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Training Program for V10/5.13 Climbing

Original Post
Dalton Miller · · Champaign, IL · Joined Aug 2019 · Points: 0

I’m wanting a safe training program to get me started. I’ve never really trained, just would climb often and push myself through harder routes and problems. As I’ve gotten older and am less able to get to my gym I am now realizing that that is not a feasible way of staying strong and would like a training program to keep me climbing hard and motivated for the occasional times I can get outside. Currently I’d say I’m v8ish climber with hardly any endurance and I think an obtainable goal for me would be the topic title. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!

I have the motherboard hangboard at my house and access to a campus board and moon board. I think I would benefit greatly if I had some structure when I climb at the gym to harvest the benefits when I get outside. Thanks guys and gals!

Richard R · · DC · Joined Jun 2016 · Points: 0

By far the biggest performance boost for me (starting as a decent boulderer with really bad endurance) was to add regular ARCing to my schedule. That's aerobic restoration and capillary training, as it's called in the rock climber's training manual. You try to spend a looong time on the wall without ever stepping down, increasing or decreasing the intensity so you're always kind of pumped but never so pumped you'll fall. I've heard that you start seeing gains when you spend >20 minutes on the wall, so I shoot for a 30-minute block, a rest, then a harder 15-20 minute block if I have time, 2x a week for progression or 1x for maintenance. I do system walls at 0-10 degrees of overhang, traversing at uncrowded gyms, or autobelays, listening to music or podcasts so I stay sane. It's not the funnest ever, but on the plus side you can do it effectively even when you're having a super high-gravity day and it can combine with other types of sessions easily. After a month or two you'll hopefully notice getting pumped less and recovering more on rest holds.

For endurance, ARCing really felt like the magic bullet that made me jump many grades over a year and a half or so. Others will hopefully have better ideas about making the V8 to V10 jump.

Xan Calonne · · Yucca Valley · Joined Mar 2010 · Points: 35

You sound like a naturally skilled climber. I appreciate that you are seeking advice and help, and it's cool that you have some (vague) goals, but your query is so very general. Every individual is different, and the kind of extremely non-specific information you seek can be found in any of the already  existent and widely available training resources. Rather than asking random people on the internet I would suggest you invest a little money in a book written by a professional and think about what would work best for you. There is no such thing as a silver bullet to climbing glory, but the closest thing will be the sense of satisfaction you derive from guiding your own development and progress towards your personal goals.

Dalton Miller · · Champaign, IL · Joined Aug 2019 · Points: 0
Xan Calonne wrote: You sound like a naturally skilled climber. I appreciate that you are seeking advice and help, and it's cool that you have some (vague) goals, but your query is so very general. Every individual is different, and the kind of extremely non-specific information you seek can be found in any of the already  existent and widely available training resources. Rather than asking random people on the internet I would suggest you invest a little money in a book written by a professional and think about what would work best for you. There is no such thing as a silver bullet to climbing glory, but the closest thing will be the sense of satisfaction you derive from guiding your own development and progress towards your personal goals.

I’m just laughing right now bc thats probably the correct answer but I literally just set down a training book and was trying to get a quick easy answer off the internet from random people. I hate reading but for the sake of glory I guess I’ll read.


If I had to ask another vague question tho, since I haven’t trained I imagine any type of training would help, is there a quick and easy basic strength/power training program I could cultivate just to get me started, say once a week? Part of the reason I am asking people is bc I have no basis for what an appropriate workload for these things would be. Ive always just climbed till I was tired and when you start doing specialized type training I imagine it would open you up greatly towards injury....this being said you may just refer me back to your original response haha
Dalton Miller · · Champaign, IL · Joined Aug 2019 · Points: 0
Richard R wrote: By far the biggest performance boost for me (starting as a decent boulderer with really bad endurance) was to add regular ARCing to my schedule. That's aerobic restoration and capillary training, as it's called in the rock climber's training manual. You try to spend a looong time on the wall without ever stepping down, increasing or decreasing the intensity so you're always kind of pumped but never so pumped you'll fall. I've heard that you start seeing gains when you spend >20 minutes on the wall, so I shoot for a 30-minute block, a rest, then a harder 15-20 minute block if I have time, 2x a week for progression or 1x for maintenance. I do system walls at 0-10 degrees of overhang, traversing at uncrowded gyms, or autobelays, listening to music or podcasts so I stay sane. It's not the funnest ever, but on the plus side you can do it effectively even when you're having a super high-gravity day and it can combine with other types of sessions easily. After a month or two you'll hopefully notice getting pumped less and recovering more on rest holds.

For endurance, ARCing really felt like the magic bullet that made me jump many grades over a year and a half or so. Others will hopefully have better ideas about making the V8 to V10 jump.

