Project Description

Podcast is on iTunes is HERE
Direct Download: LINK
Date: November 25th, 2015

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About Steve Bechtel

I was honored and excited to interview the great Steve Bechtel for a second time. Steve is a long-time climber and trainer who knows his stuff when it comes to getting strong, catering to individual training needs, and staying lean, among many other things. Steve runs, a website where he writes articles and training programs for climbers. You can subscribe to the site to get full access to all of his info. He also runs a gym in Lander, WY called Elemental Fitness, where he works with climbers and athletes of all kinds.

What We Talked About

  • What makes a good climbing trainer
  • Confusion about periodization
  • Confusion about finger training
  • Repeaters vs. Eva Lopez training
  • Climbing as training for climbing
  • Listener questions

Related Links

Training Programs for You

FrictionLabs Discount

FrictionLabs (my favorite chalk company by far) is offering you a discount on their awesome chalk – woot!

Please Review The Podcast on iTunes!

  • Link to the TrainingBeta Podcast on iTunes is HERE.
  • Please give the podcast an honest review on iTunes here to help the show reach more curious climbers around the world 😉


Neely Quinn: Welcome to the TrainingBeta podcast where I talk to climbers and trainers about how we can get a little better at our favorite sport. I’m your host, Neely Quinn, and today I am feeling very sore. I trained bouldering for the first time, really, since my surgery which was a year ago. Not to say that I couldn’t have bouldered before this time. My shoulder has been feeling pretty good but I just was sort of afraid of it a little bit. I tried and it went really well. Well, not really well but really well for me and then I trained a little bit more after that, so I’m feeling tired in a good way today.

Speaking of training, obviously, I did an interview today with Steve Bechtel. This is episode 36 that you’re listening to. Steve Bechtel is a trainer out of Lander, Wyoming, where he has a gym where he trains climbers and he trains general athletes – not general athletes but athletes other than climbers – and he’s been doing it for quite a long time. He also has a website called and you can find him on Facebook and other social media outlets.

We talked about some of the things we didn’t get to in our first interview, which was extremely popular so I figured you guys would want to hear from him again.

Before I get to the interview I want to let you know that FrictionLabs is a partner of TrainingBeta. They have a special page set-up just for you guys for discounts on their chalk which, if you’ve been listening to this show you know I love their chalk. If you go to you will find some awesome discounts for yourselves.

Without further adieu, here is Steve Bechtel. Enjoy!


Neely Quinn: Alright, welcome back to the show, Steve. Thanks so much for joining me again.


Steve Bechtel: I appreciate you having me back. I guess I didn’t do a very bad job last time.


Neely Quinn:

[laughs] No, and you said something funny before we started because you’re our third highest downloaded show/episode, after Alex Puccio and Alex Ondra. What did you say?


Steve Bechtel: I’m the highest-rated, worst boulderer on the show.


Neely Quinn: Yes. [laughs]


Steve Bechtel: I can boulder half as hard, exactly, as Adam Ondra so that’s pretty good.


Neely Quinn: Yeah, I mean that’s still pretty good, so…we already had you on the show and you were one of our first guests. Thank you for that, but tell anybody who doesn’t know who Steve Bechtel is, who you are.


Steve Bechtel: My name is Steve Bechtel. I live in Lander, Wyoming and I moved here for rock climbing in the early 1990s and I now own a climbing gym and fitness center with my wife. We have started to train almost more climbers than normal people, which is really a fun thing, so I really have one of the best jobs in the world.


Neely Quinn: Yeah, so you train people on a regular basis for climbing.


Steve Bechtel: I do, but what’s interesting is I’m sort of drifting away from that into more of a consultation role. Like, this last year I’ve talked more to climbing coaches and climbing team coaches on organizing their programs than actually to individual climbers themselves.


Neely Quinn: That’s interesting.


Steve Bechtel: So it’s kind of changing a little bit for me.


Neely Quinn: You know, one of the things that I’ve been thinking about is how to get it so that climbing coaches and trainers are actually qualified to do the work and that’s something I would love to talk to you about in the future, like setting up maybe a certification program for coaches.


Steve Bechtel: Well, that’s interesting. I had good conversations this summer with Eric Horst and with Kris Hampton, both of whom are super smart guys. Not so much like: we’ve got to keep these hoople-heads out of the field but so much that we want to give people the tools to be effective coaches. Whether it’s an existing climbing body that comes up with a good coaching program or if it’s created completely separate from that, I think it does need to happen in the next couple of years.


Neely Quinn: Yeah, I do too. It’s just – every single person I see, like, I was in the gym last night in the weight room working out and everybody had their iPhone out or a notebook, so everybody’s training. It would just be awesome if everybody was doing it right, whatever that means. We’ll talk more about that right now.


Steve Bechtel: Yeah. I was just going to say one other thing on that. The thing that’s fascinating is certifications are dead easy to get and so – come in and say, “I have an A certification,” or “an NSCA certification,” like, the NSCA certification I have is called a CSCS and it’s this prestigious certification but it’s kind of a load of crap. It doesn’t mean you know what you’re doing. It just means you probably won’t hurt people in the weight room so I think that eventually we’re going to be able to build this program that has coaches that are effectively making their athletes better and that would be, I think, what the aim needs to be.


Neely Quinn: I mean, I think you may have just offended a lot of trainers out there. [laughs]


Steve Bechtel: It’s funny, though. I got a – here’s an interesting thing: I’m an elite level cycling coach with USA Cycling, but I don’t know. You go to a couple of weekend seminars and you get this certificate and you just have to remember that most certifying bodies are businesses and they want to keep you coming back. I’ve only gone to a couple of certifications where I was like, ‘Oh my god, that’s really a useful and powerful piece of information I got.’


Neely Quinn: So, what do you think sets you apart from other coaches that just have the quick certifications? What does it take to be a good trainer?


Steve Bechtel: Well, I got out of college with a degree in exercise science, so when I graduated college I thought I knew everything there was to know about training for everything. It isn’t until you move past that that you look back and you go, ‘Wow. I was really stupid.’

When I look back I go – I got my CSCS in 2000 or something and it was a hard test but you move past that and you continue to learn and you continue to make mistakes and you get better and better at what you do. The thing that I have been blessed with is that I’ve had enough experience to fail often and I work with enough athletes that we accelerate our rate of failure, which then accelerates our rate of success.


Neely Quinn: Right, yeah, so what you’re saying is it just takes time. Do you do data collection in your own gym?


Steve Bechtel: Yes, and I’ve got five other trainers that work here. These are/we’re dealing with general fitness people. It’s not like we have some kind of climbing consortium or something but then I also have the opportunity to talk with a lot of coaches and try plans. Like, my friendship with Mike and Mark Anderson goes back to emails back and forth about the original Rock Prodigy program maybe 10 years ago.


