Project Description

Date: December 22nd, 2016

trainingbeta podcast


About Josh Dreher

Josh Dreher is, among many other things, the husband of Teal Dreher, who was my first “normal person” interview on the podcast. I wanted to do another “normal person” interview, and I thought that Josh would be the perfect follow-up to Teal. I keep putting “normal person” in quotations because Josh is actually quite strong: a V12 climber. So he’s not exactly normal.

However, he’s had much of his success in the past year and a half after losing about 40 pounds and training diligently in his home gym. I found out in the interview that he actually attributes at least 60% of his newfound success to losing weight.

He’s been climbing for about 15 years, and up until about a year ago, he’d done 6 V10’s or harder. After the serious training and the weight loss, he’s done 36 V10’s or harder, and 2 of those were V12’s, which he’d never climbed before.

Pretty impressive. He also has a full-time job and really only trains in his garage, so I thought we could all learn a thing or two from him.

Josh Dreher Interview Details

  • Scheduling training with full-time job
  • How he lost 40 pounds
  • Why he stopped running
  • Moon board training
  • Home gym setup
  • The workout he did right before the interview
  • How he’s designed his training plan
  • Dealing with sweaty hands

Josh Dreher Links

  • Video of Josh bouldering in Squamish

Training Programs for You

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Neely Quinn: Welcome to the Training Beta Podcast, where I talk with climbers and trainers about how we can get a little better at our favorite sport. I’m your host, Neely Quinn, and today we are on Episode 70 where I talk with Josh Dreher.

Josh Dreher is actually the husband of Teal Dreher, who I interviewed a while back as one of my “normal” climbers. You guys really liked that interview, judging by how many people downloaded, so I want to do more “normal” climbers, and I say in quotes, because Josh is actually a v12 climber- he’s really strong. What is special about him is that in the past year and a half is when he’s done most of of his hard climbing. Before a year and a half ago, he had done six v10s or harder, and since then, he’s done, I think, thirty-six v10s or harder. Two of those were v12, and he had never climbed v12 before that.

His success is really impressive to me, and I wanted to know how he did it. I know that he and Teal train really hard, but what came up in the interview is that he actually attributes a lot of success to losing weight- he lost thirty pounds. We ended up talking a lot about that, which hopefully will help some of you guys, because judging by how many e-mails I get from you guys wanting nutrition help- I know there are a lot of you guys out there who want to lose a few points, or maybe even thirty pounds like Josh did. He talks a lot about how he did it, how he keeps the weight off now, if that’s stressful, if he could do what he’s doing at this level if he had kids, which he doesn’t. He does have a full time job, so that’s another thing that I thought you guys could relate with with him, and they train in a home gym. So there’s a lot of really cool things about Josh, and hopefully this will be really inspiring to you. It was very inspiring for me- this conversation made me read a lot more training books, and figure out how I want to continue with my own training. I started training with Mercedes Pollmeier, and I’ll tell you a little bit  more about that later. It’s been really cool, and he got me really psyched, so hopefully he will do the same for you.

Here’s Josh Dreher, enjoy.

Neely Quinn: Welcome to the show Josh, thank very much for being with me today.

Josh Dreher: Absolutely, thanks for having me.

Neely Quinn: Yeah, of course. For anybody who doesn’t know who you are, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Josh Dreher: Sure. I’m Josh. I’m almost 34, I’ll be 34 in January. I’m a structural engineer, so it’s kind of your basic forty hour a week job. It’s pretty flexible, so it allows me to get out and climb and train and whatever else. I’ve been climbing for about sixteen years- there was a little break there early on, but pretty consistently for sixteen years. I live in Washington, about an hour from Seattle, about two hours from good climbing, and about three hours from really, really good climbing. And then about five hours from Squamish, which is world class bouldering when it’s not wet- which it currently is kind of wet. That’s pretty much me. I mostly climb on granite and sandstone, and I should say, I’m mostly a boulderer, we don’t really climb routes much. In the past I’ve done trad and sport climbing, so I’m pretty well rounded with regards to that, but I’m mostly a boulderer now.

Neely Quinn: Cool, that’s a good summation- thanks for that. It was varied and descriptive. So I’m just going to ask you a bunch of questions leading off of that. You’ve been climbing for sixteen years, and in that time, what would you say has been your favorite moment, biggest successes, things like that. What are some shining moments for you?

Josh Dreher: When I was younger, about eleven years ago, I climbed my first v11, which was really exciting for me. The boulder problem was The Egg in Squamish, and I remember watching Chris Sharma do it on this old climbing video Rampage. I got really excited about it, and I wasn’t a very good climber, but I had some strength, and I had persistence- and I had no technique. I just spent day after day on that thing, and finally did it. I was really excited. I think everyone in the forest knew I was excited too.

Neely Quinn: Nice.

Josh Dreher: That was a really big achievement, and then after that I moved to South Dakota to go to school. When I was there, I found a project and I worked on it and I did it, and I graded it v11. I was a little bit of a better climber, and I was also very excited when I did that one, but after that I didn’t really do much until this last year. I didn’t do much that was very difficult, because in college I gained a huge amount of weight just from being in college. Then I actually got burnt out on climbing for a while, and it took a back seat. I don’t know if that’s a good summation.

Actually, to answer your question again, I think this last twelve months has been the shining moment of my climbing, for sure. Before twelve months ago, I had climbed in that sixteen years, six boulder problems at v10 or harder, and in the last twelve months I’ve done thirty-six boulder problems v10 or harder, so that’s been very exciting for me.

Neely Quinn: Wow, that’s amazing.

Josh Dreher: Yeah, yeah.

Neely Quinn: So I’m actually going to go back, and then I want to come back to this. So  you did The Egg- how old were you?

Josh Dreher: I was twenty two or twenty three.

Neely Quinn: Okay, so you started climbing when you were about eighteen, and you were climbing v11 after four years of climbing?

Josh Dreher: I should say- I actually started climbing when I was twelve, and I climbed for two years. Then I got burnt out. Where I grew up, which is near here, there’s no climbing gym and no rock, so all I had was small woodies that I had built.

Neely Quinn: When you were twelve?!

Josh Dreher: Yeah.

Neely Quinn: Nice


Josh Dreher: And I only knew about climbing, because we went to a camp, and there were some top ropes, and I got excited. My grandparents bought me a Climbing Magazine subscription, so that’s what I knew. All I knew was Frederic Nicole, and Chris Sharma- they were my heroes. I wanted to be like them, but then I got burnt out. Then I started climbing again when I was eighteen.

Neely Quinn: That’s so funny that you got burnt out when you were twelve.

Josh Dreher: Yeah I mean, I think when you’re younger your patience is lower. I didn’t have anyone to motivate me, I didn’t have a car. It was a lot easier to get burnt out then.

Neely Quinn: Yeah that sounds rough. But in any case, you had some pretty early success. What would you attribute that to?

