Project Description

Date: October 5th, 2017

trainingbeta podcast


About Tom Randall and Ollie Torr

Tom Randall and Ollie Torr are the head trainers at, and I got to sit down with both of them to talk about the research they’re doing for the sport of climbing. Ollie Torr is a V13 boulderer and former competitive gymnast, who also holds a degree in Sports Science. Tom Randall is a 5.14 crack and offwidth climber, a 5.14 sport climber, and a V13 boulderer himself.

Both of them have put their skills as climbers and their passion for the scientific process to use at Lattice Training, where they do in-depth analyses of all of their clients. They work with Remus Knowles, who takes all of their data and crunches it into analyses that actually help climbers reach their goals.

In this interview, we talk about the research they’ve done on over 500 climbers, and what it can tell you about your own climbing. For instance, what advantages do taller climbers really have over shorter climbers, and how do shorter climbers need to compensate for that? And what advantages do female climbers have over males, and how do males need to compensate for that?

If you want to train with Tom and Ollie, or learn about their athlete profiling system, contact them at

Tom Randall and Ollie Torr Interview Details

  • Differences between female and male climbers
  • Differences between kids and adult climbers
  • Differences between taller and shorter climbers
  • What is the optimal BMI/weight for climbers
  • What you need to train for bouldering vs route climbing
  • The advantages that females have over men
  • When to drop weight if you need to

Lattice Training Links and Sample Reports

Contact Lattice Training

Training Programs for You

Do you want a well-laid-out, easy-to-follow training program that will get you stronger quickly? Here’s what we have to offer on TrainingBeta. Something for everyone…

climbing training programs

Please Review The Podcast on iTunes

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 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’re on Episode 91, where I talk with Ollie Torr and Tom Randall of These guys have paired up to be some of the most analytical, scientific, and nerdiest trainers out there. They’re also really good climbers. Ollie is a v13 boulderer, he also was a competitive gymnast for a while, and he is a strength and conditioning coach. He understands exactly how to train to become stronger, and he’s applied that with his clients at Lattice Training for Climbing. Tom Randall- I think his first notoriety was through the Wide Boyz. He and his partner Pete Whittaker came over to the States after training in their basements in the U.K. and just destroyed 5.14 crack climbs and off widths. He’s climbed up to v13 himself and 5.14- he’s really strong and has done a lot of experimentation in his own training and now puts that to use with his own clients.

What they do together is they have come up with this really intense assessment scheme- not scheme in a bad way- but assessment process for their clients. They get to know their clients abilities very well before they ever start training them. It really helps them to know exactly what a person needs to do to improve at bouldering or at route climbing, and to gain the strength they need to reach their goals. They keep track of these clients, and through all of this data that they’ve collected, they’ve come up with some trends among climbers that they think will help you with your own training. I found this talk to be extremely interesting and illuminating, and so hopefully you will too. We are going to talk about things like what the differences are between men and women in terms of strength and ability, and generally what women and need to focus on to get stronger. We talk about optimum body weight and BMI, and what the trends are across really strong climbers. We talk about the differences between kids’ strengths and adults’ strength, and the differences between being tall and being short, and what all of these people need to do to get stronger. So I’m going to shut up now, and I’m going to let you listen to the pros. They’re extremely well spoken, and it was a really solid interview, I think. They just know their stuff, and they’re really passionate. So enjoy this interview, and I’ll talk to you on the other side.

Neely Quinn: Alright, welcome to the show Ollie and Tom, thanks very much for being with me today.

Tom Randall/Ollie Torr: Thanks very much Neely.

Tom Randall/Ollie Torr: Thanks for having us.

Neely Quinn: So we are going to have to get used to having both your voices on one interview. It would be cool if you can sometimes say “This is Ollie” or “This is Tom”. But for now, if you guys could both take some time to introduce yourselves, that would be great.

Tom Randall: Yeah no problem. So my name is Tom Randall, and I’m a mixture of, I suppose, a professional climber and professional climbing coach. I obviously do a lot a climbing outside, and many people know me as a trad or crack specialist. Away from that, I have a job running Lattice Training with Ollie, my coaching partner. I’ve been a coach for- I suppose a proper coach- for fifteen plus years, but I came from other sports outside of climbing. For the last more or less eight or nine years, I think, I’ve been working close to part time-full time coach within climbing, from competition climbers, to sponsored climbers, all the way through to people who are general enthusiasts of the wall. We’ve done a podcast before with you, Neely, and as a number of you all know, I specialize in performance profiling with Lattice, and designing training programs.

Neely Quinn: Alright. That was great, thanks. Alright, Ollie?

Ollie Torr: I’m Ollie Torr. I’m a full time climbing coach at the moment, working just for Lattice Training. I currently do a bit of work with the GB Junior Team, so the National team which is competing. I’ve come from a background in sport’s science, and then moved onto strength conditioning, so that’s where my speciality lies within the team. I’m a climber myself- I’ve climbed for the past ten years. I was previously a competitive gymnast before that, as a junior athlete. At the moment, I’m spending most of my time working with sponsored athletes, competition climbers, and general enthusiasts through the U.K. and abroad through Lattice Training.

Neely Quinn: Okay, good job guys. Really thorough.

Tom Randall/Ollie Torr: Thanks.


Neely Quinn: So you guys both work at your company, Lattice Training. You kind of game me a little bit of an idea of what both of your specialties are, but can you guys just run me through if somebody wants to train with you, what do you do Ollie, and what do you do Tom?

Ollie Torr: I guess we both do a mixture of every role within the company, but the reason we work well as a team is, I’d say, even as athletes we are very different in terms of that I’ve come from more of a strength background, used to having not fitness at all, not really understanding that area of it as an athlete myself. Tom is on the other end of the spectrum, having come from having a lot of fitness and expertise in that area within his own performance, and then gaining more strength as we’ve teamed up. That kind of gives us a perceptive from both sides, and our coaching kind of reflects that knowledge that we’ve got from our personal performances.

For myself, I would be more focused in terms of bouldering performance, strength gains, and anything to do with conditioning to keep you climbers healthy and strong. Tom’s specialty is understanding the metabolism of energy, specific to the sport of climbing. However, as a team, we always talk about everything, so we work together on every aspect of the company.

Neely Quinn: Tom, anything to add?

Tom Randall: It’s really what Ollie said- we are very much two sides of a coin in terms of our climbing and our coaching style. Whilst I came up with this framework of how my coaching, the performance profiling that I do, the lattice board, and the training program design would work a number of years ago, when I first met Ollie at a climbing wall and he was a coach at the wall, he just stood out a complete mile to me. I’d never seen someone be so diligent, and kind of obsessive about detail, and doing a job almost- I kind of thought he was doing the job too well for the session. Then I thought well, I have this concept and what I want to do with coaching, and I’m very much appreciative if you do things as a team and not just as a solo lone wolf. You can do things much better, because you can combine resources and compliment each other. I very much saw that opposite in Ollie, and so far it’s just been brilliant. I get to learn more from Ollie on all those areas that I know less about, and honestly, it’s been part running a business and coaching enterprise together, but also an education. That’s what makes me get up every day and think “I’m really psyched for this”, because I learn something new every single week. I love it.

