April 29, 2014 posted by

Experiment In Power: Climbing Workout #2

Experiment In Power: Climbing Workout #2

I’ve been messing around with post-activation potentiation for climbers, on and off, for a few years without any conclusions. While its effectiveness for total body strength is without question, the mechanism it affects is questionable when the weak link is fingers to elbows, as it is in climbing. I have found a workout that is effective, below. Whether or not it’s more effective than more traditional approaches to climbing training is unclear at this time. While I suspect it’s not, I do believe there is a way to use these training principals to advance training for climbing. I would love feedback if anyone’s up for attempting this workout for a period of time. I’m definitely not done with the subject, and will keep tweaking during my summer power block.

looking for good training pics I found this. Way more rad, especially around 1:00.

This workout wraps up Power Month. Next month, we’ll look at performance weight: how to lose the last few pounds to meet a goal.

Equipment needed (click on links to see examples): Campus Board (mine has large rungs, 1.75″, which I think is essential to get the most out of a board)Fingerboard, pull-up bar, rings, dumbells, ab roller, optional stability ball and push-up stands.

Warm-up – Warming up for fingerboard power workouts needs to be very thorough. It’s probably best done on a wall. I have a wall, but have been doing this long enough to know how to properly warm up on a board. Here’s my sequence.

plange pushups top position

Functional warm-up, hanging retraction (shrug at the bottom of a pull-up), protractions (from push-up position-pic), wall angels, one set of these movements, break.

Next, do the hangs and campus movements that will be done in the workout. Start with the easier holds/moves first, using your feet for the campus movements until you’re ready to to use them. Before you begin, be as warmed-up as you’d be for a redpoint at your limit.

Campus movements in workout are:

Ladders – in vid. In this workout ladders are at your max, like 1, 4, 7 (match).

Bumps – start like a ladder but continue to bump the higher hand, one rung at a time, as high as you can go.

Doubles – move both arms at the same time, up and then down. Until failure.

Square Dance – go up to a hold, match the hold, drop down with one arm, then the other. Repeat.

Drop and return – Start with one hand higher than the other, say 4-1. Drop to 1, return same arm to 4. Repeat 2-4 times.

Block and swing – Not a campus move but I use the board, since I have feet below it. Go up with one arm, with one foot on. Cut feet and swing out, return opposite foot to hold. Drop. Opposite hand goes up. Repeat. 2-4 each side.

Other movements:

Offset pulls – pull-ups with one arm lower than the other. Done on campus board.

Lockoffs – pull-up to lock off position (as high as possible) and hold.

Slope pulls – pull-ups on a sloping hold.

90 degree hands – halfway to full lock off.

1-arm negatives – ecentric pull-up, I use a ring, placed very low, for the opposite arm (because I’m weak)

Crimp/hangs -hang open handed from a hold, then move into crimped position. Repeat. Progression can be worse hold or added weight.

Revolution push-ups. Done with rings, with hands starting from narrow position, under your chest (stressful on shoulders).

Roll on, roll off reverse – From Gimme Kraft, I do this with my feet on a ball and my hands on push-up stands. Move into L-sit position, then extend, pushing your feet away from you and exending your arms fully. Reverse. It’s an extension exercise to help offset of the contraction that’s going on.

Butterfly Reverse – Gimme Kraft. Hard to explain. There are at 1:09 in this video.

Reverse curls, shake arms on the ecentric part of the exercise.

Most other exercises you should know. Google always works if you don’t.


Offset pulls, 6-8, then immediately on ladder at your max. Rest 3 minutes. Repeat 3X

Lockoff 8-10 sec, then immediately bump to failure (one side only). Rest 3 min. Repeat 3X, alternating bump arm.

Slope pulls 8, then doubles to failure. Rest 3 min. Repeat 3X

2-finger pocket 90 degree hang (8-10 sec), then square dance. Rest 3 min. Repeat 3X



1-arm negatives (1-2), crimp hangs (5-10, smallest rungs possible), revolution push-ups (6-10), knees to elbows (from bar 6-10)

Rest 3-5 minutes. Repeat 3x


Ring dips (4-10), Drop and return (1-2 each side), butterfly reverse, side plank (leg up, toe down, 30 sec, one side each round)

Rest 3-5 minutes. Repeat 3x


Max pinch pulls (weighted to failure less than 5 reps), block and swing (2x each side), Ab Roller (8-12), superman (.30)

Rest 3-5 minutes. Repeat


Inverted rows (8-12), levers (6-12), Reverse Curl (4-6), rollup, rollout, reverse (8)

Rest 3-5 minutes. Repeat.

Cool down – NIS stretching and, sometimes, the rice bucket for 30 seconds each position.


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