How not to train to climb

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So vascular forearms they attract sharks. Back muscles so marked you could map them topographically. Fingers so strong they could crush stones like wet spaghetti. In my seven years as a climber, I have not achieved any of these things. Follow my five simple tips not to train, based on experience, and I promise you that in just six weeks you will be no better a climber than you are today, and possibly worse.

1. Buy books

Sure, you could follow a simple resistance training program for reliable gains like 99 percent of athletes in other sports do, but you’re a rock climber. That’s not how we do it. Some experts would suggest that you read a climbing training book and then devise a plan based on that book. I’m here to tell you that you can get the same satisfaction without any of the results just by buying books.

by eric horst Climbing Training is a great place to start. While you wait for it to arrive, listen to the Training Beta podcast. Hear the Anderson brothers explain their research-based approach. Drink Climbing Training out of the Amazon box and place it right on the shelf. Organize The climber’s training manual. Oh better: this is clearly the only training book you’ll ever need. Though this Steve Bechtel guy has some interesting ideas. Hmm, okay: Anderson bros out, Bechtel’s Strength: basic training for rock climbing in. Or maybe Training for the New Mountaineering is what you need or How to climb 5.12. EITHER The self-taught climber.

I’ll let you in on a secret: It doesn’t matter what books you buy, as long as you don’t read them.

2. Change programs Frequently

Not having read the entire latest training lore, now is the time to come up with a plan based on what is likely in those books. Dumbbell rows. Planks. Hangboard repeaters at 9 seconds on, 2.27 seconds off. Do it with enthusiasm for a week and then start doubting yourself. You’ve done planks twice and you’re still slipping. There are probably better exercises. Start again. deadlift squats Maximum weight dead points. Hit the iron hard until you read an internet forum where a group of teenagers agree that climbing is the best way to train for climbing. Bars out. Boulder 4x4s in. Waffle early and often. The trick to not working out is to never stick to any one exercise long enough for your body to adapt.

[Also Try Not Following this 6-weeks to Stronger Fingers Course, by Jonathan Siegrist]

3. Join a high-intensity training program*

It turns out that designing and executing a training plan is difficult. And boring. It’s easier to pay someone to tell you what to do. You’ve made fun of high-intensity training in the past, but people like it, even some normal people, although their pull-ups are suspect. Hey, you might as well give it a try.

Shit, that’s hard!

You’ll have to skip the climb tonight, but your new regimen will get you in shape fast. You should probably stop climbing tomorrow too. You’re going to be sore. And then it will be time to train again. Lose interest in climbing and jump into the box. Set a record for flipping a truck tire the most times before projectile vomiting. Celebrate with burpees and a trip to the ER for rhabdomyolysis-induced kidney failure.

*You can achieve similar results by running ultramarathons.

4. Getting hurt

Good to have you back at the climbing gym, you went off the rails there for a while. To make up for lost time, do it all on the hangboard. One session per day, never days off. Before the end of the first week, your ring finger will become sore, stiff, and tender to the touch. These are warning signs. Ignore them. Keep hangboarding until your A2 pulley explodes like a gunshot, prompting everyone in the gym to duck behind cover. Permanently damaged finger, spend the next two years doing nothing, afraid of hurting yourself again if you go near a rock.

5. Repeat

If you’ve followed the steps above correctly, you shouldn’t be fitter than ever; you should be weaker, poorer and older. Repeat the routine for as long as you want to get stuck at 5,10, which you might as well do, because going above that grade is impossible. Trust me. I have tried everything but commit and stick to a training plan.

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