Josh Dreher: Probably just persistence, I think. I was pretty fit at the time, and I kind of knew how to climb Squamish style, which is slopey-powerful. But like I said, I wasn’t actually a very good climber. I couldn’t go and flash v6 or anything like that- they always took work.

Neely Quinn: Okay, so everything kind of took work, and you maybe just got lucky on that v11?

Josh Dreher: I got lucky, for sure. I think it was like “Oh, this boulder problem suit me perfectly. Powerful moves on slopers”. But yeah. Anything else- I mean I remember that summer working on v5s and v6s, where I got shut down pretty hard. I also climbed another v9, and a v8, but for the most part I was not a good climber [laughs].

Neely Quinn: Then over the years you did some v10 or harder- I mean, that’s like, pretty solid. That’s an achievement. Were they few and far between, or how did that go?

Josh Dreher: Yes, they were very few and far between. Again, it was kind of like, try forty different boulder problems, do one of them. One that just perfectly suits me, and that was it.

Neely Quinn: So then what?

Josh Dreher: Then what, meaning, what happened in the last twelve months?

Neely Quinn: Yeah. What happened in the last twelve? We’re all dying to know [laughs].

Josh Dreher: Okay [laughs]. I’m sure. I’ll have to preface this- when I was younger, there was no training that really existed that I knew of. It was kind of like, grab a hangboard, crimp on it, hold on has long as you could with body weight. When I did that, I’d get injured almost immediately- I’d get a pulley injury or something- and when you get injured, you just can’t get better. It’s so much harder to get better when you’re injured. If anybody can think back to climbing fifteen years ago, you’ll know that training programs for climbing back in the day were just almost non-existent. There was some Eric Hörst stuff, but it wasn’t specific. It was like- hang for ten seconds with extra weight, or whatever. None of those thing existed.

Neely Quinn: Right- that’s why I made TrainingBeta [laughs].

Josh Dreher: Right, exactly. You made TrainingBeta- you wanted to get better, your friends probably wanted to get better. I’ve listed to probably almost every episode, and really have felt like listening to things like that and reading the Anderson Brother’s book Training for Climbing, and Teal, my wife who you interviewed, she to a program from Kris Peters. I kind of just glommed onto that, doing the core, and doing some of the hangboard stuff.

One of the other big things was, in college, I gained weight. I’m 5’7”, and in college I got up to about 190 pounds, which is pretty big for 5’7”. Pretty big for just a rock climber in general, who’s 5’7”. Climbing got really hard for me, in that time period, and really frustrating. The reason why I gained a lot weight was because there was a lot of studying, and when you’re studying a lot, my brain just wanted glycogen. I would just go to Starbucks, get a iced vanilla latte, a piece of lemon loaf, and the pounds just came on. I didn’t really understand at the time, because I didn’t really know anything about nutrition, but eventually I started doing the research and figuring out why I was so heavy. After college, I got down to about 175, and I was pretty excited. I was like “Okay, I’m a little bit less heavy”. And I did better for sure- that’s the one unfortunate about climbing, is that weight kind of does matter. I think it’s kind of taboo to say that, but it’s true. Unless you’re just naturally thin, then it doesn’t matter, you know? Teal is naturally thin, so she just doesn’t really do much, which I’m kind of jealous of. It’s really hard for me to stay at a weight that I think helps me climb better. It is not for her, and for a lot of people.

The training, doing a lot of training, and then losing weight- those were the really, really big things for me. I don’t think that’s everything- I think that when I was heavier, I learned how to rock climb. I went out and climbed hundreds and hundreds of boulder problems, and routes, and trad routes, and just learned how to be a good technical climber as well. I think a lot of really strong guys can go and get on the Moonboard and climb v11, and they go outside and they can’t climb v8. I think they have the strength to climb v11, but they just don’t have the technique.

Neely Quinn: I’m assuming that you lost weight since you were at 175?

Josh Dreher: Yeah, now I weigh about 147, or 148.

Neely Quinn: Okay, so you lost quite a bit of weight. Forty pounds, since you were in college.

Josh Dreher: Yeah.

Neely Quinn: That’ll help [laughs].

Josh Dreher: That’ll definitely help. And early on in college, I probably weighed in the mid 160s, but that’s when I was climbing a little bit harder. But then I gained it pretty quickly.

Neely Quinn: So in the last twelve months have you lost a bunch of weight?

Josh Dreher: Probably in the past twelve months, I’ve lost about 10 pounds. But just prior to that twelve months, I probably lost about 10 pounds. So I went from about 10ish down to where I am now in the last fourteen or fifteen months.

Neely Quinn: And how much of your success would you attribute to that, and how much would you attribute to training?

Josh Dreher: I’d say 60% weight, 40% training.

Neely Quinn: That’s crazy. Okay, so how did you do it? How’d you lose it?

Josh Dreher: One of the big things that helped me was I read the Anderson Brother’s book. In that, they kind of talk about weight loss. They talk about how it’s so important, and how one of them went from flashing 13b to flashing 13d or something, by just losing a bunch of weight. I was like, “Okay, that makes sense, I know I need to lose weight. I’m 170, and 5’7”, I can be much thinner”. On your podcast, Carlo talks about being 140, I know Daniel Woods is like 135, and they’re roughly my height. Our body types are probably a little different- I tend to carry weight in my legs and in my glutes. A lot of that I also attribute to- I used to run a lot. A stupid amount of running, so my legs were always carrying glycogen. That was also part of my weight loss, was I stopped running.

Neely Quinn: Because of the Anderson Brother’s?

Josh Dreher: Because of the Anderson Brother’s, and a few podcasts I listened to from you.

Neely Quinn: Jonathan?

Josh Dreher: Yeah Jonathan, and I think- yeah I guess it was. But reading the book, they talk about it. They talk about running really not being all that helpful for climbing. They talk about just basically, you know, if you want to lose weight, you have to eat fewer calories, stop eating your sugar, so I kind of went towards a much lower carbohydrate diet. I wouldn’t necessarily call it Paleo, because I do eat pastries [laughs]. Like on climbing days, Teal and I will go buy five or six pastries and we’ll bring them outside with us, and we’ll eat them all. And we’ll climb well, and the next day because we were climbing, I’m not any heavier. I think you kind of have to time those things correctly. But in general, I just stopped eating as much food. At six o’clock, no more food. I ate dinner, I’m done. We’ll drink whiskey, I chew probably way too much gum, it’s probably not even healthy, how much gum I chew, because it’s kind of like- when you’re hungry, you need something. Tea, or gum, are kind of my go-to’s.

Neely Quinn: And this is still what you do?

Josh Dreher: Yup. And I’m not trying to lose weight anymore, I’m just trying to maintain, and it’s hard for me to maintain, being totally honest. I’ve gotten used to it- I’ve gotten used to not eating very much food, and you know, kind of being hungry in the afternoon. And I’m sure if I went towards something like a Ketogenic diet or something, that would go away, but I’ve tried that in the past and it was just so hard, I couldn’t do it.

