The goal of this pro­gram is to build strength over a va­ri­ety of hang times while main­tain­ing a very low risk of in­jury. Fol­low these guide­lines to max­i­mize your train­ing.


Don’t get pumped. If you are pumped or sweat­ing, you aren’t resting long enough be­tween hangs.

Train while climb­ing hard out­side. This is a pure strength pro­gram, so it’s ap­pro­pri­ate to use at the same time as you are try­ing to climb well out­side. If you are a week­end war­rior, this is a great Mon­day through Thurs­day plan, and you can do some other climb­ing.

Don’t be in a hurry to get strong fast. Quick strength gains lead to quick losses. Slow gains are the ones you keep. Re­search shows that high- in­ten­sity train­ing can lead to quick strength in­creases, with the gains com­ing from im­prove­ments in en­er­gysys­tem ef­fi­ciency. On the other hand, a slow, steady pro­gres­sion cre­ates more ef­fi­cient neu­ro­log­i­cal path­ways, which leads to long- term per­sis­tent gains.

Only in­crease the load once a month. Don’t look at strength train­ing as an event or some­thing to do this month, but as a new life­style habit. Your mind should not be on next week­end, but on five years from now.

This train­ing pro­gram can be used year- round. How­ever, many climbers find that train­ing con­stantly is dif­fi­cult. For such climbers, try two 4-week cy­cles, fol­lowed by a month of just climb­ing. After this “month off,” re­sume the cy­cle. A good sched­ule for a week­end war­rior would be to train Mon­day and Thurs­day or Tues­day and Thurs­day. The spe­cific days of the week don’t mat­ter, but you should have at least one day be­tween train­ing finger strength so you’re fresh.

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