Neely Quinn: Wow. You guys have a good team over there don’t you?

Ollie Torr: Yeah, we are quite obsessive. We probably spend a bit too much time talking, but we kind of love it, so.


Neely Quinn: I think it’s great. Tom, can you just expound upon what you just said? You said that you thought that Ollie was doing the job a bit too well. Can you explain that part of him a little bit?

Tom Randall: Yeah. So this was at the wall, and one of my first memories of when I saw Ollie was preparing a junior coaching session. We’re not talking about an elite junior squad, or junior climbers who have been climbing for years and years. It was more like your session where someone has come to a birthday party and they’re on their fourth or fifth climbing experience. Ollie was there with this piece of paper, he’s writing out a full plan of what he was gong to carry out for the session, he was making up fun little drills and games. He had so many things worked out for that sixty minute session that he was going to have with these eleven and twelve year olds, that I though “Wow, if someone’s that diligent and takes such care in their work with someone who has been climbing four or five times at the wall and they’re juniors, then I’m sure he’d apply himself exactly the same to everyone”. So far I’ve been right. So, nice one Ollie.


Ollie Torr: I’m not sure if these birthday parties stand out to be fun, but they were educational.

Neely Quinn: They were just your guinea pigs, you were just doing experiments on them, weren’t you?

Ollie Torr: Oh yeah exactly, everyone is a guinea pig.

Neely Quinn: So speaking of guinea pigs and experiments, one of the main things that we wanted to talk about today is sort of the testing that you guys have been doing with people, the experiments it seems like, and the research. Can you tell me about that part of what you guys do?

Ollie Torr: So we’ve been collecting data since Tom originally designed the lattice board, which is going on nine years now. In terms of performance profiling, even now today within climbing, it’s quite far behind other sports. It’s not used as widely as more standardized sports use performance profiling. That requires a lot of data, and a lot of analysis, and experimentation, and work towards understanding the demands of the sport. When Tom originally came up the design of how to do that, he began collecting data throughout a large range of climbers. We’ve continued that and added more testing in, tried different things out, experimented. We’ve been very lucky to have a big group of participants who have been willing to do this with us- a lot of people we coach and people that come to us for advice. It’s given us a really good aspect to be able to generalize that to the population of climbers. Throughout all of this testing, it’s given us a really good understanding of what performance in climbing requires, and how we can actually test that, and produce in a useful and useable source of information.

Neely Quinn: Cool. I mean, good job guys. It’s really awesome that you guys are doing this, because I don’t know that there are very many other people who are. Is that the case do you think?

Tom Randall: Yeah. I’ve definitely come across other people that are doing it, and certainly the performance profiling aspect of climbing is a growing area of climbing and training, for sure. I think so far, they are relatively isolated. The amount of people that perhaps some of the other individuals or research groups have looked at relatively small in number. I think it’s in some ways even luck that we started collecting this data so long ago. It’s given us a really nice head start to be able to get a really big group of numbers in there that we can go and look at, and learn something from. To both of our minds, it’s the way forward. Something that hugely helps what is a very complex sport, and try to focus down and find some key areas for any individual- whether they are a mid grade or high level climber to then go away and work on. It’s a much more objective way of looking at your progress, and your performance.

Neely Quinn: Right, instead of just being like “Hmm, I think I need power endurance,” or whatever.

Tom Randall: Exactly. And it’s not that there’s no value in doing that, because a really experienced, high level coach will be able to do that with their coaches’ eye in a session. But it’s also really nice to be able to put some specific numbers to something, return those to a client and say “These are the numbers we are looking for, and this is how much improvement we’d like to get in an objective way to head towards those goals.” It’s just providing a little extra stage of objectivity for a climber.

Neely Quinn: So as you guys get better at profiling people, do you find that your results with them are better, or faster or anything?

Ollie Torr: Yeah, I mean the biggest thing is to make sure that you see this as a tool and it’s a tool to help improve in one area. What we’ve found is better testing methodology, and the more clients we see, we can use their results in slightly different ways and manipulate it to help the individual. At the end of the day, we can see however many clients over a course of a year, but not one person will have the same outcome to the results, even if they are quite close, because we’re all individual athletes. We all have our own lifestyles that need to be adapted, and the training needs to be adapted around that lifestyle. What it means is we’ve got a much better understanding of how to apply the results as well as read them in the initial set of numbers that they are.

Neely Quinn: Mhm. I think what I want to get out of this interview is some pretty- I don’t know- tangible information for people to use. I don’t know that that’s super possible. I should ask you- do you think that you guys can give people information that they can go out and use, or is this the kind of thing where they have to come and work with you in order to really see their own profiling, or get good results?

Tom Randall: I think what would be really interesting to do would be to talk through some of the key findings, and areas where we’ve observed some really interesting patterns and data, so that everyone listening to this podcast now can go “Ah, you know what, I never knew that aspect of reach, or my height, or my morphology would affect my training, approach or performance so much.” Yeah, people can obviously come to us and work with us in a much more specific way to work on their own personal goals and their personal profile, but I think it would be nice to perhaps talk about some of those key areas, which we can all learn from as climbers.

Neely Quinn: Right, cool. Okay, so let’s talk about some of the key areas you guys have been focusing on. What’s a big one that’s been going on?

Ollie Torr: One of the really interesting findings that we’ve seen recently is the difference in performance, or required difference in specific areas of performance that’s needed for different heights of climbers. I mean, we all go down to the wall and as a short climber, I’m very aware of those much taller guys that can reach through moves. But at the same time, you know the people that are a lot smaller tend to be lighter. It’s really interesting, all this anecdotal evidence of saying “How does that actually affect that performance?”, because there is ongoing arguments all the time. I mean, many a pub conversation discussing who’s got it easier.

What we’ve found in our data is actually relatively significant supporting evidence that suggests that there is a difference from performance requirements from different heights. For instance, in finger strength. So for example, a taller climber- not at the most extreme level, but at the taller end of a normal spectrum- requires significantly less finger strength than a much shorter pair, regardless of the grade that they climb. So if they’re both climbers who are operating at say, v8, then the taller climber can still climb v8 with less finger strength than someone who is ten centimeters shorter than them.

Neely Quinn: Hmm. And that’s because they have to lock off so much harder, or longer, or something?

