Tag Archives: endurance training

How To Train On The Campus Board


When it comes to training one of the most intimidating tools we can think of is the campus board. We know that this big, imposing board covered in vexing little rungs is an effective training tool, but it can be hard to even know how to begin to use it. So to help us get past our fears, we turn to none other than the fiercely dedicated training machine, Galina Parfenov (and if you haven’t seen this lady in action, check out her training videos to see what we mean). In today’s article, she breaks down the different types of campus board exercises and shows you how to do each one, whether you are just starting out, or already have a campus-board routine and want to freshen it up! Here’s Galina:

Over the years I have gone back and forth between various training techniques and devices—everything from fingerboards, rock rings, systems boards, and even plain old pull-up bars—until finally settling on just one: the campus board. Which, like the lever, screw, pulley, and wedge, is a simple machine, at least where climbing is concerned. Ten rungs. That’s all it takes (just ask their inventor, Wolfgang Güllich, who used the campus board to train for the first ascent of Action Directe, the world’s first 9a!)

That being said, a person who has been climbing for less than two years should not be using a campus board. They shouldn’t really be training, other than maybe a few pull-ups here and there. The first 18-24 months or so should be dedicated solely to climbing and training by climbing, until your tendons can handle the additional pressure of campusing. This also applies to youth.

Here’s a checklist to help you decide if campus rungs are right for you:

  • I have been climbing for at least 18 months.
  • I am at least 16 years old.
  • I have not recently had reoccurring pain in my fingers, elbows, or shoulders.
  • I have plateaued.
  • I want to get STRONG!

Check them all? Then refer to the list of campus board exercises below! I’ve provided modifications for beginner and advanced. If you aren’t sure which you are, start with the beginner exercises and move to advanced if you need more of a challenge.

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Climbing Training: Endurance

sasha endurance

Sasha is one of the first climbers that comes to mind when we think of strong endurance.

Today we have a guest training post from Jackie Pettitt, climbing instructor at MetroRock Climbing Center, who runs the Granite Girls Climbing School, a program specifically designed for helping women improve their strength and technique to reach their climbing goals. You may remember Jackie from previous posts on projecting and training for power.  Here she tells us about what endurance is and gives us some great tips on how to train for it.

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Climbing & Running


Long before I strapped on a harness and ventured up my first climb, I ran. I ran for fitness, but also because it allowed me to be outside and explore. I abhor treadmills, and rarely run the same route twice. If I’m in a new place, my favorite way to get to know it is by running around lost…(which sometimes doesn’t turn out well, but hey, that’s half the adventure). It was these characteristics of running – fitness, nature, exploration, and adventure – that also made me fall in love with climbing. However, the more I’ve got into climbing, the less time I’ve spent running. A few months ago, after struggling with endurance on longer routes and seeing my “love handles” start to resemble “love jugs”, I realized I needed some running back in my life and signed up for a half marathon. (The threat of not being prepared to run 13.1 miles seemed the only thing that might motivate me to make running more of a priority). So I trained for running and I trained for climbing and did okay at both. But now that the race is over, it’s got me wondering – where does running fit into climbing?

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Climbing Training: Pyramids


It’s that time of winter again. The time when I’m itching to have the sun at my back for a long hike in to the crag, but here I am stuck inside on plastic. To keep it fresh in the gym and to get myself ready for the upcoming season of outdoor route climbing I’m trying pyramid training. The idea is simple – you start with a high volume of climbs that you can on-sight or do second go. For me, this will be doing (6) 5.10a’s or 5.10b’s, located at the bottom of my pyramid. When I send those I’ll move on to climbs that are slightly more difficult for me, (4) 5.10c’s, then on to (2) 5.10d’s, and hopefully reach the top of my pyramid and send (1) 5.11a. After finishing this pyramid the next step will be to start another with a base of 5.10b/5.10c and a peak of 5.11b. My goal is to finish the first pyramid in 4 weeks. I started last week and have been keeping track of each climb in a (super nerdy) spreadsheet.  Here’s what I’ve sent so far:


I’m hoping the pyramid will help me have more focused gym sessions, improve my route climbing endurance, and get me away from always bouldering, which I gravitate toward indoors. It’s also easy for me to feel like I’m plateauing, so it’ll be  good to have a concrete record of my progress.

A quick note on self-assessment and being kind to yourself – I tried pyramid training back in December, but the base of my pyramid was 5.10d/5.11a.  I sent 3 or so climbs at this grade, but it was taking way too many attempts for the “base” climbs and I got pretty frustrated with it.  The frustration caused me to neglect pyramid training all together.  So now I’m trying again, but starting at a level that’s more appropriate for where my strengths are right now. The point being, don’t be afraid to alter a training program to suit your needs and be honest with yourself about your current strengths and weaknesses.  The long term benefits will far outweigh the small hit your ego takes by starting at a lower grade or tweaking your training.

So, here we go! Wish me luck!


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