Project Description

Date: December 16th, 2015

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About Tom Randall

Tom Randall is one of the infamous Wide Boyz offwidth climbers from Sheffield, England. He’s climbed 5.14 offwidth, trad, and sport climbs, and he’s a professional climbing trainer as well. He and his team at Lattice Training put hard science and historical data from other climbers into their training plans and robust assessments of their clients. He’s pretty nerdy, in the best way possible.

What We Talked About

  • His assessment of Seth’s climbing strengths and weaknesses
  • How he works with clients
  • Training for crack climbing
  • Pinky crack drills
  • Free soloing 3,000 routes
  • Case study of bouldering client

Sample Assessment of One of Tom’s Clients

Intro to “Jack Daniels”
Jack is a 34 year old climber who has always been told by his friends that he has good finger strength, but never quite seems to transfer it to his projects. He either gets pumped too quickly on sport routes that feel within his redpoint ability and falls off when the moves are continuously strenuous, or on long style boulder problems he hits “The power-out wall” at about 60 seconds. He’d like to understand what factors are limiting his physical performance.

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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 38 where I talked with Tom Randall who is of Wide Boyz fame.

Before I tell you about Tom Randall I want to tell you FrictionLabs and TrainingBeta have teamed up to give you guys, my loyal listeners, great discounts on their chalk, which I’m a huge fan of. If you go to you will find discounts, sometimes up to 50% off, so definitely go check that out.

So, Tom Randall is a climber and a trainer out of Sheffield, England. He is famous for, like I said, the Wide Boyz. A few years ago he and his partner came over to the States and basically climbed every hard offwidth that there was to be climbed. He’s climbed 5.14 trad, including 5.14 offwidth, and 5.14 sport as well, so he’s well versed in climbing in general and that’s part of what makes him such a good trainer.

With his clients, he uses a really scientific approach where he uses very strict protocols for assessments, trying to figure out what people’s’ weaknesses are, what their strengths are, and what they need to do to get everything up to speed so that they can climb their hardest. That’s exactly what he did with my husband. He had Seth do his assessment, which was very difficult and took him a few hours, and then he’s going to talk right now about what he thought about Seth’s strengths and weaknesses and how we works with clients in general, and then also a little bit about how he trains.

I hope you enjoy this interview. He’s a super smart guy and I love his accent, so enjoy. Here’s Tom Randall.


Neely Quinn: Okay, welcome to the show Tom Randall. Thanks for being here.


Tom Randall: No problem at all. Thanks.


Neely Quinn: Yeah, so if anybody doesn’t know who Tom Randall is can you give us a short description of yourself?


Tom Randall: I would say I’m a strange mixture of a professional climber, in that I try to do well with my own climbing outside, and also a professional climbing coach, in that I write training programs and assess sport climbers, boulderers, and competition climbers. I’m kind of equally mixed between those two disciplines, I suppose, but they’re very complimentary.


Neely Quinn: So I think a lot of people in the United States, at least, know you as one of the Wide Boyz.


Tom Randall: Yeah, I think so. They never know which one, though.


Neely Quinn:

[laughs] Right. People think of you and they think of crack climbing and offwidths but you’re saying that that’s not all that you do.


Tom Randall: Definitely not, no. I suppose if you look at that, the thing that we’re most well known for is the crack climbing and the offwidths, is that the whole reason really why myself and Pete did well in that discipline was that we took all we knew about training, the methodology, how to break things down and analyze it, and applied that to a strange and somewhat unexplored niche to get some really good performance out of it. That’s what we did, really.


Neely Quinn: Right. How did you know about training? How did you teach yourself or were you taught by somebody?


Tom Randall: I suppose it started a long time back when I was a teenager and I competed at a national level in a couple of different sports in athletics and martial arts. I think from that process of working closely with coaches and going through that constant self improvement process was that I became fascinated with how you do that and what was the method for it. I’d ask people about what to do and then I started reading around a lot through my teenage years. Then, when I found climbing I thought that was my passion for life and then I realized that I wanted to read a lot more on that. That’s kind of where the journey started and I feel like I’m still only at the beginning, really.


Neely Quinn: So when did you start climbing? How old were you?


Tom Randall: 16 or 17 I think?


Neely Quinn: And how old are you now?


Tom Randall: I’m 35.


Neely Quinn: You had to think about that. [laughs]


Tom Randall: I know. I keep forgetting.


Neely Quinn: So you’ve been doing this for a while.


Tom Randall: Yeah, a fair old while. It’s probably one of the things that I keep telling people that I work with, rather I’m coaching them or training them, or people who work in the industry as well, is that because we have a sport at the moment which is still early on in it’s evolution compared to some of the mainstream sports, is that experience still does count for a lot in this game. I couldn’t get/I could never <unclear> those years I’ve put into this sport so far.


Neely Quinn: Right. Before we talk about training I do want to talk about some of your accomplishments as a climber. Could you tell me some highlights from each of the disciplines that you focus on?


Tom Randall: Okay. I wasn’t expecting that.


Neely Quinn: Nobody is. They hate this question.


Tom Randall: I think, in terms of crack climbing, then I’m probably most proud of Century Crack still, even though it might not be the hardest thing I’ve done mainly because of the journey and the process that I went through with Pete to go from being pretty average about discipline to being quite good.


Neely Quinn: Can you tell me more about what the discipline was and what the climb was like?


