to use new movements.

By the end of the Chicks 8-Week Rock Climbing Training program your gym session may now look like this:

1 x 5.8

1 x 5.9

2 x 5.10

1 x 5.10+

1 x 5.10-

1 x 5.9

1 x 5.8


Climbing well isn’t all about climbing. You also need a well-developed aerobic capacity to manage recovery while in motion.

60 – 90 minutes hike, bike, ski, run. Stay aerobic the entire time. Again, this means conversational pace but a tad faster than world peace pace. More like how your man can’t seem to hit the toilet when he’s taking a pee pace.



Same as Tuesday.


Rest Day. This is the hardest day for some. Yes…do it. Actually, rest (:


Head outside. Nothing beats a day outdoors with friends doing the very thing that you are training for. Top rope or lead as many pitches as you can. You should have a huge smile on your face at the end of the day.

If you can’t get outdoors, follow Tuesday’s suggestion for an indoor progression.



Basic workout #1, the first four weeks

2 x 8 Shoulder opener

2 x 5 Push-ups

2 x 8 Sit-ups

2 x 30 secs dumbbell push press/30 secs overhead hold

3 x 8 air squats


1 x 8 assisted pull-up

Rest 60 secs


5 x

3 – 4 x Pull-ups using the least assistance that allows for full range of motion and good form.

10 x Anchored Supine Leg Raises


5 x

5 x Bent Over Row – standing

10 x Weighted Windshield Wiper (5 per side)


3 x

30 sec dip hold

30 sec plank

30 sec rest

Cool Down for 10:00 minutes easy cardio again, foam roller, stretching.

Stay tuned for the next Chicks Training article and the second 4 weeks of the Program.

Chicks Training: More Tips for Bombproof Shoulders

Demo of Front Leaning Rest

Front Leaning Rest

Winter is nice because everything’s on ice, or, maybe all the ice gets you dreaming of warmer days, excited for splitter sandstone cracks.

Chicks offers so many fantastic programs: you can decide to head to Ouray for “The Jiffy” in February; or set your goals on rock climbing with an April launch in the desert; or, both!

Whatever your goals, shoulder stability is paramount.

I cannot stress the benefit of shoulder strength and stability enough. I’ve emphasized this in the past in Training Tip: Solid Shoulders.

For newcomers to Chicks Training Tips, it’s worth looking back through ALL my past posts to get a fuller picture of the progression of my training recommendations.

For those who’ve been doing their homework, I’ve included some great progressions.

At least once a week, preferably twice, do the following important shoulder-stabilization exercises.

Warm-up and Cool-down with Band:

(note: links to exercises at bottom of each section)


Attach band at knee height:

A) Y

B) 90/90

Attach band at shoulder height:

C) Rows

D) Flys

E) Pull Downs

For exercises A-E, squeeze shoulder blades together and down before moving arms. Maintain squeeze while reversing movements (harder than it seems). 

Training Tip: Solid Shoulders

Workout Exercises:


Use light DBs and do movements sequentially (without rest) until all three have been completed:


5x Front Raise

5x Lateral Raise

5x Reverse Fly

Again, squeeze shoulder blades together and down before moving arms for all three movements. Maintain squeeze while reversing movements (harder than it seems). 

Training Tip: Shoulder Stabilizers


Do each of the following exercises once, or do one 3X with 30 seconds rest in between:

Ring Support – goal 30 secs

Handstand or Over Head Hold (25 – 45# pound plate) – goal 60 secs

FLR – Front Leaning Rest (Plank with hands on gymnastic rings, toes on floor or slightly elevated on a 12” box) 90-120 secs

Training Tips: Core Movements

Training Tips: Core Movements (part 2)


If you can do the preceding exercises as suggested, try adding the following exercises. Choose two movements. Do 3/4 sets with 60 seconds rest in between. DO NOT try all of these at one time. It will be too much for the shoulders to tolerate.