Tom Randall: It’s going to be partly down to lock-off, it’s going to be partly down to the fact that if you are splitting up a route in the amount of distance covered, if you have a shorter wingspan you are going to have to complete more moves to do that route, or that boulder problem. You’ve got different options of foot holds. If you are a climber which still has the flexibility that many of us still do, you essentially have more options available on that terrain to cover those same holds. If you break it down, really interestingly is that in the largest part of the data, we see around a 2.5% difference per centimeters in height. You can say if one climber is twenty centimeters taller than another climber, they will require 5% less finger strength. It’s quite a significant difference when you look at it. 5% is a reasonable difference in finger strength.

Neely Quinn: Yeah, it is.

Ollie Torr: And a lot of people might suggest that this could just be to do with the weight of the climbers, obviously taller climbers maybe being a bit heavier. But what we’ve found is that this relationship is still significant regardless of the overall weight of the climber themselves.

Neely Quinn: Huh. So what is this making you guys do with people?

Ollie Torr: The important part of this is, how is it going to affect their interpretation of where they lay compared to their peers? And also how much we require them to train to reach the level that they need to achieve their goals. For instance, if I had two climbers who are very different in height, and I would originally try and work towards their goals of a certain grade, I wouldn’t need to push the taller climber to achieve as strong fingers, and therefore we can work in other areas. That means we are optimizing their training, and causing the right adaptions for them in the quickest time possible.

Neely Quinn: So out of curiosity, what are the things that taller climbers- do you know what they are generally lacking?

Tom Randall: So you mean, what is it that tall climbers have a problem with?

Neely Quinn: Yeah, so if shorter climbers need more finger strength, is there something like that for taller climbers?

Tom Randall: Ah okay yeah, that’s a really interesting point actually. If we rank all the different performance markers that we look at in the profiling, the taller climber has an advantage in every single area.


Neely Quinn: I knew it!

Tom Randall: Except for one, and that is core strength. So the tallest climbers need to have the best core strength for the grade. That’s the one area they cannot neglect.

Neely Quinn: Hmm. Okay what is- oh go ahead.

Tom Randall: I thought that was really interesting. We would have assumed that they would have everything that they would have an advantage on, but nope. Not the core.

Neely Quinn: You think that’s just because there is just more of them for their core to maneuver?

Tom Randall: Longer levers for sure.

Neely Quinn: Yeah.

Ollie Torr: And potentially, I mean one of the areas that the reason that might have happened is because if they are aware of struggling to keep their core engaged, they might have just worked much harder in that and it’s produced good results.

Neely Quinn: Hmm. So, backing up just a second. What is short and what is tall? What’s the cut off?

Tom Randall: Well it’s a spectrum, actually. I think you could… I might have to give you a link so you can put it at the bottom of the podcast. If I remember rightly, in the whole data set, the average climber was 5’10” for everyone that we analyzed over all of time. So yeah, 5’10” average. The more you go over 5’10” the taller [unclear] you can say that person is, and shorter in the other way. I think it’s hard to define someone as short or tall, because it’s down to the athlete group.

Ollie Torr: However, we can say that this rule doesn’t completely apply for the extremes up high. So if you take a 7′ basketball player, they might not find it quite as useful.

Neely Quinn: Right [laughs], yes.

Ollie Torr: It’s important to know that [laughs].

Neely Quinn: So 5’10” is really tall among all athletes. I’m assuming you are talking about men?

Tom Randall: Yeah that’s in men, yeah.

Neely Quinn: Do you know what it is in women?

Tom Randall: I don’t off the top of my head, but again I can easily provide a link or a piece of information for you, and you can put it in the bottom of the podcast no problem.

Neely Quinn: That would be cool. Nice, so anything else about height that you’ve found?

Tom Randall: I think the finger strength, which is one of the real key factors, and the other stand out factor was the level of, I suppose we could call it the aerobic efficiency of a climber, that is required for any particular grade. Again, the tall climber sees themselves with a good advantage in this area. So a 5.13 climber of 6′, if you performance profiled that climber, they would have to be less fit for that 5.13 grade compared to a 5’6” climber.

Neely Quinn: Whoa. Because they have to do fewer moves?

Tom Randall: That’s a fact within a- it’s really hard to pinpoint exactly what’s going on, because the body isn’t that simple. But it’s very interesting to see it when it’s broken down in numbers and you have enough of them.

Neely Quinn: Yeah I mean, how many numbers- how many people do you have in this database?

Ollie Torr: In terms of general numbers, we’ve got over five hundred fully tested athletes throughout all of this testing. So we’ve got quite a good group, and that’s generally world wide, from quite a big audience at a different level of grades.

Neely Quinn: So if you’re saying that taller climbers have so many advantages, then why do you think there are so many shorter climbers who are really, really good?

Ollie Torr: So the taller climbers are seeing significant advantages as far as our testing procedures. One thing that might not occur is the fact that it might take taller climbers much more effort to improve their technical efficiency or economy of movement. The size of holds might make a slight difference, depending on the size of shoe and fingers. Also being able to create good coordination and movement economy might be a bit harder for a taller climber than a shorter counterpart.

Neely Quinn: Because of the lever arms?

Ollie Torr: Exactly. Stuff like dynamic and plyometric strength will also change depending on the lever length as well. What we are looking at is in specific areas to do with our data. But what we are looking into now, the really interesting part is understanding the mechanisms behind these results.

Neely Quinn: Yeah. And? Are you understanding a lot of them?

Ollie Torr: We’re getting there. That’s what we are kind of working up to a lot. I’m currently doing a study as part of a strength conditioning master’s degree, and that’s going to allow me much more time to test with a smaller group of athletes, and create a much wider group of testing procedures.

Neely Quinn: Are you doing it just with climbers?

Ollie Torr: Yeah.

Neely Quinn: What are you studying?

Ollie Torr: So strength and conditioning. The course is a strength and conditioning master’s degree, and that’s allowing me time to research. I’m going to be using the data we’ve already got, but what we are trying to do is test all the mechanisms behind our results. Hopefully in a years time we will have a much better understanding of what we’ve already got.

Neely Quinn: Yeah, that is super cool. Wow- you’re busy then. You’re coaching full time and going to school.

Ollie Torr: Yeah, it’s been quite a hectic year. I’m not sure my partner would say that I’m relaxed most of the time, but I’m really psyched, so I can’t complain.

Neely Quinn: Cool. Okay so what else are you guys looking into? I know that you had mentioned to me before this talk that you’d looked at male versus female. Can we talk about that?

Tom Randall: Yeah, sure no problem. Yeah. So inevitably, with any coach, you’ll work across a range of different clients, male and female, junior and adult. I think it’s important to reflect on the differences between the physical profiles of male and female athletes that we will work with, and the types of training that we might do with those individuals as a response to that. This also goes back to the finger strength factor actually, is if you look at the female athletes and break down their results, it’s like the tall climbers- they’re also capable of achieving significantly higher grades for any level of finger strength. For example, if I was to give you a 5.13 male climber and a 5.13 female climber, the 5.13 female climber would achieve that 5.13 grade off of a weaker level of finger strength that the male climber. So therefore, as coaches, our expectations of that finger strength level should be lower if we are profiling them.