Tom Randall: The discipline is offwidth, or wide crack climbing, and it’s specifically in a really, really big roof so you’re hanging upside down for a lot of that time. What we did was we realized that the standard within this type of climbing was relatively low if you look at it compared to sport climbing and bouldering standards around the world. We took the methods that you would use in normal style climbing and applied them to all the different parts or functions of offwidthing and used that over two years and built a load of specialist training equipment to make improvements. We went from being 5. – I wouldn’t even say 5.11 offwidthers – I’d say 5.10 offwidthers to 5.14 offwidthers with process.


Neely Quinn: [laughs] Honestly, I didn’t even know that 5.14 offwidth existed until I saw you guys do that so that’s pretty impressive. That’s where we have these images of you guys training in your basement in England using these weird contraptions to train just for offwidthing, so that’s how you got to sending – is it .14b or .14c? The Century Crack.


Tom Randall: It was .14b and it was a real/it felt like a bit of a shot in the dark for the grade because when you go through the ceiling in terms of grades in a certain discipline, you feel quite nervous about proposing something but now, in the subsequent years and having done a lot more other routes at that same grade and a bit beyond, I feel fairly secure in what we’ve done now and I worry a bit about it a little bit less, but it did feel risky at the time. I thought, ‘Oh, everyone’s going to come along to this and find it’s way easier.’ We’d kidded ourselves that two years in the basement had given us these fantastic gains when in fact it hadn’t, we’d just each gotten a little bit better.


Neely Quinn: Right, like maybe it was only .10c or something? [laughs]


Tom Randall: Yeah, yeah, and .10c feels pretty desperate on offwidth.


Neely Quinn: Yeah. So, Century Crack – and that’s in Utah? Where is that?


Tom Randall: That’s in – oh, my U.S. states/my geography is not good.


Neely Quinn: I think it’s Utah, right? Isn’t it Moab?


Tom Randall: Yeah, it’s on the White Rim near to Moab. I get lost a lot, unfortunately.


Neely Quinn: I do, too. It’s okay. So that’s your offwidth highlight. I also just watched a video of you free soloing a .13b.


Tom Randall: Oh, what was that?


Neely Quinn: I don’t remember what it was called. It had a weird name. I mean, it was quite tall. I don’t know what .13b is in England ratings.


Tom Randall: That’s about 8a, so E9 or something like that.


Neely Quinn: Right. Do you do this often? Is that why you don’t know which one I’m talking about?


Tom Randall: Yeah, a reasonable amount.


Neely Quinn: [laughs] Well, tell me about that part, then. The free soloing part.


Tom Randall: Okay, I’ll just have to talk in a general term because I can’t actually remember the route you’re talking about, so apologies for that. In terms of free soloing, it’s something that I do for certain parts of the year. I don’t do it all the time because I’ve recognized over time and having soloed, it’s got to be something like 3,000 routes or something that like in total, is that it becomes a numbers game after a while and the more time you spend in that danger zone or death zone or whatever you want to call it, the more the odds stack up against you. I’ve decided that if I want to do a period of free soloing then I concentrate on that for maybe two or three months and I get my game really good and I climb well in it and I don’t perform anywhere below my limits, and then I feel that the safety margin is better.


Neely Quinn: You mean above your limits?


Tom Randall: So, maybe I said that wrong. I’m performing well within my comfort zone but that’s only because over a period of a few months I get very practiced at that discipline, whereas your first free solos each season tend to be a bit sketchy, you’re a bit shaky, you feel a bit nervous, I don’t like the heights, I don’t climb very well – that’s what I think is risky.


Neely Quinn: Okay, so you’ve done this quite a bit. We could probably talk about this for an entire episode. I’ll just ask you one question: you have a child, right?


Tom Randall: Yeah, two.


Neely Quinn: Two? Cool. How old are they?


Tom Randall: Just came into one and four and a half.


Neely Quinn: Oh wow. They’re little guys. Does it worry you or your wife that you’re doing this so much or is it just something that you feel so comfortable with that you’re okay with it?


Tom Randall: It doesn’t worry me at all, actually. I always thought, before I had children, that having them really affects my risk attitude within climbing and in fact it’s changed practically nothing. The only time it has had an effect was both times when my wife was pregnant, at the latter period/kind of the last few months before she was due to give birth. I did find that was really hard for me and that weight in my mind but all the rest of the time it’s fine. Kim knows about what I do, she’ll come out and she’ll watch me free solo and she’s fine with it. I suppose I take my approach/my method, I rationalize what I’m doing, and I choose my reasons for it.


Neely Quinn: Okay. Enough said about that. We don’t need to go into it anymore. So, free soloing, offwidth, and then sport climbing in general. Do you want to talk about a highlight from that?


Tom Randall: Well, in the grand scheme of things, I’m not sure there’s many highlights to be had in sport climbing because I don’t really do that much of it. I happened to actually listen to a podcast that you did, I think with it was Steve Bechtel, recently and I think he was talking about how he suspected lots of the top crack climbers went sport climbing a lot. I’m afraid I don’t know that I’m the normal, but I don’t do very much.


Neely Quinn: I was wondering about that. That took me by surprise when you said that.