Neely Quinn: Woah.


Steve Bechtel: Then you name it. If it’s Eric Horst or Dave Wall, all of these guys have been really invaluable in finding and then getting rid of bad information as well.


Neely Quinn: Yeah, so I’m assuming this has helped you be really successful with your clients.


Steve Bechtel: Yeah, I think a conservative approach that doesn’t waiver a lot, like I try not to follow fads and we try to stick to some really basic principle things rather than – there are some cool things that we see and we go, ‘That is a crazy training technique. I bet that is going to be amazing,’ but you’ve always got to back off to principles and make sure that you’re covering those very basic things like mobility and stability and basic strength before you say, “Oh, let’s do this crazy, super-complicated workout.”


Neely Quinn: Yeah.


Steve Bechtel: I guess it would be called ‘Non-sexy Training.’ It’s the opposite of Zumba.


Neely Quinn: [laughs] I don’t know, it’s a little bit sexy. Men and women lifting heavy things, and that’s a lot of what you do, a lot of weight training with your people, right?


Steve Bechtel: Yeah, for the most part but we’re real limited in it. I don’t see weight training as a substitute for climbing and I’m hugely in favor of looking at climbing as a skill-sport, and that your strength training should only be as much as 25% of the total time you spend training.


Neely Quinn: Okay. Wait – I was distracted by the phone. How much percent?


Steve Bechtel: I know. I told you my phone was muted but it was a different phone. So, I tell people that 25% of their training, or their total time in the activity, should be what they consider training. That would include weight training, hangboarding, campus. I kind of say, “Anything that you’re doing without your climbing shoes on falls into that 25%.”


Neely Quinn: Okay, and that’s one of the things we were talking about earlier and one of the articles that we shared on TrainingBeta from you is about practice in climbing, or climbing as practice. Do you want to talk more about that?


Steve Bechtel: Well, it’s interesting. If you said, “Oh, I’m going to go out to the golf course and train,” or, “I’m going to go to basketball training,” it sounds funny, but somehow we decided that climbing was a training sport and the word has stuck because of the physical difficulty of what we do, but practice is what you do once you stop getting better. When you first start climbing you get better all the time. I thought it was this miracle, like every time you go out climbing you get to do the next grade higher. You remember that, right?


Neely Quinn: [laughs] Yes.


Steve Bechtel: The first time you did a 5.6 and then you did a 5.7 and what’s interesting is then you have to go, ‘Oh, my footwork’s bad. I need to fix that,’ but if we are constantly trying to get tired while climbing, like trying to get pumped or the feeling of fatigue, our ability to practice or to focus on these improvements decreases.


Neely Quinn: Right.


Steve Bechtel: What’s interesting is experts, and people hate to hear this, but experts need to practice more than beginners do because their skills are so refined that they have to revisit the very nuanced facets of climbing and do it with a really big amount of attention.


Neely Quinn: Right. I was talking to Nate Drolet, I think, about that, where he knew that he was bad at – I think it was back flagging or something, so he had to practice that, even though he’s already a V12 climber and a 5.14 climber. Is that the kind of thing that you’re talking about?


Steve Bechtel: Yeah, for sure, and having your mind present for the movement. You can go out and naturally climb a V3 and you get to the top of it – and what happens in the bouldering gym is I’ll go in, I’ll do this V3 and if I make it to the little tape box at the top, I was successful, but what you need to do is go, ‘Was that execution perfect?’

A gymnast just getting to the end of their routine doesn’t say, “Yes, okay, I’m done. Let’s move on to the next thing.” They go back and they fix it and fix it and fix it because when you get to the top – say you’re climbing on the hardest route you’ve ever done and you get to this crux at the top. You’ve got to be climbing perfectly in order to execute at that level, no matter what the level is. The way we do that is learning to climb perfectly and you have to keep coming back to, ‘Am I doing it exactly right? Am I doing it exactly right?’ You sort of learn it over time, right, if you just climb a lot but if you don’t climb a lot, if you can’t get out every day, you need to be able to hack that a little bit and break it down into these digestible chunks.


Neely Quinn: Alright, so you’re saying that even if you have like a V8 project, for instance, even going through and climbing V3s perfectly is going to help you on your V8 project.


Steve Bechtel: Well, it’s going to ingrain good skills and one of the things that’s really important with practice is feedback, so you can have a coach sitting there and telling you, “Okay, let’s try to keep your hips in on that move,” or “How bout you try backstepping there?” Or, you can watch a video of yourself. Everybody’s got their phones on them all the time now and those little iPod phone tripods are really cheap and you can set it on the ground. You feel like you’re some primadonna but it’s really useful information. You video yourself on a boulder problem then you go back and watch it. People kind of hate to do this but it’s really critical. This is one of the things that I learned early on from Mark Anderson, is he videos everything that he does. Every go on a project and then it’s review, review, review.


Neely Quinn: It’s so funny because when you say that, yeah, it does seem like a primadonna thing to do but I imagine that gymnasts probably do it all the time. I mean, sprinters probably do it all the time.


Steve Bechtel: Oh yeah, and musicians record themselves constantly to listen to it. If you don’t have a coach or even a knowledgeable friend, it’s the next best thing. It’s incredible what you can learn by watching video of yourself. You’re like, ‘Oh my gosh! I can’t believe my butt sags out that much on that kind of move,’ so you start to learn. The whole idea is to keep building and improving what they call ‘economical wrote movement algorithms,’ which are good patterns of movement. If you’ve been climbing as long as I have – say you’ve been climbing 10 years even – you might have a way of doing a climb that works but isn’t the most economical. What we need when you’re at your limit is for each move to become as economical as possible.


Neely Quinn: Okay, so you’re not scuffing around your feet and…


Steve Bechtel: Yeah, and it can be a really minor thing, like why does Alex Puccio climb better than you do?


Neely Quinn: [laughs]


Steve Bechtel: Really! I mean, maybe she has stronger fingers. I’ll even give you a better example: I’ll bet you in every single respect, I am stronger than Beth Rodden. You know, whether it’s crushing finger strength, ability to deadlift, how much I can – whatever, but she’s so much more skilled than I am and so much better at utilizing the strength that she has that we’re not even in the same sport.


Neely Quinn: Alright.


Steve Bechtel: That’s a really interesting thing. You go and your finger strength – we do some physiological testing of climbers and at the Climbers’ Festival two years ago here in Lander, we did some deadhang tests/some hand grip tests. We had some really great climbers come through, guys climbing 5.14, Alex Honnold did the test, so you go: I can deadhang small edge just as long as he can, I have a greater crushing finger strength than he does, we can do the same number of pull-ups – why is he better?

At that point, I don’t need to be spending any more time on the hangboard. I need to get better at the sport.


