79 thoughts on “Ask a Question

  1. Hi Mark,

    Super psyched on the book and thus far training on the new Rock Prodigy Board has been awesome with the pulley system. I have been hangboarding using your mountainproject write up for the last few years and really like the depth that your new book goes into. Since I have been doing relatively routine hangboarding for about two years I decided to just step it up and do the the advanced hangboard routine (I’m working to send my first .13a this fall). So I have progressed fairly quickly on the deep 2f pocket and the IMR 3 finger and can with only moderate difficulty finish the 3rd set with +25lbs on my 5th hangboard session. I repeated the same load of + 25 on my 6th session just to confirm solidity and it was still there. My question is how much weight do you usually add before you decide to just downsize holds? I know your supposed to only shrink holds every couple seasons to years and that the originally selected holds should be very specific to your goal. However, I feel like Seigrist or Classen mentioned at the ICF in Lander this year that once you get to +25lbs you should just downsize because of all the stress excess weight puts on your shoulders and back. Looking at your training data though, it appears that you go all the way up to +60?? I am very motivated and want to make sure I’m loading my fingers properly with resistance to get the most benefit but also avoid injury due to over zealous desire to progress, so any suggestions you have would be greatly appreciated.

    Cordially,
    Lucas

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    • Lucas,

      I’ve gone as high as +80 lb. before downsizing, but generally I like to keep the added weight under 70 lb. I’ve never had any issues with my shoulders/back at that weight, but YMMV. If I were you I would go up to +30 and see how it goes. If you start feeling tweaks anywhere in the chain, back off.

      Good luck,
      Mark

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  2. Hello Mark, hello Mike
    is there a European shop or website that allows me to buy your book?

    The shipping costs plus customs duty is otherwise a bit of a problem for european customers…

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  3. Hi Guys – love the program. Feeling strong after starting a cycle in July.

    I have to pause the cycle for two weeks (wedding and honeymoon). I just started a power phase. How would you guys suggest I get back into the program once I return from two weeks off?

    I was considering some ‘booster pack’ – for example two ARC sessions, two strength sessions, and then return to where I left off with power.

    Does this make sense?

    Thanks,

    Jess

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  4. Hi Mark,
    Love the book and the Hangboard. Had a quick question for you on training. As we are getting closer to the ice and mixed climbing season, what would you change or keep the same in the training that you have created in your book?
    Thank you.
    Kevin

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    • I would adjust the grips you train to larger and more open grips. I would also increase the emphasis of Supplemental Exercises, and finally I would increase the emphasis on Base Fitness and Power Endurance for your forearms (as opposed to Strength and Power).

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  5. Hello guys —

    Any ideas for training power on a hangboard? The nature of my work keeps me away from a campus board for up to 5 days but I do have a hangboard available to train on. Maybe just substitute a hang workout for a campus session during the power phase? I know it’s not ideal but ???

    Thanks, Ben

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    • Absolutely! We have sold hundreds of books in Europe, just order through our website. You will receive an autographed copy, shipped with priority international mail, so it will arrive in just a few days.

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  6. Yo.

    I am curious: have you done any work with route setters? I really like the things I have read on your site over the last few days, and am considering getting the book, but it seems like your program is directed almost exclusively toward outdoor climbing and achieving goals on real rock. I love climbing on real rock, and have a few goal routes myself, but I am also a head route setter at a sizable gym, and a big part of my motivation to gain grip strength and improve my climbing comes from my responsibilities as a professional setter. The harder I can climb, the wider range of difficulty I can set, and the better I can cater to stronger climbers, especially in competitive applications.

    So my biggest concern is this: how would you suggest managing rest and training for someone whose job involves a lot of climbing? I would say on average I have to climb in the gym 2-4 days per week (not including ascending ropes/climbing on walls just to put up my own routes which I do a minimum of 3 days per week), and each of those days can be as little as one or two routes or as much as 30 boulder problems. Do you think it could work to utilize the plans laid out in the RCTM with some tweaking to my particular situation, or would I be better off going with a different style of training altogether? I really like the idea of the periodized approach, but I definitely don’t want to end up with overuse issues.