Tom Randall: Yeah, I would if I had more time and I could travel more and maybe the sport climbing was a little more enjoyable – well, I don’t know what words to use for it. Enjoyable? Maybe better in the U.K.? I would do it more but if you spread yourself too thin you won’t be good at anything, in my opinion, so I do a little bit and I climb at the same kind of grade in my sport climbing as I do my trad climbing and maybe I’ll – I don’t know. It’s just not my focus at the moment, I suppose. Sorry to disappoint there.


Neely Quinn: That’s okay. No disappointment. It’s actually really interesting to talk to somebody who does something different than the people I usually talk to, so…


Tom Randall: I should probably qualify that with: in contrast to that, I do a lot of training which is highly useful for sport climbing, so you could say to not read into it that Tom doesn’t do any sport climbing because that intensity or duration of climbing is useless. It’s not. It’s that I do the training behind it and you could convert that into sport climbing if you wished but I happen to convert that into trad climbing. That’s the truth of how it works.


Neely Quinn: Okay. Any other highlights you want to mention?


Tom Randall: I think I was kind of pretty pleased this year to climb a much harder standard in terms of crack bouldering as well, because ultimately that’s my specialist discipline and where I feel that I can push the limits of what’s being done. I was really keen to get my bouldering grades for crack climbing up to a V13 and I think I was satisfied that now I can show to people that it doesn’t have to lag behind traditional face climbing bouldering on what we know as regular holds like slopers, pinches, crimps, whatever it might be.


Neely Quinn: Right, and where was that boulder?


Tom Randall: That was in the south coast of the U.K. I think, actually, some of your U.S. listeners will recognize it. It was on the front cover of Rock & Ice maybe two months ago, possibly?


Neely Quinn: I think we might have that in our bathroom right now.


Tom Randall: Perfect reading.


Neely Quinn: Yeah. Okay, cool. I think that most people are going to want to know about how you train, how you train others, and in particular how you train offwidth. I’m hoping to get a little bit about everything but one of the things we wanted to do today was you, in preparation for this interview you had asked me to do your assessment/your test to see what my strengths and weaknesses were as a climber. I declined that offer because my shoulders just don’t feel that great all the time but my husband, Seth, did it, as you know, and I wanted to go through that with you because this is something as a coach and a trainer that you do, I’m assuming, with all your clients.


Tom Randall: Yeah, that’s right. It’s a really important part for me with working with someone new is you build any plan that you’re trying to create off a sound assessment process because if you want to workout where you’re going to go and how you’re going to do it you kind of need to know exactly where you are now.


Neely Quinn: Where did some of the theory of all of this come from? Who have you studied and what other sports have you studied to come up with your assessment?


Tom Randall: With that I’ve read pretty much, I hope, as much of the climbing-specific literature that I could get my hands on over the years, so all of the books, the online articles, anything in videos, and kept those, logged them, and I’ve written my own notes in them and then I’ve read a lot about the sports science behind running, cycling, and swimming. I’ve taken everything that I can find from the research from those disciplines and lots of mainstream disciplines and applied those to climbing.

I’ve also been lucky enough to have fairly unrestricted access to a really amazing sports scientist who works at a university here in Sheffield who, <unclear> I’ll ring up and say, “I’ve got some doubts about this. What do you think about how this system might work?” We can just chat it through and it’s been really good doing that over the years because whilst my knowledge and my experience might be at a decent level now, it’s certainly been a long process and it’s required a lot of hard craft to get to where I am.


Neely Quinn: Who was that?


Tom Randall: This guy is called Dave Bennett and he’s a sports – I think he’s a lecturer in sports and exercise physiology at Hallam University. I used to work with the GB climbing team and he was also a coach and a manager. I think he was manager as well of the GB climbing teams. He’s a really, really good sports scientist.


Neely Quinn: That’s really cool. That’s a really cool resource that you have. You said that you studied/I think you said that you studied running, swimming, and cycling?


Tom Randall: Yep, yep.


Neely Quinn: That’s interesting because it seems like a lot of trainers study sprinting and weightlifting and gymnastics. Are those things that you’ve also studied or what do you think about that?


Tom Randall: If you were to stack up a pile of pieces of paper that represented all the reading that I’ve done in the four that we talked about, and then gymnastics, weightlifting, and sprinting, your pieces of paper would probably be the size of a book on one side and then reach to the ceiling on the running, cycling, swimming, and climbing side. Really, I’ve been very focused on a few disciplines that have kind of informed the way in which I have put together my training and whilst I think that’s not the perfect world, it’s given me a really good insight into a certain part of how sports science works. The more and more I look at this the more I realize that if you are to do something that I really think is worthwhile and valid, is that you do need to specialize to some degree. Otherwise you’ll just be the same as everyone else and it’s hard to stand out.


Neely Quinn: Right. I’m assuming that all of this studying has given you a really good understanding of the aerobic and anaerobic systems, and that’s a lot of what you focused on in the assessment.


Tom Randall: Yeah, so it’s really the metabolic process or the energy system function within the forearm and how that affects your climbing performance that I’ve specialized in. I think it’s part of the equation, it’s not the whole equation, but as I’ve done this more and more over the years I’ve realized that I’m very happy with how this factors into performance and therefore I continue with it and I keep improving on it, really.


Neely Quinn: Okay, so in terms of/just as an overview before we jump into the assessment on Seth, can you give me an overview on a route climber compared with a boulderer compared with even an offwidth climber like yourself? How do those systems compare? Who uses what?