Neely Quinn: Yeah, it’s just hard. I mean, we can say these things but I feel like you really do need a coach to help you. Even if I were to watch myself on a climb I may not be able to pick out what I’m doing wrong.


Steve Bechtel: Yeah, and so there are a couple useful tools. One, you could climb with a friend that’s slightly better than you are and then do side-by-side video analysis. There’s a thing called Coach’s Eye that’s a really useful little app. I think it’s free or 99¢ and so you can overlay videos on top of each other and so you can go and boulder with somebody that’s climbing V12 and they do a problem and you do a problem and how do they do it differently? How is their body position different? How is their timing different? All of those minor factors, as soon as you – it’s like when you first learn to hand jam.

When I first started crack climbing I couldn’t figure out how to use a crack at all, and then all of a sudden the hand jam happens and you’ve found the easiest thing to hold onto in the world. Like, I can dead hang from hand jams longer than I can dead hang from the pull-up bar, but it’s a skill acquisition. You’ve got to keep looking for those ‘Aha!’ moments and keep breaking climbing down into these drills. When we’re practicing we’re not always – like, John Wooden was a great basketball coach to UCLA. He talked about how his player always wanted to be scoring baskets and making layups and things like that so he kept trying to break it down to drills so they could get away from trying to succeed every time.

You could say, “Okay, I’m going to work on my backstepping and I’m going to climb out this bouldering wave and I’m going to backstep with my right foot on every single move. Then, I’m going to do the same thing doing left leg backstep and I’m going to do that five times on each side.” That’s going to be sort of your warm-up, sort of the first thing you do in the workout, then you can go and just have a normal bouldering session but you need to repeat these productive drills with variations instead of constantly coming up with a lot of them. You should come up with two or three things that you want to work on in a month and that’s all you’re going to work on.


Neely Quinn: Got it, and just by the way, as a correction with Nate Drolet it wasn’t back flagging, it was backstepping. I know I’m going to get emails about that so, sorry.


Steve Bechtel: I know. God, I’m surprised you can keep track of it all.


Neely Quinn: Yeah, well I can’t. Anyway, I interrupted you.


Steve Bechtel: Then, it’s interesting to just – visualization is really useful and there’s a really cool thing, and this is/you can tell your boss I said it’s okay – if you watch video of elite performers, about 20% of your neurons will fire just while watching. If I get online and watch Sachi Amma climbing 5.15s, it’s making me better at climbing.


Neely Quinn: [laughs]


Steve Bechtel: I’m kind of joking but it’s actually really true.


Neely Quinn: No, I believe you.


Steve Bechtel: You start learning. You don’t just go, ‘You know, I’m going to listen to this cool music and watch somebody sending something cool.’ If you go, ‘How did he do that move? How would I do that move? How can I make myself climb more like that?’ you’ve got to really be open to it and you’re going to start getting better. They talk about that, the 10,000 hour rule, that if you do 10,000 hours of something that’s the minimum for becoming an expert but it really has to be what’s called ‘deliberate practice’ or ‘reinforced practice,’ where you’re present for it. You’ve got to be in that mindset.


Neely Quinn: Yeah, and as far as watching people and then getting better, you see that all the time. I was in the bouldering gym yesterday and my friend Shannon Foresman did this problem that my other friend, Mary Williams, was trying the whole/for a lot of the night. As soon as Shannon did it, Mary did it. Yeah, so we see that all the time, so yeah. Everybody just needs to watch more climbing videos.


Steve Bechtel: Yeah, and when you’re doing these drills, like, movements like matching your feet or something on holds, the more you do those – we call those ‘productive iterations’ – the more times you do the same good move per minute of practice, the better you get. For example, if you’re bad at heel hooks and you just do a bouldering session, you might or might not heel hook that day so what you need to do is say, “I need to break this down and work on this specific movement.” Again, four or five or six sets of practice, you know, maybe one or two sessions a week for a month and you’re going to start seeing some improvement there.


Neely Quinn: Okay, so this brings me to the next topic that I thought was really interesting. You brought up earlier, before the interview, you talked about ‘change psychology.’ All of these things that you’re bringing up, they’re not things that climbers typically do. We don’t go into the gym and say, “Okay, today I’m going to work on backstepping.” I mean, I don’t and I don’t know many people that do. This whole process of changing the way we train or training at all can be really difficult because it is change. Do you want to talk about that?


Steve Bechtel: Yeah, it’s interesting to look at that because I have a seven year old son and if you said, “Sam, how should I eat healthy?” He would say, “Oh yeah, well you should eat meat and vegetables and don’t eat candy.” Most people know that so why can’t we do that? What happens, there’s a whole lot of research on it. It’s called ‘change psychology’ or ‘habit change’ and what happens is willpower is finite, so if you use too much of it and you use too much of it early in the day, it makes it hard to control our behavior at night or later in the day, or when anything gets hard. So for example, how often do you say, “Oh the hell with it, I’m making cookies?” right when you wake up in the morning? Never. Say you’re sticking to a restrictive diet, like you’re on the Paleo diet, you’re on the Paleo diet, you’re on the Paleo diet until 8PM and somebody offers you a beer, then you’re like, ‘Oh, it’s made of grain and if it were available 25,000 years ago they would have drunk it, too.’

You start to make these excuses so what happens is, the best way of looking at it is there’s a rider and an elephant. Your rational brain is the rider, your emotional brain is the elephant, and they’re going down this path. The rider’s in charge and he’s getting the elephant to go until something weird happens and a mouse runs across the path and then the elephant goes crazy and runs off into the forest. So, a lot of change psychology is making small changes that the emotional brain can handle and what they would call ‘shaping the path,’ like making it easier for you to do the right thing.

For example, not having the fixings for cookies in the house is a really good way of shaping the path. If you can’t get off the path, you’re not going to fail. That’s how the fat loss TV shows work. They don’t have the option of overeating and not training.

The problem is, we decide to make too big a change at once. You know what I’m going to do? I’m going to start the Rock Prodigy training program and I’m going Paleo and this is going to be the year. What happens is it’s too many changes at once, and here’s what’s really fascinating: if you try to change one habit, and I’m talking one small thing like starting to floss your teeth, you have an 85% chance of success. If you try to change two habits at once, like I’m going to start flossing my teeth and I’m going to quit eating sugar, it drops to about 35% success rate. Then, if you’re trying to change three things, you’re gone. It’s, like, below 10%, so less than 10% of people can change three habits at once.

If I decide to go on a restrictive diet, start a new training program, and change my sleep habits, we’re done. I’m not going to succeed and so what we need to do is, when you start looking at these exciting, new training programs or exciting diet changes, realize that you are more like a huge ocean liner than a maneuverable airplane. You can barely change your direction successfully at any given time.


Neely Quinn: That makes a lot of sense.