    Thanks for your insight!

    Greg

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    • Greg,

      That’s a great question. The book goes to great lengths to explain how each individual can “tailor” the program to fit their own personal needs. I know many climbers who are in similar situations (with physically demanding jobs) who have used the program with good results. My suggestion is that you try it, or some modified version of it, take good notes, see how it goes, and then adjust accordingly.

      Good luck,
      Mark

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      • Hi

        I just bought your book to help me out with my training. I have been playing around with different training schedules for the last couple of years trying to improve my climbing and its been working. I have been reading different books from different authors to help me out and your book has been a great asset to my collection helping me under stand the periodization training a bit more and giving me a better understanding of how to put it all together. Some times I have a habit of putting to much into my training but reading your book has defiantly helped me to understand that more isn’t good. Its just trying to find a balance in my training and making sure that I put a good effort in. So I’m looking for a bit of advice in my strength training cycle. I have my warm up and finger board session all worked out but I would just like a bit of advice on the supplement side. I have some core in there and some Antagonist work outs. I would like to do some lock off training and waited pull ups, do you think this is affective or to much. I am looking to do 3 sets of waited pull ups with 10 pounds then after 4 weeks do it with 20Ibs then after the 8th week do it with 30Ibs for 2 weeks. The lock offs I was thinking of doing 6-8 lock offs 1min rest 6-8 more then 3mins rest then 6-8 1min rest then 6-8 more. I was planning on doing lock off first then weighted pull up. I’m just trying to understand if this is to much or if they just contradict each other and I only need to just do one of them. I’m trying to get my pulling strength up a little more so that’s one reason why I want to do weighted pull ups. I am training around 4 times a week and just broke the 13 barrier this summer.

        Mark

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      • Mark,

        Glad you like the book! I think what you have planned is ok. I would just keep an eye on your elbows and back off a bit if they start to ache at all. I think it’s wise to do lock-offs as well as pull-ups, because while lock-offs are important, they don’t train the entire range of motion like pull-ups do. Personally I prefer assisted one-arm pull-ups over weighted pull-ups, but YMMV. I recommend doing your pull-ups on a free-hanging rings so your palms can rotate freely during the exercise.
        Good luck,
        Mark

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  7. Hello Mark,

    I have to say that I have been very impressed by the quality of your book. I read a few other books on training and I found yours the most practical and really well written. I am still going through it and I am sure that I will keep going back at it.

    In the Strength part of your book, you refer to the hangboard and I was wondering if you had experience using a crack machine to hang from to supplement the strength training for cracks. If you don’t what are your thoughts on it? Will it be an injury recipe? Do you have tips on building one allowing easy adjustments for various sizes?

    Thank you and keep up the great work.

    Nicolas

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  8. Hello,
    First thing first, thank you for taking the time to respond to my previous question. As I am going through the book I am considering to build my own climbing wall and campusing board in my basement . Note we have many climbing gyms in the city where I live (about 4 of them), but it is true (as you pointed out) most of them don’t favor great feet techniques in term of settings. I believe this would also help me take more of a training approach rather than grade chaser. It seems that you have experience with building your own climbing walls. I will have about 8 feet of height and about 16 feet wide.
    I have a few questions if you would not mind answering them:
    1) what is the ideal angle or angles a walls should have to ensure the ability to train the different training phases?
    2) When in your opinion it makes it worth while to consider building versus going to a gym?
    3) For a campus board, considering 48 inch of clearance below it (recommended by Metolius), would it still be worth it to have a campus board as the remaining to the length to the ceiling will be about 48 inch?

    I would still consider going to a gym to get access to rope climbing. Note: I live in Canada and winter is long and climbing season is short.

    Nicolas

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    • Nicolas,

      Good questions.

      1. Considering the amount of space you have to work with I would recommend ARC training at one of your local gyms. You only really need a hangboard for the Strength Phase, so that leaves Power and Power Endurance. 16′ wide is plenty of room to set a ton of great Limit Boulder problems, and problems that can be used to create Linked Bouldering Circuits. By using a relatively steep wall angle (like around 30 degrees overhanging) you will also get some extra “height” out of the climbable surface. It will be hard to warm up on a wall that steep, but it can be done if you get some big jugs for that purpose.

