Rock Climber's Training Manual


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mark miller

Social climber
May 6, 2014 - 12:37pm PT
I'll drink to that BOG, cheers.

May 6, 2014 - 12:39pm PT
Training is fun!

At least I like it. Many of my friends and partners can't stand it but ehy just have diffently priorities. They like to have fun and don't consider suffering fun.

I can't train anymore because I am getting old and I injure myself now when I train hard.

If you are gonna take a sarcastic or sh#t talking tone on this thread Biter Old Guy nailed it. Gonna be hard to top....

Social climber
May 6, 2014 - 12:57pm PT
Just picked it up, thanks! Been looking to building training cycles, I usually just do whatever training I feel is appropriate. I'm sure I'm making big mistakes somewhere...
Easy Wind

Trad climber
Oakland, California
May 6, 2014 - 01:48pm PT

The RCTM includes a 17-week program tailored to traditional and big wall free climbing. It builds in an extended strength phase, plans time for regular outdoor mileage days on the weekends, and cuts back on sport climbing specific phases that aren't as critical for success on the typical long traditional route.

It's seems to be the most realistic program for those interested in long free routes who still want to climb outside on a regular basis. After all, the skills trained need to be specific to the goal.

Social climber
Truckee, CA
May 6, 2014 - 01:52pm PT
cardio is mostly a waste of time if you have a reasonable level of fitness, and is detrimental to your ability to recover

Obviously you're talking about different types of climbing than here:

But at the time you said:

It was physcially the hardest day of my life by a wide, wide margin.


Social climber
Joshua Tree
Topic Author's Reply - May 6, 2014 - 02:19pm PT
Sure. And no amount of cardio training would have magically produced water, allowing me to eat and drink; or created a wind shift to clear the forest fire smoke.

Trad climber
Fresno CA
May 6, 2014 - 03:12pm PT
Thanks for this thread, El Cap. I've had a very long layoff so I am just now beginning to get back into training -- at one age 62 -- and I appreciate the excellent info the book provides.

We can joke about training, but I, for one, enjoy myself more when I'm in better shape. Besides, the better shape I'm in, the more freedom I have to climb what I want.

Thanks again.


May 6, 2014 - 03:18pm PT
It's a good recommendation capinyoass.
"Does their system allow for beer this is important."
In fact Mike addresses that very thing under the title WHY TRAIN.
"It seems every time someone asks a question about training, or attempts to have a meaningful discussion, it doesn’t take long for some moron to chime in with “I train my biceps by lifting a beer up to my fat face.” Insecure and below average climbers love to bash those of us with enough self respect to seek improvement. Someone once said: “Anything worth doing is worth doing well.” I believe this applies to climbing as well as it does anything else in life. I cannot understand the attitude of someone who would spend every weekend out on the rock, but not be at least mildly interested in getting better. "

The folks I see climbing the best seem to both train and climb a lot. Certainly Bachar use to do both and it worked for him. I thought Anderson had a great point about training with this:
"The second, and to me, most compelling reason to train is injury prevention. Stop and catch your breath, that wasn’t a typo. Yes, training prevents injury. Here’s how: Imagine some "guy A" who goes into the weight room (according to no specific schedule whatsoever, just when he has time) and he does one squat rep of a random weight then a couple reps of bicep curls (again at random weight, and so on), then a pullup followed by two more squat reps, then does one max rep on tricep extensions, then does a bicep curl then one max rep on leg extension then does one military press, then maxes out on bench press, then 3 situps, etc....
Now imagine "guy B". He goes to the weight room according to a schedule he has mapped out that allows for hard days, easy days and rest days. When he's in the gym he warms up each muscle group before working it, then he lifts a specified weight that is based on what he has lifted during his previous workouts plus an incremental (say 5%) increase. Which guy do you think will get injured? "

Certainly even doing a route below your ability could still fit this criteria of overdoing it if you boff a sequence or are having an off day. I'll check out the book Will cause at 59 going on 60 years old the injury thing is needed more than ever now, but I already know that the hardest part will be in following it.

Trad climber
Fresno CA
May 6, 2014 - 03:20pm PT
Someone once said: “Anything worth doing is worth doing well.”

I disagree. Anything worth doing is worth doing to excess, particularly if it involves climbing.


Bungwater Hollow, Ida-ho
May 6, 2014 - 03:31pm PT
Training for climbing is like fcuking for virginity.

Social climber
Joshua Tree
Topic Author's Reply - May 8, 2014 - 04:37pm PT
I hear ya Bill, injury prevention is a really important reason to train and Mike captures the "why" very well in the excerpt.

In my 20s I had all kinds of finger problems, 10 different A2 pulley injuries. After starting the controlled, regimented training, I've had one finger injury in 6 years with a lot of bouldering at my limit during that time (and that was a pinky, which is very uncommon). The increase in middle+ring two finger pocket strength has the biggest gains I've made and since it was always those two, especially the ring that were blowing up pulleys, I think it has worked for injury prevention.

Trad climber
May 10, 2014 - 01:29pm PT
[quote]Training for climbing is like fcuking for virginity.[/quote

Without f*#king there would be no virginity so this makes sense.

I'm digging the book so far. At the very least it is helping me organize my training as I completely lack discipline and need concept likes these to help get me motivated. My only real complaint is that my book arrived kind of banged up because of the soft packaging. That made me a little sad.