Neely Quinn: Yeah- do you know how much you eat? Have you ever logged it?

Josh Dreher: Like how many calories?

Neely Quinn: Yeah.

Josh Dreher: It’s around 15-1800 calories.

Neely Quinn: Whoa, yeah that’s not very much.

Josh Dreher: Yeah, I mean, okay let me make sure that’s right. I don’t want anyone to think I’m lying here. Yeah it’s about that. It’s about 1800 calories.

Neely Quinn: So you log, regularly?

Josh Dreher: I mean, I just don’t eat much different. I eat consistently the same stuff. The only thing that really switches up is dinner, because we do this thing called Sun Basket, which is kind of like Blue Apron. Those are like 6 or 700 calories, consistently.

Neely Quinn: Okay, so you must not eat that much throughout the day then? You’re just eating a smaller breakfast and lunch than dinner.

Josh Dreher: Yeah. I mean, I’ll do like sweet potato and an egg, every morning. Then I’ll have some of a chocolate bar, like an 85 or 90% cacao or however you pronounce it chocolate bar. Then I’ll do a salad for lunch with avocado, and then one of these dinners, which is protein and some vegetables.

Neely Quinn: Yeah, that sounds pretty Paleo.

Josh Dreher: Our diet is probably fairly Paleo, just not a huge amount of meat. I was Paleo for a while, and I was eating like a pound of meat a day. We do eat wheat on climbing days, or hard training days.

Neely Quinn: Out of curiosity, do you notice feeling any different, inflamed or mentally any different, or is there any symptom from eating it because you eat it so seldom? Does it affect you differently now? The wheat?

Josh Dreher: No. Not really. I mean, it’s once or twice a week. It’s not like it’s so rare, and I’m sure if I did do it really, really rarely, it would be that. It would be really, maybe, uncomfortable, or I would have symptoms. But no, it’s just energy. I’ll eat it and I’ll be psyched and ready to go. And I’m excited to eat it too, because it’s a pastry.

Neely Quinn: Do you know what your carbs are most days? It sounds like they’re really low.

Josh Dreher: I don’t. For breakfast and some dinner, I’ll have maybe some sweet potato in there. For breakfast, it’s maybe a quarter of a yam or a sweet potato.

Neely Quinn: That’s like, nothing. You are- this is an interesting interview, because I usually don’t delve this far into nutrition stuff. I think that a lot of people struggle with the same thing- well I know they do, because they reach out to me to be their nutritionist because they want to lose weight. The fact that you would attribute 60% of your success this last year because of losing weight, I do want to spend a little bit of time on this. I mean, is it okay to talk about this?

For me, it is. Teal a lot of times, will just be like “You gotta stop talking about it”. For a while I was really excited, I was like “I’m getting way better”, and I was attributing a lot of it to weight loss. I might talk to a buddy of mine, and be like “If you want to get better, if you lost ten pounds, add a couple of number grades to your bouldering”. Teal would listen, and be like “You can’t do that”. Which I kind of agree with. You have to be careful, because people are in different life situations- some people can do it, some people can’t. And when the timing is right, that’s when you do it. For me, I don’t have a lot else going on. I work, and we climb, that’s kind of what we do.

Neely Quinn: You have the mental energy to put towards this?

Josh Dreher: Yeah, and if you have a stressful job, if you’ve got a lot of kids, those kinds of things- for me, I don’t know if I could do it. It might be way too hard. Because it is, it’s mentally challenging. I have to almost meditate sometimes, to be like “You’re hungry, it’s okay”.

Neely Quinn: I mean yeah, you’re depriving yourself almost every day.

Josh Dreher: See, I don’t know that I’m necessarily calorie deficient, because I’m at 147, 148, and I just stay there. That’s where I just stay. So I think if I was calorie deficient I would still be losing weight, I would assuming.

Neely Quinn: Yeah, I just mean you’re having to chew gum all of the time in order to stave off hunger, and have something in your mouth. That’s mentally depriving, it sounds like.

Josh Dreher: Sure, yeah. It’s difficult, for sure.

Neely Quinn: And I think that a lot of people struggle with the same thing, and they just can’t do that, because they don’t have the- I don’t know- ample motivation to do it. When you’re really hungry, and you see sugary things or whatever it is that you crave, how do you turn it away?

Josh Dreher: Sometimes I don’t [laughs]. Usually I can. Honestly, there’s a couple of things I do. One, if there are vegetables around or something, if it’s at home, and I’m starving or whatever, I’ll eat a bunch of cauliflower or something. If we’re out somewhere, I have to be like “I want to send this hard thing this weekend, and if I want to do that, I can’t gain a bunch of weight”. I think the motivation to actually climb hard things is one of the big motivations that helps me not eat as much as a normal American portion, I guess.

Neely Quinn: And you can say that to yourself- “I’m not going to eat this, because I have this particular goal, or because I want to climb hard in general”.

Josh Dreher: Yeah, and I think if you’ve had success from it, it’s easier to do that. Because it’s like, I know I can succeed from doing that, because I’ve done it, and I want to keep succeeding.

Neely Quinn: I mean, if you were to eat like you normally did before, how quickly would you gain weight?

Josh Dreher: Probably pretty quickly, because I’ve definitely had a couple of weeks- Thanksgiving or something- where I gained a few pounds very quickly. I weight myself every day, which I don’t know is necessarily healthy for a lot of people, but for me it works. I can tell- I can gauge how much I should or shouldn’t be eating based off of that.

Neely Quinn: That brings me to the next question- how much of an obsession do you think this is, and do you think that you are, I don’t know, sacrificing your health or mental health in order to try hard?

Josh Dreher: I’m going to say no, I’m not sacrificing my physical health, for sure. I feel way better physically, and mentally… how do I say this. When I was heavier, I had a lot of weird health issues. Heart palpitation problems, I was always tired, now I don’t sleep nearly as much as I used to. I think I attribute that too, to running. I’ll say real quick, sidenote: I used to do a lot of ultra running. I hurt my shoulder climbing, and then I got into running, and I got way too into running. I would run forty miles a week, and just got wrecked. I did a lot of cool stuff I was really proud of in that time period, but I was always tired, and I really felt old, like an old person. Achey all the time, my allergies were terrible, and now I don’t have any allergies. I quit running, and kind of the glycogen went away, and mentally I felt a lot better. Then when I started eating better, eating less, I felt that much better. So sure, I’m hungry. But at the same time, I feel like a healthier person.

Neely Quinn: Which is also a motivation to continue to eat the way you are.

Josh Dreher: Yeah, absolutely.

Neely Quinn: So it’s not just the single goal of climbing harder, it’s like, I feel better when I do this.