      2. That depends on how good your gyms are for training, how close they are, and how much they cost. A home wall is usually more expensive in the near term, but it can save you a ton of time.

      3. Again, it depends on where you are in your campusing. If you can do 1-5-9 (Moon Spacing), then a board of that height will be limiting. But if you’re more in the 1-3-5 range, working towards 1-4-7, that is plenty of space. Also, while 48″ of clearance is nice to have, it’s not essential.

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  9. Hangboard Mounting Questions:

    Hi Guys two questions:

    First, any guidelines on appropriate spacing for the two section of the board? Imagine it’s slightly different for everyone, but is there a rule of thumb like xyz grips should be directly over shoulders…?

    thanks,

    Tom

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    • Tom,

      By far the best approach is to build an adjustable mounting system as described here: https://rockclimberstrainingmanual.com/2014/04/23/adjustable-mount-for-the-rptc/
      (Be sure to check out the updates and comments at the end of the post too).

      If you can’t do that, figure out which grip positions you use most frequently and place the halves at shoulder-width for the grips you use most often grips. When designing the RPTC< I tried to group the shallower holds more towards the outside, and the deeper holds more toward the inside, assuming most users we be fairly consistent in the depth of grips they trained. For example, the shallowest MR pocket, the shallowest IM pocket, the thin crimp, and the shallowest section of the lower VDER are all aligned with each other, within a few inches. Before I built my adjustable mounting system, I spaced the halves such that that column of holds were at shoulder-width. That made the pinch difficult to use, but not impossible.

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  10. Hi Mark/Mike,

    I love your book. Every time I read it I find more gems of inspiration, motivation and insight.

    My Question:
    I have done 4 of the intermediate hangboard workouts so far and I have noticed that I am not getting tired after the workout. My typical training session is warmup for about 45 minutes (v1,v2,v3,v4,v5,v6, 3 of each grade), then rest for about 15 minutes before the HB session. Then I find myself not really being so tired after the workout and I’ll boulder for about 1:30 – 2 hours after the HB session (projecting or repeating v7,v8,v9). typically I am at the gym for 4 hours. I am taking 1-2 days off between hangboarding days. I am a sport climber but all of my climbing partners are boulderers so I have been a boulderer for the past year pretty much exclusively.

    How can I increase intensity so I can build maximum strength. Other workout programs talk about doing 10 second holds with like 2 minute rests, or should I try 10/10 or 5/5 on smaller holds with more weight? I am not sure what is wrong if anything. I just want to get stronger fingers. Thanks.

    -Ryman
    P.S. My gym has the rock prodigy hangboard (with pulley system) and the Eva Lopez hangboard (no pulley system)

    Like

    • Ryman,

      In my opinion the volume of training you are doing is way too high. Duration and Intensity are mutually exclusive after a certain point, and you will never be able to apply the proper intensity if you are climbing too much. You are training your muscles to “save themselves” for the many hours of training you are asking them to do each day. Furthermore, there’s a good chance you are going to hurt yourself with so much volume. My recommendation is that you cut out all the extra-curricular bouldering, and focus on maximizing the intensity of your hangboard sessions (by increasing the resistance).

      Mark

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      • Thanks Mark. You were right. After doing my 5th and 6th HB sessions I was not really able to climb after them, I was just to tired and didn’t have the strength to perform. I think I didn’t really get to my baseline yet. I am still seeing steady progression, upping weight on 4 to 5 of the grips each session.
        I had another question…. There is a small bouldering competition coming up at my gym and I want to be in the campus phase during that competition but that will cut my HB phase to only about 8 sessions then I will have 2 campus/power sessions before the comp. Could I go back to the HB phase and do maybe 2 more or should I just continue with the power/performance phases? Thanks!

        -Ryman

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  11. Dear Mark/Mike,
    How do you recommend doing a warm-up for a hangboard session on a limited home/travel setup? In the book, you suggest to do at least 20 min of low-to-moderate intensity traversing, if practical at the gym. What do you do when going to the gym is not practical? Do you just do some mini traversing on a hangboard with a kickboard? How did you do the warm-up in your dorm-room setup?