Sounds fun, I’ll give it a go. Thanks man

Nick Drake · · Newcastle, WA · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 558

Bechtels ideas in “logical progression” are easy to follow, but if you don’t know a decent amount about training already it might not be enough.
Rctm has a lot of details on training methodology, but I don’t think a linear plan is best for more most climbers who haven’t hit a hard plateau and have access to rock most of the year.

Edit. climbing age/grade does not equate to training age. Keep that in mind looking at things 

Xan Calonne · · Yucca Valley · Joined Mar 2010 · Points: 35
Dalton Miller wrote:

I’m just laughing right now bc thats probably the correct answer but I literally just set down a training book and was trying to get a quick easy answer off the internet from random people. I hate reading but for the sake of glory I guess I’ll read.


If I had to ask another vague question tho, since I haven’t trained I imagine any type of training would help, is there a quick and easy basic strength/power training program I could cultivate just to get me started, say once a week? Part of the reason I am asking people is bc I have no basis for what an appropriate workload for these things would be. Ive always just climbed till I was tired and when you start doing specialized type training I imagine it would open you up greatly towards injury....this being said you may just refer me back to your original response haha

Ha! 

I think you should set a more specific goal (a particular route or boulder, or maybe a flash of a certain grade) and then you would be able to tailor your sessions to help you meet that goal. 

Generally though if your goal is strength and power conditioning, then I would start incorporating limit bouldering sessions into your weekly activities. Rest a lot and try really hard during your attempts. By making your climbing practice more specific, focused, and intentional I would imagine that you can still see gains by just climbing. I also think that one arm lock-off strength is pretty essential for hard bouldering, and you can practice this on a bar. There are many different protocols out there, so search around and find one you like.

If you want to go more towards route climbing, then adding in arc sessions (as others have suggested) is a good start, and you'd eventually want to move towards more specific endurance sessions based around the length (in number of moves, time, etc) of your goal route/routes. There are a ton of different climbing strength endurance exercises (4x4's, linked boulder circuits, route laps, etc) and they all probably work just fine if you are consistent.

Hope this helps!
Dalton Miller · · Champaign, IL · Joined Aug 2019 · Points: 0
Xan Calonne wrote:

Ha! 

I think you should set a more specific goal (a particular route or boulder, or maybe a flash of a certain grade) and then you would be able to tailor your sessions to help you meet that goal. 

Generally though if your goal is strength and power conditioning, then I would start incorporating limit bouldering sessions into your weekly activities. Rest a lot and try really hard during your attempts. By making your climbing practice more specific, focused, and intentional I would imagine that you can still see gains by just climbing. I also think that one arm lock-off strength is pretty essential for hard bouldering, and you can practice this on a bar. There are many different protocols out there, so search around and find one you like.

If you want to go more towards route climbing, then adding in arc sessions (as others have suggested) is a good start, and you'd eventually want to move towards more specific endurance sessions based around the length (in number of moves, time, etc) of your goal route/routes. There are a ton of different climbing strength endurance exercises (4x4's, linked boulder circuits, route laps, etc) and they all probably work just fine if you are consistent.

Hope this helps!

Totally man! Thanks so much

Lex Rodgers · · Fayetteville, WV · Joined Jun 2016 · Points: 70

Check out the free article “The Simplest Finger Training Program” by Dr. Tyler Nelson. There is an accompanying podcast, too. It consists of three different exercises on a hangboard— Recruitment Pulls for strength, Velocity Pulls for tendon stiffness and rate of force development,  and Density Hangs for tendon thickness and health.

Mark Paulson · · Raleigh, NC · Joined Sep 2010 · Points: 141

V10 is usually equated with around 14a.  Your post title is indicative of a phenomenon that’s become more and more prevalent with the gym explosion: people getting strong before they get good.  An inexperienced climber may indeed need V10 strength to climb 13’s, but a good climber should be able to climb a host of 13’s with V8 strength.  If you’re really a V8 climber (able to climb most outdoor V8’s in a single session), then it should only take a few weeks of route-specific endurance training to send most routes up to around 13b.

Jon Frisby · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 120

If you want to climb V10 soon, gaining the endurance necessary for long sport climbs should go on the back burner. You're probably plenty strong to do low 13 routes now that suit your strengths. I climbed 13a before V8 but had a bigger base of fitness than you suggest you have. For V10, the moonboard is going to be your best friend. I'd suggest spending one day per week on V9-10 benchmarks (limit bouldering) and one day on V7-8. If you take this path, lower your goals for sport climbing for a while, getting some 12+ sends on longer routes and 13- on bouldery things. These routes should take 1-2 days each and will get you used to sending rock climbs. But I don't believe that 13c red river pumpfests and V10 power boulders are compatible.