Josh Dreher: So if we are being honest, I’ve always been somebody that’s always been a little self-conscious about how I look physically. It’s nice to be like, “I look okay”. I look like kind of what I want to look like, as far as I’m not overly chunky. For me, it was really hard when I was younger. I don’t know why that matters, it shouldn’t, but it does to me a little bit. That is a motivation. It was so hard to get here, it was so hard to lose the weight, I don’t want to go back and then have to try and do it again, you know?

Neely Quinn: Yeah.

Josh Dreher: I lost that weight, over the fifteen months, slowly. It wasn’t really, really quick. But then I kind of got to where I am, and that’s where I kind of tapered off. At that same standpoint, like I said, I got there, I want to stay there, and so I’ve had the success in climbing, I feel healthier, and yeah. I like fitting into the pants I fit in currently.

Neely Quinn: And you don’t feel emotionally or mentally, it’s too hard? I mean, obviously, you kind of said that. That your life isn’t stressful enough for it to be too hard.

Josh Dreher: Exactly. I think if you had a stressful job, family life, which my family life is not stressful in the least bit. When I was running a lot, my stress was so high just from running, I had to eat, just to get through mentally, I had to eat a lot. I kind of know what that feels like, and I feel like it would just be really, really hard to do that. I think if you’re in the right place in life, it’s a lot easier to do that.

Neely Quinn: And when did you stop running?

Josh Dreher: Two years ago, or eighteen months ago or so.

Neely Quinn: So at the same time you started losing weight.

Josh Dreher: That’s when I started training. The moment, basically, I went on this sixteen mile run. From our house you can see a “mountain”- I say it in quotes because it’s not really a mountain- you can see it from our house and I wanted to run to it and back. And when I got back, my allergies were terrible. I knew it was from too much running. Which, running is not a bad thing, but I was doing too much of it. So I quit, cold turkey. I had probably run thirty miles since then.

Neely Quinn: Oh wow.

Josh Dreher: So I quit running, and Teal was like “Hey I want to do this Anderson Brother’s thing”, and that was when the training started. We bought the hangboard, I followed it to a T- I followed what they were saying to a T. We did three cycles of their periodized thing. I was very diligent about it. It was really hard for me, because again, I was overly stressed, still, and I think I was really over-trained from running. Eventually that went away, eventually my body kind of recovered.

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Neely Quinn: Okay, so let’s talk about the training part of it. You started with the Anderson Brother’s- can you tell me about that? What changed in your climbing, how did you like that program, and anything else.

Josh Dreher: For me, my biggest weakness has always been finger strength. Some people have really strong fingers naturally. I have a lot of friends who can pull on small holds and lock-off on them. Teal has abnormally strong fingers. She still just dominates on small holds, hard lock-offs. This was a revelation to me- the Anderson Brother’s thing. Again, when I was younger, there were no training programs. There was nothing. Nothing that was like “Grab this hold for ten seconds, take five seconds off, and do six reps of that. Take three minutes off of that, then go to the next grip”. I saw gains right away, within maybe three weeks I started to see really big finger strength gains. That was a revelation. I told everybody about it, because it was just like “Did you know that training actually exists for climbing, that’s good? That’s actually structured?”. I will say that that’s huge.

A buddy of mine was talking about this recently. Kids nowadays have it much better than when we were younger. When we were younger, there was nothing. You just had to naturally be fit, be strong.

Neely Quinn: [laughs] You sounds like sort of an old coot! Like “Back in my day…”. [laughs].

Josh Dreher: [laughs] Sure.

Neely Quinn: I’m just kidding- go ahead.

Josh Dreher: I mean, there were some people that did- they were trying training. The Anderson Brother’s had been trying to figure out training for a long time, which is why they’re good at it. They kind of used themselves as an experiment. Ben Moon did the same, he built all these different woodies. Jerry Moffat, campusing. They kind of were trying to figure it out. I just didn’t have the patience or even thought to try and figure things out. I was just looking in climbing magazines trying to find stuff. So a book that laid it out, like, grab this hold and hang on for this long- that was amazing to me.

Neely Quinn: So you said you saw gains after three weeks- is that what you said?

Josh Dreher: Yeah, very quickly.

Neely Quinn: What did you notice?

Josh Dreher: Just that I could hold onto smaller holds. You know, like, grab a hold, pull up on it, and stay on it. In the past, I would grab a hold, pull up, and my hand would just open. This is very, very different. I definitely saw the most gains early on, in the first maybe six months, I saw massive gains. Then I switched it up a little bit. Like I said, Teal got a program from Kris Peters, and I kind of know my weaknesses and strengths, versus hers. Her strengths are definitely her finger strength, but at the time her weakness was more power. I took the strength portion of it that she was doing very much, which was the hangboarding- max hangs, ten seconds on, maybe three minutes off- and I started doing that. And I started doing all of the core stuff. All the TRX, and then the opposition, which has been huge for me, all the opposition work.

Neely Quinn: Let’s back up just a little bit. When you say that you saw most of the gains in the first six months, what happened? What did you send, what started happening for you?

Josh Dreher: We would go outside. We would go to Squamish or Leavenworth, which are the two areas we climb at the most. Problems at the past that I’ve done before but were really hard, I could do them much easier, in maybe worse conditions. We went on a trip to Moe’s Valley, and I sent a problem, the name is…. has escaped me at the moment. But I sent a v9 really quickly, and then I sent a v11 very quickly. I won’t say the name of it, it’s probably really soft, but I sent it in a day and I was really excited about it. At the time, I was also dealing with some pretty bad elbow tendinitis, but I was just really excited. Like, I sent something really hard, and I didn’t know if I would ever send v11 again. I had kind of written it off, like “I’m too old, I don’t have the mental capacity to do it”. So that was a turning point for me.

A few months later, we went to Red Rocks, I sent a v10, and then from there it just kind of spiraled. I think my successes drove me to lose more weight and to train even harder.

Neely Quinn: So that was all from just doing the finger training through the Anderson’s? Those first successes?

Josh Dreher: Yeah, and at the same time, because I had read their stuff, I was losing some weight, as well. But again, I was at the same weight that I had been in the past, and I was climbing much stronger. Doing things much quicker. I can probably attribute some to just having experience, but a lot of it was strength. I could kind of tell that my hands were much stronger.

Neely Quinn: So when I talked to Teal, she was saying- we went through her progression of these training programs- and she was saying that the Anderson Brother’s- same thing. She saw really good gains from it. But then she found that she got bored doing it, because it was repetitive and there wasn’t much climbing to it. What are your thoughts on that?

Josh Dreher: I think that early on in your training, the Anderson Brother’s is a really good place to start, because it’s so structured. Yes, it’s repeaters, and that book, if you read it, a lot of it is kind of more direct towards sport climbing. But the repeater portion I really liked, because, and I’ll get to your question, sorry. The repeater portion was very, very good, because I feel like it actually gave me finger endurance a little bit. Like I said, my hand after a few moves might just open up. It’s also a good place to start, because max hangs are really intense. If your fingers aren’t used to fingerboard training, the repeaters-style is a really good place to start, and it’s laid out really well in that book.