Tom Randall: Okay, so in the broadest sense, a boulderer will operate highly anaerobically when they’re performing in their discipline. This is because the rate of demand at which they require energy in the muscles that they’re using, so primarily the forearm muscle, is a very high rate of demand and therefore they’ll work anaerobically.

In the route climber, they have more moves that they require a lower rate of demand of energy for that muscle contraction and therefore they can have a much higher aerobic contribution to that work carried out.

In an offwidther, it’s – I should have thought about this, shouldn’t I? It depends on the route, actually. I think that’s the short answer. If you’re climbing in Vedauwoo then you’re climbing more like a boulderer because they are very short, intense sections and you’re highly anaerobic. You get on Century Crack and I think it’s probably the most aerobically-demanding offwidth route in the world. I think that thing took us 25 minutes to climb it? If you’re operating anaerobically on that route for 25 minutes you’re not going to get that far.


Neely Quinn: Okay, so it really depends on what route you want to do, how you should train.


Tom Randall: Yes, and that’s kind of like the crux of the situation, is recognizing demands of your route/your project, and then understanding how the metabolic processes will affect that. That’s what I really love looking at.


Neely Quinn: Okay. Alright, let’s look at it, then. Let’s see – so I think that we’ll just do an overview of all of the different things you had him do and I’ll ask you why you had him do that and how he stacked up [laughs], which by the way, in your report it was pretty grim. Just as background here, Seth is actually here with me. Hi, Seth.


Seth: Hello.


Neely Quinn: So Seth, as a lot of you know, is recovering from shoulder surgery himself, which he had in March of this year. It’s now December. Previous to this he was approximately a V11 or V12 climber or a .14b/c climber and at this point he’s bouldering around V9 in 0-10 attempts and probably around 5.13c in the same amount of attempts.

He spent about two hours in the gym the other day doing this testing and he was exhausted afterwards so it’s quite robust. The first part of the assessment was the strength assessment and efficiency scores, so muscular mobility, stability, and strength. Can you describe what goes on in that part of the test and why you do that?


Tom Randall: So, this part of the testing is really to look at the muscular function of the upper body and how you’re working from the wrist joints all the way through to the spine, so the stability within your shoulder girdle, the function of your lats, the operation of your scapulas and shoulder blades within your upper body, and trying to identify – this is kind of the important part of the assessment – is 1) whether there’s any significant imbalance in a climber that we see, and 2) whether there’s any sort of problem areas or red flags that occur in the initial assessment that say, “Right. At the moment, you’re not ready for any particular hard training. You need to potentially go and see a physio, take some time out from the hard training process, and then come back to see us in the future for some more specific hard route climbing or bouldering training.”


Neely Quinn: Okay, and what you said here at Seth was, “Based upon the results from the functional movement testing, we can deduce that you have been applying multiple successful strategies to allow good function in several key joints. This is great to see, as there are currently no standout areas of concern.” Is there anything you want to add to that about his particular assessment?


Tom Randall: I think one of the things that I kind of found hardest was the way in which myself and the other coach that I work with on these assessments is that when we put together these assessments, we take a quite detailed history from the climber to get their background, what they’ve done in the last 12 months in terms of climbing, training, and rehab, and we lacked that from Seth. It was as much as possible with kind of the best intention that we put this part of the assessment together, but we were slightly lacking in some of the information that we would normally look to, so therefore we had to keep it really broad and generalized to give Seth a safe assessment to where he’s at, presently.


Neely Quinn: Okay, but in the testing, basically what you had him do, I think, in this section was weighted pull-ups if that was something that he could do, which he did, and what other exercises?


Tom Randall: So he did some/we looked at the function of his shoulder girdle and the manner in which he could engage the rotation of the scapula within his back, so he did some exercises where he was hanging from a bar and he was pulling up and trying to – it’s kind of hard to explain without the diagrams, but Seth, do you remember how you were doing an exercise and you were looking at the distance at which you could create a gap between your neck and your shoulder joints? You were scoring that, and that particular test there is we are looking at how your shoulder girdle, or the control within the scapula in that movement, so that’s why we were having you doing that.


Seth: Okay.


Tom Randall: Do you have any questions about any other parts of the test?


Neely Quinn: Yeah, sure, so we can move on here.


Tom Randall: Oh sorry, or any parts of the shoulder function?


Neely Quinn: Well, I guess since you didn’t have the information that you wanted from Seth, if you were to do an in-person assessment with somebody, which I’m assuming you do with a lot of your clients, right?


Tom Randall: Yes, some of it’s done remotely, so with them outside of the country or it’s another wall elsewhere in the U.K., so through that same method that Seth used but others have done face-to-face.


Neely Quinn: But you would give them some form of questionnaire or you would interview them about what they’ve been doing for the past year and all that. That would help you to cater to their needs better but in this case…


Tom Randall: Yeah, it’s just like when you go to a hospital or go to see a doctor. They’ll take a detailed history because the past guides so much what happens in the future and I think, as any coach should, focus on that and realize that, even if you have a climber here, right now, who’s climbing 5.14b, is they can be so incredibly different from the 5.14b climber that you’re going to meet in a week’s time based on how different their history can be, therefore their training and their methodology can be very, very different.