Neely Quinn: Interesting. That’s really interesting. Why do you think that is?

Ollie Torr: I think in general, what we can see as coaches, is the fact that female climbers tend to have a much better technique and tactical approach to climbing. One of the areas of technique that’s really apparent is hip mobility and use of flexibility on the wall. The amount of distance that they can keep to the wall- so saying keeping their hips close to the wall the whole time and weighting their feet- makes a marked difference on how well they can perform while climbing, which takes weight off the fingers throughout the climb.

Neely Quinn: This is fascinating.

Tom Randall: The economy of movement that we see in the assessments that we do with the female athletes- and we also score for economy of movement and movement styles when we are assessing. It is markedly higher in the female athletes, whether you are looking at a 5.12, 5.13, or 5.14 climber- across the board, much higher economy of movement.

Neely Quinn: It’s cool, because we, you know you always hear people say “Climb like a girl”, or “She climbs like a girl” or whatever. That’s the kind of thing I think we mean by that- being careful with your feet, being efficient, moving a little bit more- I don’t want to offend anybody, but maybe a little more fluidly than some men might. So you guys are actually showing us data to support this? [laughs]

Ollie Torr: Oh yeah, it’s a total compliment to climb like a girl. I highly recommend that any guy that wants to improve their climbing to go and spend bit of time climbing with some female climbers. Most male climbers will learn quite a lot from the way that females will move on the same climbs.

Neely Quinn: Mhm. What else have you learned about the differences between males and females?

Tom Randall: Another key thing is that we see in- broadly speaking- in the 5.13 to 5.14 female athletes is a big limiting factor in their forward progression in their training and their performance outside, or at competitions, is the strength and conditioning of the shoulder girdle in the female athletes. They really struggle to put that muscle mass on in their upper body. When we go into those higher grades, this certainly becomes a limiting factor in their progression very much compared to their male counterparts.

Neely Quinn: How does it become a limitation? Is it because of injuries or what?

Ollie Torr: It’s kind of in two parts. One area tends to be injuries, but what we’ve come to find is that if the shoulder girdle and the upper body isn’t in a stable position and can’t create stable positions, the amount of force that can be produced further up the arm- so in your grip strength- is going to be reduced. So in order to keep maintaining a lot of force going through your fingers, you need to have that stable upper body to actually translate that to the climb.

Neely Quinn: So instead of maybe having a female train finger strength, which she may need a little bit less of, you would maybe focus more on shoulder girdle strength and stability?

Ollie Torr: Yeah, absolutely. If that’s what the female athlete needs, or has relatively good finger strength already, then one of the ways we can express that better on the climb is improving the strength and conditioning in the upper body, especially around the shoulder girdle.

Neely Quinn: And what kinds of things would you have them do?

Ollie Torr: We tend to do a lot of engagement work. Not so much antagonistic, but more stability positions. So being able to work in isometric contractions around their scapula, and [unclear] scapula, and being able to engage their lats, because we see a lot of female athletes with dominant upper trap muscles and rounding of the shoulders, so their chest is getting involved. That means they’re really limited on wider movements.

Neely Quinn: So like, wide lat pull-downs or something? What would you have them do?

Ollie Torr: Yeah so stuff like wide lat pull-downs. Engagements, so have them hanging on a bar and engage their shoulders depressing the scapula and then relaxing again. Doing more powerful boulders, but with the intent of keeping the stability of the shoulders throughout the movements. I think that’s one big thing that’s being missed by a lot of training for climbers, is the intent of the training. That means that any one of of us could go up to a wall and start dong powerful movements, but it’s far different to go up to a wall and do those powerful movements focusing on engaging the muscles that need to be trained in the correct way.

Neely Quinn: Yeah. That’s where you guys come in, is figuring out what each athlete needs.

Tom Randall: Yeah, and I’d also say that to anyone out there who works with a coach presently is go back and next time you have a session with your coach, say to them “Look, I’d like you to have a look at the stabilization around my shoulder joint. Can I adequately control the positioning of my shoulder joint in a variety of climbing movements? Can I depress and rotate those scapula? Can you have a look at my session and see what’s going on?” Just half an hour, even an hour spent doing that with a coach one to one will be so valuable to that person’s forward progression. [unclear] This is very much work that Ollie has brought on board with the stuff that I’ve learned at Lattice, because of his coaching and his background in gymnastics. It’s massively revolutionized my own climbing as well.

Neely Quinn: Oh, right. Of course you need that with gymnastics.

Tom Randall: Yeah, Ollie is a total beast of a pair of rings, that’s for sure.

Neely Quinn: Well and it seems like it would take a keen eye from any coach to be able to really look at an athlete and say “Yes you’re stabilizing”, or “No you’re not”.

Ollie Torr: Yeah and it does come down to a lot of coach education, and we’re learning more every day. Core engagement and scapular control seems to be a sort of regular topic here in Sheffield at the moment. I think the more a coach wants to learn about this, the more education they can go and research and do themselves. They can apply so well just by putting the time into watching their athletes, and watching other athletes that do that positioning well.

Neely Quinn: Are there any resources that you can- how have you learned about this stuff?

Tom Randall: I mean, for me, Tom, I’ve learned a lot of it from Ollie, mainly because he’s always known quite a bit more than me about this area. Once Ollie pointed me in the right direction, and that starts with just looking at textbooks and watching videos on YouTube, and looking at exercises for scapular strength and conditioning, shoulder girdle strength and conditioning. It was about then doing the sessions one to one with a client, but also doing them with Ollie, who had better knowledge than me. I would say to anyone out there, the improvement would be from one to one, face to face work, at a wall, in a real climbing situation. Get involved with someone who has a little bit better knowledge that you, and they can help you get through that process.

Neely Quinn: Okay. Ollie, anything to add?

Ollie Torr: I guess I learned it from more of a traditional background. I used to work as a personal trainer, and studying sports science. Spending a lot of time of looking into other sports- I came from a gymnastics background, so I was aware of these larger muscle groups and how they are used in extreme positions. when I came into climbing, so I could sort of transfer that knowledge quite quickly. There is a lot of evidence out there form other sports, it’s just understanding how you can apply that to climbing. It might not necessarily directly correlate, but whatever you can learn about the muscles themselves makes a huge improvement to you general knowledge, and how you can apply that.

Neely Quinn: Mhm. Okay, anything else? One other thing that you guys noticed about the differences between males and females?

Tom Randall: Ooh, good question. One other key thing…

Neely Quinn: If there’s not, that’s okay, we can move on.

Tom Randall: It’s always typical when you think “What are the key things?”, and then you can’t remember the things.


I was actually going to say something about the difference between juniors and adults for a second there.