Neely Quinn: Right- it sort of primes you for the max hangs later on in the book.

Josh Dreher: Yeah, and there’s no science behind what I’m saying, it’s just sort of what I think [laughs]. I do agree, it is kind of monotonous, and the thing that kind of sucks about that program is, the first two months you don’t really climb. The second month you kind of go into power and you do limit bouldering, but I think, if  you do it properly, you can’t really get distracted. Like “Oh, I’m going to go climb with my buddies and just go try hard moves with them. You have to be like “No, I’m going to try this hard move, I’m going to take a break. I’m going to try this hard move, I’m going to take a break”. So yes, in that way it is monotonous. If a sunny day comes out, I want to go climbing, I don’t want to be so strictly adherent to this program that I can’t go climbing, you know? So I do agree with that. But if you want to see really big gains and you’ve never done hangboard training before, you should really give it a shot.

Neely Quinn: Right- it’s a sacrifice that seemed to work.

Josh Dreher: It’s a sacrifice, and especially if you do more than one cycle. If you do a few cycles- the first cycle we did it, it was more like learning how to do it. How hard can you push yourself without going too far. I’ve never really gotten an injury from doing any of these programs. I kind of got a pulley injury from doing the crimps, but I overdid it and it was a dumb mistake. But other than that, I’ve never really had any issues.

Neely Quinn: That’s good, knock on wood.

Josh Dreher: Knock on wood [laughs]. The monotony- sure, there is some of that. But it’s with anything. I think that if you want to do your best, if you’re not just naturally gifted, I think that- and you know, even the naturally gifted people could probably train really well and do even better than they’re doing- but I think for just normal people like me, I have to train. I have to be very strict about it, and then cash in on those kind of gains I’m getting.

Neely Quinn: Yeah. Okay so moving on. You basically did the training program that Teal got from Kris?

Josh Dreher: Kind of. Kris Peters is probably going to call me up and ask me for money or something [laughs]. So Teal started doing all this core, and my core is okay, but it was not very strong. I started doing the TRX stuff that he does, and doing it very adherently, which is one of the hardest things to do. Hangboarding, it’s like yeah, it’s monotonous or whatever, but it isn’t painful like doing this core stuff. The core work made me so much better, because my feet could stay on, or I could get my body back into the wall very quickly.

I also started doing my own thing. I started doing front levers, I kind of made up my own kind of program after I’d done the Anderson Brother’s for six months- I kind of figured out what I needed to do. I got rid of a bunch of different hand positions that they would do on the hangboard, and I did just three. I did three finger open hand, I did four finger, which most people say partial crimp, but honestly I think my hands are just open. And then I’d do pinches, and that was it.

Neely Quinn: So no two finger pockets?

Josh Dreher: No, I think if you’re a route climber that climbs on pockets it’s a really good idea, but I never climb on pockets.

So the Kris Peters thing- he talks a lot about doing max hangs, so I started doing the ten second max hangs. I know in your Steve Maisch podcast he kind of talks about doing both- switching it up a little bit, doing max hangs and doing repeaters. So every week and a half I’ll do a repeater workout. I don’t know if that’s the best way to go about doing it, but it works for me. I’ll do twelve second max hangs, or ten second max hangs. I’ll make them really hard, and then I’ll take three to five minutes off, and I’ll do them again. I’ll do six sets of each of those hand positions.

Neely Quinn: What board do you use?

Josh Dreher: I use the Anderson Brother’s, the Rock Prodigy board, or whatever the original one was. I really like it, I do. The one thing, if I was going to change something on it, which it’s a great board. But the edges kind of taper in, so your index finger will have more hold to hold onto than your pinky.

Neely Quinn: Yeah, I don’t really get that.

Josh Dreher: Yeah, I mean, it’s a cool design and it looks cool, but I think that’s why maybe the Beastmaker or something like that… it’s a consistent edge, a consistent size. But I don’t know if it actually matters, because I’ve gotten great gains from just using those holds, and that’s the only hangboard I hang on.

Neely Quinn: Who else have you taken information from and incorporated it into your own program?

Josh Dreher: I’ve listened to a lot of your podcasts, so like Carlo Traversi. He’s a little bit shorter, and he talked about doing these wide lat pull-down things. I put a couple of holds at our wall in our home, and I got them really far apart, and I added weight, and I would do a pull-up with as much weight as I could. I would hold it for two seconds, and I would lower. I’d do maybe three sets of that.

Neely Quinn: And you’d put weight on you you’d strap it on your waist like normal?

Josh Dreher: Yeah, I’d add as much weight as I could without feeling like I was tweaking my shoulders. I’d make sure my back was engaged properly, my arms were slightly bent- I was trying to be smart about it. I never had any issues with it. I do think I’ve gotten stronger in those wide moves. It could be just a placebo thing, but I do think I’ve gotten stronger in that way. I know that when he was doing it, he was training for Jade or something. A buddy of mine actually saw him at Momentum or something, training for that, because he had a weird injury or something. He said he was stacking weights into every crevice of that machine in order to train for that pull. That’s not what I’m doing- I’m not putting that much weight.

Neely Quinn: Anything else? Any little nuggets that you’ve taken?

Josh Dreher: Oh, sure. Let me think. I really liked the Dave McLeod- I listened to his podcast. And I’ve read a couple of his books, and I like his mentality of training. It’s kind of like, if you get older, you’re more patient, which is true. For me, I’m way more patient with my climbing. I rest better. I’m like “I’m doing this, and then I’m done”- that kind of thing. He talks about that. Those kinds of things, yeah. I guess from that standpoint. I’m sure there’s other stuff I’m just not thinking of.

Neely Quinn: It’s okay, I totally put you on the spot. It was partly for selfish reasons, I want to know what people are taking from the podcast.

Josh Dreher: Well there’s a lot. Like Steve Maisch’s podcast, I took a lot from that. For example, he talked about Moonboarding, and how important that is. It’s not necessarily the Moonboard, but he’s saying short, hard, boulder problems to get stronger. So we bought a Moonboard.

Neely Quinn: I saw that on Facebook! That was very ambitious of you guys!

Josh Dreher: Yeah- I mean we climbed on one at SBP- I climbed on it one time, Teal has climbed on it a few times, and I have a few friends that just adore the thing. My buddy David Powell is the dominator on the Moonboard. So I built it, and it is great for me because I’m terrible at it.

Neely Quinn: It’s really hard.

Josh Dreher: The moves are huge, the holds are very fingers, which are two things that I’m just not very good at. It’s great for me, because if you’re getting shut down, it obviously means you’ve got weaknesses. I’m just trying to work those out on the board.

Neely Quinn: So a couple of questions about that. Did you get the one that lights up?

Josh Dreher: No.

Neely Quinn: You got the bare bones.