Side Plank with Hip Raise and Lower: goal 30 secs

Superwoman: 8 – 10 reps, on knees, full range of motion

Arm Sweeps: 8 – 10 reps, on knees, full range of motion

Archers: 4-5 per side, on knees or toes, full range of motion


Example Workout:

Warm up (as suggested above)

2×8 shoulder openers

2 x 5 cuban press

3×5 wall squats

Training Tips for Chicks


Training Tips: Correct your Imbalances


5x front raise

5x lateral raise

5x reverse fly

(As described above)


2x turkish get up (TGU) per side

Training Tip: The Key to Getting Stronger


5x toes to bar

5x l-seat pull-up or pull-Up

Training Tips: Core Movements

10x archers


30 second ring support+30 second rest

Training Tips: Core Movements

Cool Down (as suggested above)

As always, I highly encourage you to seek professional help to ensure you have the best form possible on all movements. You can watch my short videos, Google, and You-Tube most of this stuff, however, having someone watch you and give you feed back is invaluable.

If you need information for a specific climb or trip of any nature you can contact me at:


Carolyn Parker

Founder Ripple Effect Training

Gym Jones, Fully Certified Instructor

AMGA Certified Rock Guide

Coach for Uphill Athlete


Kitty's favourite GU flavours

Kitty’s favourite GU flavours

My most difficult ski tours have been approaches to winter alpine objectives—breaking trail for miles through deep snow toward majestic peaks that beckon with the satisfaction of a challenging route.

When I was younger, I commonly packed nothing but peanut butter sandwiches and chocolate chip cookies for these long days out in the mountains. As a result, my energy levels spiked and crashed according to my Chips Ahoy intake, each cookie giving me decreasing returns.

Over the years, I learned that in terms of success and safety, proper nutrition in the backcountry is just as important as proper gear.

I’ve lived the truth in renowned climbing trainer and author, Erik Horst’s statement that “Most climbers can realize a 10-20% improvement in performance, recovery, concentration, and energy through thoughtful diet.”

Most significantly, I know that when I’m tired and low on energy I’m more likely to make judgment errors, which I can’t afford, especially if I’m navigating in avalanche terrain. My brain needs calories to process the information it’s taking in.

I need to stay focused and calm. I can’t be hangry.

This is why I take planned fuel breaks.

One of the ways I plan my breaks is with nature’s cues. For example, when the sun sets and the temperature drops, I stop, pull on another layer, rip open a GU and start to sip some hydration mix.

I’ve been using GU instead of chocolate chip cookies for about 20 years now. Actually, truth alert, I still eat chocolate chip cookies but not nearly as many. And, I supplement the cookies with timely gel intake and hydration mix. This makes all the difference. My energy levels stay even. I stay focused. And, I feel way better the next day, ready to do it all again.

Quick Weight Loss Program

The New Year typically comes with resolutions to hit the gym and start a diet. Resolutions are empty plans including goals of losing weight. I am here today to help. I am going to give you tips to shed ounces and maybe even pounds. My approach will help you shed weight quickly and easily. This weight loss will require no diet, no exercise, and no change in your lifestyle choices. What is the secret?

Follow these two easy steps
1. Look at your climbing harness. See all of the stuff you have hanging on there?
2. Remove all those items from the gear loops so that you are left with a naked harness.

This includes all carabiners, additional belay devices, knives, cord bundles, tape rolls, chalk bags, nut tools, belay cards, slings and personal anchor systems.

It’s that simple! I bet you will instantly feel lighter and freer to move around. I know for some people this blank harness can be terrifying. Illusions of safety are just that. I advise you to remember that extra items can clog the harness and make it messy when we are in the business. I ask if the emergency kit of knives and prussics are genuinely needed in the gym?

It is up to you to stay slim and trim. Start each climbing day with a naked harness. Then, build your tool belt with only what is needed for the climb. After climbing, strip the harness and store gear on a sling. The clean harness will help pack as a smaller bundle in our backpacks. Chalk bags should also be worn on a belt.
Here is Dawn before the weight loss program, and after. She looks much lighter and happier on the climb.
climbers weight loss
Good luck everyone.