Neely Quinn: Right, like a .14b climber’s shoulders might not be so stable and so then you would want to work on that first, before you would…


Tom Randall: Exactly, they could be highly inflexible in their shoulders or they could have extremely tight lats so you might stay away from some types of work or they could – there’s just all sorts of different – how else to put it? Essentially, the person looks, or a lot of climbers/a particular athlete, will look the same because they look at the grade and how they perform on plastic or on rock but I think it’s essential to recognize that that history behind it can affect what you do.


Neely Quinn: Right.

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Neely Quinn: Okay, so you also tested his finger strength. Seth, do you remember what you did here in this section?


Seth: Yeah. I think this particular section starts out with a one-arm hang for five seconds, trying to find a one rep max. Is that right, Tom?


Tom Randall: That’s right. You’re using an assisted weight to start with and you slowly reduce that assisted weight so you can find out the maximum force that you can hang single-armed with assistance. Typically, most people might start with 25 pounds of assistance in the other arm so they’re reducing their body weight by 25 pounds and then they might reduce it by five pounds each time until they find that failure point where they can no longer hang for five seconds.


Neely Quinn: Right, and in this case the assistance was done with a pulley. Do you ever have anybody do anything different than that?


Tom Randall: The only case in which it’s slightly different is when you get a climber and you’re adding weight to their body, so they’re hanging over 100% of body weight in which case they will have weights added to a harness, hanging off them, and they’ll still use that pulley but with an extremely light weight, just to stop some of the rotation that you get with single-arm hangs.


Neely Quinn: Okay, so Seth scored a 5.8 kilograms on finger strength, with in parenthesis ‘weight added.’


Tom Randall: Yeah, so you were hanging with your body weight and with 5.8 kilograms – sorry, we’ve got this U.K. versus U.S. weight measurements so it slightly confuses the issue here – but the important number is you were pulling 90% of your body weight in a single-arm hang, so it wasn’t 100% or more.


Neely Quinn: Okay, and the goal – is there a goal in general for this, for a one-arm hang? What do you want to see from people?


Tom Randall: In elite level climbers, those who are aiming for V11, V12, and upwards, and 5.14b, c, d, then I would look for these climbers to be hanging between 100 and 110% of their bodyweight.


Neely Quinn: Okay, and what about lower than that? Because a lot of our listeners are below that, you know, somewhere around V5, 5.12ish.


Tom Randall: Okay, so for around a V5 climber then you’d be looking, off the top of my head, at around 80% of body weight held.


Neely Quinn: Okay, and it says here, “Your absolute pulling/hanging force was 52.2 kilograms on the single-arm hang.” Can you explain what that means?


Tom Randall: So, this is another figure that we take, because you have many climbers who weigh different amounts. Seth is a relatively light climber for an adult male, so I like to look at the total number of kilos or pounds, if you’re looking at the U.S. measurements, that a forearm can pull or hang in this situation, which means that you can look at the human forearm and say, “The human forearm is capable of pulling 70 kilograms or, “ I don’t know what that is in pounds, and that’s a realistic figure for that forearm to achieve. Therefore, when I come across climbers who are very light and it looks like they pull a high degree of the percentage of their body weight, then I like them to recognize that the human forearm, ie their forearm, is capable of pulling a greater load and it’s not sitting back on your laurels and going, ‘Oh this is great. I pull 105% of body weight. I’m there. I’ve made it.’ It’s going, ‘No, my absolute force is relatively low therefore I can continue to work on this.’


Neely Quinn: Okay, so in Seth’s case, he weighs about 128 pounds and his absolute pulling/hanging force was 52.2 kilograms, which is actually 115 pounds – just for our American people – on the single-arm hang.

Okay, so you say, “Anatomically, I’ve seen amongst elite climbers that 100-110% body weight held is a realistic goal,” and that’s what we just talked about, for those aiming for V11 and V12.


Tom Randall: Yeah, exactly, on a – so, that’s on a 20 millimeter edge. That’s ¾ inch? I think? A ¾ inch edge?


Neely Quinn: Yeah, and so Seth didn’t even use – you asked him to use a Beastmaker for this but he just used a campus rung for this, right?


Seth: Yeah, the smallest one.


Tom Randall: I think that’s good enough.


Neely Quinn: Yeah, the smallest campus rung. So, you said, “As you are a climber of 5’7” then you should expect to be pulling at the upper end of each grade boundary unless you are able to operate excessively well in either technique, flexibility, or tactics.” Can you explain what you meant by that?


Tom Randall: What we’ve found when we’ve looked at this pool of data of climbers across all the grade boundaries and age groups and male and female is that the shorter climbers have to exhibit a higher finger strength for the same grade. If, for example, you have someone who climbs 5.13b and they, as an average, let’s say they’re pulling 95% of their body weight, if you take a 5.13b climber who is on the shortest end of the height spectrum then they might have to pull 98% of body weight to still achieve that same 5.13b grade.


Neely Quinn: You basically just described me, pretty much. [laughs]


Tom Randall: I’m sorry.


Neely Quinn: No, no, it’s interesting because as a 5’ climber who, when I’m actually climbing well I’m climbing around 5.13b or c, that is what it feels like, is that I have to be stronger in a lot of ways.


Tom Randall: Yeah, so what we found is if you look at the numbers, unfortunately it really is true that you have a slightly easier world when you’re a taller climber except for the fact that if you’re taller, you’re going to naturally carry larger body mass so that will affect the percentage of body weight that you carry.