Steve Bechtel: What we do is, say you’re trying to lose weight. I’ll say, “Okay, Neely how much water do you drink per day?” If you drink three liters of water then we’d move on to the next harder thing and I’d say, like, “Well, are you eating vegetables? Do you eat at least five servings of vegetables a day?” You try to cover these big rocks or the big bases first, but it’s one thing at a time. Sometimes I’ll have an athlete that’s/I spend a month just to try to get him to take a multivitamin every day. Not that I believe in multivitamins; I’m just trying to get him to do anything different than they’re doing. It’s funny. I mean, we laugh and I laugh, too, but some people are really, really bad at changing so you say – like, you know you’ve got clients that are coming to you for nutritional counseling. You go, ‘This is the world’s simplest diet. You can eat as much fruit, and meat, and vegetables as you want, and you’re going to feel better and your system’s going to clear-up, your complexion’s going to be better’ – all of these positive things but they still can’t do it.


Neely Quinn: Right.


Steve Bechtel: Because it’s outside of their normal habit and they use up their will power too quickly in the day.


Neely Quinn: Yeah, and I think you have to be really good at knowing yourself, too, because sometimes people who aren’t very good at change will jump into it and sometimes people know themselves really well. Like, I had a client who had a terrible diet and drank like 20 sodas a day and all he did was take out five sodas a day for the first two weeks, so…yeah.


Steve Bechtel: Yeah, and it’s also a matter of looking at the thing that’s going to give you the biggest benefit. Like I was saying earlier, getting 1% stronger in my fingers is probably not going to make as big a difference to my climbing as being able to improve my turnout or dropping five pounds or learning how to lock-off – whatever those specifics are – but identifying those things and giving precedence to them when you’re doing your training.


Neely Quinn: So for instance, if somebody were to start the Anderson brothers’ training program or one of our training programs, do you think that’s a bad idea? Do you think most people would just fail on doing that? Should people ease into those programs and just change one thing at a time?


Steve Bechtel: Well here’s the – and it’s funny, because I get a lot of emails about other people’s training plans and they’re like, ‘Oh yeah, I started doing Rock Prodigy and I really didn’t like the ARC training and so I just skipped it and I went to the hangboard.’ I’m like, ‘Duh! Nobody likes ARC training but there’s a reason we do it.’ People get impatient. They want these results right now and so they want to go from doing nothing to doing something really amazing. Mike and Mark have developed into the ability to train very effectively over a long time, so you should also be willing to let yourself do that.

Like, you start that program and you go, ‘I’m going to use those components. I understand I’m going to do some endurance. I’m going to get my fingers a little bit stronger,’ but you need to do it in small changes from what you’ve been doing. People get so impatient with results but the results always come at the end.

I talk to my athletes about speed farming, where you plant some corn and then you go out there and put a light on it and you water it like crazy and you yell at it to grow. You try to make it grow faster and faster and faster. Well, it doesn’t work. We have to let the whole season go by and be patient with the interventions we’re making and then we’ll see the results.


Neely Quinn: So, I started taking on clients recently, again, and the biggest theme that I see through all of them is they’re all training too much. I’m sure you get this, too, a lot, because climbers tend to be over-achievers. So, I’m trying to tell them, “Okay, you can’t climb six or seven days a week, train on top of that three or four days a week, and then do three long runs every week.” I mean, you can, but you’re probably not going to reach your goals. Can we talk a little bit about that and what you see and what you tell people?


Steve Bechtel: Yeah, well what we’re talking about is called ‘adaptation potential.’ Adaptation potential means you only have so much you can adapt to. That’s why we don’t have a lot of people who are lawyer/doctor combos. When we get going on something – we start bouldering and I’m bouldering two days a week, I’m getting stronger, I’m going to add another day, I’m going to add another day, and usually if it’s going really, really well, adding more is going to ruin it for you. You’ve got to have a reasonable expectation of what your body can adapt to.

This is one of my – we talked the last time about CrossFit and this is one of my arguments against CrossFit, is that there is too much demand for motor adaptations from athletes. If I’ve got you trying to become a better climber I want your motor potential going toward being a better climber and you’re learning how to do overhead squats and snatches and things, it’s hitting me in the back and I’m not going to be able to get you as strong as fast.

There’s a great quote by a guy named Miyamoto Musashi. He says, “1,000 days of lessons for discipline, 10,000 days of lessons for mastery.” It’s hard to think that I need to do this much work and this much patience to get that good. That kind of circles back to that 25% of your time should be spent training and the rest should be practice because it can kind of keep people from getting too overtrained.


Neely Quinn: So, what if you’re a person who’s very overachieving, and not only do they want to succeed next spring or even this winter with their bouldering goals but they’re also a ski racer and they want to compete in ski races at the same time. Do you think that’s even possible?


Steve Bechtel: It is, but they’ll never reach their potential. We’ll see people argue. They’ll go, like, I have this friend, Ty Mack. He lives over in Idaho and he’s a really super runner and he’s also a very good rock climber, like .14a or .b, but if he were to just focus on one of those things he would be better at that sport than he is doing both of them. A lot of people are fine with that compromise and some people like to have a full season off and say, “I’m going to take three months off and be a skier,” and they can still perform on a high level and they can still improve but they will not be as good as they can be if all of their eggs were in one basket.


Neely Quinn: You mean, if all year they were training for that.


Steve Bechtel: Yeah, or focusing their training around it. Like, you can have a month where you don’t climb very much but you’re working on one of the facets of climbing, but I think that you’ve got to be all in if you’re going to see yourself reach your potential.


Neely Quinn: Okay, so you can still be good at things, you just can’t be best at things.


Steve Bechtel: Sure, and there are a lot of people that are high performers in many sports but being elite, like, you’re not going to see Adam Ondra as a high-level bike racer or something at the same time as he is a high-level climber.


Neely Quinn: I’m just going to interrupt here for a moment and let you know that FrictionLabs has sponsored this episode of the podcast, which I truly appreciate. I don’t solicit just any company to sponsor the podcast. I solicit companies that I actually use and whose products I really, really love like Armaid and FrictionLabs. FrictionLabs has a line of chalk – they have several different kinds – that I believe really, really works better than any other chalk I’ve ever used.

If you want to try it out yourself and see how the content of magnesium carbonate in their chalk is higher than other chalk companies you can do that by going to and you’re going to find some really sweet discounts that they’re giving just to you guys. Hopefully you’ll enjoy it and hopefully you’ll love their chalk just as much as I do. That’s it. Back to the interview now.


Neely Quinn: Okay, I want to switch gears here a little bit. Can we talk about periodization? You have said that you think that there’s a lot of confusion about periodization. Can you explain?


