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

Monday:

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.

Tuesday:

Climb.

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

Wednesday:

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.

Thursday:

Climb.

Same as Tuesday.

Friday:

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

Saturday:

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.

Sunday:

Strength.

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

Then:

1 x 8 assisted pull-up

Rest 60 secs

Then:

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

Then:

5 x

5 x Bent Over Row – standing

10 x Weighted Windshield Wiper (5 per side)

Then:

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.

2 replies
  1. denise leary
    denise leary says:

    Is there a place on the site where I can find out how to do some of the exercises listed for Sunday. Sorry to admit I am not sure what some of them are. Are there past videos of Kitty or someone doing these. Miss you guys!

    Reply
    • Elisabeth Williams
      Elisabeth Williams says:

      Great question, Denise! We just added video links to these exercises in the blog post. See above and let us know how it goes.

      Reply

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