Neely Quinn: Okay. At the end you say, “I note that your pull hang force of 52.2 kilograms, or 115 pounds, is relatively low for what the human forearm can achieve. I’m certain there are good gains to be had here. Basically,” he says, “as you can see from the diagram above you show a weak reading of -2.9% in boulder grade, and strong, which is +2.78%, in your current route grade. This means that your metabolic forearm function is most appropriate for bouldering presently and allows you to be weaker for the grade and strong for your route climbing.”

That took me – you guys might have to rewind it a few times because it took me a few times reading that sentence, but can you just explain that a little bit?


Tom Randall: What that’s saying is that if you look at how Seth’s forearm is operating at the moment, in terms of the energy systems, is that the efficiency of his energy production is good for bouldering which allows him to be weaker for the grade he’s climbing right now. His efficiency buys him the capability to have weakness and still get his V9 grade.

On the other hand of it, for the route climbing grade, is that he’s inefficient in terms of his forearm functioning for the demands of route climbing therefore he has to have stronger fingers than the average 5.13c route climber to compensate for that inefficiency.


Neely Quinn: Okay.


Tom Randall: Hopefully – is that clear enough?


Neely Quinn: Yeah, that’s clear enough. My question was just: how did you come to that? Was it in the – I think he was doing 7-seconds-on, 3-seconds-off at one point to failure and then 10-seconds-on, 3-seconds-off to failure. How are you figuring out his efficiency in both of these areas?


Tom Randall: The way in which it’s done is I came up with a number of tests to analyze the contribution of aerobic and anaerobic energy in the forearm, which was originally actually based on another testing method I have back in Sheffield. Myself and my coaching partner, Ollie, we took the original method and mapped this onto a finger board and how we could test this. What we did is we, in a nutshell – is you get the forearm functioning at a number of different intensities and different hang durations so that you can build a whole profile, like a big, giant snapshot of what’s going on in the forearm if you stress it in different ways. If you collect enough data across lots and lots of different climbers, different abilities, different grades, you can then start to map what things cause certain grades and what things don’t.


Neely Quinn: Have you compiled that data or has somebody else?


Tom Randall: Yeah, I’ve been collecting it for about six years now.


Neely Quinn: How many – I mean, do you do this full time? I mean, obviously not full time because you’re climbing…


Tom Randall: No, part time.


Neely Quinn: This is a total aside, but is this how you make your living, or are you a pro climber in that sense?


Tom Randall: It’s partly how I make my living, yeah. It’s definitely one side of what I do and I think I’ve realized over the last few years that there’s more demand for understanding the limitations in people’s climbing and then I’ve started to recognize that this – maybe it’s worth me putting more time into developing this and that’s why I’ve started to work with a couple of other people with this and bring their skillsets on board, to basically do a better job than what I was doing. I spent six years collecting this data on my own and it’s kind of backbreaking and slow, laborious work to do that whereas you get someone else involved with you, then you do it faster.


Neely Quinn: Right, because after he did these tests you had to take an evening to analyze it.


Tom Randall: Yeah, that’s right. I’ll go away and I’ve got a big database back here at home in the computer and I’ll plug all the numbers in and it produces a lot of figures. That then gives you efficiencies for different intensities that you operate at and then I map those to climbing grades that people achieve and once you’ve analyzed enough people that have climbed from 5.11/12 all the way up to 5.15, then you get this really good idea of how climbers function in a purely numbers-based method. I love that.


Neely Quinn: Do you feel like after getting all of this data from all of these climbers you’ve been able to really pare down exactly what you need to tell them to do with that data? How much success have you had with people?


Tom Randall: I think the first success that I had in it was to start to understand whether the training plans that I was writing were successful or not, because I was really frustrated in the early days that I couldn’t really pin down whether what I was doing was making a change in six months, 12 months, 18 months, whereas with this it’s so numbers-driven that I can really work out what is improving and what’s not improving and then adjust things within a training program for that.

The answer to the question of have I found it successful, I suppose the answer would definitely be yes, because I’ve worked with a number of climbers now for a fair amount of time and everyone pretty much so far has been really happy with the results. I’ve got lots of people up to the grades that I’m mega-excited for and it’s just really nice to be able to give other people out there a tool to get better a bit faster than they would have without the knowledge. That’s what I love doing. I really, really love it.


Neely Quinn: Well, I have a feeling you’re going to get a few calls after this episode. So you do help people from afar? Like, you would potentially work with people like Seth on this even though he’s not there?


Tom Randall: Yeah, we work with people that are outside of the U.K. whether they’re in Europe or the U.S. I can’t claim to have anyone who works from Japan or Australia but yeah, there’s lots of remote clients that I have and that’s why I’ve spent so much time trying to make this testing system that can be done in your own time, away from being in front of me, robust, and checking the data, testing it, analyzing it, and making sure that I’m happy with it because after – because I’m so passionate about it, I don’t want to produce something which is a bit flaky and I’m using guesswork. I’d rather trust the numbers and go with that method.


Neely Quinn: I’m just going to finish up here just telling people what you had him do. Basically, he did the finger strength and then you tested his aerobic capacity, so his endurance, and then his anaerobic capacity so short strength endurance, and then his aerobic power and aerobic contribution. Then you gave him a summary of basically where he is now and where you think he can go from there.


Tom Randall: Yeah, that’s right.


