Climbing Training Program | Take Your Climbing to the Next Level

Carolyn Parker putting her climbing training program to use climbing in Indian Creek, Utah

Carolyn Parker, Founder Ripple Effect Training, AMGA Rock Guide, puts her Climbing Training Program to use. Indian Creek, Utah ©Carolyn Parker collection.

It’s time to rock!

Get on the climbing training program.

One of our most commonly asked questions is “How do I take my climbing to the next level?”

This is especially true for intermediate to advanced climbers. It’s common for intermediate to advanced climbers to feel stuck and unable to make progress.

Here’s the straight scoop.

In order to take your climbing to the next level, you need to train.

Your fitness level is one of the most significant factors affecting your ability to progress.

Adding to this, it’s been a long winter.

I don’t know about you but I’m jones’ing for some sun and warm rock climbing.

The transition back to climbing after the winter can be especially difficult. Fingers and other joints have lost their conditioning and avoiding injury is just as important as getting fit and strong.

The following climbing training program will help you build strength and stamina safely this spring. And, it will provide you with a fitness base from which you can rocket to new climbing levels over the course of the season.

Climbing Training Program

The total length of this program is 8-Weeks.

(It assumes training inside during this time of year.)

The schedule is adaptable to fit your specific schedule.

However, your climbing training program should incorporate the following:

  1. One general climbing strength, stamina, and mobility workout/week
  2. Two short climbing sessions/week
  3. Having fun on the weekend
  4. Ideally, a rest day between climbing sessions
  5. Aerobic work and/or yoga anytime

Schedule Example:

Climbing session on Monday, strength workout on Tuesday or Wednesday, climbing session again on Thursday or Friday. Go outside and have fun on the weekend.

Climbing Sessions

Start with a “reasonable” volume and on a “reasonable” grade.

  • Reasonable volume is about half of what you can do when you’re really fit.
  • A reasonable grade is what you know you can climb confidently.

Boulder, or do routes. If bouldering, down-climb for extra volume.

Now, for my special tip:

Count your hand movements to track your progress and volume.

I’ve learned that for me, 100 hand movements is a reasonable place to start after months of not climbing.

However, 100 hand movements may be too much for you.

Scale the number of hand movements that you do to your own ability.

Maybe, you will do only 50 hand movements to begin with. And, rather than increasing by 50 each week, you will increase by 25 each week instead.

When I’m on the climbing training program, my goal is 300 hand movements during a single session by the end of the 8thweek. Once I hit 300 hand movements, I find I can warm up to a difficultly that pushes me technically. Yet, I still have the stamina to work on projects.

Your goal might be 200 hand movements in a single session by Week 8.

Climbing Sessions

Progression Example:

Week One– 100 hand movements on easy routes.

Week Two– 150 hand movements. Increase route grade for 50 of the movements.

Week Three– 200 hand movements. Decrease or drop out easiest routes. Just focus on more volume rather than increasing difficulty.

Week Four– 200-250 hand movements. Increase difficulty and volume.

*This climbing training program suggests that you do two climbing sessions and one general climbing strength, stamina, and mobility workout each week.

General Climbing Strength, Stamina, and Mobility Workouts

Warm Up

Start with a few minutes of light aerobic exercise. Light aerobic exercise gets your body warmed up. Run, bike, row, etc.

And then:

Do 3 rounds of

8 x Shoulder Openers

5 x Cuban Press

5 x Wall Squats or Air Squats

If you want to add more chest opening exercises to your warm-up, check out More Tips for Bombproof Shoulders and Shoulder Strength. It is very important for climbers to keep their shoulders healthy.

Take a few minutes to stretch your calves, quads, hips, and hamstrings.

Workout One

Do 3-5 rounds, depending on your fitness level:

5 x Single-Arm Body Row or Double-Arm Body Row

5 x KB Bosu Chest Press (You can also do this on a bench.)