Trad climber
Santa Clara, CA
May 13, 2014 - 02:37am PT
Heres how I do it.
dont train. drink. when your hungover and ALWAYS off the couch no one expectsmuch

it's a win-win! if you climb the same siht year after year and have a bad day "of course BOG sucks hesoff the couch and hungover"

But when I have a good day on a roite i have totally dicked/ wired everyone says "wow check out BOG he fired it hungover and off the couch!!!! WHATABADASSS!!!

So nubes heres BOG training tips

1-Dont train
2-Dont try hard
3-wire a couple of routes to send when the ego needs it
4-get drunk and Talksiht aboubt any one who started climbing after you.
5-Suck at everything else in life because your a "climber"

got it.

Well, this is kinda my philosophy, but everybody's different....I just like climbing rocks and sh#t.

Vision man...ya gotta have vision...
May 13, 2014 - 09:19am PT
Bought the book. Wife stole it. Last I saw of it.

May 24, 2014 - 11:28am PT
Got the book and saw that they give you a shout out Will. You may already have known it, but if not, 1st paragraph inside cover. Congrats.

Looks like you need to buy a 2nd one Steelmonkey. These guys wanted some high production values and they clearly spent the scratch to achieve it. Very quality book. Looks to be edited and refined well too.

Trad climber
Poughkeepsie, NY
May 24, 2014 - 11:44am PT
I understand that some folks don't like to train. But training makes you climb better, it makes the climbs you do more enjoyable, it increases the spectrum of routes available to you, and (properly done) it decreases your risk of injury. This has nothing to do with competition and it isn't just a sport-climbing thing. However modest your current abilities might be, you get a better "you" from training.

Without some ongoing form of training (and for me the amount and content has certainly varied over time) I wouldn't be climbing at all any more, like the vast majority of my contemporaries who have long since left the field.

Trad climber
Oaksterdam, CA
Jun 16, 2014 - 07:12pm PT
Trying out the book- happy to report that the section on big wall free climbing restores all of the cardio training into the regimen.

Trad climber
dancin on the tip of god's middle finger
Aug 27, 2014 - 08:18am PT
i'm inspired by tucker's method
of carrying a heavy boulder down
the lane and back
so i, this morning,
reached into the recycle can
and grabbed about 4 partially crushed cans
and 2 plastic juice bottles,
the whole lot pretty precarious
in my overloaded paws, all ready
to jump out and scatter
but through precise pressure adjustments
and a collected grip,
i was able to take this
bundle of promise
to the end of the road and back,
about a 1/2 mile.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Sep 15, 2014 - 09:04pm PT
hey ECIYA, check your STForum email accnt...
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Nov 24, 2014 - 01:58pm PT
I've been playing around with learning how to use the RCTM.

It seems to follow a strategy that makes sense from what I could learn from the various papers on the biomechanics and physiology of climbing...

basically, it's about training the forearms...
once you've got most of the base fitness stuff down, including weight reduction.

The RCTM outlines a periodic training schedule about 3 per year, 18 weeks for a cycle. My first time through is coming to a close. And as it states that you should have a goal, my goal for the first time was to figure out how to do each of the programs, strength, endurance, power, power-endurance; and without getting injured.

The logistics includes multiple gyms, building some home equipment, and figuring out an aerobic training scheme, and fit it into my usual schedule.

The program I was following was the "Trad" training program, but I've modified it a bit to include some campus board work. My main motivation for this was to improve my lock-off ability, which I usually wish I had more of, with a residual benefit of improving power, and strengthening shoulders.

Both the hang-board and the campus-board routines come with copious warnings about injuries. Warming up is important, and I basically use a black Theraband and go through a set of 9 or 10 different shoulder exercises as warm ups before jumping on either board.

But more importantly, I use a counter weight, which I've found over the years to be a fast way of improving without injuries.

My campus-board is also built from the large Metolius rungs, 1.25", which I'll stick with until I can do the exercises without weights. At that point I'll contemplate going to the medium rungs... I'm not training for Action Direct so I'll probably not go to the small rungs, ever.

Here's a few pictures, it's a basic 5 rung ladder with 11.5" spaced rungs, it overhangs 20º

you can see the counterweight scheme. The campus board is built on an independent frame and can be stowed away when I'm not training on it. It is just in front of the hang-board, which has different routing for the counterweight.

More detail:
the bottom rung is 6' off the ground making it easy to hang from it bent legged.

The pulley system is off the framing of the garage
note that I put some 2"x4" spreaders to resist the "squeeze" force of the very shallow angle of the cord.

The weight is hung from a hook while I clip into the cord on the other side of the pulley system (have to climb the Aluminum ladder to do that). Body weight moves the counter weight off the hook and the height is such that I get assistance all the way to the top.

You have to be careful to rig something that isn't going to fall down on your head (I've done that before and have a scar to show for it).

Anyway, I've been working with this system now and learning how to campus board. The RCTM warns that you shouldn't even try to do their "beginner's" routine until you can do the "Basic Ladders" smoothly. I'm not quite there yet even with the weights.

My routine has been to do "Matching Ladders" for 4 sets followed by "Basic Ladders" for 4 sets.

(Matching Ladders: match on rung 1, right hand to rung 2, match on rung 2, left hand to rung 3, etc..., Basic Ladders: match on rung 1, right hand to rung 2, left hand to rung 3, etc...)

It's a workout, hopefully I'll find it beneficial. Once I can do it smoothly, I'll add 4 sets of "Max Ladders" which have you throwing as far as you can... that's the power aspect of the exercise.

Then I'll start to reduce the counter weight.

The training period for these exercises is relatively short in the cycle, but repeating them three times a year should be much better than not doing them at all (as long as I don't get hurt!)

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