Neely Quinn: I’m actually going to dismiss Seth, if he wants to leave. I thought maybe I would need him a little bit more but I guess not, so thanks, Seth.


Seth: Yep. Bye.


Neely Quinn: [laughs]


Tom Randall: Bye, Seth.


Neely Quinn: He can go back to doing what he was doing before.

Do you want to add anything to why you’re testing for the anaerobic capacity, why you’re testing for the aerobic power, and what kinds of things you might have somebody do if, say, their aerobic power is high but their anaerobic power is low?


Tom Randall: Sure. I think for anyone out there the main/the three factors, if we’re just purely looking at the physical sense of what goes on in the forearm, it’s to look at your base finger strength and the contractile force that you have, and then it’s to look at the aerobic function, and then the anaerobic function. Finger strength I think everyone out there understands. The aerobic function I think people kind of get and really you can think about this as being: if you’re going to ask the forearm to operate at a long duration, relatively low intensity, you want to do that really, really efficiently so you would build your capacity to be able to do this. That’s crucial because you can’t build the peak unless you sort your capacities out for the aerobic side. Likewise, you want to work on the anaerobic capacity, so that’s the production of energy anaerobically in the forearm and that affects both route climbers and boulderers.

What’s really interesting and why I’ve done all this analysis and why I love it so much is there’s this really cool complex interplay between the aerobic system and the anaerobic system, how they affect each other, and it’s about balancing that and understanding that the demands of certain routes and boulder projects can be very, very different. If you can understand whether you need the anaerobic to be really high and the aerobic to be relatively low to achieve your projects then that’s great. Likewise, if you need both to be really high for your projects, again, that’s really useful knowledge because then you can go away and say, “I want to work on this. I’ll put a decent amount of time in and therefore I’ll have a better chance of achieving the project that I’ve set out to do.”


Neely Quinn: Do you want to/would you be willing to do a case study of one of your clients that you’ve worked with who you know their background, you know what their test looked like, and then tell me what you did with them and then how they turned out, like what their goals were?


Tom Randall: You want me to just look someone up?


Neely Quinn: Sure.


Tom Randall: Okay, so I’ve got a case study here of a boulderer who wants to achieve their project on a trip later in 2016, which will be a long-style boulder problem, so around a 16-move boulder problem. They came to me for an assessment and training program to prepare for that long boulder problem. When I first analyzed them and looked at their finger strength they were carrying around 100% body weight and they were aiming for a boulder problem that was around V11, so their base finger strength was within range and acceptable for where they should be for the grade, so that base finger strength was sorted. I was happy with that because there were no major adjustments needed.

Then, I looked at their aerobic capacity, so this is the base aerobic function, and their aerobic capacity was very, very poor in this boulderer, which is not surprising. Most boulderers do have a poor aerobic capacity and people would say, “What’s the point? Why do I want to train my aerobic capacity as a boulderer?” Well, there’s a really, really good reason for this and that’s because if you look on the other side of the coin, if you flip the coin over and you look at that anaerobic side, what we know is that boulderers have to have a highly functioning anaerobic system. The problem is, is that if you have a highly functioning anaerobic system you produce a lot of lactate, so your lactate production is very high. If you want to deal with that you need a good aerobic capacity to deal with it and make that system continually functioning/to continually function at the highest percentage for your event, so that’s like your duration, your 16 moves. Therefore, if you’re a boulderer, this boulderer I was looking at wanted to have the highest expression of his finger strength and his anaerobic capacity so he had to develop that underlying aerobic capacity.


Neely Quinn: So, a 16-move boulder problem – I’m not a boulderer. Is that a long boulder problem?


Tom Randall: Yeah, with a 16-move boulder problem, depending on the number of foot movements and complexity of moves, you might be on that for 1:00, 1:20, 1:30? It depends on the style, really.


Neely Quinn: Okay, so it is pretty long. What if he had wanted to do a 5-move boulder problem?


Tom Randall: In the case of that individual, if he wanted to do a 5-move boulder problem then the aerobic capacity would not have been a limiting factor.


Neely Quinn: Okay, where is the cutoff?


Tom Randall: The cutoff is like a sliding scale. You could say that a 2-move boulder problem would have zero or close to zero effect from the aerobic system as possible. If you went to a 100-move boulder problem you’d go as close to 100% as being an effect. You just slide that scale all the way down as you reduce the number of moves. It’s a cool system because it’s just a sliding scale so therefore any particular project sits somewhere on that scale and you’ve just got to realize how you’ve got to adjust those relative levels.


Neely Quinn: Is that something you have a spreadsheet for or some sort of…?


Tom Randall: Yeah, exactly. [laughs] Not very predictably, but I guess it just comes down to this whole geek thing that I like looking at numbers and analyzing what makes the forearm tick.


Neely Quinn: Well, it must be pretty cool. So, you put this – his or her, whatever – stats into your systems, you figure out that they need to be up to this percentage of aerobic capacity in order for them to send this 16-move problem, and then they train and they get up to that level that you want them to be at, and then they go and they send their problem. If that is what is happening then yeah, it must be very gratifying for you. Is that what happened with this person?


Tom Randall: So, this person that I’ve just done a case study for is – this is in 2016 he’ll do it, so I can’t give you a result for that one. He’s right in the middle of the training process but it mimics lots and lots of cases of people that I’ve worked with and I suppose for anyone out there – I’m not really good at publicizing what I do and the people that I work with, but I guess that’s because it’s just worked well as I’ve done it so far just by being passionate about it.