Josh Dreher: Yeah, the lights are as expensive or maybe more expensive than buying all the holds. It was kind of like- let’s just start out here. And not to say that the lights aren’t good, and if you have a gym and you’re willing to put the money towards it, that’s great. But Teal kind of made the comment that it’s good for memorizing climbs, because there’s a thousand holds on the wall- which is a huge exaggeration- but there’s a lot of holds on the wall. Like 150 holds. So to remember like “Oh which hand did I have down here, so I can put my foot on that hold”- you have to kind of memorize. It’s good for climbing outside- like “I need to grab this hold in this way, and there’s the next hold”. I think that does help.

Neely Quinn: So can I ask, how much does it cost to get a Moonboard and put it together?

Josh Dreher: Um, I think the holds- and we had them shipped here- are like $650. We bought some plywood that looked nice with paint on it, I think it was $50 a sheet. It’s probably- you have to buy the bolts yourself, and you have to buy the t-nuts. So between $900 and maybe $1000.

Neely Quinn: So that’s my next question, about your home gym. You keep mentioning that. Is the nearest gym to you in Seattle?

Josh Dreher: There are a couple of gyms that are nearer, but they’re not good training gyms.

Neely Quinn: Oh.

Josh Dreher: The SBP- Seattle Bouldering Project- is the ultimate training gym. They have a Moonboard, they have all the latest training stuff. A full regular gym with weights and everything. But to get there from our place- from our place to starting climbing is maybe an hour and a half. Seattle right now is so expensive, so to live there is just really hard, and the traffic is hard for us. Some people like it, the food is amazing, and the coffee is great. But for us, over here, the living is a little bit easier for us, but there’s just no training. We had to build our own stuff.

Neely Quinn: What did you build?

Josh Dreher: We have a couple of walls. They’re all eight feet wide, so we have one wall that’s 30 degrees, and another wall that 43, and then the Moonboard that’s 40. From vertical- 40 degrees off vertical. We have that, we have a hangboard, and then we have a campus board.

Neely Quinn: And how tall are the walls?

Josh Dreher: The tallest wall is fifteen feet.

Neely Quinn: Oh wow, that’s like a legitimate gym.

Josh Dreher: It’s one of the reasons we bought the house, because the attached garage that it has- I think it was for an RV. There’s a portion of it that’s really tall.

Neely Quinn: Oh, nice. That was smart [laughs].

Josh Dreher: Yeah it worked it. When we moved in, Teal was like “Okay, the first order of business is that you have to go out there and build the wall”.

Neely Quinn: “YOU” have to go out there and build the walls [laughs]. Well you are a structural engineer, I suppose.

Josh Dreher: Yeah, and I have some construction background, so it worked out.

Neely Quinn: What else to do you guys have? Do you have a TRX set up, free weights, kettle bells, what do you have?

Josh Dreher: We have a TRX, which we’ve had for a long time, but again, we didn’t really start using it until the Kris Peters thing. Then we have just regular dumbbells up to about 25 pounds. Then we have rings. I think that’s kind of it.

Neely Quinn: Do you find yourself using the dumbbells?

Josh Dreher: Yes. The dumbbell work is for opposition, so we’ll use it for overhead presses, and doing Is Ys and Ts. We also have a rice bucket. Then we have the shoulder band, for doing the external rotators and internal rotators, which is huge for me because I’ve always had shoulder injuries. This kind of got rid of that. We use the weights. Teal will also do squats and stuff with the weights, so they get used.

Neely Quinn: That’s great.

Josh Dreher: Oh, I also use- I’ll say this, because I feel like a lot of boulders have these injuries- for the medial epicondylitis, which is that elbow injury that so many climbers get, and it’s so debilitating-

Neely Quinn: Can you explain where it is on your elbow?

Josh Dreher: On the interior, so your inner elbow portion, that knobby bone, I think that’s the medial epicondyle. So if you go towards your wrist, like an inch, that’s where I was always having discomfort. I read Dave McLeod’s book, I think it’s Make or Break, he has basically a whole chapter about how to get rid of it. All it really is, is you grab a weight- buy his book. But you grab a weight, and I grabbed twenty pounds, and I get my arm so it’s basically 180 degrees, so it’s fully open, resting either on my leg or the side of the couch. Then I start it where it’s all the way up, so I’m almost flexing more forearm, then I lower it down with my thumb behind the bar until my fingers are partially open, then I roll the weight back up with my other hand. I’ll do fifteen reps, and then I’ll go to the other hand. I’ll do four reps of that, and in the end it hurts. It’s so painful.

Neely Quinn: Okay, I’m not totally sure I understand. Are you saying that you’re basically doing wrist curls? You’re not moving any other part of your arm?

Josh Dreher: No, you’re not doing wrist curls. You’re going the opposite direction from a curl- you’re lowering the weight.

Neely Quinn: Oh, you’re lowering it.

Josh Dreher: Yeah so you’re doing the anterior muscles or whatever it’s called. At first it kind of bugged my elbow a little bit, but he says in the book “It’s going to bug your elbow a little bit”. So I kept going, and then it went away completely. Things that would always bug my elbow, like doing one arm pull-ups and stuff, I can do those now without my elbow being bugged. So I recommend it.

Neely Quinn: Do you still do those exercises?

Josh Dreher: Yeah I do them twice a week.

Neely Quinn: I think it’s so interesting that Dave McLeod wrote that book and he isn’t a doctor or physical therapist or anything, he’s just this climber.

Josh Dreher: He actually said that the reason why he wrote this book is he had that elbow- the medial epicondylitis- and finding this workout from another doctor, and having success with it. He was like “I want other people to be successful as well, at getting rid of injuries”, so he wrote that book. He did all this research.

Neely Quinn: Yeah, he’s helped a lot of people.

Josh Dreher: Yeah [laughs]. I appreciate his work.

Neely Quinn: And how long would you say that it took to get rid of that elbow stuff?

Josh Dreher: A couple of weeks.

Neely Quinn: Really? That’s it?

Josh Dreher: I didn’t have it so inflamed, like I could touch the knobby part of my elbow and it wasn’t painful, it was only in certain climbing movements where I was in pain. I’ve always been someone where I never let climbing injuries get out of control, so I’d always kind of back off. If you have really bad elbow pain, it might take a lot longer, a few months. I don’t really know, I haven’t done any of the research. For me, it was successful very quickly and I was really excited about it, because it’s one of those things that just sucks. It’s a really annoying injury.

I’ll say, that kind of brings something up in my mind. In climbing, I think if you want to get better, it’s a lot easier to get better if you’re not always injured. Doing the preventative stuff- that’s why I still do it twice a week, because I don’t want it to come back. Or doing the band- like the internal external rotators that Kris Peters advocates so much. Or Is Ys and Ts, rice bucket, all those things, I think, are vital to not getting injured, and therefore progressing without having to worry about those things.

Neely Quinn: So, I want to know how you do all of this while being a structural engineer and working 40 hours a week. Can you tell me a little bit about your schedule?