Steve Bechtel: Yeah, so periodization is simply the organization of your training. A lot of people will read a book about it, like a general book about it. There’s a famous book about it by a guy named Tudor Bompa. It’s the division of training into these things called ‘mesocycles’ where you would have a portion of time that’s spent developing endurance or developing strength or developing power. The problem is we have de-training that occurs.

On a traditional periodization program, the one that’s what we call ‘linear periodization’ now, where it’s four weeks of different facets of training, if you train strength for a month and you’re hangboarding and then you just stop hangboarding and you start bouldering, you’re going to have some transfer of strength or some amount of strength stay with you just because you’re bouldering, but then when you switch from bouldering to doing routes and your power starts to decline from losing your bouldering, you’re eight weeks out from strength and we start to see those numbers drop off. That’s where a linear program starts to fail and we realize that, for a skill-based sport such as climbing that is dependent on a lot of energy systems, a linear training program or a linear periodization program isn’t the most ideal.

The reason that climbing is the coolest sport in the world is because it’s highly skill-based, it’s dependent on all three of the major energy systems, and it also is one where you can develop flexibility or a better mental game and still improve, even if you’ve topped out all of those other things.

A traditional periodization program is designed around a competition sport like, say, marathon running, so if I get really strong in the spring and then built some power and build endurance, it doesn’t matter how powerful I am at the marathon because now I’m just doing endurance. It’s a cyclic endurance sport, meaning you do the same thing over and over until you’re tired. Climbing is acyclic, meaning it’s not the same movement and it’s also all over the map. You can have routes that tax your endurance for 20 minutes then they have a V5 move – excuse me, a V5 section – for 15 moves so it’ll be power endurance, then it’s got a V12 exit so you’ve got to have top power. We’ve got to meld all those things together so I think when we look at periodizing, we need to address most of those energy systems most of the year.


Neely Quinn: Yeah, and I think that is exactly what we do in our programs because we kind of have finger training within the power cycles and power endurance within the strength cycles. How do you properly form a training program, then?


Steve Bechtel: Well, I think assessment is really a key. Like, where am I bad? Where am I not up to the same level? You might be really great at endurance but your finger strength is bad. There are a couple of assessments. Eric Horst has one in his Training for Climbing book and it’s pretty basic. His is a general audience book but it’s a good thing to look at, like, do I hate slab climbing?

A really great example is if you’re one of the people that thinks that trad grades are harder than sport grades, it’s just showing us that we have a weakness in your ability there because they really are the same grades. If you talked to somebody like Caldwell or Mike Anderson, they’re going to say, “Oh yeah, .14a is .14a.” That’s a good thing to look at and then you can say, “I’m going to develop a program that continues to focus on that weakness throughout the year,” because you can’t just, say, train slabs one month a year.


Neely Quinn: So it’s just about your weaknesses. You’re not trying to train everything throughout the year?


Steve Bechtel: Well, yeah, you want to continue maintaining all of those things but when we go back and we talk about your adaptation potential like we talked about earlier, you run into an issue of: I can’t be maxing out on everything, so the analogy I’ll use is a four-burner stove. You keep three of the burners simmering and stirring them while one of them you’re just boiling it.

What I would do is say, in any given training period, the majority of your training might be power but then you’re still going to do some low intensity endurance, you’re going to still be doing some strength endurance or power endurance training, and then you’re still going to be doing a little bit of maximum finger strength training. It’s a matter of figuring out how to balance those and that’s/I think that that’s where people get confused. We tend to drift toward our preference rather than toward our greatest need.


Neely Quinn: Right. Okay, that makes sense. That helps me clarify because…


Steve Bechtel: Just to go one step further, there’s two different kinds, or flavors, of periodization. We have linear, which is big cycles, four weeks at a time, one thing, then there is a thing called ‘alternating periodization’ and I’ve seen good success with this, where you’ll do three weeks focusing on power and then flip over and do three weeks focusing on strength endurance, and then go back and forth. I think Steve Maisch has a couple of really good programs along those lines on his

Then you have ‘undulating periodization’ where you are varying the load constantly. You’ll have a hard bouldering day Monday, easy bouldering day Wednesday, medium bouldering day Friday, or something like that. There’s a lot of ways of putting it together but the really important thing is if you do what you’ve always done you’re going to get what you always got, so look for where you’re weak and make a change there.


Neely Quinn: Okay. Alright, cool. Do you want to talk about finger training? We have about 20 minutes left and you had said sort of the same thing about finger training as periodization, that there’s a little bit of confusion there.


Steve Bechtel: Yeah, I think there’s a lot. I mean, there’s so much information now and – you know, when I first started climbing, people did pull-ups on the edge of the door and they used those little Black Diamond blue donut things, and that was your grip training. Now we’ve got all these hangboards, all these different hangboard programs, and the thing that’s really important to realize is that most of them are getting the same job done, it’s just a different way of doing it. It’s like, are we going to have Mexican or Chinese for dinner? You’re going to have to have dinner so you just pick one of those two things.

If you look at Ava Lopez’s program, which is cool, it’s really one of those alternating linear programs, she has you do loaded hangs for four weeks and then you do hangs with a progressively smaller edge for four weeks, so it’s a great program. The same thing is, you’ll quit adapting to that program after awhile so then maybe it’s time to go to a different program, like, the program that Chris Webb Parsons does. It’s really cool and it’s much different than Ava Lopez’s program. Also building finger strength, also building upper body strength, but then when you go – I’m going to argue repeaters, which is the 7-seconds on, 3-seconds off for several rounds versus Ava Lopez’s, because this is where we see them, as they’re the most famous two fingerboard programs, they’re sort of different animals.

We look at your time under tension, or the amount of time you’re under load, and with repeaters the load has to be significantly lower than a max hang, and so that would be appropriate in a different phase of your training. People do get stronger with repeaters but, again, we’re not going to maximize strength there as much as with Ava’s program or with Steve Maisch, who’s like the total unsung genius of climbing training. His program’s really simple. It’s 10-second weighted hangs and I can’t remember if it’s three sets but cycling between programs that are aimed at specific facets of your fitness. If you’re trying to get strong fingers it’s 5-10 seconds on and then a lot of rest because it’s not really the muscles as much as the connective tissue, and if you get pumped while you’re doing hangboard training you’re not training strength.


Neely Quinn: Okay, you’re training endurance?


Steve Bechtel: Yeah, and that’s a really important thing. Fatigue, in every respect, is about training endurance. If you get tired in a workout you have left the realm of strength training. What happens is you just can’t hold on. You feel fresh, you get on the hangboard, and you can’t hold onto those holds, that means we’ve been hitting the neurological system and the connective tissue because you’re seeing central nervous system failure rather than being pumped. We’re not in that metabolic zone, we’re in central nervous system adaptation.


Neely Quinn: So it seems like you want to do both.