Neely Quinn: Yeah, let’s move on.

Tom Randall: I’ve wondered as a coach for years, that when you work with juniors and adults and you wonder if there is some fundamental difference between how juniors operate and their physical requirements for any particular grade, versus the adults. I’ve found it really reassuring to go through this profiling process and find out that actually, the juniors need just as much, or just as high a level of physical conditioning, or markers within their profile, to achieve those same grades as the adults. They definitely do not get a free ride.

Neely Quinn: Interesting. Can you tell me more about that, like what your data says?

Tom Randall: So for example, if you put a junior on a test where you are looking at their aerobic efficiency for a particular grade, it’s quite easy to start to create some markers for what’s achievable for 5.13a, 13c, 14a, et cetera. That junior will still have to be as aerobically fit- so this is the localized aerobic efficiency of the forearm, we’re not talking about cardiovascular fitness here. They’ll have to be just as fit for that 5.13 grade as ad adult climber who is thirty five years old and has been training for years. This to me puts to bed a little bit more of that concept of “Oh, well juniors, they just don’t get pumped, they don’t produce any lactic acid, they can hang on forever and it’s really easy, they don’t have to do any training for that”. I don’t see that as true when I do the performance profiling.

Neely Quinn: Yeah because you think about their strength to weight ratio, and we think that might give them a free pass. But you’re saying that that’s not an issue either.

Tom Randall: Well the strength to weight ration for sure, that holds true that a junior will carry less weight, but they also have less force production in the forearm. That absolute force production will be lower. In those years when they are growing, gaining muscle mass and just overall body mass, is they have to see significant improvements in that force to match that. In some ways, you asking them to achieve a lot, because adults don’t have to do that. We’ve more or less stabilized in our body mass. In terms of on an efficiency score, an aerobic efficiency score, they don’t get a free ride. It’s really the bit I’m trying to hone into, is if you are trying to create an index of efficiency, a junior doesn’t have to be 50% more efficient for X grade versus an adult climber at, I don’t know, 70 or 80%.

Neely Quinn: Right. We don’t have an excuse is what you are saying.

Tom Randall: Yeah. It’s fair. Even across the ground, so we can’t do down anyone’s performance.

Neely Quinn: I mean that’s really good to know. Yeah. We can’t think to ourselves “They’re just kids!”. What do you think the difference is between us and them, then? These kids are really strong, and a lot stronger than a lot of adults. Do you have any answers to that?

Ollie Torr: A lot of it comes down to the mental side I think, as well. One of the biggest challenges for the kids obviously, is adapting to changes in their bodies. But there is a lot less inhibitions in kids’ movements when they are climbing, and the effort level that they put into climbs themselves. You are going to get significant strength gains as you are growing up, so even though at each stage they don’t get a free ride at all, the developments throughout their teenage years in particular is going to see much bigger improvements quickly than we see as adults. But, the amount of hard work they have to put in is also equal.

Neely Quinn: Hmm.

Ollie Torr: We often see the juniors too apply themselves a lot better than adults. There is less effort to hit goals really quickly, because they’re always working around other juniors. It’s more about focusing on where they are against their teammates, and so on.

Neely Quinn: Yeah. Do you find any other big differences between kids and adults, in their training? I mean I know there are obvious things that kids shouldn’t be doing for training. Do you want to talk about those?

Ollie Torr: So what do you think in terms of children not doing in their training?

Neely Quinn: I mean, just things that I’ve heard, like fingerboarding and too much campusing.

Ollie Torr: So this is where- it is a quite interesting topic in the moment in terms of why children shouldn’t be doing certain things. We are definitely- we err on the side of caution with junior athletes, and we are very aware of not pushing them to the point on injury, and having consistent gains. But in terms of the amount of loading that children can take, as long as it’s in a safe and controlled and progressive manner, they can be doing a lot of these exercises that potentially people are worried about them doing. They don’t necessarily need to be fingerboarding, but compared to what we see some of the kids dynoing to on some of the climbing walls and bouldering walls, fingerboarding would generally be a lot safer than that.

Neely Quinn: Hmm, yeah.

Tom Randall: Yeah I mean I really agree with Ollie on this point with fingerboarding and juniors. I think that after a while as a coach, you have to let experience do the talking. If you’ve run a number of junior athletes through fingerboarding programs for a number of years, with multiple individuals, and you have any issues never crop up, yet you see things regularly crop up with bouldering or campus work with juniors, or even route climbing or circuit training, you start to develop a confidence in certain training methods, that they are lower risk than other things. I know that many people will look at fingerboarding and say “That looks really hardcore for a junior”, but in my opinion as a coach, I think it’s a very safe, progressive and manageable way of training the fingers. If you have a good training session and it’s written well by a coach, there will be an appropriate warm up, the session that you do will be progressive, it will slowly get harder and harder.

Psychologically, when you are doing that hard hang on your hangboard, and you don’t get the grip position quite right at the beginning of that hang, well you just drop off and you readjust and do it again. But if you are trying that boulder problem on the wall, and it’s your first v8 down the wall, and you catch a hold just wrong near the top, most people I know will just grimace through it and pull through anyway. That’s why I see some of that risk in it, because there is an emotional attachment to bouldering hard indoors, because there’s kudos involved with it. A hangboard session, it’s just another five second hang, and who cares.

Neely Quinn: So basically what you are saying is that you seem more- because the problem that we are talking about is growth plate issues with kids, right? So are you saying that you see more of those with just kids bouldering around, doing dynos and doing stupid stuff than with fingerboarding and campusing?

Ollie Torr: Yeah, yeah absolutely. We tend to see is the speed of what you’re applying force to the fingers, and the stability of applying force to the fingers, is one of the biggest aspects of causing those injuries. Loading your fingers really slowly by resting onto a fingerboard is much more controlled and stable than moving to a hold in a dynamic manner and catching it really quickly in a slightly off position. What we see is a lot more of the injuries in those unstable environments. It’s really important to remember that yes, the growth plates are at risk of injury, but there’s also this window of opportunity as you are growing up to make the maximum gains in strength. Sort of post-pubescent years for these junior athletes is a really important part of laying the groundwork for their development as adults athletes. If you deny them that opportunity of strength training then, it could implicate how much they are limited as adults in terms of their progression.

Neely Quinn: Okay, that makes sense.

Tom Randall: Yeah, and just to be kind of super clear on it- we promote and we use with our junior athletes these hangboard or fingerboard protocols, but we are absolutely not for campus board training in our junior athletes. That’s something that we don’t want to use. I’d say that any coach that is using campus board work is either doing something that is unusual or working with an unusual individual. But as a general rule, I think almost all coaches up there should be avoiding campus work with juniors.

Neely Quinn: Until they’re done growing?

Tom Randall: Yes. Or that they have an unusual level of physical conditioning or training experience. I think there’s some exceptions that can bend the rule. I’m pretty sure that a couple of the training gyms in the US, they have regular campus work being done by juniors, and I’ve heard there haven’t always been problems with that.