    My first hangboard session will be in 4-5 weeks (I just started the base fitness phase), so I have some time to make adjustments, but I will not be able/allowed to construct anything big at home.

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  12. Hello Mark/Mike,

    I absolutely love your book. I just finished the footwork section and it’s going to make a significant difference in my gym climbing habits. Do you guys have a write-up on some preferred gear for sport climbing? I imagine what you use is just as meticulously researched as your training philosophies.

    For example – chalk – is there a preferred brand? Is Friction Labs worth the hype? Do you both use liquid chalk?

    I would also like to know your opinions on the “recovery massage tools” coming out – like the arm-aid – are they effective?

    Thanks so much!
    Dan

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    • Dan,

      That’s a great question, and one I’ve been thinking about writing an article on. Your insight is correct in that we have our gear setups pretty well refined at this point, but a lot still comes down to personal preference. As for your chalk question, yes, I think it matters. I have pretty sweaty hands, so I like Metolius Super Chalk because it has a drying agent, but many people find it to be too dry, and it can lead to cracked skin…so, again, it depends on the person.

      -Mike

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      • Hi Mike,
        Thanks for the quick reply and I’m sure I echo many when I say I would be very interested in a gear article.
        Big congrats on the recent send!
        -Dan

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      • Skin. Hey Mike I have your book but I can’t find a specific answer to a question i have. I swear I’ve noticed every early morning session I do that my skin is significantly worse. The skin on my hands almost feels brittle and all the holds start to feel like fire. Have you heard of anything like this and would you know of any possible treatments?

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      • I notice the same thing–my skin is more tender in the morning. The only remedy I know of is to wake up earlier so your skin can get used to being awake before your climb/train.

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  13. Hey Anderson Bros!
    I just finished your book and it is by far the best climbing training book out there now. I really liked the physiology info you guys included. I have since started to do some hangboarding religiously for the first time. I have somehow managed to get up to climbing 13a without it but have plateaued hard for the past 2 or 3 years. In just a few hangboarding workouts it has become blatantly obvious that my finger strength is my weakness far and above anything else.

    This brings me to two questions. First, if finger strength is my definitive weakness, would it be advantageous to do a few cycles of just strength and power before going into a full on cycle? Second question, next year I am going to physician assistant school and will be unable to really focus on climbing for 2 to 2.5 years. I am sure I would have time to gym climb or climb on a home rig. What would be a good climbing cycle for this, assuming there will essentially be no performance phase? Would it be advantageous to skip any PE workouts? Thanks!

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  14. Hi Mark. I want to get serious about training but I haven’t been able to find a partner to train with. Is it possible to engage in a serious training routine by myself? I’m worried that I’m simply making excuses. Thanks!

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      • Great! I’ve ordered your book and am really excited to kick my climbing up a notch. I should have clarified, though, that I am training for sport climbing. I take it that through reading your book it will be somewhat apparent how to go about training for sport climbing more or less on my own? Thanks again.

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  15. Wondering what you think about reverse wrist curls as a supplemental exercise? I noticed they are not included in the book. I know several friends that swear by them to ward off elbow tendonitis, but I find it actually makes mine worse. What’s the physiology there?

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    • Trevor, I’m not a fan, and I don’t do them. You can always try them out, but it sounds like you already have. I think stretching is the most important thing you can do to prevent elbow issues, and icing helps too, but isn’t always necessary.

      -Mike

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  16. Hey, so I just got this book and honestly I’m in love with the whole progressive overload training. I’ve seen and done it in Mark Rippetoe’s Starting Strength beginner power lifting program. Anyways I received a copy from Ben Schneider, one of my teachers, and had a few questions that I’m hoping you can answer. So, in the beginning of my rock climbing career, only about 6 months, I bouldered hard, non stop and ended up with pain in the middle on top of my forearms. I have no idea what it is, but it hurts when I do dynamic movements that require a lot of strength from pulling my self up with arms. I’ve done some rehab and rest and its better, but I’m worried if the campusing would set it off again. There are rungs for the feet so I was going to give that a try. If that doesn’t work, I don’t really know what to do. Another concern was time management. The base fitness phase for beginners says that ARC training should be done 4-5 times per week. With my schedule, I”m not sure if that will work. 3 days is more realistic.