Steve Bechtel: Yes, but never on the same day, of course. Maybe four weeks of one, four weeks of another. I really like/I think Chris Webb Parsons’ program is – I think it might be 12 weeks, the whole thing, but if you did six weeks of, because the two six-week pieces of it are similar, if you did six weeks of it and switch to a different phase like a repeaters phase, it would be really good.

The important thing about hangboard training is it’s so easy to get hurt. You need to address it the same way you address brushing your teeth. You do it all the time but you never look for the acute result. You don’t ever go and brush your teeth and go, ‘I’m going to brush the living shit out of these things and get super, super clean so I don’t have to brush for a few days.’ You shouldn’t do that with hangboard training, either. Who cares how much you can max? Your connective tissue, they say, adapts about 1/7 as fast as muscle and you know how slowly your muscle adapts, so you should look at hangboard training all the time at varying levels for the rest of your climbing career. Maybe it’s only one day a week, maybe it’s only one day every 10 during parts of the year, other times maybe it’s three days a week, but always at a level that feels sustainable. I don’t like adding a lot of weight to those things.


Neely Quinn: Ever? You don’t.


Steve Bechtel: Ava’s program is pretty good. She adds weight on that big – I can’t remember if it’s an 18-millimeter edge. Add weight up there, that’s okay, but the thing that’s really fascinating is you don’t have to train in that 95% zone to get stronger.

I’ll give you an example from weight training. I have a female athlete. She’s actually one of the people that works here at the gym. She was stuck at a bench press of 200 pounds, which is pretty good, right? She’s strong, but she can’t get over this 200-pound hurdle. We’ve tried everything. Drop sets, negatives, all kinds of these traditional strength ways of getting her stronger and then I had a program suggested to me where she trains ladders at a much lower weight. We took her to 75% of that and we trained her at 155, just because it’s easy to load up on the bench, and she did 2-4-6 reps of those, and 2-4-6, 2-4-6 and at 155, six reps is not hard for her. She never missed a rep and all we did was add more sets as she moved through a six-week cycle. She never lifted more than 155. All we did was go 2-4-6, 2-4-6, 2-4-6 and we keep adding more sets to where I think she was up to 10 sets at the end. When we tested her, she benched 220.


Neely Quinn: What?


Steve Bechtel: Yeah, and so what we care about is the athlete, the rock climber, getting strong fingers but never testing them out at 100% because at 100% our fingers are going to come apart. If you spend a year, say you’re just doing Ava Lopez’s program, weighted hangs and going to a slightly smaller edge, weighted hangs and go to slightly smaller edge, but you’re never pushing it – I think she says that on her little sheet, ‘Don’t go above 80%,’ or whatever. You’re going to get ungodly strong and we’re never going to risk damaging a finger. Finger injuries are three months and we just can’t afford three months because you should always, always, be looking at your climbing career as a countdown rather than a count-up. It’s not how long you’ve been climbing, it’s how long you have left.


Neely Quinn: Yeah.


Steve Bechtel: So we can’t be injured.


Neely Quinn: So you think that Ava Lopez’s, out of all – you kind of just mentioned all of these programs and the benefits of all of them, but it seems like you’re more in line with Ava Lopez than with anybody else.


Steve Bechtel: Her’s is really simple and I think that simple is quite easy for people to get on board with. If you’re training for hard stuff, like, say you’re climbing 5.13-mid or harder, the Anderson’s hangboards are really good because they use a lot of specific holds that show up on those things, but 5.12 and under the holds are pretty big, for the most part, so you can get away with just training that edge position. The jury is really out on whether you – well, just to throw one more in the mix, my favorite thing is Dave MacLeod’s four hold positions. It’s like full crimp, half crimp, open, and then three-finger open or maybe it’s, like, three-finger open and a pinch, but they’re real simple. The thing is, going back to our change psychology, you have to make it simple enough where you’ll do it for the duration of the program.


Neely Quinn: Right.


Steve Bechtel: Here’s the thing. I’ll get maybe an email a week from people like, ‘I tried ‘x’ program and it didn’t work and so I quit right after the first three weeks.’ Well, if you’re going to do Chris Webb Parsons’ hangboard program, once you’re done then you can tell me if it didn’t work. Once you’ve followed Rock Prodigy all the way through an entire season, then you can tell me whether or not the program worked but until you do the exact program, it’s really important to know that results come at the end. It’s the same thing as farming. Gardening is bullshit for the first six months of it then it’s awesome.


Neely Quinn: Right, you don’t see anything.


Steve Bechtel: Right. We’re going to starve but it’s like, fruition comes. You learn at the end of college, you know, when you get to the end of all those classes and you start putting all those things together, that’s when you’re better. It’s the same thing that happens biologically when we adapt to an overload.


Neely Quinn: You have really great analogies, by the way.


Steve Bechtel: I only teach about four things, but I teach them a lot.


Neely Quinn: Yeah, I think that is a sign of a good teacher, when you have good analogies. You have obviously explained these things to a lot of people.


Steve Bechtel: And it’s hard because we see people who will have an example. They’ll say, “Oh, so and so said the grade is this.” “Sharma never trains.” Or you’ll say, “So and so does this,” and you’ve got to understand that the huge history of the amount that these guys have climbed or what they’ve done is not just what you saw at the crag that day or what you read about in an article. You’re looking at the whole, long history of it.


Neely Quinn: Yeah.


Steve Bechtel: And that’s really critical because the vast majority of us don’t fall into those zones. In sociology they call it a ‘survivorship bias,’ where you say, “Richard Branson never finished high school so why should I?” You have to look at the average and assume that you’re going to be the average so that you have to do all the training, you don’t get to get away without any of it. You know, Ondra doesn’t do any hangboard training but he hangs on tiny holds all day long. It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do hangboard training.


Neely Quinn: Literally, all day long.


Steve Bechtel: Yes, exactly.


Neely Quinn: Okay, so I don’t want to keep you for too long. We have about 10 minutes left and I actually just asked on Facebook for questions. I was listening to you and typing at the same time, I promise, but I have five here. Do you want to run through these real quick?


Steve Bechtel: Sure.


Neely Quinn: Okay, so Verun – I’m sorry if I just ruined your name there, but – “For people looking to break into the 5.12 grade range, I find one of the biggest struggles is power and contact strength as well as sharpening technique. I know limit bouldering is good for this but I was wondering if he could recommend any regimes to focus limit bouldering time better rather than just trying problems?”