Advanced Workout for Ski Training

Winter is officially here December 21st!  The pacific northwest and the Alps have been hogging all the snow and honestly, I’m a little jealous here in Colorado where it’s dry and sunny…although that hasn’t hurt my extended rock climbing season. But enough of that – the snow will fly, it always does, and when it does, the stoke will be high for making turns, powder shots, and back-country fun.  So let’s talk more ski training.

Chicks is running fabulous must do programs for all beginner to advanced backcountry skiers. Avalanche safety and rescue, AIARE avalanche courses, backcountry skills and travel, plus rad ski trip to La Grave France.

Now let’s get you ready from your next ski adventure!

Last year, I touched on some basics of ski training for the “first time” training in the gym for ski season athlete, a few months ago I discussed an eight week “uphill” program to get your legs ready for your first backcountry days, plus more strength programs.

So, what more can we do? Let’s turn up the volume just a bit for those serious go getters! Remember, just like the last training tip where I touched on more advanced training for ice climbers, this ski training work must be laid on a solid foundation. Hopefully you’ve been able to follow the programs from previous training tips. Now on to the good stuff.

Try adding a few more threshold workout to increase your cardio vascular output as well as some slightly tougher leg workouts, and there’s always core and upper body thrown in ladies. All mountain sports use the entire body.


IWT – Interval Weight Training
Power endurance


Advanced Ski Training WO #1


2 × 8 shoulder openers
2 x 5 cuban press
work on mobility
3×5 wall squats
2 x 5 goblet squat
3 x 5 squat jumps


10x KB Swing
2:00 minute row/ski or Airdyne. Go hard – set a goal from pace maintain pace for all three rounds.
2:00 minute rest – you should have gone hard enough that you want this entire rest.
Three Rounds


10x Front Squat or Front Rack Squat (with two Kbs which ever is most appropriate for athlete and level of upper body mobility)
2:00 minute row/ski or Airdyne + go hard – set a goal from pace maintain pace for all three rounds.
2:00 minute rest
Three rounds


30 sec ring support + 30 sec OH Hold (plate, double Kbs or Barbell)+ 30 sec mtn climber + 30 sec rest
x Four rounds
Cool Down


Advanced Ski Training WO #2
Power Endurance


2 × 8 shoulder openers
2 x 5 cuban press
work on mobility
3×5 wall squats


5x RMM (Renegade Man-Maker) +
2:00 min row/ski or airdyne go hard – keep track of pace, maintain pace for all three rounds
2:00 rest between rounds

3 rounds


10x Back Squat +
2:00 min row/ski or airdyne go hard – keep track of pace, maintain pace for all three rounds
2:00 rest


5x Push up + 10sec rest x 10 rounds
Cool Down


Advanced Ski Training WO#3
More advanced Power work:


2×8 shoulder openers
2 x 5 cuban press
work on mobility
3×5 wall squats
3 x 6 goblet squats


Box Jump Series
Jump on a 20/24” box, off forward, on a 20/24” box, off forward, over an 12 – 16” box or another object then on to a Bosu, and off to one side back on the Bosu off to the other side, back on. Step off Bosu forward, turn around repeat progression back to where you started. This is one round.

5  – 7 rounds


8x Accelerating back squat 45# bar + one set of chains, three secs hold and the bottom + 6x Burpee
x 5 rounds minimal rest


5 x 5 Chest Press with KB or DBs on the Bosu or Bench
Cool Down, mobility work and foam roller for legs.

Have so much fun with these workouts and all your ski adventures, stay safe out there my friends and stay tuned for more training tips!

If you need information for a specific climb or trip of any nature you can contact me via email or 970-773-3317

Full Body Ice Climbing Workout

Winter is on its way and so is ice climbing season!

Maybe you’re new to ice climbing and you’ve decided to head to Ouray for “The Complete” in January, or possibly more advanced skills in the backcountry are your calling and you are off to Cody or bigger adventures still, Iceland. No matter where you are headed a little extra preparation will make for a vastly better experience.

