Lattice Training, led by accomplished UK climbers and coaches, Tom Randall and Ollie Tor, offers clients with personalized training programs to help climbers reach their specific goals. In a recent collaboration with EpicTV, Tom and Ollie offered their expertise in various training regimens for building endurance, strength, and power.
Below you will find a summary of these various training structures accompanied by videos so that you can put their expertise to the test.
Short on time but eager to improve your endurance?
Tom and Ollie argue that contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to spend countless hours in the gym performing circuits on routes to build endurance. Instead, they advocate for a shorter form of endurance training that you can perform in just 20 minutes.
By pursuing these workouts twice per week for a period of 8 weeks, they suggest that you will see significant gains in your endurance. They recommend a 50:50 ratio between the two exercises below (e.g., performing one of each every week).
20-minute endurance boost
20 minutes = 2 x 8 min climbing + 2 x 2 min resting
- Only to be performed at the end of a climbing session
- Cimb almost the entire time
- Traverse or climb vertical walls
- Maintain a very low level of pump
- Climb grades considerably lower than maximum level (e.g., onsight 5.12c —> climb 5.10a/b)
- Should feel relaxed enough to talk
10 x (1 min climb + 1 min rest) = 20 minutes
- Only to be performed at the end of a climbing session
- Aiming for moderate to high level of pump
- 50% climbing, 50% rest
- Should feel hard, but not at your limit
- Perform on easier grades if failing at the end of your workout
Shoulder strength and stability (with TRX & rings)
Your shoulders are among the most important parts of your body to keep healthy for climbing. And to prevent injury, Tom and Ollie suggest incorporating three simple exercises, utilizing the TRX and rings.
To perform these exercises safely, it is absolutely critical that you maintain proper form. They suggest the following principles in body positioning:
- Keep an open chest
- Maintain a depressed scapular
- Keep distance between shoulders and ears
Exercise 1: low row into reverse fly
Great for strengthening your shoulders, arms, and back, this two-part exercise uses the TRX.
The first part of this exercise is performed by:
- Grabbing the handles of the TRX with your arms extended
- Leaning back with ropes taught and body at an angle
- Then, with palms facing in towards each other, pull up towards handles to chest level
- Release and repeat 8-10 times
Then, immediately begin the second part of this exercise by:
- Taking a step back to create less of an angle
- With palms facing in, pull handles apart with arms slightly bent
- Reach the point where your arms are horizontal to floor
- Slowly lower back down
- Complete 5 repetitions
Together, this makes 1 set. Perform 3 sets total.
Exercise 2: varied pullups
Using the rings this time, you will perform two different types of pull-ups, intended to strengthen your arms while in different positions on the wall.
While performing these, ensure that your:
- Shoulders are engaged
- Belly is sucked in
- Neck is long
Narrow and wide pullups
- First, perform 8 narrow-arm pullups, keeping your elbows close to your body
- Immediately following, perform 5 wide-arm pullups, engaging larger muscles in your shoulder/back
Together, this is 1 set. Perform 3 sets total.
Exercise 3: pushup to I, Y, W
This exercise—the hardest of the three—works your entire core and strengthens your shoulders in the extended position.
To perform this exercise:
- Take the handles of the TRX and place yourself in a pushup position
- Move your arms forward into an “I” position, with palms facing down
- Then spread your arms apart into a “Y” position overhead
- Pause, then bend your elbows to create a “W” shape with your arms
- Pause, then reverse that entire movement
This is 1 repetition. Repeat 5 times to make 1 set. Perform 3 sets total.
To make this exercise harder, lower the position of your body’s angle to the ground. To make it easier, increase this angle.
Many climbers assume that power endurance is the ability to endure pump as you climb harder and harder. In reality, however, power endurance is the ability to maximize your aerobic energy production to avoid the pump and continue climbing at a high level.
To improve power endurance, Tom notes two vital components:
- Improving the aerobic function in your muscles
- Focusing on working the pump toward the end of your training cycle
Note: it is not advised to do this type of training continuously. Tom recommends focusing on power endurance for an eight-week period, performing this style of training twice per week, with a rest week halfway through.
This type of interval training with small rests stresses the aerobic system without causing a severe pump.
- Start by choosing a climb at or slightly above your redpoint level
- Work the climb into 4 sections, figuring out the time it takes to climb each section
- Climb a section and follow with a rest at 50% of the time it takes to climb that section
- After you have climbed and rested through all four sections, you have completed 1 set
Depending on your fitness level, attempt to do 2-4 sets total.
Before gearing up to tackle your project—essentially the last 4 weeks of your training period—is when you’ll want to increase the intensity of this training routine.
To do so, you’ll want to reduce the rest period of your climb by 5 seconds in each section; bringing the intensity higher and the pump just manageable enough to finish. Make sure to choose a climb that replicates the style, intensity, and duration of your project.
Hangboard training is a tried-and-true tool for increasing forearm and tendon muscles as well as contact strength in our fingers. Tom recommends embarking on hangboard training while fresh but following a solid warm-up, and with project-focused grips in mind.
Perform these exercises once per week until you’ve adapted. Advanced climbers can pursue this type of training 2-3 times per week.
Exercise 1: muscle recruitment
This first hangboard exercise works to engage muscles more rapidly, rather than on increasing muscles size.
- Find a one-arm hang that you can only complete for 5-10 seconds (can use assistance of a weighted pulley)
- Hold for 6 seconds with an open crimp
- Repeat 4 times for each hand to make 1 set
- Rest for two minutes
- Perform a 2nd set
Exercise 2: hypertrophy
The second exercise focuses on increasing muscle size in your forearms and finger muscles.
- Find a 2-handed hold that you can hold for a maximum of 30 seconds
- Hang for 5 seconds on, take 5 seconds off, for a total of 60 seconds
- Rest for 3 minutes
- Perform a 2nd set
Make sure to vary grip positions from session to session.
To learn more about Lattice Training, visit their website.
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