How to Start Training

If you have never trained for rock climbing before, it can be difficult to know where to start! Training is an excellent way to reach goals such as overcoming a plateau in your climbing or wanting to send a specific climb. Remember, when it comes to the specifics of training, like what exercises to do, how many reps, and what’s the most appropriate amount of rest, you can always talk to your local gym or purchase a training guide online.

Get Ready to Start

There are lots of ways to train for lots of different reasons; there is no right answer! Before you start training, however, you have to set goals for yourself because your unique objectives will shape your training plan. For instance, training for a specific boulder problem outdoors is going to look quite different than training to overcome a plateau in your sport climbing. Once you’ve identified your training goal(s), you can move forward with the tips below. Do not skip this step! It will make training infinitely less intimidating and will set you on a path to success. Here are our three main tips to start training for climbing.

To start training, you need a training plan

A training plan is a written schedule of when you will train, how long you will train for, and what you will train each day. Once you’ve determined your goal(s) and collected relevant resources (talking to a trainer, purchasing a training guide, or researching on your own), sit down with a calendar and write out your plan!

If you have chosen to write your training plan rather than purchase one or enlist the help of a trainer, try structuring your regimen after something you find online. No generic training plan is going to be perfect for you. You are a unique climber with unique strengths and weaknesses, so it’s your responsibility to figure out what you want to address during your training.

For example, if you have an outdoor sport climbing project that you can’t seem to send, you have to do an honest evaluation of your climbing abilities to grasp what needs to improve. If you are stuck a crux move that requires a burst of strength, then that indicates power is a weakness. Another way to investigate what needs strengthening is by isolating each move of the route. After attempting to complete the route in isolation, the result is still a lack of energy to get to the top,  the conclusion is that power-endurance should be the focal point of your training. If the crimps on the climb are too small and you can’t hold on, that shows hand strength should be worked on. This kind of honest evaluation can help you build out a training plan catered specifically to you and can also give useful insight to a trainer if you choose to go that direction.

When training for climbing, consistency is key

Across all sports, one fact about training is true: If you want to see results, you must be consistent. Now, this doesn’t mean that you need to train six days per week! Training plans can be as simple as one day per week. One day per week of training may sound like it wouldn’t provide too much of a benefit. But if you have never hangboarded before and committed to hangboarding every single Monday, your hand strength will undoubtedly improve with consistency.

Once you’ve determined your training goals and made a plan, invest in it by following through with your program for at least six weeks before evaluating. That being said, training involves close attention, so be sure to track your progress.

As a side note, eventually, you will reach a point where, say, one day per week of hangboarding no longer increases your strength and only maintains your strength. If maintaining is not your training goal, then it is time to increase the amount of training or the rigor of your workout.

Find a training buddy

Finally, one of the most troublesome elements of training is staying motivated! Say you’ve curated your training plan for the next few weeks, and are having a hard time pushing yourself or staying focused. Think about enlisting the help of a training partner! They don’t need to have the same goals as you; in fact, they don’t even have to be training themselves! All you need is a dedicated friend to keep you motivated to do those exercises that you dread the most. You will find yourself in a better mindset with a friend there (even if only virtually), and you may also learn that the best friendships are born in the flames of mutual suffering!

Time to Train

Knowing where to start when it comes to rock climbing training can be overwhelming. Once you’ve decided to start and have identified your climbing goals, you’ll need to make a plan. Be sure to cater that plan to your current climbing skills. Next, you’ll need to stick with it—consistency is critical for all kinds of training! After that, connect with a training buddy to endure your workouts with you! If you follow these three tips, you’ll find that training isn’t so bad after all, especially when you begin to see results!

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