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Training: Putting it all together

Hopefully by now you are getting a picture of endurance, power endurance and strength and that it all needs to be put together SOMEHOW for YOU.

The key is

  1. Identifying your goal
  2. Deciding what you need for that goal (don’t forget mental, technique and tactical)
  3. Working out where you are at against those factors you have listed for your goal
  4. Training them in the correct proportions


Successful after onsighting Strapadictomy E5, Froggatt

Try this:

  • Write down a couple of realistic goals that you would like to achieve in the next 3-6 months.  Don’t put down 10 – be realistic.
  • What are the handholds like?  Could you be better at those kinds of handholds – bouldering in this style would be useful.
  • Are the moves big or small?  Replicate these kinds of moves in your bouldering: snatches, locks, bounces, throws, deadpoints.
  • Are the footholds big or small?  If they are small and slopey, practise this.  You may be able to find boulder problems with similar footholds, or better still traverse at a low level on those kinds of footholds outside.
  • What is the angle of the climb?  Train on this kind of angle.  If it’s loads of different ones, you will need to train all these angles.  If your climb has an overlap half way, work on these kinds of moves and search out the overlap at your local wall.  If your goal has a steep section you may need to train body tension work.
  • What is the length of the climb?  If it’s a 10 move boulder problem, anaerobic capacity training is crucial.  If it’s a 40 metre plod in Spain or a long trad route in the Lakes, you need to be ready to climb non-stop for 40 metres over the length of time it will take you to climb the route – aerobic capacity training, tall climbing walls (there are a few – Ratho, Kendal, Awesome Walls) search them out.  If you think the route will take you half an hour to complete, try climbing at the wall non stop for half an hour!

I must now mention technique here since we cannot ignore it.  You really must think about the techniques required for this climb.  You may be the fittest and strongest climber in the world, but if you don’t know how to crack climb you maybe a bit stuffed when you visit Yosemite.  The same goes for that delicate slab top out, having done the pumpy crux on the top of your big sport project.  And if you are scared above your gear or clips then DO NOT ignore this fact and the closer you get to your goal, build this in.

Once you’ve thought about your goals and exactly what you personally need to do, you now need to plan your training.

Consider the following areas according to your goal:


Planning in rest is crucial to a successful training period.  You should take one rest week every 4-5 weeks to prevent over training. Train 3 weeks, rest one, or train 4 weeks, rest one.  I wouldn’t advise training much more than 4 weeks in a row.  Your rest week should contain 1 session of light, easier climbing – ideally a high volume, lots of routes/boulder problems type session.

Sample training plan

So, for your average route climber, who doesn’t have much time and is probably a weekend warrior i.e. most people (!) here are some suggestions:

Base period e.g. 3 months over the winter (p. week)

1 strength and body conditioning
1-2 endurance (these can be done on their own or tagged onto the end of strength or power end)
1 short end power endurance

Climbing season e.g. March onwards (p. week)

1-2 Climbing outside
1 endurance
1 long end power endurance
1 strength maintenance every 1-2 weeks

In the climbing season it’s a case of maintaining your strength and endurance and fine tuning what’s necessary for your goals as you go along.  But climbing outside on climbs similar to your goal will be the biggest influence on success for most climbers.