10 x Floor Wiper

Rest as necessary

And then:

Do 3-5 Rounds of:

5 x Strict Press

30 sec Ring Support

Workout Two

Warm-up (same as for Workout One)

Depending on your fitness level

Do 3-5 rounds of the following:

3-5 x Pull Ups

8-10 x Anchored Leg Lower

And then:

3 – 5 Rounds

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). Keep your legs straight and your hips high.

Week Five

Recovery Week. Take a week off of climbing. You can still do a general strength workout, some light aerobic training, and/or yoga. Make sure you rest.

Week Six through Eight

You should feel ready to push difficulty and increase volume after a month of consistent build-up and a week of recovery.

Incorporate harder climbing and a cool down on easier terrain each week.

Remember to do one of the general climbing strength workouts every week too!

Week Six

250 hand movements

Week Seven

250-275 hand movements

Week Eight

275-300 hand movements

Week NineRecovery week ( :

Now you’re ready to rock on your projects!! Inside or outside ( :

Carolyn Parker
Founder, Instructor, Athlete, Mountain Guide
970-773-3317 work cell
Founder Ripple Effect Training

Coach for Uphill Athlete

AMGA Certified Rock Guide
Gym Jones, Fully Certified Instructor

Training for Mountaineering | Back to Basics

Carolyn Parker Training for Mountaineering

Carolyn Parker getting Back to the Basics training for Mountaineering with a goblet squat

When training for mountaineering (backcountry skiing, climbing: gym climbing, rock climbing, ice climbing alpine climbing), the most important lesson I’ve learned over the years is to always go back to the basics 

Although I played many sports when I was young, it was not until I was 18 that I started to train in a structured way. It was in college that I got a coach and since then I’ve been paying attention, absorbing, learning, reading, focusing and refocusing.

A simple lesson that comes up over and over is to begin again.

Our brains want to be distracted; they believe that fancier work must be more beneficial. They also believe that if we’ve done something a few times, we must need something new.

You can practice climbing and skiing. You can learn technique and skills from a professional. However, if your physical foundation is not solid, your performance will suffer.

Going back to training basics will help everything—your backcountry skiing and your climbing—gym climbing, rock climbing, alpine climbing, ice climbing.

Following are the links to

The first 4 training tips for Chicks

Together and in succession these programs make up a foundational training progression. These training tips are good for anyone intent on improving their climbing or skiing.

  1. Basic Warm-Up Exercises | Training Tips for Backcountry Skiers and Climbers | Chicks

Why a solid warm up is so important when training for climbing and backcountry skiing?

  1. Stronger not Bigger | Training Tips For Mountaineers | Chicks

The positive effects of strength conditioning and how to get stronger without getting bigger.

  1. Core Movements (Part 1) | Exercises for Mountaineering | Chicks

The specific strength required for climbing that can be gained in the gym environment can enhance any athlete’s performance.

  1. Core Movements (Part 2) | Exercises for Mountaineering | Chicks

The number one cause of injury, aside from a direct trauma, is muscle imbalance and loss of ROM (range of motion).

 

Carolyn Parker
Founder, Instructor, Athlete, Mountain Guide
970-773-3317 work cell
Founder Ripple Effect Training

It’s All In the Glutes | Training Tip for Mountaineers

It’s All In the Glutes

This training tip takes us back to basic glute function. All mountaineering-related activities, whether climbing or skiing, require strong and active glute muscles.

Why do so many of my athletes have issues with glute activation or function?

In today’s culture, most of us spend too much time sitting. From the time we are young we sit in desks, cars, and couches.

Even if we move regularly, the act of sitting and slouching turns muscles off. This is especially true for the Gluteus Maximus because you sit on it directly. As the point of contact between the chair and your body, your glute max is pressed upon and stretched, which causes it to lose its normal tension—it turns off.

If we don’t check in and turn our glutes back on, they aren’t going to work properly. This is a problem because our glues are core instigators of power.

The following training tips are designed to get you thinking and focusing on glute function. This awareness will help you properly activate your glutes while training which in turn will help you gain strength.