Neely Quinn: Rumor mills!

Tom Randall: Yeah, but I’m not gonna- that’s all I’ve heard.


Neely Quinn: Okay, because we have a couple more topics, I want to move on to your findings with weight and BMI, and how that affects climbers.

Tom Randall: Oh yeah, good subject that one. So we did a couple of, what would I call them? Internal audits of data this year, looking at BMI data. It’s easy to collect through the forms and questionnaires with clients or prospective clients. It was definitely a touchy subject, and one that when we put things on Facebook, a lot of people commented, and everyone wants to put their thing in and say what they think. Firstly, I was really reassured actually to go through the whole data set, across male, female and junior, and find that the vast, vast majority of climbers lay within what is a safe and recommended, good place for BMI levels for any adult or junior.

And this is from all over the world, or just mostly in the UK?

Tom Randall: No this is from a ll over the world, probably around a 50/50 split, isn’t Ollie?

Ollie Torr: Yeah, it would be from all over the world. But then we’ve also luckily had access to a much larger database, which as allowed us a much, much bigger reach. That is from all over the world.

Neely Quinn: Oh, where did you get those numbers?

Tom Randall: So we did a collaboration with

Neely Quinn: Oh.

Tom Randall: They’ve got a huge database of users, and we went and had a look- we could only get this through reported values on people’s profiles on the websites, and we looked at the BMI readings on that. There was one actually very interesting finding on this, and it was quite different from the database of athletes that we work with. The BMI, or the way in which the bell curve on the BMI looked for male versus female, was much, much lower BMI for the female athletes on And we are talking about elite athletes here- we’re not talking about 5.12 climbers, we are talking about 5.14 and above climbers.

Neely Quinn: So that was different from what you guys had gathered yourselves?

Tom Randall: Yeah exactly- really quite different. In our data, it was around and average of- off the top of my head- I’m thinking a BMI score around twenty one. I’ll give you the link so you can put it on the bottom of the podcast of the actual data, so you can have a look at it. It was around twenty one BMI average on both male and female athletes, where as the was for men twenty one or twenty two, and female was it eighteen Ollie?

Ollie Torr: Ah, I think we will have to send the data first just to make sure. One of the important things to remember on this is these are reported results, people’s reported values. But with such a large data set, the power in the statistics is so much better. It just averages out as relatively accurate, and that’s why we can make these generalizations, which is a really nice thing to be able to do.

Neely Quinn: Yeah, it’s really interesting. And just for people who don’t know, on the BMI scale- which is you know, a debatably useful scale- but under 19 or something- isn’t that where it gets to be so-called underweight? And then 19 to 24 is sort of normal? Something like that.

Ollie Torr: That’s correct, yeah. And as you say, there is quite a few limitations. If you read around, or you look up problem areas of why BMI could or could not be a good score for an indication of morphology within athletes- but it is an easy number to calculate and come up with. It’s a nice rough rule of thumb. And yes, under nineteen would generally raise a level of concern. Of course we do have to reflect that when we look at our athletes, they are going to carry a higher level of lean muscle mass. That will further affect the BMI levels. Someone who has a high level of muscle mass is in some ways somewhat faking their BMI and making it look higher than it is. An athlete might have a BMI of 19, but in fact that would be descriptive of someone in the general population that would have a very low body fat percentage, which would be a concern.

Neely Quinn: Right. Sorry- it would be considered what?

Ollie Torr: No, it would be of concern to me, as a coach.

Neely Quinn: Oh, yeah.

Ollie Torr: And I’m sure you’ve seen the same.

Neely Quinn: Yeah, for sure. I’m wondering what kinds of things you saw across the board. Are you a better climber if your BMI is lower, for instance?

Tom Randall: No, definitely not. Nope. We mapped- we got our data guy to map performance in boulderers and route climbers, all the way through the grade from v5 to v15, and 5.11 to 5.15. If you did that across those data ranges, I think the decrease in BMI was just a single point across the entire grade range.

Neely Quinn: Really? Wait this was for your data, or 8a?

Tom Randall: No our data.

Neely Quinn: Yours. Then do you know what it was for 8a?

Tom Randall: I don’t know what it is for 8a, but I’m sure we could go in there and do it.

Neely Quinn: Yeah, I mean, that’s very telling. That’s super- I don’t know, kind of relieving in a way.

Tom Randall: Yeah, that’s what I was thinking. I was somewhat scared almost, to look at the numbers and find out-

Neely Quinn: Yeah- I can’t look! [laughter]

Tom Randall: Yeah, yeah. So I think for me and Ollie, when we work with our athletes, we constantly promote this thought, or this philosophy that you want to be healthy, and you want to carry a healthy level of body fat, and manage yourself in a way that is complimentary to your training. This whole thing of being as light and a skinny as possible is not good for your long term development or your climbing grade.

Neely Quinn: Okay, but what was the BMI? You said that it ranged one point, but what was that sweet spot?

Tom Randall: I think it was 20- I’ll give you the link, so you can have a look at it at the bottom of the podcast, because we have the infographic we can give to you. Off the top of my head, I think it was 21 as average, and it would have moved from 21.5 or 20.5 through the entire grade range.

Neely Quinn: Okay. And just to be clear, that is very lean. That is small- that’s like the lowest part of the normal scale. So it’s not like it’s a non-truth that being lighter is to your advantage, right?

Tom Randall: Yeah, correct.

Ollie Torr: Exactly. It’s all about being in the bottom end of the healthy zone. It’s a big importance to remember that it’s still the healthy zone, compared to the extremes that we get the perceptions of within climbing, that is producing good results.

Neely Quinn: Mhm. Do you have data on your athletes who were in the unhealthy zone? Or did you have many?

Tom Randall: We have a number of athletes that we’ve profiled over the years that you could class as being in. inverted commas, that “concerning” or “worrying” zone of BMI. Yes, there are a number who perform at very high grades, but likewise there are an equal number at perform relatively poor grades. So, there’s no pattern in there where we can go “Oh it’s absolutely brilliant to be BMI of 17- that’s going to produce a much higher”-

Neely Quinn: Oh god.

Tom Randall: No, absolutely not.

Neely Quinn: Okay, okay that’s good. Really good. Anything else- what’s that?

Tom Randall: It’s a good message that I think we can all promote with out juniors as well, as we are taking them through that training process over the years.

Neely Quinn: Well is this something that you guys counsel your clients on?

Ollie Torr: Yeah when we work with clients that we become close with and we’ve got a high level of communication with. It’s not like we are recommending them to be healthy without any sort of backing for that. I think it is sometimes hard for athletes to hear that, when they are getting these messages or thoughts from elsewhere. Being able to say with full conviction, with such a big data set, we can really help push them towards a healthy, manageable weight and BMI that they are happy with and they can train with, and live a much better, healthier life.