Josh Dreher: Sure. My job is super flexible, which I know a lot of people’s are not. And Teal’s job is pretty flexible. She’s an environmental engineer, and she has month long periods where she’s going to work seventy hours a week for three months or whatever. She did that in Salt Lake City. She went down to Salt Lake City for three months, worked seventy hours a week, and she got better as a rock climber. Kind of like Steve Maisch was talking about, you have to get focused. You have this block of time, and this is what you’re doing, and that’s what she did. She got better, and it actually encouraged me to get better. For me, my schedule now is very open, but what we do is my buddy Jared basically was like “I’ll train with you guys if you do it at five am”, and we were like- okay. So we started training at five in the morning, which for us was easy because we walk out the door and there’s the garage. We’ll train for two or three hours, then I’ll go to work,and I’ll have the whole day.

Again, I don’t have kids or really any other responsibilities, so it’s very easy to do that. Forty hours a week is not very much. Eight hours, I’m off, I’m at home, back by 5:00. That’s still four hours until I’m going to go to bed.

Neely Quinn: Do you have a commute?

Josh Dreher: About fifteen minutes. Not really.

Neely Quinn: So you’re still doing that? You’re still training at five in the morning?

Josh Dreher: We did this morning. Maybe five minutes before I talked to you I was getting down on the Moonboard.

Neely Quinn: Nice. I mean, what time do you go to bed?

Josh Dreher: This is kind of embarrassing. Sometimes we’re in bed at 7:30.

Neely Quinn: Whoa!

Josh Dreher: Just totally destroyed. Sometimes we’re in bed at 9:30. It kind of depends on how wrecked we are. I do think sleep is pretty vital for climbing, or training I should say. But sometimes I may be a little bit sleep deprived, but I like to get seven or eight hours if I can.

Neely Quinn: Can you tell me what you did this morning?

Josh Dreher: This morning was not a very good training day. The Moonboard is new to us so I’m pretty excited about it, so we went out there and climbed on the Moonboard. I climbed for four hours on the Moonboard.

Neely Quinn: Four hours? Wow- you climbed for four hours just on the Moonboard.

Josh Dreher: So I’ve climbed on the Moonboard three times. The first two times we climbed for five hours, and I couldn’t climb for two days because I was so stiff. Today was the first day that my hands are not like- maybe they’re getting more used to it- but they’re not totally stiff.

Neely Quinn: What is a Moonboard session like for you? Do you have a specific resting time?

Josh Dreher: I kind of do what I do when I climb outside, which is I take ten minutes off between attempts. If I’m working out the moves, I take maybe a minute, which is not enough, because I might get too wrecked really quickly. But once I start actually working the boulder problems and I’m getting close, I’ll take ten minute rests, which I recommend for outdoors as well. I think if you fell off the second move you don’t need to take ten minutes, but if it’s a long problem maybe it’s fifteen, depending on how pumped or wrecked you are.

Neely Quinn: Yeah, that takes a lot of discipline- you’re probably sitting there with a timer.

Josh Dreher: Yes, I put a timer on my phone, because ten minutes is a lot longer than you expect when you’re really excited to get back on the wall.

Neely Quinn: And do you have a specific set of problems that you’re doing on the Moonboard?

Josh Dreher: No not yet. I’m not to the point where I’m training specifically- doing 4x4s, or whatever. Right now the Moonboard is so new to me and I’m not very good at it, so it’s just getting volume and trying hard, big moves. Most of the moves that I’m trying are fingers- because the Moonboard is fingery- and big, which is not my forte. The moves can be okay big, but really powerful, compression- I like compression climbing- and not small holds. My weakness has always been finger strength.

Neely Quinn: Who do you think the Moonboard would be not good for? There are a lot of people listening to this and they’re like “Ah, I want to train on the Moonboard”. What is your opinion for the cut off on who should be doing it?

Josh Dreher: As far as beginner climbers?

Neely Quinn: Yeah.

Josh Dreher: I mean, on the app, the Moonboard app that you can download on your phone, the easiest thing is supposedly v4. There’s probably easier stuff on there, but you can’t log anything easier than v4 which is weird. There’s a bunch of things with that app that I hate. But I would say, if you don’t want to get super frustrated, you should probably be able to climb v4 or v5. If you’re not that good, if you have access to another wall, you probably want to train a little bit more on that, then get on the Moonboard for twenty minutes and try those really hard moves. The Moonboard is a lot of core, there isn’t a lot of trickery, you can’t do heel-toe cams and stuff like that. On a regular climbing wall, you might have the ability to do that. You’re not going to get that on the Moonboard, so you’re going to get frustrated if that isn’t your style. But that might be good for you, it might be good because you’re improving at something that you are not great at.

Neely Quinn: Yeah. Okay, I asked you about today’s workout and you said that wasn’t a good workout to talk about. Can you tell me about another workout this past week that you did that you think is more typical?

Josh Dreher: Again, I think that in bouldering, or route climbing or whatever, find your weakness and train the hell out of it. What I have been doing, and doing pretty consistently, and it’s been working for me. Until it doesn’t work for me, I’ll probably do this type of training with the addition of the Moonboard. I’ll go in there and climb for maybe an hour. Before the Moonboard we just have a bunch of problems we’ve set, and I’ll climb up to- you know, boulder problems that took me a session before but I can do them pretty quickly now. I want my fingers to be really well primed. Then I’ll go and do hangboard. I’ll go immediately into the hangboard, and I’ll do either repeaters, or I’ll do the max hangs, and that takes about forty-five minutes to an hour. So, twelve second hangs, three to five minute rest, and it’s almost uncomfortable at ten seconds, but like Steve Maisch says, you probably want to be able to go to twelve. That’s your failure limit. So I want to be able to go to that, and I’ve seen improvement, like, vast improvement, even in the last couple of months, from doing that.

Then I’ll go do my core. What I’ve found is that if you go and do shoulders before you do TRX core, your shoulders are wrecked when you’re going to try and do that core workout. It’s really almost uncomfortable, so do your shoulder workouts if you’re using the TRX. Almost every time I’m doing core workouts, which I do maybe four a week, I’ll either do the TRX or I’ll do front levers.

Again, my weakness is not power, but I still like to gain it. So I’ll do some campusing maybe once every two weeks. So if I do campusing or hangboard, I’ll do the core after that, then I’ll do all my opposition work. I’ll do the shoulder bands, sometimes I’ll do Is Ys and Ts, I’ll do the rice bucket where you stab your hand into the bucket of rice and open it- I’ll do sets of fifty. I’ll also put my whole hand it in and I’ll swivel my wrist clockwise and then counterclockwise, and that’s really helpful with wrist issues I’ve had. That’s a typical session for me.

Neely Quinn: Did you say you’ll campus and hangboard on the same days, or just do one?

Josh Dreher: Just do one. I’ll do one or the other.

Neely Quinn: And how many days are you training every week?

