Post-activation Potentiation
September 15, 2010 posted by

Postactivation Potentiation For Climbing

File this post under purely experimental but, for those of you looking for an edge and willing to take some risk, here ya go. This is what I’m doing currently on my climbing specific days. If you stumbled upon this post randomly you’d best read the backstory first. In fact, you should probably read the entire Workout From Hell.

Warm-up must be thorough, just as it would be for any campusing workout. Mine varies from a slow dynamic warm-up, to bouldering in the garage, to actually going climbing. I follow this with some light band work for all the upper body muscles. The point is that you’re beyond just warmed up before hitting the boards; you want to have put your muscles through some duress.

Complex I

4 sets. About 1 minute between sets. Move to the next exercise as quickly as you are ready.

Hang, two arms small edge w/weight to failure (3 to 8 sec tops—if you make 8 add weight next set), campus board ladders (1,3 5, 7, 9 – ideally harder moves done here but it’s about all I can handle at the moment–sad), lock-off kips (see Patxi’s vid) 8. Wall Clock.

Complex II – take a short break, maybe 2-5 minutes

4 sets.

Hang, two arms big ball pinch (Kehl board) to failure w/weight (a lot of weight in this case). Campus—touches, 4 each side (1-4-1 is one) or to failure, Ab swings (this is on a steep wall, one foot on extended, cut feet swing out, replace other foot, alternate) 10, Wall Angels 1 minute (holding each up position for a slow six count).

Physio ball complex (pike, side crunch, rollout, extension) 2 sets of 10 each

PNF stretching session (self using a yoga strap)

This workout should be treated as a template where you add/subract things based on your personal needs. For sure it could be a bit more involved but it’s power training, where short and focused is almost always superior to long and compromised. Hopefully further understanding of postactivation potentiation will lead to revelations over the winter.

pic: dano always preferred his complex movements with some circumstance. “I think what they really need is a hint of death.” – henry chinowski


  • This may sound silly but do you think I could try these hangs on my pull up bar?Thanks T.

  • I wouldn't. In fact, unless you are a climber I would not do this workout at all. I'd opt for something more like the last post for upper body work. You could mix incertain aspects of this workout but the movements involved–hangs and campus moves–are climbing specific and ultra stressful on the tendons.

  • What kind of results have you seen in your climbing after performing these exercises?

  • any fitness blog that quotes bukowski deserves high praise. well played steve.marc

  • We'll find out pretty soon. Here's to all my frieeeeeends.

  • What kind of results did you see? I am interested in integrating this into an upcoming periodized training schedule.

  • What results did you see? I am interested in integrating PAP into an upcoming periodized training schedule.

  • I haven't experimented with this enough. Hopefully I will this winter. I got good results but due to a tender elbow I couldn't push it as far as I'd have liked. A couple of friends of mine have incorporated it into their training. and, while we didn't get any quantitative data they did have their best climbing season this year.

  • Should also add to the above that I was more fit for climbing after this cycle than I have been in 15 years and had one of my best days ever before the season ended. So, yes, it worked. Jury still out on how well.One important thing is that you don't really one-rep max in the training. Suppose in theory you could but the PAP complexes worked out by P3 follow heavy resistance (8-12 reps approaching failure) with 4-8 reps of 100% effort. A PAP complex for climbing might be:Weight lock-offs or hangs held either held statically or done with reps followed immediately by 4 to 8 (usually shoot for six) moves on the campus board, followed immediately by two more movements, probably a scapula movement of some kind and a core movement. You don't need to rush between movements but there's no benefit to waiting very long either. I take about a minute between each round of the complex and do four rounds total. Eventually two full complexes–so 8 rounds of each movement–would probably max the effect.This isn't a lot of volume for climbing but it's specifically targeting recruitment and should only be a small part of your training, like 3-4 weeks at the end of a training cycle.but there's lots of experimenting yet to be done…

  • Thanks for the extrapolation Steve. We started our campus phase last night and will do it every-other day for 3-4 weeks. Each workout consists of a single static weighted max hang before each exercise. Four exercises done four times. 1.) 1-3-5-7-9 ladder2.) 1-3-2-4-3-5-4-6-5-7 double-dyno3.) 1-6-7-9 ladder4.) 3,R4,R5,R6,R5,R4,R3,L4,L5,L6,L5,L4,L3 TappingWe are designing the program on the idea that it needs to be harder than last time, and adding the max hang definitely does that. I will let you know how it goes.

  • google…


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