    Questions I Have:
    1. Is there any alternative to campusing? If so any suggestions?
    2. Can I modify the schedule for ARC training 3 times per week?

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    • Reilly, glad you like the book and that the program is working for you! The alternative to campusing is Limit Bouldering, which is described in Chapter 7. However, if you’re experiencing over use injuries like you describe, you may just need a bit more rest between sessions, and perform the preventative maintenence activities described in the book, especially the forearm stretching. Arc ing can be performed up to 4 to 5 times per week, but if you can only get in 3 workouts, that is fine too. Maybe try to perform longer sets or more of them to try to meet the same total weekly volume. Good luck!

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      • Awesome thank you for your help. I’m going to start a cycle this Monday and I’ll include all of that. Thank you again.

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  17. Mark and Mike, Congratulations on an excellent book. I think I have a collection of most, if not all of the climbing training books published going back to the 80’s and yours stands out from the rest. Great job. and great to see so many copies and training diaries of yours in the hands of climbers in seemingly every gym I wander in to! A well deserved success.

    I was wondering about the power phase of training, specifically if there are any exercises you would recommend to do when a campus board and limit bouldering is not available. I travel a lot and while I can almost always find a gym and a fingerboard set up somewhere, Campus boards are sometimes more elusive. I know in a couple of weeks I will be in the middle of my power phase ( at about campus workout #4 ) and will have a week or ten days with only access to a finger board and pull up bar. Not ideal I know.

    I am guessing ‘campus’ circuits on the fingerboard, and/or one arm lock-offs.. but that is more strength?? I might be able to set up a bachar ladder..

    thanks,
    Lachlan

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    • Lachlan,

      If you can find a climbing gym, then you can do Limit Bouldering. Otherwise it’s pretty hard to get good power training. We all have constraints in our lives and that might be one for you. One option is to use the “Maximum Recruitment on a Hangboard” sidebar in Chapter 7 of the RCTM. Happy training!

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  18. Andersons,

    Amazing book. I have been climbing for 3 years now and have broken in to 13’s last year when I RP’d my first 13a and I have you guys to thank for it. I just turned 32 so I started climbing a bit late.

    SO, I take 3 week long trips or longer per year, where I am climbing about 7-9 days. Usually with a rest day in the middle. What is the best way to taper off for long RP trip? Is there a better way to do it than the recommended training program you use in RCTM?

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    • When you say “taper off”, do you mean taking extra rest before the trip? If so, I know people who will take as many as 5 straight rest days before an intense stretch of climbing (like a one-day high volume comp or big wall in a day type of activity). It’s a safe bet that nothing you do in the last week will actually benefit you during the trip, so it’s a good idea to take it easy during those last few days and focus on climbing well. It’s always a good idea to get outside once or twice to polish your lead head if possible.

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  19. Okay, random hangboarding question for you. When I do the shallow MR 2 finger pocket on the RPTC it is so painful on my first set that I end up doing like 7 sec hang, 3 sec rest, 7 sec hang, then I have to take a 13 sec rest while massaging the skin on my fingers, then I can do another one or two 7 second hangs before I have to take a longer rest again to massage my skin, then I continue with this until I hit the full 6 reps that I am trying to complete. The weird thing is that this has nothing to do with muscle strength, but is purely skin pain. After this first painful set I am able to add 5 lbs and complete a normal 6 rep set without much skin pain at all, then add another 5 lbs and complete my 3rd 6 rep set, again with no problems (except maybe failing a second or two before the completion of my last rep).

    My question is if it is normal to have intense skin pain during the first set that goes away for the subsequent sets and do you have any suggestions to help alleviate this? Thanks in advance for your help!

