TRAINING

Training Center

Welcome to the new NICROS’ Training Center, the ultimate training-for-climbing resource! Only here will you find leading-edge sport science and over 30 years of experience dovetailed into a single free website that will help you train smarter and climb harder!

Regardless of your climbing preference—bouldering, sport climbing, or trad routes—we will bring you fresh ideas and techniques to help improve your climbing. We welcome you to send us a training question and to subscribe to our monthly training e-newsletter, TC Beta (sent out around the middle of each month).

Nicros is proud to produce some of the world’s best and most innovative climbing walls, holds, and training products. Whether you are building a home wall, climbing gym, or just buying a few holds, we look forward to hearing from you. You can place an order on this site or by calling 1-800-699-1975.


Featured Articles – April 2016

  • Wrist Stabilizer and Finger Extensor Training – The finger flexor muscles are the target of most climbing-specific exercises, yet the important finger extensors and wrist stabilizers are often overlooked. A large strength deficit in these finger/wrist extensor muscles is a covert limiting factor in grip strength and, long-term, can lead to lateral elbow pain and injury. In this article you’ll learn two must-do exercises. Read more >>
  • Question & Answer – Round 142: Hi Eric, I’ve been wondering…how do elite climbers make hard routes and boulder problems look easy? Is there a certain factor in their technique or fitness that allows them to pull through hard moves with a high level of gracefulness and efficiency despite the moves being really hard? And if so, what are some training techniques I can put to use? — Carter (Canada) Read all of this month’s Q&As >>
  • Video: Alex Johnson’s “Birthday Challenge”!
    I love birthday challenges–I do them myself each year…and I recommend you do too! It’s a fun, motivating, and memorable endeavor. In this video you’ll see NICROS athlete Alex Johnson’s fun day on the rocks! Watch now! >>

 

  • My Favorite Core Exercise – Windshield Wipers – This is a fantastic—and relatively difficult—exercise that targets the abdominals, obliques, and all the muscles of the upper torso and shoulders. Read more >>
  • Question & Answer – Round 141: Hi Eric, There is a big discrepancy between my sport climbing and my bouldering level. I climb 5.12c in a few tries, whereas some 6C boulders feel just impossible. I believe I am missing power and explosiveness. Would that be a good approach to tackle this biggest weakness of mine? –Asparuh (Netherlands) Read all of this month’s Q&As >>
  • TC Performance Podcast: “Risk & Fear Management for Outdoor Climbing”
    Perhaps nothing is more elemental to climbing than fear. Becoming a better climber, then, requires that you learn to understand and manage your fears. One of the most important tools for dealing with fear—and climbing your best—is effective risk management…which is the topic of this podcast. By becoming a better risk manager, you will be able to better evaluate your fears, climb well in potentially dangerous situations, and live to climb another day. Listen now! >>

 

  • Intro to Hangboard Training – While climbing is, first and foremost, a mental and technical skill sport, long-term improvement—and pursuing your genetic potential—demands getting stronger in a number of climbing specific ways. Numerous research studies have confirmed that elite climbers, compared with non-elites, have higher grip-strength-to-mass ratio, greater forearm endurance, and a higher rate of force development in the finger flexors. Read more >>
  • Question & Answer – Round 140: Hi Eric, I am competing in a bouldering comp this summer and I want to perform my best. I have been training harder and more systematic than ever before, including one month of purely hangboarding followed by two weeks of campus board and other power training. What do you advise I do in my last couple climbing workouts to perform at my best in the comp? –Brad (Lousiana) Read all of this month’s Q&As >>
  • Video: Adam Ondra & Chris Sharma projecting in Spain – Every serious climber should watch this 20-minute video revealing the process of working on the world’s hardest sport climb, La Dura Dura (5.15c/9b+). Lots of power and inspiration in this video. Enjoy!

