Improving Your Climbing Training Routine

Every climber is looking to improve, get that little bit stronger, tick off that one elusive project. But just how do you go about building an effective training plan that enables you to successfully work towards your goals? Just rocking up to the hall and doing your thing sometimes doesn’t cut it. Preparing for a future trip to Tonsai, Thailand had me dig out some old gems from Neil Gresham on structured training. If you too are looking to switch up your training routine, you may find these useful!

Neil’s no slouch either. One of the premier UK outdoor sportsmen, he’s climbed some seriously hard stuff. More importantly, he’s spent a lot of time coaching and building training programs for aspiring climbers and written some insightful articles on general training as well as specific topics, such as mental preparation.

Neil’s training plan is broken down into 8 phases of 6 weeks each, which will take you through the year. Each of these articles is still linked on the Rock and Ice website.

Phase 1: Conditioning Phase

Phase 2: Low Intensity Endurance Phase

Phase 3: Strength Training

Phase 4: Power Endurance

Phase 5: Strength and Power II

Phase 6: Endurance Phase II

Phase 7: Power Endurance Training

Phase 8: Peaking

How does one of these phases look like practically? Well it as it turns out, pretty tough, especially if you are working a 9 to 5. Not only are the exercises quite demanding, but trying to cram all this into a routine schedule is challenging to say the least.

Here’s an example of my Phase 1 and Phase 2 over a two month period. If you have access to a fitness gym, or a climbing hall which includes a fitness area, this certainly helps. To fit in all the sessions, you’ll often need one back-to-back climbing day. Also, you may have to fit in two sessions a day, one early in the morning or over lunch combined with an evening climb.

Example of structured climbing training.
Example of structured climbing training.

Good luck and happy training!