Once you have the hang of it, pay attention when skiing and climbing. Use your glutes as the primary movers and stabilizers along with your hamstrings and core and suddenly your quads won’t be on fire and your knees won’t hurt as much.

Beginning to strengthen and gain awareness in the gym is a stepping-stone to applying a fully-functional body to any mountaineering-related activity—where the body is challenged even more by the application of skiing or climbing in the variable environment.

Here’s a little something more on this subject (and other alignment issues):http://rippleffectraining.com/2017/03/06/aligning-the-modern-athlete/

Activate Your Glutes

  1. While standing, squeeze your glutes. This is easy for most.
  2. In a plank, try squeezing your glutes. This can be harder for some, but is a basic piece of a solid plank.
  3. Sitting on a bench or chair, with your feet flat on the ground and slight pressure on the heel of the foot, sit upright with good posture and squeeze your glutes. Your body should actually raise up an inch or two from the mass of the flexed glute and hamstring.
  4. While seated as above, squeeze your right glute and release, then squeeze your left glute and release. Doing this drill gives you proprioceptive feedback—feeling the contraction to make sure its happening. It’s easiest to do when seated so you don’t have to worry about balance and other muscles, for now.
  5. Next, try to stand from the bench with no additional weight, focusing on using your glutes to create the upward movement. See: Glute Stand Exercise | Training Tips for Mountaineers | Chicks
  6. Don’t allow your knees to angle in. See: Glute Stand with Poor Form | Training Tips for Mountaineers | Chicks. If your knees angle in you may have glute med/min weakness. Try doing the standing movement with a band around your legs to correct and strengthen. See: Glute Stand with Band | Training Tips for Mountaineers | Chicks.

Other Movements to Activate Your Glutes

  1. Step Up – try this focusing on using the glute with just a single leg working, pressure on the heel of the foot on the box, good posture, stand using the glute. Once again don’t let that knee angle inward. See: Step Up Exercise (good form, poor form, good form) | Training Tips for Mountaineers | Chicks.
  2. Lunge – front leg glute is lifting the body, pressure on the heel, back leg glute is squeezing, isometric contraction for balance, watch knee alignment as mentioned above.
  3. Spilt Squat – same, front leg glute is lifting the body, pressure on the heel, back leg glute is squeezing, isometric contraction for balance, watch knee alignment as mentioned above.
  4. Squat with Weight – lift by activating your glutes versus pulling up with your quads.

Take this focus and awareness into all your movements, even walking ( :

Enjoy the practice!

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

carolyn@rippleffectraining.com

970-773-3317

Carolyn Parker

Founder Ripple Effect Training

Gym Jones, Fully Certified Instructor

AMGA Certified Rock Guide

 

 

Get More Specific Strength for Ice Climbing

Training for Ice Climbing? Time to dial it up!

Icing on the Climbing Cake–more specific strength for ice climbing.

Ice climbing is a different beast. Solid general fitness and specific strength is key to success.

If you’ve been following the Chicks Training tips recently you know about the last two ice-climbing-specific workouts.

Swing! Training for Ice Climbing helps build ice climbing fitness from a solid fitness base.

10 Steps to Muscular Endurance for Ice Climbing gives you some tips for using a climbing gym to build ice climbing fitness. Indoor climbing can help with grip strength and stamina. Climbing indoors with a pack will increase your pump and add core strength and muscular endurance.

Now it’s time to dial in a couple more pieces as well as take things up a notch.

This workout is for those

  1. Who have been training
  2. Have some ice climbing under their belt, and/or
  3. Are preparing for an upcoming Chicks clinic or ice climbing trip.

Train your Arms, Grip and Calves for Ice Climbing.

5:00 min warm up  (jump rope, ski erg, treadmill, cycling)

2 × 8 shoulder openers

2 x 5 cuban press

2 x 5 push ups

2 x 10 (5 x per side) turkish get up with light weight

Then:

Pull ups

The technique you use for this workout will depend on where you are with your pull up strength.