 

  • Goal-Setting for the New Year (& Beyond)! – The beauty of training and performance goals is that there is always room for more improvement and you’ll never run out of classic must-do climbs to train for! Here are five tips to make your goal setting most effective. Read more >>
  • Question & Answer – Round 139: Hi Eric, I am 17 years old and I can boulder V5s without too much difficulty and V6s with a little work. I am about to have 8 weeks off for the holidays and I was wandering what’s the best way to improve my bouldering ability throughout this period? –Lissie (United Kingdom) Read all of this month’s Q&As >>
  • Video: Training with Shauna Coxsey & Alex Megos – It’s not every day that you can get insight into how of two of the world’s strongest climbers train. Thanks to this Café Kraft video you get to see Shauna Coxsey (V14 English boulderer) and 5.15b-climbing rock star, Alex Megos, do their thing!

 

  • Hypergravity Pull-up Training – American free-climbing legend Tony Yaniro famously pointed out that “if you cannot pull through a single hard move, then you have nothing to endure.” So it’s with this sentiment that you must resolve to acquire higher and higher levels of maximum strength with each passing training cycle and climbing season. Read more >>
  • Question & Answer – Round 138: I’ve been training a lot lately (25 days per month), but I feel like my climbing is actually getting worse as my flash ability has gone down. My tendons feel weak, my knuckles hurt, and my knees are bugging me. Might this be overtraining? I’d love you opinion. –Skyler (California)
  • Video: System Training with Alex Johnson – Nicros athlete, Alex Johnson, has set a goal for 2016: Boulder V14 and redpoint 5.14! To reach this goal Alex has embarked on a dedicated training program, one facet of which is some targeted System Wall training. In this video Alex presents general guidelines for effective System Wall training, as well as a few of her favorite System Wall exercises.

 

  • Exercise of the Month: Uneven-Grip Pull-Up – This is an excellent exercise for developing one-arm and lock-off strength, and it’s a good addition for most intermediate and advanced climbers. Read more >>
  • Question & Answer – Round 137: I’m feeling desperate to reach the next level of climbing, and it seems like my last resort is very high volume climbing. What are your thoughts on training 7 days a week? –Jared (Tennessee)
  • Vodcast: The Power of Proactive Positive Thinking – As physical as climbing is, it is even more so a challenging mental endeavor. Being technically sound and physically honed is not enough to navigate a high-ball boulder problem, maximum-difficulty lead, intimidating big wall, or treacherous mountain. Ultimately, your climb with your mind—your hands and feet are simply an extension of your thoughts and will. Becoming a master climber, then, requires that you first become a master of your mind. Listen in >>

 

  • Overview of Maximum Strength Training – In climbing, your level of maximum strength in the forearm flexor and pulling muscles (of the arms and torso) is a common physical limitation. So what is the best way to train this all-important attribute? Read more >>
  • Question & Answer – Round 136: Hello Eric! I’m getting back into climbing after a fairly long absence (8 years). How can I safely get back into the sport while maximizing progression? Would it be best to just do more general climbing for the next year or so, plus cardio and core exercises, before starting a more formal climbing specific training plan? –Jamie (Missouri)
  • Video: What happens when Alex Megos, Tommy Caldwell, Emily Harrington, and Hazel Findlay get together for a workout?! Watch video >>

 

  • 4 Tips for Becoming Head Stronger  – While more physical strength can never hurt, realizing your potential in climbing demands that you strengthen your technical and mental game as well. Amazingly, a few simple tweaks in your technique, tactics, and mental game can yield a greater gain in apparent strength than a whole year of training in the gym! Read more >>
  • Question & Answer – Round 135: Hi Eric, Is strength training and building muscle mass in the lower body detrimental to climbing success? –Kinza (Texas)
  • Video: Adam Ondra Flashes “Jade” (V14/8B+) Watch the world’s hardest bouldering flash ascent–Adam almost makes it look easy! #Inspiration Watch video >>

 