If you want to get well rounded as a 13 climber, you should arc and do more volume-based bouldering.

ETA: if you're over 25 years old, I highly recommend focusing the next several years to strength and power development before your testosterone levels start dropping. I know some really old guys that have continued building endurance through their 40s, 50s, and 60s, but younger is better for power building.

bagel bagels · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2019 · Points: 0

Grab small hold, do hard move

Redyns · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2011 · Points: 60

come up with an ideal weight in your head.  now subtract 10 pounds.  there's your V8 to V10 jump. 

bagel bagels · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2019 · Points: 0
Redyns wrote: come up with an ideal weight in your head.  now subtract 10 pounds.  there's your V8 to V10 jump. 

Cutting beer does wonders for people’s climbing

Sean Onasch · · fort collins · Joined May 2016 · Points: 195
Mark Paulson wrote: V10 is usually equated with around 14a.  Your post title is indicative of a phenomenon that’s become more and more prevalent with the gym explosion: people getting strong before they get good.  An inexperienced climber may indeed need V10 strength to climb 13’s, but a good climber should be able to climb a host of 13’s with V8 strength.  If you’re really a V8 climber (able to climb most outdoor V8’s in a single session), then it should only take a few weeks of route-specific endurance training to send most routes up to around 13b.

I'm going to send 13a long before I even send a v6 . I'm terrible at bouldering though, i still can't get up plenty of v4s outside lol. 

Mark Paulson · · Raleigh, NC · Joined Sep 2010 · Points: 141
Sean Onasch wrote:

I'm going to send 13a long before I even send a v6 . I'm terrible at bouldering though, i still can't get up plenty of v4s outside lol. 

I just picked V8 because the OP said he’s a “V8ish” climber.  I, too, did my first 13 before I’d done an outdoor V6... at that point I’d literally never bouldered outside.   

Dan Austin · · San Francisco, CA · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 0
Mark Paulson wrote: V10 is usually equated with around 14a.  Your post title is indicative of a phenomenon that’s become more and more prevalent with the gym explosion: people getting strong before they get good.  An inexperienced climber may indeed need V10 strength to climb 13’s, but a good climber should be able to climb a host of 13’s with V8 strength.  If you’re really a V8 climber (able to climb most outdoor V8’s in a single session), then it should only take a few weeks of route-specific endurance training to send most routes up to around 13b.

IMO the nuance is that becoming a “good climber” in this sense can require a significant amount of effort beyond a few weeks of getting route specific endurance. Tactics, mental game, micro beta, etc. are different for sport climbing than bouldering (and I would argue that sport is more demanding in these factors, but that’s a separate point!). I don’t think there’s necessarily a short cut for building these skills beyond mileage and filling out the base of the pyramid, so to speak. 

You may get the most bang for your buck by focusing on improving at one discipline at a time. Trying to push new peaks in both disciplines at once may subdivide your focus and efforts. 
Donovan Allen · · Soft Lake City · Joined May 2012 · Points: 402

Dalton, there’s a lot of good info here so far hit ultimately you’re going to have to find what works for you. I would also recommend 4x4 on the moonboard. Also, if you don’t hangboard much right now, repeaters may be your best friend ( it’s important to hangboard correctly, I see too many people hangboarding with 0 scapular stacking, straight arms, and can’t even hold a half crimp). Work on projecting tactics!!

Pick a goal route. This will allow you to keep the goal the goal. Also, check power company out. They have plenty of training plans that you can do through an app, bonus points because you can choose to have communication with a coach. If that’s too pricey, check the Crimpd app, it’s free and would be a great jumping off point.

Don’t over train or over think and take a deload week every 6-8 weeks. One more thing, get on your goal route ASAP. I have a lot of friends who are route climbing specialists that constantly train endurance year round (that’s great for them), I’m a fan of building route fitness on my projects. This allows me to keep a relatively high  (for me) bouldering level going into project mode. I see a lot of people that lose that snappy strength after long bids of endurance training. You got this. Keep the goal, the goal.

Jon W · · Longmont Colorado · Joined Jun 2010 · Points: 75
Sean Onasch wrote:

I'm going to send 13a long before I even send a v6 . I'm terrible at bouldering though, i still can't get up plenty of v4s outside lol. 

You're strong enough and have good enough technique to do 13a now.

Sean Onasch · · fort collins · Joined May 2016 · Points: 195
Jon W wrote:

You're strong enough and have good enough technique to do 13a now.

Thanks for the encouragement Jon! I tore my hamstring shortly after we climbed, so a little set back but coming back strong and hoping to send Dream this weekend. Hope you're doing well man. 

Seth Bleazard · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2018 · Points: 349

If you have access to a moonboard do limit boulder problems do help with power. For endurance just traversing has helped me, but you might want to research power endurance training. 

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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