Non-physical factors in climbing performance

Strength is great. Obviously all climbers want to get stronger, and they should. Strong is the word thrown around at the crag when we mean “high performance.” In fact, most of our casual ways of describing high performance involve physicality. “She’s so strong”, “He did it 2nd go, he’s a beast”, “You’d have to be soContinue reading “Non-physical factors in climbing performance”

Using route pyramids to build your base

Many climbers use pyramids each season, mesocycle or macrocycle to have a tangible representation of the growing confidence and momentum that they build through that period. Online logbooks like, Sendage and Kaya all provide a pyramid in their interface. This is one reason I recommend all motivated outdoor climbers keep some kind of logbook,Continue reading “Using route pyramids to build your base”

Training the “dead zone” for tall climbers

Long arms are the subject of much jealousy and rage. No doubt they have great benefits. But as your ability to reach through cruxes grows, there are side effects. Shoulder engagement and lockoffs are more difficult with longer levers. Lanky climbers need to spend more time on these physical deficits, and spend time on theContinue reading “Training the “dead zone” for tall climbers”

Snapbacks: generating power from fewer contact points

It’s an old axiom of hard bouldering that the holds are worse and farther apart. Early in climbing, generating power is mostly a question of using the upper body to “line up” the more powerful lower body muscles. Easy dynos on less steep terrain are almost reminiscent of a barbell power clean or kettlebell snatchContinue reading “Snapbacks: generating power from fewer contact points”

How to pick the right problems for training

A 25-pound dumbbell is always a 25-pound dumbbell. But what if it wasn’t? In climbing, we are not so lucky. V5 isn’t always V5. Most training for climbing involves a lot of bouldering. Therefore, problem selection is a crux of most training plans. Grades are not reliable indicators of difficulty. Getting good at selecting theContinue reading “How to pick the right problems for training”

Climbing curiously and the power of “I don’t know”

The phrase “I don’t know” is not a bad thing. Most of us don’t know most things. When you claim total certainty, you end a conversation and an opportunity to learn something. It’s an uncurious move to make. What comes after “I don’t know” is what matters. One of the best parts of climbing andContinue reading “Climbing curiously and the power of “I don’t know””

What is climbing performance’s secret ingredient?

Underappreciated reality of climbing performance: it’s about time. If there is a secret ingredient to climbing performance, it’s time. On the rocks, a climber who spends 5 hours a week climbing outside will usually out-perform a climber who trains 10 hours a week and doesn’t go outside. A climber who spends 10 years hangboarding aContinue reading “What is climbing performance’s secret ingredient?”