The following three videos show pull-up variations. The final one shows the lock off training sequence.

Do Pull ups on dowels or your ice tools placed over a pull up bar.

Use assistance if necessary. Use a band, small jump, toe on a chair, or a friend holding your feet to help take some weight.

Lock off at the top of the pull up for 1- 3 secs depending on your strength. Lower to 3 more positions from the top. Lock off for up to three secs at each position.

These lock offs should be controlled.

Try not to drop into the shoulder joint at full extension.

Do 3 – 5 reps in a row, depending on your strength.

Rest 5 minutes between sets and repeat 3 – 5 times. Again, reps, rounds and technique variation will depend on fitness.

Weighted Calf Raises

While resting, load up a pack, wear a weight vest or hold something heavy (15 – 30#). Do weighted calf raises, ideally, in your ice climbing or mountain boots. Calf raises can easily be done on a step.

Do 10 calf raises every minute on the minute for 3 minutes. In other words, start the clock or timer for 1 minute. Do 10 reps and rest for the remainder of the minute. When the second minute starts, do 10 reps again and then rest for the remainder of the second minute. Do the same for the third round. Three rounds/minutes will use 3 minutes of your 5-minute rest. Fully rest the remaining 2 minutes.

Then:

Go back to the pull-up-lock-off drill.

Repeat both exercises 3-5 times.

This calf workout in between lock off practice is a great combo for ice climbing.

Bonus

We all know core work is critical.

Here’s a little “Ab-pocalypse” for the end of the session:

30 sec sit up

30 sec V-seat hold

60 sec mtn climber

30 sec flutter kick

60 sec plank one foot off the floor for 30 sec then switch elevated foot.

30 sec KTE – knees to elbows

60 sec rest

3 – 5 rounds

 

Enjoy!

And Happy New Year!!

Carolyn

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

carolyn@rippleffectraining.com

970-773-3317

Carolyn Parker

Founder Ripple Effect Training

Gym Jones, Fully Certified Instructor

AMGA Certified Rock Guide

Train Muscular Endurance for Ice Climbing

learning to ice climb in the ouray ice park from Chicks guide, Carolyn Parker

Thumbs up for core endurance. Learning to ice climb in the Ouray Ice park. ©Carolyn Parker

Train muscular endurance for ice climbing this season!

Ice climbing is different. There are no crimpers or slopers. You always have a jug to hold onto—your tools! But swinging a tool overhead, holding on while placing or removing protection, longer pitches, the weight of winter gear (boots, crampons and multiple layers of clothing) and often climbing with a pack, all add up.

Ice climbing can give you a full body pump and gas your arms like never before.

So, we need to train muscular endurance.

First, before you start to train, you should determine if you are on your game strength-and-fitness-wise.

Go to Swing! Training for Ice Climbing where you will find:

  1. Questions meant to help guide you towards understanding and building your foundational fitness
  2. Specific strength training exercises for ice climbing

Now, you’ve decided that you’re ready to train muscular endurance for ice climbing, but you don’t live anywhere near readily accessible ice, or you have to train inside due to that funny thing called work, then read on…

10 Steps to Muscular Endurance for Ice Climbing

  1. Head to the climbing gym with your climbing pack and approach shoes or light-hiking boots.
  2. Load your pack with a few full water bottles (start with 8 – 10 lbs).
  3. Pick easier routes to focus on big muscles. Steep is still ok, but with big holds.
  4. Warm up with a few shoulder openers, wall squats, a few push-ups, Turkish get-ups and pull-ups
  5. Wear your approach shoes or light-hiking boots to climb (if the gym is ok with it). The point is to climb with shoes that are less precise then climbing shoes.
  6. Use the auto belay or find a partner who is stoked to train too.
  7. Climb with your weighted pack. Use a reasonable load to start. If climbing with no pack is hard enough, then start there. The pack will pull on your upper body and help mimic the torso position required to swing a tool overhead while ice climbing. (Hint:try a 10 min session without the pack first to gage where you are.)
  8. Climb continuously for 10 minutes. Climb up and down. Don’t lower or rest on the ground. While you are climbing, practice working through the pump: shake, breathe and keep moving. We are working on stamina.
  9. Try four rounds: 10 minutes of continuous movement, followed by 10-15 min rest. Work/rest can be alternated with a training partner using a you-go, I-go approach. If you are training on your own then do mobility work, foam rolling, and core work during the rest period.
  10. If four rounds goes well, increase the time you stay on the wall or add more weight, or both for the next session.