Steve Bechtel: Yeah, I would say, so if he’s climbing maybe 5.12 he’s climbing maybe up to V5 or something. Say, limit bouldering, your level is V5 or V6. Every other session you should back off to V3 or V4 and work on perfecting those movements. Like we were talking about before with practice, when I’m climbing at my limit I’m not climbing super awesome. Like, I’m thrutching for things, I’m really struggling, and so if you can back off to a level where you kind of own that grade and really try to perfect your movement – like, pick a V3 and do that thing six times then go to a V4 and do that thing six times. Every other session should have higher volume but still at a level that taxes you. You know, you might fall off one of those problems but you’re having to work for it. If you back off too far, like to V1, then it’s too easy and you’re no longer paying attention so it’s got to be high enough. I like to call that the onsight level, the level where you might or might not flash the problem.


Neely Quinn: Okay.


Steve Bechtel: Every other session should feature that and that will bring his power right up.


Neely Quinn: Okay, and how much time would you say in between goes?


Steve Bechtel: I like, in a limit session, one minute per move because, again, if you’re training power and explosiveness you’re not going to feel when you need to recover because it’s all neurological. On a slightly easier scale, like when you’re backing off to medium intensity day, I would say two minutes between problems. If a problem takes you 30 seconds, probably five times that long.


Neely Quinn: Okay. That’s a great answer. I’ve never heard it explained like that. Will Anglin actually asked, “I would like to know his thoughts on the metabolic and muscular constituents of sport climbing endurance and bouldering endurance.”


Steve Bechtel: Ooh wow, that’s a good one.


Neely Quinn: It is a good one. It took me a couple of times to read it.


Steve Bechtel: Next question. [laughs] No – so, he’s asking about the metabolic components of endurance?


Neely Quinn: Metabolic and muscular constituents of sport climbing endurance and bouldering endurance.


Steve Bechtel: I think I might not be understanding the question right, but what I think he’s saying is: sport climbing endurance tends to be more aerobically driven. There were these English guys, Alex Barrows is really smart, and I’ve talked to him about training over the years, and Tom Randall as well. They’re really exploring anaerobic capacity – well, let’s just say this: energy system capacity versus power. What that means is in sport climbing, typically we need to build a lot of capacity, the ability to do work, and then we build power, which is the ability to exploit that work. Sport climbing endurance, a lot of your time, just needs to be getting to where you can do lots and lots of moves at a relatively easy level. Things like route laps, long traverses, that’s how we do that. Then, part of the year you’d need to adapt and start training what we would call ‘aerobic power,’ where we’re trying to intensify that a little bit. Aerobic power would mean doing route laps on things that were slightly more difficult but still trying to stay in that aerobic zone.

With bouldering endurance it tends to be more anaerobic so we’re in that lactic energy system, or what we’ll call strength or power endurance. That’s trained a little bit differently but still in the same regard of – you’re going to do 10 moves and then try to keep repeating that difficulty level for 10 moves so that you’re trying to build capacity there, like maybe try to get up to where you can do 50 or 60 or 80 total V-grades in a session, depending on where your level is.

What we see in bouldering is, when you get tapped out in bouldering it’s almost always a power endurance failure. You just need to have more rest between those sets. The way to train that in the gym is to force yourself to take slightly less rest, then when we go outside we try to perform by giving ourselves more again.


Neely Quinn: Okay.


Steve Bechtel: My god, was that a good answer? I was probably all over the place.


Neely Quinn: No, that was great. I hope Will appreciates it.


Steve Bechtel: Tell him to email me if I answered him wrong.


Neely Quinn: Okay. You just told him to email you. [laughs]


Steve Bechtel: There we go. It’s


Neely Quinn: Okay. I wonder how many emails you’ll get now. Okay, I’m going to do a couple short ones here. Phillip Sanchez says, “Does crack climbing training differ from sport or bouldering training plans?”


Steve Bechtel: Oh, this is a really good one. I claim that no crack climber has ever freed El Cap. What I mean is that sport climbing, the very essence of it, originally, was so we could do more volume without all the crap of crack climbing and get physically stronger. The way crack climbing is different, physiologically, is there’s a lot more pressing in it than pulling. You grab holds and pull, then you step on edges and boom, boom, boom, you’re going up out these big overhangs. In crack climbing there’s a lot more counter pressure where you’re stemming, high steps, counter pressure with the hands, but once you’ve developed the basic hand positions you pretty much have got it. Again, short of some specific techniques like offwidth technique or fist cracks, the harder crack climbs get, the more they resemble sport climbs. They get steeper, the holds get smaller, and again, the very, very best crack climbers spend most of their time sport climbing. Other than a transfer of technical skill, most of your crack training should be done by just getting better at rock climbing in general.


Neely Quinn: Wait, really? The best crack climbers spend a lot of their time sport climbing?


Steve Bechtel: Well, who’s the best crack climber in the world? Maybe it’s Tom Randall? I don’t know. Maybe it’s Tommy? They spend an inordinate amount of time sport climbing because of the volume you can build up. Short of going to Indian Creek, there aren’t a lot of places where you can build good mileage crack climbing. You’re walking off the back of things and walking around to the other side.

You know, Mike Anderson, and I can’t remember if Mark did, too, but Mike flashed Freerider on El Cap and he was the first person to do it.


Neely Quinn: I didn’t know that. That’s a pretty big deal.


Steve Bechtel: It is, and he doesn’t ever claim that as an ascent because he had aided the Salathe years before, so he had technically been up it so to his credit he doesn’t put that on his shoulder, but he wasn’t just out crack climbing doing that. He trained on his hangboard, in his home gym, and by doing lots and lots and lots of sport climbing.


Neely Quinn: Okay, next question. I’m just going to do one, maybe two more. “How can someone adequately warm-up for a hangboard workout at home? I never feel like I am ready for a full on hangboard workout until I’ve been able to do a bunch of low- to mid-intensity climbing first. I’ve tried slowly progressing hang intensity but it still feels tweaky.”


Steve Bechtel: Yeah, so that’s really tough. The way that we look at warming up, you want to do a general warm-up first, so maybe it would be to go outside and do some lunges or some step-ups or something, push-ups, some general exercise. You could even go for a hike or go for a short run and just – don’t even laugh, Neely. You can run when you’re warming up, you just can’t run as a sport. You want to get generally warmed-up, then you want to get into doing some specific things like maybe some general grip training, get some progressively more difficult Power Putties, there are those little bars called Flex Bars that Theraband makes and those are really good for getting the big muscles of your forearms warmed-up.


Neely Quinn: Bars? What do they do?


Steve Bechtel: It’s called a Flex Bar. It’s a rubberized thing, about as big as a flashlight, and you can do reverse wrist curls or wrist curls with it. It’s a rehab tool for the most part but if climbers get the most intense one of them, they’re actually a pretty good workout.


Neely Quinn: Or on the other hand, what about those rubber bands that you sort of extend your fingers with?