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    • I have the exact same problem with my closed crimp grip and periodically with my mono grip. One thing you can do is back off the resistance for the first set (while still using the same resistance you would otherwise use on the 2nd and 3rd sets). I’ve had good success with that approach. Another option is to just struggle through the first set, and do the best you can knowing it will get better on the subsequent sets.

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      • Thanks for the quick reply Mark, It’s good to know that this happens to others as well. I’ll have to try backing the weight off on the first set and see if that helps. I had thought about that option, but was kind of worried that if I did so It’d just be painful on the second set instead of the first, I guess I’ll just have to play around with the weight to figure out the sweet spot where I can still get through the first set, but it’ll toughen up my fingers for the subsequent sets. Thanks again!

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  20. Can you provide any recommendations on how to safely clean wooden [Metolius] campus rungs? I’m afraid to experiment and inadvertently make them even more glassy. I’m hoping you or your readers may have an effective method for maintaining optimal texture. Thanks for your time and consideration.

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    • I don’t have any special wisdom for cleaning rungs. I use a horse hair brush to brush chalk off my rungs several times per session. I think you could probably use a brass brush to remove caked on chalk, and sandpaper to return them to the original finish, but I’ve never done either.

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      • Thanks for the quick reply. I guess I need to just start brushing between sets (something I haven’t been doing). I had myself convinced that would somehow polish them even more. It makes sense that a softer brush would clean without “burnishing”, as it were. Thanks again.

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  21. Hey guys! First off I love the book and am really enjoying it seeing as how this is the first time I have engaged in any kind of systematic training. I am in the second week of my strength phase and have noticed an intense burn in my left forearm especially, comparable to the burn you get when running…..is that just a natural sensation of the muscles and tendons working or is it something to be concerned about in your opionion? Thanks

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  22. when it says “stress proofing” in the calender under base fitness weeks what does that mean? I recently purchased the book and could not find that section.

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    • Zak,

      “Stress-proofing” is described in Chapter 3 (Skill Development). It means rehearsing newly acquired skills until you can reliably perform them even in stressful situations (such as, when you are onsighting a route at your limit, and you are several feet above your highest piece of protection).
      Mark

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  23. Hi Mark- I have been finding your book an enlightening read so far. I have a question that I hope you can assist me with: I am terrible at doing lock-offs and some other training methods recommend the use of locking the elbow at 45 and 90 degrees on the fingerboard on various holds as part of the training.
    -Would you feel that this is useful or does it just damages the finger/elbow joints?
    -Are there any other ‘more gradual’ ways of training this weakness? The pulley system of hangboading to remove weight isn’t available at the gyms near me.

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    • I don’t recommend doing any pull exercises on a hangboard, because keeping your hands/palms in a fixed position as you pull is hard on the elbows. The best way to go is to use free-hanging rings (such as Gymnastic rings or Rock Rings) that allow your hands to rotate.

      I think the exercise you mention (sometimes called “Frenchies”) can be helpful. What really helped me was “Lock-off Laps” (described on this blog–search “Whole Body Strength Training”). They are great because you still have your feet on the wall, so it’s very sport-specific and helps train the technique and core aspects of locking off. They also make it really easy to vary the intensity by adjusting reps and the duration of your lock-off. Campusing will help as well, by increasing the recruitment of your pull muscles.

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  24. Hello, firstly, thank you for this resource. It is much appreciated.

    I’m having an issue I’m hoping one of you may have some helpful advice for me about how to correct it.

    First off, I have no shoulder injuries and experience no shoulder pain while climbing except in during some weird tweaky positions (expected) and during big lock offs (my main concern). I’ve been avoiding big lock offs since they hurt either shoulder, but avoiding / resting doesn’t seem to help me to be able to do big lock offs without shoulder pain that makes me abandon the move immediately out of fear of doing some damage.

    For example, on the campus board. Starting on 1, bumping to 2, then when I bump to 3 I can start to feel a small amount of pain in the lower shoulder where I am locking off. If I try to bump to 4, which I have the strength for, the lower, locked off shoulder will start to hurt significantly and so I avoid doing this on routes and the campus board. It happens on either shoulder and since I have no shoulder injuries (pre-existing before I started climbing or sustained during climbing) I suspect it may be something more innate to myself and my physiology and I would imagine a decent amount of other people as well (impingement? restricted range of motion? Improper form? Combination of these?).