This workout will give you a full upper body pump and a nice pump in the arms too, for “icing” on the training cake!

Enjoy and get the stoke high for the Chicks Ice Season!!

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

carolyn@rippleffectraining.com

970-773-3317

Carolyn Parker

Founder Ripple Effect Training

Gym Jones, Fully Certified Instructor

AMGA Certified Rock Guide

Ski Legs

Carolyn Parker, founder Ripple Effect Training, working her ski legs on the way to the Grands Mulets Hut, Mont Blanc Massif, French Alps. ©Robbie Klimek 

Carolyn Parker, founder Ripple Effect Training, working her ski legs on the way to the Grands Mulets Hut, Mont Blanc Massif, French Alps. ©Robbie Klimek

Training for Skiing

Three Workouts for Ski Leg Prep

Hey you!

Stop dreaming of winter.

Start transitioning your legs to ski-mode now!

Warm-Up for Ski Legs Training

Do 10:00 minutes of light aerobic exercise.

Then:

2 x 8 Shoulder openers

2 x 5 Cuban press

3 x 5 Wall squat 

2 x 5 Squat jump

Ski Legs Training Workout Option 1

5 rounds of

KB Spike Swings. (Work; then rest for as long as the work portion lasted, increase weight each round)

Then:

5-7 rounds of

8 Accelerating Back Squats(squat to depth-hold, then “jump” or accelerate out of the bottom of the squat) + 5 Burpees (fast minimal rest)

Ski Legs Training Workout Option 2

5 rounds of

5 Split Squats per leg + 8 Box Jumps

Then:

5 rounds of

10 x Weighted Sit Up

20 x Lateral Jumpsover paralette, or on/off Bosu

Ski Legs Training Workout Option 3

1 – 10 SquatLadder with Partner. (Optional: Hold a KB or DB in hands at chest height to add weight to ladder) partners begin by holding at the bottom of the squat movement. Player one does one squat then holds at the bottom. Player two then does their first squat. Player One then performs two squats while player two is holding. Then player two does two squats while player one holds at the bottom of the squat. Players alternate reps and holds up to 10. Don’t cheat and don’t break the hold.

Then:

5 rounds X

20 x Split Jump(10 per leg) + 30 sec running sprint. rest 60 secs

Then:

4 rounds X

30 secs Mountain Climbers+ 30 secs sit ups + 60 sec rest

COOL DOWN

If you are unsure how to perform any of these movements, please reach out and find professional instruction.

If you are interested in online training, need guidance for a specific climb or trip of any nature you can contact me at:

carolyn@rippleffectraining.com

Carolyn Parker

Founder, Instructor, Athlete, Mountain Guide
970-773-3317 cell
Founder Ripple Effect Training

Coach for Uphill Athlete

AMGA Certified Rock Guide
Gym Jones, Fully Certified Instructor

Swing! Training for Ice Climbing

How to swing a tool? Carolyn Parker, founder Ripple Effect Training, teaching ice climbing in the Ouray Ice Park. ©Carolyn Parker collection 

How to swing a tool? Carolyn Parker, founder Ripple Effect Training, teaching ice climbing in the Ouray Ice Park. ©Carolyn Parker collection

All outcome-based training must be laid on a solid foundation.

So let’s check in first.

Ask yourself:

1) Do I have a well-developed cardio vascular system, good resting heart rate, rapid heart rate recovery? Do I have 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 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, or best yet all of the above.