Normally, I wouldn’t jump into “specific training” for ice climbing or rock climbing unless I knew that the athlete in question already had a good foundation to launch from. All outcome-based training must be laid up a solid foundation.

So let’s check in, ask yourself a few questions:

1) Do I have a well developed cardiovascular system, good resting heart rate, rapid heart rate recovery from high output activities? A regular aerobic fitness program, 4 – 5 days a week 30 – 90+ minutes.
2) Have I addressed my postural and mobility issues? Do my joints have a good range of motion? Have I taken steps to correct my posture if necessary, through yoga or other stretching routines?
3) Do I have a well rounded, balanced strength base on which to begin more difficult training to avoid injury? This could come from rock climbing, body weight workouts, or gym strengthening classes.

If you can say yes to all of the above, let’s dive in! If not, you will benefit, not only in your climbing but in your health, life and injury prevention, if you manage these pieces of your fitness first.

Ice climbing is a unique sport. It requires strength overhead to swing an ice tool, solid core strength to stabilize the body while swinging and while moving upward on single points of contact, and good leg strength and endurance, especially calves, to hang out on your front points while placing gear or finding the perfect tool placement.

Overhead Strength

Overhead strength requires overhead mobility. Add some specific overhead mobility work into your routine. Here’s a suggestion: I call it the overhead reach.
Overhead Reach
Add Overhead Triceps Extensions, Pull Overs, and Pull-ups (can be assisted) on 1” dowels or your ice tools to orient hands and forearms into the necessary alignment for ice climbing movements. Five sets of five reps (5 x 5) on all the above movements, making them heavy and hard, after proper warm up.

See videos below:

Core Strength

We talk about core strength for climbers often and I’ve included many good exercises in the training tips along the way. Add in KTE (knees to elbows)(3-4 x 10), heavy Strict Press, although this is considered arm upper body strength movement it’s a test of your “core” strength to stabilize mass overhead (5 x 5), and GHD situps or Anchored Leg Lowers if no GHD.(3 – 4 x 10).
See videos below:

Leg Strength and Calf Endurance

Lastly, a little tune-up for the legs. In order to “learn” to effectively use the hips and legs to stand while climbing or what is affectionately known as “push the bush” and to really work the entire system with “external object control” add in KB Swings and Ball Slams. These are both “hip, glute, leg” driven movements but are oh so much more: grip strength, core strength, and so complex that they become a great challenge for the cardiovascular system. (3 – 5 x 10)

Then those calves, always stretch, daily…if you hike, run, bike, they are tight. Each season the first pitch of difficult ice climbing is always a wake-up call, standing on front points can be a calf burner. There’s not a lot one can do to prepare other than getting out there, however, a few sets of 4x 30 secs work/30 secs holding of calf raises on a step won’t hurt. You can increase the challenge by doing multiple sets of 4x 30/30. Or increase the workload to 6x 30/30 or 8×30/30 and so on.
See videos below:

Let’s throw a workout together

10:00 warm up row, bike, run
2 × 8 shoulder openers
2 x 5 Cuban press
work on mobility
3 × 5 wall squats
3 x 6 goblet squats
5x Overhead Triceps Extension
10x KTE
10x Ball Slams
5 rounds – rest as necessary.
5x Pull Up on dowels
10x KB Swing
5x Strict Press
x 5 rounds
Finish with 4x 30/30 calf raise and hold.
Cool Down

This can be broken into two different workouts if the volume of work is too much for the athlete, you can supplement in the other movements I didn’t mention in the workout that is referenced above. Make sure this is in addition to your regular fitness routine and replaces only one or two workouts a week.

And most importantly have fun with this and your ice climbing season!

If you need information for a specific climb or trip of any nature you can contact me via email or 970-773-3317

Carolyn Parker
Founder Ripple Effect Training
Gym Jones, Fully Certified Instructor
AMGA Certified Rock Guide