    I see people doing much large moves on the campus board and ask them and they say it doesn’t cause their locked off shoulder any pain. I’m looking for some type of exercises/stretches I may be able to do regularly to help correct this issue. I realize it may be hard to diagnose without first hand observation, but I would guess this issue would be whatever is most common for people with no shoulder injuries who encounter shoulder pain while doing big lock offs so I’m hoping that is a known with a known protocol to treat.

    I can do a 1 arm lock offs on pull up bars without shoulder pain, but it is not as big of a lock off (lock off that starts getting closer to needing to be transitioned into a mantle / dip / muscle up is more where the problem lies). Also, when doing a 1 arm lock off on a pull up bar, if there were parallel to the pull up bar, I am ‘sideways’, not the same position as on a climbing wall facing the wall. This picture shows the position I am in when doing 1 arm lock offs on a pull up bar http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-IVEFAD4yw4w/UN67r29kgaI/AAAAAAAADdg/0XqUmfDnGZA/s1600/20120718_ejercicio+dominada+a+2+brazos+y+bloqueo+1+brazo+01+300×400.jpg

    Thanks in advanced for any advice. Take care!

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    • Neil,

      The pain you are referring to is fairly common. I think the problem is actually a lack of strength rather than any type of acute injury. I used to experience this any time I tried a “deep” lock like the ones you describe. Then after a few years of campusing, it improved to the point that it would only hurt really badly the first campus session of each season. Now, after about 8 years of regular, serious campusing, I don’t experience that pain at all (despite doing much deeper locks than I could before).

      I never did anything specific to address this pain. I just continued to work my pull muscles through the various Supplemental Exercises described on this site, and gritted my teeth through the biggest campus moves. In retrospect, it would have been wise to include some rotator cuff exercises a long time ago (I started doing a suite of rotator cuff exercises in 2014, but I would recommend that any climber start doing them as soon as they take up climbing).

      If you want to be more proactive, I would suggest training some deep locks on rings, with an emphasis on pinning your elbow to your side (which is what distinguishes the painful campus board locks from the locks you may perform on a pull-up bar or rings). In any situation where you are trying to overcome a lack of strength, the key is to identify the weak movement, and then replicate it in a controlled manner that allows you to progressively increase resistance as you improve.

      Good luck,
      Mark

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  25. Hi,

    In the section on training for trad climbing includes a sample program calendar. The strength phase includes days of Outdoor Roped Bouldering, which include the comment “hard trad.” Can you share more insights about this type of training?

    Would you TR hard trad routes? Or lead routes which are easy to protect and hang on each piece? Or lead “at your limit” without intentionally hanging on the gear? Or mock lead?

    Is part of the exercise intended to help strengthen your mental game and build trust in the protection? Any advice would be appreciated.

    Like

  26. Hi, I’m writing a book and I’d like it to be as accurate as possible. I don’t have much knowledge on climbing gear, but I’m at a scene where 4 characters are on the 30th floor of a skyscraper and they need to descend safely (and fairly quickly, even if it’s not exactly realistic) to the ground level using the cables of the elevator. (the power is completely dead) I came across something called a PETZL stop descender and it fits the bill but I don’t think it would work on stiff parallel metallic wires, the model I looked at doesnt really work that way as the ropes need to be wrapped passed these friction gears or something. But again, I don’t really know. I’d like them to go down as pairs (if possible) They have a ‘mystery’ duffle bag, I figured it could contain harnesses and ‘maybe’ gloves along with a couple of stop descender type of devices. but its an action scene and it takes place in a somewhat futuristic setting. Is there anything currently in existence for emergency service workers to quickly descend those stiff metal elevator wires? please email me @ pjr235@gmail.com if you have any information or advice. My main concern is, with harnesses or not, can they descend using a hand operated device without rubbing up against the cable they are descending. Sorry if that’s a confusing concern but any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Like

  27. Just a question about wall angle.

    I’m building a home wall for training and have high ceilings. I’m from Vancouver, Ca, but often go down to Smith Rock. My dream route is Chain Reaction.