If you answered NO, you will benefit not only in your climbing but also in your health, life and injury prevention if you build foundational fitness first.

Please reach out to me directly if you are interested in an online coaching plan carolyn@rippleffectraining.com.

If you can say YES to all of the above let’s dive in!

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, good leg strength and muscular endurance, especially calves, to hang out on front points while placing gear or finding the perfect tool placement.

Following are some strength exercises that will help you get fit for ice climbing.

Upper Body:

Overhead Triceps Extensions

Pull Overs

Pull Ups (can be assisted)

Pull Ups on 1” dowels or your ice tools to orient hands and forearms into the necessary alignment for ice climbing movements.

Strict Press, although this is considered an arm/upper body movement, it’s also a test of “core” strength to stabilize mass overhead.

Core Strength:

KTE (knees to elbows) arms locked off if possible, this will also help with grip strength. Do these on dowels as well.

Anchored Leg Lowers, legs weighted with light med ball or ankle weights if appropriate, mimics weight of boots on feet.

Leg Strength and Calf Endurance:

KB Swings and Ball Slams will help you “learn” to effectively use your hips and legs while climbing. Both are “hip, glute, leg” driven movements but also challenge grip strength, core strength, and are so complex that they become a great challenge for the cardio vascular system.

Calf Raises: Perform standard calf raise on a step or platform for 30 seconds. Complete as many reps as you can but don’t go crazy! This gets hard fast. Then hold a static position, feet parallel to floor for 30 seconds. Then go right back to 30 seconds of calf raises for the second set. Don’t rest until all rounds are complete. Begin with a few sets of 30 secs work/30 secs hold. Then increase the challenge by doing more sets. Walk around bit afterward and stretch.

Note: If you hike, run, bike, your calves are tight!

Now for a workout using the above movements:

Ice Climbing Workout

10 minute warm-up: row, bike, run

Then:

2 × 8 Shoulder Openers

2 x 5 Cuban Press

3 × 5 Wall Squats

3 x 6 Goblet Squats

Then:

5 x Overhead Triceps Extension

10 x KTE

10 x Ball Slams

5 rounds – rest as necessary

Then:

5 x Pull Up on dowels

10 x KB Swing

5 x Strict Press

5 rounds – rest as necessary

Then:

4 x 30/30 Calf Raise and Hold

Then:

Cool Down

This can be broken into two different workouts if the volume of work is too much. You can supplement with the other movements that are referenced above.

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 at:

carolyn@rippleffectraining.com

970-773-3317

Carolyn Parker

Founder Ripple Effect Training

Gym Jones, Fully Certified Instructor

AMGA Certified Rock Guide

Focused Balancing Workout —For Climbers

Cranking hard and feeling good! Carolyn Parker sewing up Rawhide (5.10+), Sandia Mountain Wilderness, NM. ©Kennan Harvey

Cranking hard and feeling good! Carolyn Parker sewing up Rawhide (5.10+), Sandia Mountain Wilderness, NM. ©Kennan Harvey

The monsoon is past. The temperature has dropped. Rosehips are a deep pink.

Rock Season is in its height.

Fall is the time to climb hard, a ton.

But as much as climbing feels good, it can imbalance you. Climbing a ton can create “negative movement patterns,” or what I call, Too-Much-of-a-Good-Thing syndrome. Negative movement patterns create muscle imbalances that can eventually lead to injuries.

My Focused Balancing Workoutcan help you stay injury-free during peak climbing season and year round!

Focused Balancing Workout

A

Light warm up

B

2 x 8 Shoulder openers

2 x 5 Cuban press

3 x 5 Wall squat

Focused hip flexor and quad stretch

C

3 TGU per side (light to moderate weight)

5 x 8 Push up

D

Dips (can be assisted)

5 Overhead press (with appropriate weight)

5 X 60 sec FLR (plank; hands on rings)

E

Cool down with more chest and hip mobility.

