Tag Archives: strength training

3 Crucial Principles of Training for Bouldering + CXC Reader Discount!

This article was kindly written for us by Dan Mirsky over at TrainingBeta.com, where you’ll find training programs, training articles, training videos, and a training podcast. They offer an online subscription program dedicated to training for boulderers of all abilities, the Bouldering Strength and Power Program, and in this article they’ll explain what you need to do to properly train for bouldering, whether you’re following their program or not.

Enter TrainingBeta…

Although summer is just getting started, shorter days and cooler temps will be here before you know it, so soon it’ll be time to get trained up to crush your bouldering projects. So what does that mean? Well, most hard boulder problems…

a) have bad holds that are far apart and

b) require the ability to do a continuous series of hard moves before you can stand on top and high five your buddies or scream your head off in Spanish.

The 3 Things You Need In Order To Send Harder

Sounds like you need the combination of finger strength, dynamic power, contact strength and power endurance. Here’s how you get that.

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Building Big Muscles for Sending

baby muscles

Baby muscles before starting training.

Do you ever feel like your progress in climbing has stalled or hit a plateau? Well that’s exactly how I was feeling this past winter. I was climbing about 3-4 times a week in the gym or outside, bouldering and leading, but I felt I had lost the initial progression that I had first experienced when I started climbing. Luckily for me, my friend Keith Hengen has some awesome strategies and training plans that help even adolescent climbers like myself reach new heights in their climbing. His wealth of knowledge was developed from research literature as well as climbing specific workouts outlined by Steve Bechtel on his site Climb Strong. Today I share a few strength training exercises you can do to build up big muscles for big sending.

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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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Ask Crux Crush


Maximizing Your Training Time Without A Gym

Dear Crux Crush,

I’m writing to you because I need help.  My husband and I have an upcoming trip to Thailand to celebrate our first wedding anniversary.  We are soooo excited for this trip.  I own a new small business, and to get it off the ground I’ve been working non-stop, 6 days a week.  I live in Puerto Rico, where we don’t have a climbing gym, so I’ve been climbing outdoors in my free time (which is just Sundays) and I know this is not enough time to improve my skills.  I want to know if you can recommend some basic training that I can do at home during the week.  I’m training 2 days a week in my regular boxing classes but I want to do more climbing-specific stuff so I can be prepared to climb more difficult routes with my husband on our trip.  Do you have any advice for me?

Strapped For Time in San Juan

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Newbie Climbing Training: Power

Jackie at Dark Horse Finals showing us what power looks like.

Jackie at Dark Horse Finals showing us what power looks like

When I first started climbing almost two years ago, Jackie Pettitt was my introduction.  A beautiful, bespectacled, tattooed, tiny brick s%$t house.  I walked into the gym for my basic safety course, and I remember her teaching me how to tie in, and being distracted by her impressive biceps, thinking, “Is this what I’m going to look like if I start climbing?”  And, while I don’t look anything like Jackie just yet, I was excited to get the chance to work with her, and get some training tips during the Women’s Climbing Clinics at one of our local gyms, MetroRock.

Each week the clinics have a different topic, and this week was “Power”.  Training for power is, as Jackie puts it “getting your muscles to work at 100%, and this includes the ability to pull off dynamic, explosive, and difficult moves in isolation.”  MetroRock decided to organize these clinics for women, in part to help women focus in on areas, such as power, that many women struggle with. “I feel that women are naturally very aware of their bodies and how to move them intuitively, with balance,” says Jackie, “This body awareness makes women have the ability to avoid cutting feet, but, when we need to cut feet, we are not used to engaging the core, back, and shoulders.”

This week I share with you some tips I learned, as a newbie, to develop more power.  This post is obviously not inclusive of every single thing that goes into working power, which is a complex system, and we will continue to discuss it in future posts.

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3 Training Questions All Climbers Should Ask


Last week we brought you Three Training Myths for Female Climbers written for us by Steve Bechtel of Climb Strong. Today, Steve is back with three very important training questions climbers should ask themselves. Though they’re geared towards females, these questions definitely apply to guys too! So go ahead and ask yourself…

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Three Training Myths for Female Climbers

Climbing Training

Today’s post was written specifically for our site by nutrition expert, performance coach, and personal trainer, Steve Bechtel. Long before the inception of Crux Crush, we were reaping the benefits of Steve’s articles and training advice on Climb Strong and today we’re very excited to share his words of wisdom on climbing training, specifically for females. Here’s what he had to say:

Climbing is hard and training for climbing is even harder. Here’s the thing that really sucks – both of these things can be even harder if you’re a girl. Note that I said “can” be even harder. If you approach training the way that a guy does, you might be in trouble. Approach climbing and training like a woman, and not only will your ability go way up, your enjoyment of the sport will increase, too.

Earlier this year, I started talking to the girls at Crux Crush about the primary concerns and challenges out there for female climbers today. We nailed down six areas where training and climbing were fundamentally different for women and men. This article outlines three of those areas, and the ways to avoid getting trapped by conventional thinking or male-dominated tactics. The other three are discussed in Part 2: 3 Training Questions All Climbers Should Ask.

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Newbie Training: Wrap-Up

March Collage

My 30-Day training period is well over.  There were definitely some glitches, and life got in the way here and there. During the training period I bought a house (woah!), and that pretty much took the majority of my focus for two pretty stressful weeks (wherein the purchasing of said house was touch-and-go for a couple days, due to financing issues).  Then of course, due to all the stress I ended up sick.  Wah-wah.  Additionally, I have a totally rad hangboard, however, despite multiple attempts, and multiple holes in the walls, there is nowhere to hang it in my house.  Now that I’ll be moving soon, I’m going to wait to give it a permanent home.  So, alas, I really didn’t end up doing any hangboard training. Despite all of this, I think it was definitely an overall success.  I did end up tacking on an extra week to the 30 day period to make up for the time where I was off my game.  Here’s the wrap-up:

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Newbie Training: Strength Workouts

Shamans puls resistance

I’m just past the halfway point of my 30-day training.  To recap (see Newbie Training: Day One), I’ve been working on improving my overall physical fitness and powerfulness, which I’m hoping will translate into an improvement in my climbing.

All my workouts are things I (and you!) can do at home, with minimal equipment. Here’s what I have been up to:

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