  • 10 Do’s & Don’ts for Effective Redpointing – Projecting is the process of working a route near, or beyond, your current limit with the goal of solving and sending the climb as hastily as possible. Here are ten does and don’ts to working—and succeeding—on your projects! Read more >>
  • Question & Answer – Round 134: Hi Eric, My first year of climbing I became strong quickly and improved steadily, yet recently I have plateaued. So I’m thinking about doing some targeted training, and I have a few questions for you… –Elissa (Boston, MA)
  • Video: A New Forearm Warm-up Exercise
    Here’s a forearm extensor muscle warm-up exercise that you’ve probably not seen before. Using a simple wooden dowel, you and a partner will be able to warm-up the often overlooked extensor muscles. Executing a proper forearm muscle warm-up, including some stretching of the extensors and flexors, will lower injury risk and help you to perform better when climbing/training. Watch video >>

 

  • The Art of Route Selection – While many climbers simply pick routes that look good or are highly recommended or considered classic, you can improve your performance and the learning value of your time spent climbing by purposefully picking routes that match your mission for the day. Following are three issues to consider in choosing the perfect line. Read more >>
  • Question & Answer – Round 133: Dear Eric, What’s the best way to learn to climb more with the legs and less with the arms? I’m a struggling beginner and my arms tire quickly. –Alice (California)
  • Video: Effective Forearm Antagonist Training for Climbers
    If you climb regularly—and even more so if you doing hangboard and/or campus training—then it’s essential that you train the muscles of the lateral forearm which act as antagonist stabilizers to the forearm flexor (agonist) muscles used in gripping the rock. Many climbers do not train the antagonists, and the long-term result is often pain and in some cases lateral tendinosis. In this video you will learn the two best exercises for training the antagonist muscles in a climbing-specific way. Watch video >>

 

  • My Perspective: Youth Climbing and Age-Appropriate Training – The recent incredible achievements (V14 & 5.14) of a handful of American and European youth climbers has made youth training a hotly debated topic. As veteran climber and both a parent and coach of two elite youth climbers, I’ve spent much time the last decade researching and developing a youth climbing philosophy that I feel it safe, effective, and appropriate. I’ve written extensively on this subject—and the importance of activity and developmental “balance”—and in this article I will share some insights and tips for discerning coaches and parents of youth climbers. Read more >>
  • Question & Answer – Round 132: I have been bouldering for about 11 months, and while I see the improvement of my fellow climbers, I don’t seem to be improving at all! This is really frustrating to me. Any suggestions as to what I can do to spur on improvement? – Shirley (California)
  • TC Performance Podcast: “The Power of Proprioception”
    While climbing may seem to be a relatively simply and intuitive skill, moving with balance and precision in the vertical plane is actually quite complex. The exquisite, flowing movements of an elite climber result as a harmonious aggregate response to the contractions of agonists and antagonists muscles, and a wealth of sensory exteroception and proprioception. In this podcast you will learn how to foster your sense of proprioception and how to use proprioceptive cues to succeed quickly on crux moves and max sequences. Listen now! >> (please allow ~10 seconds for audio to download)

 

  • The “10-4 Rule” – A Guideline for Projecting (and Steady Improvement): I’m often asked what’s a reasonable amount of time (or number of redpoint attempts) to invest into a project  before taking a break from the route. My projecting guideline for weekend warriors is what I call the “10-4 Rule”…it’s a rule that will help you maximize improvement, build confidence, and have the most fun! Read more >>
  • Question & Answer – Round 131: Hi Eric! Thank you so much for the articles you write, they are awesome! I read the two parts of your article named “training muscular endurance” and found it very good. My question is whether I can perform these methods (two or more) in the same day of strength training in the gym. I train 2 day per week in the gym and on the weekends I climb on the rock. It is better to focus the endurance in one week and in the other week focus on strength? Or I can train both in the same day or week? –Gabriel (Brazil)
  • TC Performance Podcast: “Accelerated Learning of Climbing Skills” 
    Despite being as intuitive and natural as walking or running, climbing can be a remarkably complex and demanding activity. Consider that the climbing gyms and crags of the world offer a playing field of infinite variation and demand for skilled performance. Compound this with the potential for adrenaline-releasing risk and the perplexing challenge of ascending a steep, intimidating wall, and it becomes apparent that that climbing is indeed a most complex sporting activity. The goal of this podcast, then, is to provide a primer on the subject of skilled performance that will empower you to learn and develop climbing skills most effectively and rapidly. Listen now! >>