Hip Flexor/Hamstring Stretch

Hip Flexor and Hamstring Stretch

Shoulder Stretch

Shoulder Stretch 1. Can be done on a foam roller or bench for more stretch.

Shoulder Stretch. Can be done on a foam roller or bench for more stretch.

Chest Opener

Chest Opener. Can be done on a foam roller or bench for more mobility.

 

If you are interested in online training, need guidance for a specific climb or trip of any nature you can contact me at:

carolyn@rippleffectraining.com

Carolyn Parker

Founder, Instructor, Athlete, Mountain Guide
970-773-3317 cell
Founder Ripple Effect Training

Coach for Uphill Athlete

AMGA Certified Rock Guide
Gym Jones, Fully Certified Instructor

 

Training Corner: Expectations

We’re in the height of climbing season and hopefully you’re all getting out and having fun!

Whether you’ve set goals for alpine climbing trips, multi-pitch routes, just generally climbing harder, or learning this awesome sport of climbing for the first time, what I find consistent with all the athletes I coach is not having realistic expectations of progression, which ultimately leads to frustration.

It happens to all of us: I can remember a time in my early twenties (that was a long time ago mind you) that I got so frustrated with my “lack” of performance on a climb I swore I was going to sell my rack. Ok, so I didn’t, but I wanted to.

Sometimes frustration can be a motivator for sure, but sometimes it can undermine our confidence and even take the joy out of the sport.

Over the last few years, I’ve endeavored to give you all training program outlines for climbing and skiing fitness, outlined strength training programs, created progressions and tools for improving, but now I’d like to fill my role as a coach to talk about the “process” of climbing as far as getting better.

So often we are our own worst enemy, putting too much pressure on ourselves or having unrealistic expectations about progress, where we should be, and what it takes to break through a plateau in our climbing.

Repeat these words to yourself whenever you’re in doubt.

First: all climbers have been afraid.

Second: everyone worked hard to be where they are.

Third: everyone has had a bad day. (or ten)

Fourth: everyone has cried about it at some point, or had a tantrum, or sulked, or gone into some crazed depression…I know, just over the sport of climbing.

Embrace this and know it. If you see people climbing hard, understand they worked to get there. If they can’t admit their struggles to you, they are a douche bag. Ignore them.

All climbers begin by steadily improving and working through the grades, sport or trad. Just by going climbing and trying you will get better. At some point, however, you will hit your first plateau. 5.9, 5.10, 5.12 wherever it is; believe me there are many plateaus to be hit, you will hit yours. At this point the process requires a different approach.

Suddenly you need to “train” in a more structured manner, and you need to fail, and then try and try and try again to succeed if you want to gain the skill, strength, and ability to climb beyond your plateau. Many people are afraid of “failure” but failure is part of the process. Everyone that is good at anything has had to overcome failures. If you’re not trying hard enough to fail you won’t beget success.

Challenge yourself to try routes or boulder problems that you think you can’t touch. So you can only link a few moves at a time… Perfect. Two things happen when you try. First you become stronger, finger and contact strength, then your body begins to “learn” new movement. Feel confident and comfortable enough to rehearse movements. Then begin linking moves. If you try a new route or boulder problem and in one week you manage to get one move further you’ve made progress. Try and fail try and fail try and fail…then try and succeed! Once your body understands what it feels like, what it takes to climb the next grade harder the next route will be easier. Mentally and physically.

Try backcountry routes or longer trad climbs that make you nervous. Go with a competent partner. have the skill and knowledge to complete the climb but back off if you need to. Every time you are out you learn, over time that volume of experience will give you the confidence to try bigger, harder, more advanced climbs.

Many athletes reach out to a coach to give them guidance on a wide range of topics, including how to use their limited time best to train, video movement analysis to climb more efficiently, programming for specific training, or accountability to get the work done. Whatever the need, there are people to help support progressing climbers.

Seek the guidance of mentors as the support of others with more experience can be a game changer in giving you the confidence to try. A mentor can even save your life; in the big mountains where the game has greater consequences their advice may make all the difference.

