With the outdoor climbing season over for many northern areas, lots of climbers are back in the gym training for next season. Many are looking to increase their strength and power over the coming months so that they can send unfinished projects come spring. While training off the wall is an efficient way to safely gain strength and power, on-wall training has lots of benefits too, including strengthening the mind along with the body.
In this fun bouldering session, you climb a series of boulder problems in the gym, but you only get three tries on each to send. This forces you to use your brain and body at their absolute max. To succeed on boulders slightly above your flash level in under three goes, you have to think analytically about movement and beta, direct your mindset repeatedly into that “try hard” zone, and give the problem all the strength and power you have to get to the top.
This workout can vary in length depending on your current fitness and climbing experience. A typical workout will last around an hour, but shorter or longer is fine too. The goal of the workout is to be powered out by the end. Because you’ll be giving max effort, you should be failing on the majority of problems. If you successfully send more than half of the problems, increase the grades you choose in your next session. You can perform the session on a bouldering wall, MoonBoard, Kilter Board, or other training wall. Try to mix up the style of climbs throughout the workout. For finger health and safety, focus on crimp or pocket problems early in the session when you’re fresh.
Before starting the session, ensure that you’re fully warmed-up and ready to climb at your max effort. Here are the steps of the workout, starting with the first problem of the session:
Spend a couple minutes analyzing and memorizing the problem.
Give a proper flash attempt. Try your hardest to send. You want 100% max effort. If you make mistakes, don’t drop off – keep climbing and try your hardest to get to the top.
If you fail to send, take a rest and analyze what went well and what went wrong on your attempt. Go ahead and touch the holds and feel positions but do not work sections of the boulder. Rest approximately one minute per hard move performed before your next attempt.
After you’re rested, try your hardest to send again. If you don’t send on this second attempt, repeat step #3 and then give one final send attempt.
After three attempts (or after sending the problem on your first or second attempt), move on to the next boulder.
Repeat steps #1 to #5 for the length of your workout. Remember to rest around one minute per hard hand move climbed. Use your rest periods to analyze the problem.
It’s a great idea to write down the details of your workout in a training logbook. Record the problem grade, angle, number of moves, and style (e.g. crimpy, powerful, etc.). Write down the time and number of attempts it took you send. If you failed to complete the problem, record which hold you reached and why you think you were unable to complete the move or sequence.
Perform this workout once per week on a strength and/or power training day. It’s a great workout for boulderers and sport climbers alike. After time, you’ll not only feel stronger and more powerful, you’ll also be better at reading problems and entering that coveted “try hard” state.
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