 

  • Importance of Preclimb Rituals: A tall, steep sport route can be daunting, intimidating, and sometimes even a little scary. It should not be surprising, then, that your thoughts and emotions in the minutes leading up to a climb will strongly influence how you perform on the routeit might even predetermine the outcome.  Learn how to set the stage for peak performance >>
  • Question & Answer – Round 130: I have a trip planned to RMNP and Mt. Evans in September and have been training harder than ever. I’m currently in the third week of the strength phase of my 3-2-1, and I have some questions about the anaerobic phase that I was hoping you could help me out with. In Training for Climbing, you recommend some higher end climbers to do two days on with two days off (rest). I was wondering how you might structure those two workouts? –William (Louisiana)
  • TC Performance Podcast: Climbing Performance “X-Factors”
    Ever wonder what intangibles make great climbers great? Learn the “X-factors” that help make greats like Ondra, Megos, Skinner, Hill, Gill, Caldwell, Jorgeson, and other climbers who break barriers and do the “impossible.” Learn how you can train–and live–with greater personal power…and grow towards achieving “impossible” goals, both on and off the rock! Listen now! >>

 

  • Overview of HIT System Workouts for Building Maximum Grip Strength: It’s now been more than 20 years since I developed this NICROS’ training system and protocol, and H.I.T. workouts are now used by thousands of climbers across the U.S., Europe, Asia, Australia, and South America as part of their training program. Read more >>
  • Question & Answer – Round 129: I am curious what types of weights to use to add to my body for hypergravity training? I have seen belts and vests. Is there a “best” method that you recommend? –Dennis (Colorado)
  • TRAINING VIDEO OF THE MONTH: In this Gimme Kraft! video you’ll see coach Korb working with Sasha Digiulian, both on strength and power training, as well as a fitness assessment. You might glean a few new workout ideas…and you’ll certainly be psyched to get training! Watch it now!

 

  • Basic Power Training (Without a Campus Board) The Campus Board is traditionally considered the best power-training tool for climbers–but how can you begin power training if you don’t have a campus board or if you’re not physically strong enough to do a simple campus “ladder” exercise?
  • Question & Answer – Round 128: I’ve read somewhere that you should be able to continuously climb 5.10a/b for 30 minutes without pump if you want to climb 12s. Do you agree with that idea, and if so what should my aerobic endurance training involve to become a strong 5.12 climber? –Andrew (Washington)
  • TRAINING VIDEO OF THE MONTH: Unless you’ve been on or under a rock the past month, you’ve heard about  the completion of the Dawn Wall project on El Capition–now the world’s hardest big wall free climb. Completing the route in January 2015 was the culmination of many years of work and highly specific training. In this video, shot at the end of last year’s big wall season, Kevin Jorgeson articulates beautifully the training process and how he and Tommy Caldwell refined the quality of their training and efficiency of each and every movement so that the climb would someday go free. And it did–congrats boys!

 

  • Training Tips to Climb Harder in 2015! So what’s your New Year’s Resolution? For many of you, I bet that “climb harder” is one of your top 2015 goals. If so, here are five training tips to help you achieve your resolution!
  • Question & Answer – Round 127:I’ve been wondering about the possibilities of reaching a high level of bouldering (V8-V10ish) after starting climbing at a relatively late age. I’m absolutely in love with climbing and I hope to keep getting stronger. I see these people climb V10 and they’re always people who have been climbing for 10+ years. So my question: Is it possible for me to still reach that sort of level? –Cody (Arizona)
  • TRAINING VIDEO OF THE MONTH: A fascinating video of the Germany Climbing Team’s unique workout, as directed by brilliant head coach Udo Neumann.