Josh Dreher: If we’re not climbing on the weekends, which we were doing for six months, we were climbing every weekend. Weekend warrior kind of ordeal. I’m training two or three times a week. I’m training climbing specific, so hangboard or campus, or just I guess Moonboarding now, two or three times a week. Then include with that, add into that, a weekend day if we are going outside. But I’m probably actually doing something to get better at climbing six days a week.

Neely Quinn: Hmm. What are the other things?

Josh Dreher: Some days I’ll just do core by itself, so I’ll go out there and do core supersets. Or I’ll do opposition. If I didn’t have time to do opposition the day before, I’ll go and do a bunch of opposition and just make it really uncomfortable. When I first started doing the opposition I hated it, and I didn’t want to do it consistently. Once you kind of get into the routine of it, it’s really easy and you and of crave doing those things. You know that its working, and my shoulders feel great so I want to keep doing that shoulder work.

Neely Quinn: Do you feel like you’re training too much if you’re training six days a week?

Josh Dreher: Not for me. I get enough sleep, and I have success when I go climbing outside. I think that if I was not successful, and I was starting to be really tired, and I wasn’t sleeping well, I would think that yes, I was doing too much. Now again, when I say six days a week, sometimes I’m training for twenty minutes in that day, because all I’m doing is some opposition. All I’m saying is that six days a week I’m doing something to better my climbing, and then one day a week, I’ll clean our house or something.

Neely Quinn: And one day a week you’ll go outside?

Josh Dreher: If we can, one day a week we’ll go outside. Lately it’s been that we are Moonboarding, because in Washington it’s been raining nonstop for months.

Neely Quinn: And it sounds like Moonboarding is a really fun and exciting thing for you right now.

Josh Dreher: It is, and Teal is really excited about it too, and we have some friends who are really excited about it. All of us are doing it and having a great time.

Neely Quinn: Nice. Well I feel like the sign of a good interview for me is when I get psyched to train myself, so you have accomplished that, thank you [laughs]. This has been really good. Do you have any last words for people?

Josh Dreher: Sure. So I’ll say one other thing, and it’s kind of ridiculous, but I haven’t heard anybody else on your interviews talk about it. If you have sweaty fingers, sweaty tips, we haven’t used it lately because we haven’t used it outside, but Antihydral. I don’t know if you’ve heard of it, but it’s made by a German Fooseball company, if you google it you’ll find it. It is, for me, a person that has pretty sweaty fingers, it’s been amazing. It basically just thickens up your fingertips. You don’t want to get it in the creases of your fingers, and you don’t want to go any lower than the tip of your finger, but it thickened up my skin and made it so it wasn’t painful when I went climbing for two days in a row, for example.

Neely Quinn: When did you start using it?

Josh Dreher: Maybe a year ago. I put it on maybe once every two weeks.

Neely Quinn: Is that how much you put it on in the beginning?

Josh Dreher: I know in the beginning I did it a little bit more. You have to be careful because if you do it too much, you’ll split your tip open. It’ll dry out your fingers out and split them open. It’s kind of a science you have to work out yourself, so I would say be conservative in the beginning. Apply it once, put on some cotton gloves, and go to bed. Wake up, wash it off, and wait a week. It takes time for that skin to actually thicken up. You can kind of asses after that, like “Oh, I can apply it twice a week”, or “I need to apply it once every two weeks”.

Neely Quinn: What do you think about the ingredients in Antihydral? I know a lot of people use it, and it sounds like a really useful tool, but it’s kind of toxic, right?

Josh Dreher: Yeah, I don’t know if it has ammonia or something weird in it. But I don’t know. It’s one of those things, like I chew gum, and it has Aspartame in it, and I probably shouldn’t be chewing that. I just- it’s kind of like, you weight the two things. There’s no studies out there that are like, Antihydral causes finger cancer or something.


Josh Dreher: Like you said, a lot of climbers use it and have a lot of success with it. I don’t know how long Antihydral has been around and if Fooseball players are having issues with it, but again, I apply it once every two weeks. It’s not like you’re ingesting it into your body, it’s on the tip of your finger. I don’t know if it gets into your bloodstream in that way, maybe it does, but it can’t be in large amounts, I would assume.

Neely Quinn: No it definitely gets into your bloodstream by going into your skin. I’m not trying to naysay, I feel like it’s my responsibility to bring up the pros and cons. But thanks for sharing that. Any other words of wisdom, upon departure?

Josh Dreher: I don’t think so [laughs].

Neely Quinn: I really appreciate you talking about this stuff. I think this is exactly the kinds of things that people want to hear about. Home gym setups, what exactly you;re doing with a full time job, so I really appreciate it. Thanks so much for being on the show.

Josh Dreher: I just thought of something really quick, I just want to say. If you are training a lot and you’re not getting better, it might not be that you’re overtrained, it might just be that you need to rock climb more and train less and do a lot of moves. Become more experienced. I know a lot of people train a lot and don’t get better, and I think they just need to get on the walls and start practicing dropknees and stuff like that. I’ll just say that.

Neely Quinn: Okay, and that’s something you can personally relate with it sounds like.

Josh Dreher: Correct.

Neely Quinn: Cool, well thank you for that nugget, and all of the other ones, I appreciate it.

Josh Dreher: For sure.

Neely Quinn: Alright, I hope you enjoyed that interview with Josh Dreher, hopefully he gave you some psych. That’s what he did for me. I can tell a good interview when I get psyched to train and climb, and that’s exactly what it did for me. I started training with Mercedes Pollmeier, who’s actually going to be training through TrainingBeta. She’s going to be doing online stuff for you guys, if you want month plans just for you for your weaknesses and strengths. I started training with her too, and she’s focusing on make sure my shoulder is strong, because my shoulder is sucking right now. Not my surgical shoulder, but the other one, which I’m kind of considering having surgery on, which sucks. We’ll see what happens with that. So anyway, she’s trying to rehab my shoulder, and that’s exactly what she can do for you. I think it might be working, it’s only been a week, but so much of my training with her is focused on making sure that my shoulder, my scapula, my lats, and everything are really stable. I think that’s super cool, but she’s also doing finger training with me, and drills on the wall and all of that. It’s pretty cool. She’ll start training you guys, if you want, the first week of January. Stay tuned for that, I’ll make an announcement about it.

Coming up on the podcast, I have Esther Smith. She and I talked a couple weeks ago about shoulders on the podcast, and this will be our second talk and we’ll talk about elbows. She gives protocols just like she did with the shoulders, so hopefully these talks with her are really helping. The third one will be about fingers. Just trying to keep us all healthy here. I think that’s it.

Happy holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, whatever it is that you celebrate. I’ll be back on the first week of January with Esther Smith. I’ll talk to you then!

TrainingBeta is a site dedicated to training for rock climbing. We provide resources and information about training for routes, bouldering, finger strength, mental training, nutrition for climbers, and everything in between. We offer climbing training programs, a blog, interviews on the TrainingBeta Podcast, personal training for climbing, and nutrition for climbers.

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