Neely Quinn: Yeah. You know this brings me to a question that I get a lot as a nutritionist working with mostly climbers. What kinds of- when you are actually in a training phase with people, do you want them to be, I mean- I know my answer to this- but do you want them to be actively trying to lose weight at the same time that they’re training?

Tom Randall: Uh, no. We definitely wouldn’t be wanting them to actively lose weight in heavy training zones. One of the worst effects that you can have on high quality training sessions is to be in a calorie deficit. If anyone tries it just for a day, they’ll realize what a terrible training session they’ll have. If you repeat that again and again over a number of months, and are constantly in a calorie deficit, and not with adequate nutrition… and I’m not a nutritional expert by any means. But if you look at the quality at how that affects your training sessions, it’s not going to result in the best performances further down the line.

Neely Quinn: Right, but this is one of the main concerns of a lot of climbers. I know, because I have climbers who are like 5.11, 5.10 climbers, and they come to me to try and lose weight when they’re in that normal range. They think that that’s going to be the make it or break it for them. So they want to be dieting when they’re training. Can you just tell me when do you suggest if people actually want or need to lose weight, when should they do that? When during the year, and seasons and training?

Ollie Torr: Well firstly, it would probably good to say that out of everyone we’ve ever worked with, the highest cause of injury or time of injury is when someone is in a heavy training phase, and their body is under a lot of stress to adapt, and then they try and push it further by creating faster adaptions through weight loss. We see it time and time again, where someone is really close to performing better than ever, their training is going really well, and they try and supercharge that with reducing their bodyweight. That tends to be what overdoes it and causes the overall stress and causes injury, unless it’s sort of an acute occasion.

Neely Quinn: Yeah.

Ollie Torr: So heavy training loads is definitely a no-no. Do not try and lose weight during that time, just help with a healthy weight. I’d say in general, when we are looking, if you did want to manipulate weight at all, it would be during times of lower volume, higher intensity, going into a peaking phase where the body isn’t under a lot of stress, and you’re starting to focus in on a specific goal you want to do. Generally, we would probably recommend like a 5% change in bodyweight, at the absolutely maximum. You don’t want to be manipulating your weight by a lot all the time, but within that peaking period that’s where we see the best and healthiest results.

Neely Quinn: Okay, during the peaking period. So they’re training, and then they’re taking a break and then they’re peaking. Or they’re taking a break and losing weight then, and then they’re peaking?

Ollie Torr: Yeah, so the tapered period I should say- leading into the peak period. If you’re looking to perform on a route or a specific goal, it’s that last bit of lead up towards that. Not rushing it, not trying to do it too quickly, but within that tapered period where that training is starting to peter off.

Neely Quinn: Okay, great thank you. Anything else about weight and BMI?

Tom Randall: Um, I think that probably kind of covers the key points with weight and what I like to try and get across to climbers out there that I think is important, and will help their long term progress. It’s again, like all aspects of training and coaching, is don’t get too bogged down with one aspect of it. Try and maintain a nice balanced approach to your development, and your climbing. Weight, or BMI, is one factor of it, but don’t get bogged down with it. That’s what I’d say to people.

Neely Quinn: Okay, great. Last topic is route climbers versus boulderers. Do you have any interesting information about that?

Tom Randall: Oh yeah, so it’s a good one. Anyone will tend to have some kind of degree of specialization in the approach to what they like doing, and what they like performing on, in competition or outside with rock climbing. As a training program designer, I very much like to categorize the types of training that you’ll do as a bouldering specialist versus a route climbing specialist. This comes down to the amount of loading that you can handle as a route climber, versus a boulderer. A big part of this comes down to the historical loading that any individual has put into their training, leading up to that year or that month.

To break that down, you think about a boulderer who has bouldered for five years or so, and typically had high intensity, lower volume sessions. That boulderer cannot, at any stage at present, be loaded with lots of high volume and high intensity training. It just won’t be suitable for them, and will lead to cycles of being overtrained, no matter how motivated or psyched they are to push through this current plateau.

In contrast with that, the route climber, because they’ve handled lots of very high volume training- will that individual even respond to higher amounts of volume of training, or you massively ramp up the amount of intensity that that climber handles.

Neely Quinn: But not at the same time?

Tom Randall: Yes, exactly.

Ollie Torr: One of the key things for any route climbers out there trying to make strength gains, and one thing that we find quite often is that it’s really hard to get them to not climb as much, and just drop the volume. I think a lot of route climbers out there are used to absolutely smashing themselves at the gym for longer hours, using much more volume. But the adaptations that you need that create more strength require you to do less volume. Even though it feels like you’re being lazier, you’re actually doing yourself a favor if you reduce the volume.

Neely Quinn: By doing limit boulder sessions or something?

Ollie Torr: Yeah and by not doing as much in the week. So you can do your bouldering sessions, but don’t follow that by doing a two hour warm up and a two hour cool down every time, where you are doing multiple laps of routes to get warm. All of that time on the wall is going to be working that efficiency that you’ve already trained really well.

Neely Quinn: So are you saying that in order to train these things, we should just train them at different times? Like, different six or four week cycles, or whatever it is?

Ollie Torr: No. So what we tend to do is do a bit of a concurrent training system, where rather than just focusing on one area, we maintain the areas that aren’t in focus at the moment. So route climbers might still do a little bit of training to keep their fitness, but when we are talking about the most extremes, where someone is really, really efficient and quite weak, that’s when they will have to do a more extreme version of strength training with minimal fitness maintenance work. If someone is not quite as extreme, then they will do a much bigger mixture of both.

Then vice versa for boulderers trying to get fitter- we still don’t want to lose that strength, so we will keep the strength training at a maintenance level, but we will increase the volume to a point where they can handle it and create adaptions.

Neely Quinn: And when you say a maintenance level, is that once a week? Once every ten days? Once every two weeks?

Ollie Torr: I’d say it’s too individual for me to give a recommendation on here. I’d say that it varies massively. Like Tom said, if someone has done ten years of very structured training and has got a great base behind them, then their maintenance level is going to be very different from someone who’d done a years worth of specific training.

Neely Quinn: Mhm.

Tom Randall: I’ll give you an illustration of this with my own training. A while back, I handed the keys over to Ollie and said to him that I’d like him to manage my strength training for a while. I was getting frustrated that I wasn’t making gains in my strength training. Ollie wrote me a training program, and I’m someone who climbs and trains pretty close to six or seven days a week, and I do very, very high volumes of climbing. I was absolutely horrified to look at my training program and see that there were only around two days of fitness training per week in there, but lots of very hard, high intensity fingerboard sessions, bouldering sessions, and TRX sessions.