Steve Bechtel: Yeah, those are good, too. You can go to the/we always tell people to go to the grocery store and buy a batch of asparagus, and then throw the asparagus in the garbage and use that rubber band. So yeah, that will be good for your expansion but get those things warmed-up and then when you get on the hangboard, start off big edge, one-second hang, rest, big edge, two-second hang, rest, work your way all the way up to 10 seconds. Then you go to a medium-sized edge, 1-10, just five second rest. Easy, easy pace and by the time you’re done with two cycles of that you’ll be ready to go.


Neely Quinn: Okay, that’s great. The last one, “What is your view on NSAI and their positive or negative effects on recovery and training?” He means non-steroidal…


Steve Bechtel: Nonsteroidal, NSAIDs? Yeah. You know, I’m not an expert in that sort of thing but I know that the biggest problem that we see with anti-inflammatories is they mask potential injuries. I love them for preserving your skin but they’re terrible if you don’t feel a finger tweak go. Once you have it – is it if you have an injury? Or what was the question?


Neely Quinn: He says, “Effects on recovery and training.”


Steve Bechtel: Oh, I think they’re good for recovery from an injury. Once you’ve hurt a shoulder, hurt an elbow, they are anti-inflammatories and the anti-inflammatory does show pretty good research with orthopedic recovery, so that’s good, but I would say the minimum use of them. Generally, you shouldn’t be taking them unless it’s because your skin is a little ouchie. Like you said earlier, most people overtrain and I’d way rather see you undertrain by 5% than overtrain by 1%.


Neely Quinn: Okay. Can we do one more? This is the last one.


Steve Bechtel: Sure. Yeah.


Neely Quinn: Okay, from Nick Palowski. I didn’t want to leave you out so get your ears open for this one. It’s a little bit long. “I have never hangboarded yet, would like to start soon. Two years climbing, 3-4 times a week. Redpointing mid-5.11 sport outside. I’m planning on gradually adding weight to a one-pad deep edge for about 20 sessions, 2.5 pounds added each session, for four-finger wide pinch, medium pinch, and then 1.25 pounds added for,” oh god, “IMMRP, all with open grip. Two rest days between sessions. Is this a good plan for building overall finger strength? I’m not training for a specific project.”


Steve Bechtel: The more complicated the plan, the least likely it is to work. For somebody who’s just been climbing for a couple of years, that’s just too complicated a plan. I really love hangboard training ladders and what I would do would be to pick an edge that, like, a medium or one-pad edge, get up there, hang it for three seconds, rest a few/30 seconds, then hang it for six seconds, rest for 30 seconds, then hang it for nine seconds. Then I would switch and do a different hold position like a pinch, 3-6-9, and then maybe go back and forth between those two for a few sets.

Adding weight really isn’t necessary. It’s like, again, brushing your teeth. He’s got few enough years in his training that the adaptations are going to come from sub-maximal loads. Remember, with isometric training, the volume of training has a more profound effect than the load. That’s a really, really critical thing. Doing a couple more edge hangs at a lighter weight will keep you from getting injured and will probably have a similar effect to adding weight. I wouldn’t worry about adding weight and I wouldn’t worry about tweaking it that much, to 1.25 pounds or not. I like to stick to the big wheels, like if you’re going to add weight, add 10, and if you don’t feel like you can add 10 then you shouldn’t be adding weight.


Neely Quinn: Okay. Those are great answers. Thank you.


Steve Bechtel: Yeah, and if people have more, I mean, I know we always have people that have questions after the podcast. If they send them to you, just send them over to me, or they can email me directly.


Neely Quinn: Okay yeah, and what was the email again?


Steve Bechtel: It’s


Neely Quinn: And do you see people remotely?


Steve Bechtel: Yeah, infrequently. I kind of/I’ve never really found it to be that effective. I have a few athletes that I still work with but knowing that they’re doing what I’m prescribing. Skype really helps but I’m, like I said, I’m mostly doing more training consultation or programming consultation than movement stuff.

I think there’s some really great people out there coaching now. I think Kris Hampton is a super hotshot and he’s cool. I think if you could get Steve Maisch to help you it would be amazing. I know that Justen Sjong is kind of the king of climbing coaching right now and he’s probably got that whole thing down pat. They would be better one-on-one than me on movement, on day-to-day stuff, but I’m good on program design and especially designing long term training programs. That’s kind of more of my thing these days.


Neely Quinn: Okay, and people can find you online where?


Steve Bechtel: I have a website called and it’s/I try to keep articles up as often as I can and I email as quickly as possible, too.


Neely Quinn: And any social media?


Steve Bechtel: Yeah, I think it’s on Facebook and Twitter, maybe at Climb Strong? I really can’t remember.

We do have people come in. This is what we like to do, is we have people come into our gym in Lander. We do strength assessments, we do overall – a lot of times we’ll just sit down and talk for two hours and really come up with some things that’ll take the brakes off for people. That’s the way I prefer to see people. I don’t think I can help them learn how to drop knee over Facetime, so…


Neely Quinn: Right. Well, thanks again for your time. I’ve kept you for quite awhile. I hope that people got a lot out of this. I mean, I’d love to have you on again, so…


Steve Bechtel: Yeah, that would be great. This is always fun, so good luck with it. I appreciate it.


Neely Quinn: Alright, thanks. Have a great one.


Steve Bechtel: Yep, bye.


Neely Quinn: Alright, thanks for listening to episode 36 of the TrainingBeta podcast. Again, I’m your host, Neely Quinn, and that was Steve Bechtel. I love talking to him. He’s super smart but also really relatable so I like talking to him. I hope you enjoyed it.

I have a few people coming up on the podcast. I have Steve McClure sometime in December and then Thomasina Pidgeon is coming up next week, and I kind of had to twist her arm to get on the show but she’s a strong lady and she has a lot of experience with training. She actually takes some cues from Steve Bechtel so that’ll be interesting to talk to her. Then I have Tom Randall coming up and hopefully Dave MacLeod. I keep saying that. Hopefully it’ll happen one of these days and – yeah.

If you need more training information we always have our training programs on the site for you. They’re/our route climbing training program – it’s a tongue twister – is very similar to our bouldering training program in that they’re subscription programs where you get three very, very structured workouts every week. They’re unique. You’re not going to be doing the same thing all the time. It also includes finger strength training, some campusing if you’re up for it and you’re at a level where that’s appropriate, and we’ll let you know that in the program. We also have some eBooks, like our six-week power endurance, our endurance program, and then nutrition and injury prevention are on there. Steve Bechtel’s strength program is also on our site.

When you purchase our programs you’re not only going to get really awesome information, you also support what we’re doing here. You support our work on the podcast, you support our work on the site, and we really appreciate it. So, without further adieu, I’m going to sign-off here and I will talk to you next week. Thanks again for listening.



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, climbing training classes, nutrition classes, regular blog posts, interviews on The TrainingBeta Podcast, personal coaching for climbing, and nutrition for climbers.

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