a man climbing up a rock wallGoals are the most important part of becoming a better climber. If you have nothing you are aiming for, then you will never know when you have succeeded. 

Right before the stay-at-home order for Boulder County was announced, I began projecting what will be my hardest boulder to date. Like everyone, I suddenly found myself without a climbing gym, outdoor climbing, or a home wall. 

For the first week or so, I tried to use my hangboard to simulate climbing, keeping up my power and power endurance. I quickly realized that this goal of maintaining every facet of my climbing was impossible. I took a week off from doing anything training oriented, and gave myself time to ponder what I should be working on. 

The phrase “strength before power” became sort of an anthem for me, and it evolved into the basis for the training plan I wrote. I no longer had to be able to climb to routeset during the week, or be able to climb with friends on the weekends, so it would be okay if I lost some power and power endurance. 

I began a pretty difficult and strict training plan. Training my pulling muscles, core, and fingers 3 days a week. Doing stabilization, mobilization, antagonist training, and cardio twice a week, and resting 2 full days. 

A very important note: do not follow this schedule. Every person is unique in what they need from training, there is a good chance working out this frequently could injure you, especially if you are newer to climbing or don’t know how to train safely. On that note, when you see professional climber’s posting their training plans, do not, under any circumstances, do what they do. You are unique and what you should be doing is unique to you.

a man hanging low off a rock wall

After three weeks training this way, I took a week off to recover. On my first day of starting the cycle again, I tested my maximum weighted pull up and finger strength, and it had improved significantly! Since it worked so well last time, I am doing it again, ramping up the intensity slightly to keep up with my growing strength.

It’s hard to let go of being the best climber you can be all of the time. I know that by not keeping up with my power and power endurance, that when I first get back on a boulder I am probably going to be exhausted after just a few goes, and there is no way I can campus hard. But I have gained strengths that will make me a better climber in the near future. I am approaching being able to do climbing specific exercises I had written off as long term goals. Sure, I have lost a lot of the power I had, but I am certain that letting myself get strong before becoming powerful will make me a better climber.