    Just wondering what you would suggest for a wall angle for my home wall? I was going to do 30°, but I was reading your article about most North American walls being rarely really steep and the photos you posted showing 10° climbs.

    I’m not a super strong climber.. I climb 5.9/5.10. Any suggestions? Want it to be good for ATC and limit bouldering.

    Like

    • Derek,

      I think for where you’re at, a wall in the 10-degree range would be great. If you have high ceilings you can still get good height out of a less-steep wall, and the climbing at Smith is rarely steeper than vertical (your dream route notwithstanding).
      Mark

      Like

  28. Hi Mark,

    I’m trying to lose ~20-25 lbs to get back to my approx weight when I was climbing my hardest. I’ve been reading some of your articles like:

    https://rockclimberstrainingmanual.com/2012/04/30/the-no-effort-plan-to-improved-performance/
    and
    https://rockclimberstrainingmanual.com/training-for-rock-climbing/weight-management/

    But it’s not clear to me if there are other things I can do to help with the weight loss. If most cardio is out due to potentially building up too much leg mass, then what can I do aside from dieting? Should I start my cycle with a solid month of ARCing/circuits perhaps?

    Adam

    Like

    • Adam,

      Most weight-loss experts agree that diet is the most important factor in weight loss, so that is the best place to start. That doesn’t mean exercise should be totally neglected, it’s just a matter of selecting the best exercises. In my experience, aerobic training is not the best form of exercise for weight loss, but YMMV. Lots of people have good luck with high volume weight training. I would recommend doing a normal Rock Prodigy-style training program, combined with 30-45 minutes (each training day) of high volume weight training. Select exercises from the Whole Body Strength Training section of Chapter 6, but reduce the resistance so that you can complete 15-20 reps per set. Try to keep the rest between sets as minimal as possible so you can keep your heart rate up the entire time.

      Good luck!
      Mark

      Like

  29. Hi Mark,

    I have a question regarding training for endurance and/or power endurance. So when I follow the exercises in the book for either endurance or power endurance, I seem to always get distracted. For instance if I’m working some 4×4 or ARCing, after a while my attention starts to drift to other routes in the gym, or other projects etc. I’m having trouble with focused training for endurance through climbing exercise.

    I’m curious if there’s a way to build endurance or power endurance from the hangboard or campus board, and also is there a way to do this with pull-ups as well? For instance would sets of pullups/frenchies be beneficial for endurance training? Endurance and Power Endurance are my main weaknesses in pushing my climbing forward and I’d really like to find a dedicated/focused method that could work for me, and for some reason when I’m doing explicit training exercises like hangboarding or campusing I don’t get distracted and maintain focused.

    Thanks!

    Matt

    Like

    • Matt,

      Frenchies or other lock-off training can be helpful, but it’s doubtful that is the limiting factor in your climbing endurance, so I wouldn’t make them the primary emphasis of your training. Chances are your forearms are the limiting factor. It is possible to train PE on the campus board if your board is set up for Foot-on campusing. It’s as simple as laddering up and down the board (with feet on) until you achieve the desired Time Under Tension. Repeat with multiple sets as you would for any other PE exercise. In theory I suppose you could train PE on a hangboard, but I wouldn’t recommend it due to the lack of movement involved.

      Mark

      Like

      • Hey Mark,

        Thanks for your response. Out of curiosity, is there anything I will be missing by training endurance by foot campusing instead of on the wall at the gym or outside (i.e. any trait that I won’t be training)?

        Thanks!

        Matt

        Like

  30. Hey Mark/Mike,

    I have a question about training 2 and 3 finger pocket strength training. I live in Bend so I climb a lot of pockets (either at Smith or surrounding areas), but this seems to be a weakness for me. I’d like to start building the strength on the hangboard and I was curious about using the IMR/MRP pockets versus doing IMR/MRP on the traditional 4-finger holds (on your Trango HB). Is there a benefit to training the specific pockets versus taking fingers on/off on the 4-finger holds or vice versa?

    Cheers,

    Matt

    Like

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