 

  • Question & Answer – Round 126: Hello Eric! I am 18 and I’ve been bouldering regularly for 2.5 years. I’ve been searching for good ways to train for climbing, but I find that all sources say the same: “while training for power/strength, less is more.” But some other sources say to spend more hours climbing, because it takes 10,000 hours to master something. So how do I combine these? –Sabastien
  • Campus Training – Part 2: Advanced campus training for contact strength and power.
  • TRAINING VIDEO OF THE MONTH: Café Kraft is the world famous climbing gym in Nuremburg, Germany…and it’s the birth place of the Gimme Kraft training center. Here’s a great video with some excellent training exercises featuring Matilda Söderlund gettin’ Kraft! Your can learn more about the Gimme Kraft book.

 

  • Question & Answer – Round 125: Hey Eric, I’m currently working to climb 5.11a, but I have noticed a plateau in my climbing. What advice do you have for helping me get over the 5.10d hump? –Eric (Illinois)
  • Entry-Level Campus Training: The first in a two-part series on campus training for improved contact strength and power.
  • TRAINING VIDEO OF THE MONTH: This is Magnus Midtbø, Norway’s best climber. He can do 6 pull-ups using his middle finger and 60 one-armed pushups. Click here to view the sickness!

 

  • Question & Answer – Round 124:Hey Eric, I’m a 17-year-old Iranian climber, and I’ve been climbing for 6 years. Over this time I managed to climb some 8a projects and I can onsight some 7b routes. I have a great issue in my climbing, however, it that I don’t recover much when I try to rest on the route I’m climbing (maybe 10% recovery if I’m lucky). I’d like to ask you if there is anything I can do to improve my mid-climb recovery? Thanks! – Vala (Iran)
  • Overcoming the Fear of Falling: Advice on pushing your boundaries, taking practice falls, and managing your fears.
  • Creatine Use for Climbers: A good supplement or a pathway to weight gain and a bigger pump?
  • VIDEO: Nicros has funded a mini-documentary on an amazing climbing family you may recognize. The SEND BROS documents the development of Cameron and Jonathan Hörst, two of the best young climbers on the planet. Click here to view the SEND BROS trailer. You can purchase an HD download ($5.00) of the entire SEND BROS film from Three Peak Films.

 

  • Question & Answer – Round 123:Hey Eric, I have climbed indoors a handful of times, and I have thoroughly enjoyed it each time. I’d like to begin some formal training–-any suggestions on classes I could take to improve indoor climbing and develop outdoor climbing skills? –Doug (New York)
  • How to Keep Your Cool on a Challenging Climb: 3 strategies for regaining control in the midst of a difficult route.
  • Projecting 101: 6 Tips for working your project…and FINALLY sending your “lifetime project!”
  • Question & Answer – Round 122:Hey Eric, I have been climbing for about a year and a half, and I frequent the gym at least 4 times per week. I have rapidly progressed to bouldering V5/V6. In order to boulder harder should I just keep climbing or should I add actual strength training elements to my routine? –Will (Connecticut)
  • Using Proprioceptive Cues to Climb Harder: Proprioception is subtle, yet vitally important, physical awareness of your body’s “feel” and movement in space. No matter what you do physically, proprioceptive data from the sensory receptors in your muscles, tendons, joints, and inner ear is available for you to use to determine your effectiveness and quality of movement. Awareness and diligent use of this information is a primary factor separating master climbers from the mass of climbers.
  • VIDEO: Must-watch footage of Adam Ondra’s incredible onsight of “Il Domani” (5.14d/9a) this Spring.
  • Question & Answer – Round 121:Hi Eric, I train together with a friend following your 4-3-2-1 cycle, and we are both really progressing. We climb about the same level, have the same size and weight, and similar strength. Interestingly my friend can climb much longer than me on overhanging, pumpy routes. How can I train to get less pumped on steep routes? –Alexander (Switzerland)