Be patient with the process, remember climbing is a luxury, make sure you are having fun! Even if it’s type II fun ( :

Final Note:

It’s ok to be hard on yourself but not too hard…set reasonable expectations.

As always: for more detailed information regarding coaching or training you can contact me at  carolyn@rippleffectraining.com

Carolyn Parker

Founder Ripple Effect Training

Gym Jones Certified

AMGA Rock Guide

Uphill Athlete Coach

 

Training Corner: Alpine Strength

Author Carolyn Parker demonstrates a Split Squat. Photo credit Sabre Rafelson

Training Corner: Alpine Strength

by Carolyn Parker

If you are new to the Chicks Training Tips take a few minutes to read the previous newsletters, there’s a lot of great information in there!

We are in the thick of alpine climbing season in the US, Europe, and parts of South America. If you have a trip coming up, or you are plotting for next year’s ambitions, we’ve got some training tips for you.

The last training tip discussed how to get the stamina built for long back to back days in the mountains, while still having a job, life, family, all the demands of a busy schedule. Now to complement the stamina we need STRENGTH.

Fortunately if we do quality focused work one to two days a week in the gym for an hour, that’s plenty of time to build a quality strength base for your alpine endeavors.

We need to have strength in our legs to tolerate not only the nature of the uneven terrain and the weight of the pack but also to protect our joints, especially our knees, so we can climb for years to come.

To get legs and core strong for the mountains, two of my favorite two leg or “close” chain movements are the deadlift and front squat.

Just as important are these: single leg movements for glute strength, balance, and hip stability; Single Leg Straight Leg Deadlift (SLSLDL), split squats, and weighted step ups.

Here are a few sample workouts (WO) to give you guidance in working these movements into your routine as training for alpine climbing. These can be done just once a week in addition to your other training or two times if you are recovering well.

 

WO#1

warm up 10:00

2 x 8 shoulder openers

2 x 5 cuban press

3 x 5 wall squat

3 x 6 goblet squat

30m walking lunge forward and backward (or ten steps per leg in place)

Then:

Work up to something that’s heavy for 3 reps (3RM) for your Front Squat.

Then:

8 x 3 Front Squats@ ______# rest 1 – 2 minutes between sets.

Then:

10x weighted split squats (5 per leg)

10x ball slam

10x split jump

x 5

Cool down

 

WO#2

warm up 10:00

2 x 8 shoulder openers

2 x 5 cuban press

3 x 5 wall squat

3 x 3 SLSLDL with a light kb or DB

Then:

Work up to a heavy-ish Deadlift

Then:

5 x 5 Deadlift

Rest 2:00 between sets:

During rest complete 5x Push up + 5x Pull Up

Then:

1-10 Squat Ladder with a partner.

Partners begin holding in a quads parallel position at the bottom of the squat movement. Person 1: does 1 rep while P2 holds. P2 does 1 rep while P1 holds.

P1 does 2 reps while P2 holds, P2 does 2 reps while P1 holds.

Continue until you complete the ladder to 10. No cheating.

Finish with:

60secs mtn climbers/30 sec plank/30 ses rest

x 3 – 4 rounds

Cool down.

 

 

WO#3

warm up 10:00

2 x 8 shoulder openers

2 x 5 cuban press

3 x 5 wall squat

Then:

Work up to a weight that is heavy for a step up. Ideally use a bar bell on your back or two Kbs held in front rack position.

Then:

5 x 5 Step up in 16 – 20” box depending on your height, box should be lower than your knee cap.

complete 5 step ups per leg with weight that makes the movement challenging, slow grinding movements.

In between sets compete 8x Pull up

Then:

10x KB Swing +

8x Push Press

5x Push Plank Row

x 5

Cool Down

All the movements can be found as videos in the Chicks archives.

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

carolyn@rippleffectraining.com

Carolyn Parker

Founder Ripple Effect Training

Gym Jones, Fully Certified Instructor

AMGA Certified Rock Guide