To start with, it drove me insane, because I was thinking “How on earth am I going to get through a week without doing twenty hours of training, when I’m only allowed to do four or five hours of training because it’s so intense and I have to start early?”. I felt like I just wanted to out for runs every day, do extra sets of press-ups because I hadn’t gotten enough energy out. But three months later, after this strength training cycle, I just had- it kind of annoys me that Ollie did it so well, out of personal pride. But I just had amazing gains in my strength. For so many years I overloaded on volume, and so badly neglected this intensity aspect as a route climber. So this relationship between intensity and volume and the history with which I had abused this.

Ollie Torr: To give you an example to support that, I remember coming around Tom’s house, and his wife saying that she didn’t know what to do with him, because he had too much energy all the time. He had so much spare energy from not doing enough training that he was all over the place. I’d never seen him work so hard in his life. It was an amazing sort of effect to just witness.

Neely Quinn: Yeah, I mean it gave you a lot more time and motivation, probably, to do other things besides train.


Tom Randall: Yeah for sure.

Neely Quinn: So can you just give me one example how you saw those strength gains? What did you notice in your climbing? What happened?

Tom Randall: Well my bouldering grade went up by about three grades-

Neely Quinn: Three grades?

Tom Randall: Yup, my finger strength score went up by- am I right Ollie? About eight kilos maybe?

Ollie Torr: Six kilos, which is just under 10% bodyweight.

Tom Randall: And this was in just three months. I really couldn’t believe it, it was so significant. All my friends in Sheffield who knew me at the time, I think they were quite surprised that Tom suddenly had gotten me from being literally the weakest person at the crag for the grade to kind of just about holding my own on some things. Yeah, it was a bit of a shock to the system.

Neely Quinn: What about your route climbing?

Tom Randall: My route climbing went up as a result significantly on the shorter style routes. So the long, very technical, sustained endurance routes, I didn’t see a significant improvement on, which is fairy logical. But suddenly, I had access to the much shorter, harder, bouldery routes, and I could perform at a much betters standard, as well as bouldering.

Neely Quinn: Very cool. That’s inspirational, actually. I love hearing about that of stuff.

Tom Randall: Yeah, it’s nice to get inspired by the person you are working with as well.

Neely Quinn: Yeah, yeah. So I think that’s all we have time for, unless there is something else that is burning on your minds about routes versus bouldering, and the training for both of them?

Tom Randall: No, it’s been great chatting with you, really good.

Ollie Torr: Yeah that’s all good.

Neely Quinn: I think we covered a lot, and a lot of this is helpful, or at least motivating for people. So if somebody did want to work with you guys, how would they find you and what would be the process for that?

Ollie Torr: So they can find us on Our contact details are on there, and any sort of inquiries to do with walls that we are in partnership with that have the lattice boards and can have assessments, which is available in several areas. If they want to talk to us personally, they can contact us by the website.

Neely Quinn: Okay.

Ollie Torr: And if not, we have Facebook and Instagram as well. We’re putting out data all the time, regarding any sort of information, anything useful we find coming up. We will be putting it up on there. If you are as into it as we clearly are, then stay in touch with us on there.

Neely Quinn: And do you guys have any plans for doing any clinics, or teaching other trainers or anything like that?

Ollie Torr: What we are currently trying to do is- we’ve been working with the same system for quite a while now. We are trying to share it with the commercial walls and coaches around there UK and abroad as well. What we want to have be able to happen is for the whole industry be able to adopt more information that we are getting from this profiling, so they can have access to use the same tool that we do. We are currently training coaches to use the same testing we do. They can train their clients, they can asses their clients in the same way. It just means that the information that we are getting on a much bigger scale is being shared throughout the whole industry.

Neely Quinn: So if a trainer hears this podcast and wants that information, they can contact you and be trained by you?

Tom Randall: Yeah definitely. We’ll run them through the whole process, and the nice thing is that we can give them the tool that we’ve spent all of these years developing, and the access to the database that we have developed, and then they can use it with their clients. Myself and Ollie have put a lot of time and effort into this, and we know that it’s a valuable tool, and we’d like other people to use it. We can’t work with everyone, and there are hundreds of coaches out there who are great coaches. It would be great if they had another tool to add to the tool box.

Neely Quinn: Do they have to pay to use that, or is this free to them?

Tom Randall: The way it works is that we have an accreditation process, which is like a training day, whether it’s done in person with them on site or via Skype education meetings. Then the clients can charge as they wish for any of their assessment sessions. We charge what’s a small data management fee, so any session they do, we take the data, we process it, put it through the software, and then generate them a series of infographics that they can then present to their client. It’s a way of creating a nice package, which is really affordable, and then the coaches can deliver more work and hopefully see more of their clients satisfied.

Neely Quinn: Yeah. I would love to have a sample of that kind of report, if you guys want to put that on the bottom of this episode page too.

Tom Randall: Yeah yeah, we’ll definitely send one of those through, for sure. And we need to asses you sometime Neely!

Neely Quinn: Oh- if my shoulders ever cooperate I would love to do that, yes. I’ll keep you posted [laughs]. Honestly guys, this has been one of my favorite interviews. You guys are so well spoken, so clear. It’s really nice and refreshing to talk to you both, so thank you.

Ollie Torr: Thank you very much.

Tom Randall: Yeah thanks ever so much for having us.

Neely Quinn: Alright, I hope you enjoyed that interview with Ollie Torr and Tom Randall of If you want to train with them, like they said you can go to and train with them from afar or in person if you are in the UK. You should, because they will probably make you stronger. I would love to train with them, so hopefully someday that can happen.

Coming up on the podcast, I have Dr. Jared Vagy, who is a physical therapist and just wrote a really in depth book about injury prevention and healing your own injuries, so we’ll talk about that. I also, in the same vein, have an episode coming up with Esther Smith, who is also a physical therapist. This time we are going to talk about hips and knees. We are just kind of going through the whole body and covering common climber injuries.

Other than that, coming up for me at least, I have training seminar that I am teaching at at the end of October with Steve Bechtel, Charlie Manganiello, Tyler Nelson, and Kris Hampton. We will all be talking about our respective expertise in training for climbing. I’ll be talking about nutrition for performance, and some other good stuff. If you are interested in doing that seminar in Salt Lake City,  you can go to and he has a tab at the top for events. You can sign up- I think there are still a couple of spots left. That’s at the end of October of this year, 2017.

Other than that, if you want help with your training right now, you can go to, and we have tons of training programs for route climbers, for boulderers, and my whole point in creating TrainingBeta was to make information about training for climbing as easy to use as possible. Our training programs are very easy to use- you just open up your phone, your computer, or your printout of your training program. You go to the gym, you follow instructions, and then you get stronger. It’s as simple as that. If you want to check those out, you can go to, and at the top there is a tab for training programs, and you can find everything that we have in there.

I think that’s it- I will talk to you next week, and thanks very much for listening all the way to the end.

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.

  Click here to subscribe