 

  • VIDEO: Inspiring, powerful EPIC-TV segment on NICROS athlete Daniel Woods, along with Jimmy Webb and David Graham, in search of hardest-ever problems.
  • Question & Answer – Round 120:Hi Eric, For the past year I’ve been struggling to improve my maximum strength (without adding another entry to my long list of injuries). Here’s my problem: When bouldering, I’m amazingly strong on my first try (sometimes doing V9-V11), but after just a few problems (or tries) I’m simply awful–I struggle to climb V4! Is my anaerobic endurance lacking? What can I do to improve? –Davi (Brazil)

 

 

  • Core Training – Part 1 – Talk of core conditioning is in vogue these days, and the six-pack-ab look is indeed highly coveted by climbers and nonclimbers alike. So what’s the best method of training these muscles?
    Read more>>
  • VIDEO: Here’s a great interview with NICROS’ athlete Daniel Woods at the Kalimnos climbing festival. Looks like an amazing place to climb!
  • Question & Answer – Round 114: I boulder up to V9 and lead 12+, but can’t break into the 5.13 grade. What one or two things should I should focus on to help me break the 5.13 barrier? –Todd (Lexington, KY)
  • Effective Pull-up Training – Part #1 – This most obvious exercise for climbers is very useful for beginners, but it’s next to worthless for enhancing the capabilities of an elite climber. If you are unable to do a single set of 15 pull-ups then you should continue training with them about three days per week…
    Read more>>
  • VIDEO: Watch NICROS Athlete Daniel Woods sending The Wheel of Life (9a/V16), one of the hardest boulder problems in the word, at the Grampians of Victoria, Australia!
  • Question & Answer – Round 112: Having just relocated to Lexington, KY, I’m really looking forward to climbing at the Red River Gorge. However, between a busy new job, a wife who works full time, and two very young kids, I’ll probably only get to the Red a couple times per month and the only training materials I have at home are some rock rings, a pull up bar, and a hangboard. How can I train enough at home (with these limited tools) so I don’t get pumped silly when I do have the time to get to the gorge? –Scott (Kentucky)
  • Kid Crushers – An Overview of Training Youth Climbers – With the growing popularity of youth climbing competitions and the recent press of pre-teen climbers sending V12 and 5.14 routes, many parents and coaches are curious about the best way for a youth climber to train. In this article you’ll learn how to foster a youngster’s interest in climbing, while at the same time keeping it safe and fun!
    Read more>>
  • VIDEO: RMNP is one of the best summer destinations for bouldering in American. Watch NICROS Athlete Jon Cardwell take down some hard alpine problems!
  • Question & Answer – Round 111: A big goal of mine for the last few years has been to train hard enough to onsight my first 5.13. I have been climbing long enough to know that each person’s training should be specific and determined by a number of variables. What I don’t know is if to climb at this level one needs to focus on intensity or just putting more time in? –Nate (Colorado)
  • 6 Enemies of Your Concentration – Researchers have compared successful and less-successful performers and determined that the ability to maintain concentration is a primary discriminating factor. The best performers were less likely to be distracted by irrelevant stimuli or to succumb to worry and outcome-oriented thoughts. Read more>>
  • Question & Answer – Round 109: After training this winter, I was really stoked to get back on real rock because I’ve been dying to get to V7, but last weekend when we finally got out I realized that I’ve gotten way stronger indoors with major improvements, but outside on the boulders, I seem to be stuck at V6. Is there something more to my training (other than getting back outside every weekend) that I need to add to bust through this plateau? Thanks a lot for the help Eric! –Megun (Tennessee)