If you speak to any of my ex clients or current clients they’ll tell you that the methods I use are sound and they do bring about goals and mostly, I think it’s down to the fact that the method that I use for assessing so clearly pinpoints areas of weakness which are really workable. It’s not going, ‘Oh, right. You’re twisting but then your climbing is pull,’ or ‘ your foot placements are poor and that might take a long time and lots of drills and technique work with a coach to sort out.’ Most of these things can be sorted out relatively quickly. I mean, not that quickly but relatively quickly with appropriate training methods and I think that’s the beauty of it. People like the simplicity of that.


Neely Quinn: Yeah, so for this particular person with the 16-move boulder problem goal, how did you have him or her train their aerobic capacity? What did you exactly have them do?


Tom Randall: With aerobic capacity the thing that I’ve found over the years now, which is really key, is that aerobic capacity is trained at split intensities, so you could think of the lowest end of aerobic capacity being stuff that you could kind of plod around for quite a long time, you can talk, you can chat, you’re not getting very pumped. Then the highest end of aerobic capacity work feels pretty intense. You couldn’t actually go for very long at all but what you can do is you can split that work that you do at that very high intensity into lots of little, short blocks of all styles of training.

The best success I’ve had with clients is combining, mixing, and appropriately using a combination of very low intensity with very high intensity aerobic work and never working this mid-mileage, fluffy – I think they call it in running ‘the wasted miles,’ where you’re plodding away at a pace that feels kind of hard, you’re just about controlling it, you are out of breath but you’re not about to fall off. That, to me, is wasted effort and for the vast majority of people out there, just stop doing it. Some of the best successes I’ve had in my training were when I’ve stopped working that middle zone.


Neely Quinn: This is reminding me of Alex Barrows, for good reason, because you trained him, right?


Tom Randall: Yeah, yeah, I started working with Alex quite a long time ago.


Neely Quinn: He does these intervals but he was training for routes so it’s a little bit – well, it’s not different because he was training his aerobic capacity as well. Is what Alex Barrows doing sort of what you would have this boulderer do to train their aerobic capacity?


Tom Randall: Yeah, I think it would be very similar to what Alex would do, obviously because his goals were different so it would be route climbing that the volume which he would – sorry, not volume, the number of moves to keep it in the most simple of terms. The number of moves that he would do in a session on his aerobic capacity would be much higher as a route climber versus a boulderer.


Neely Quinn: So, like, this boulderer, how many moves would they have to do during their intervals?


Tom Randall: They might only have to do 300 moves in total in an aerobic capacity session whereas Alex might do 600, 800, 1,000 moves.


Neely Quinn: Okay, and just for the sake of clarity can you explain what a session might look like for this person when they’re training aerobic capacity?


Tom Randall: For the boulderer?


Neely Quinn: Yeah.


Tom Randall: An example of a very low intensity session for a boulderer would be to, after they finish their training session – so they’ve been working high intensity work, bouldering, campusing, whatever it might be – is that they get on a slightly overhanging wall. They could climb around the wall using sideways movement as well as upward movements, so not too much traversing, continually for five minutes at a very easy level then taking five minutes break and then going back on for five minutes and just repeating that three times, so 15 minutes of total work with five minutes break in between at a very low level.

An example of a high level workout would be where they would choose a route or maybe a circuit, like a route circuit on a bouldering wall that’s 20 moves long and would feel really hard if they were to link that 20 moves two or three times. What they do is they climb that 20 moves just once, so they just start to get a little bit pumped, they jump off, take the rest time that would be equal to their work time, and they repeat that just four more times.


Neely Quinn: Okay.


Tom Randall: So, if it took them one minute, let’s say 1:45 to climb those 20 moves then they would take 1:45 break and just repeat that four more times. What’s important is to keep that aerobic capacity work – for that boulderer, the level can’t be too high and the rest period has to be at least as good as the work period.


Neely Quinn: So, how do you know if the intensity is too high? If they’re failing at all is that too high? Or should they be failing?


Tom Randall: Yeah, that’s too high. That’s definitely too high.


Neely Quinn: Okay, so they should be able to do…


Tom Randall: All the aerobic capacity work you don’t want to hit failure in a session, ever.


Neely Quinn: Okay, so when you were talking about the wasted miles, though, this is not wasted miles?


Tom Randall: No, the wasted miles typically would be where someone’s got a route circuit at their climbing wall and it’s a 40-move circuit and they think to themselves, ‘Okay, I can get around that 40-move circuit and I’m kind of quite pumped by the end of it. Guess what? I reckon if I got really psyched I could probably link that circuit four times in a row and do 160 moves of that circuit all linked together and all the way around I’d just be shaking out, trying to get some kind of recovery, and therefore I could get round the whole time right at my lactate threshold.’ That would be my typical ‘wasted miles.’


Neely Quinn: Okay, so you want them to have to be resting in between?


Tom Randall: Yeah, yeah, it’s really important that we do that.


Neely Quinn: Okay, alright. We’re at an hour and I have approximately 1,000 more questions for you [laughs].


Tom Randall: Sorry.


Neely Quinn: No, it’s fine. Would you mind taking five minutes to talk about your own offwidth training?


Tom Randall: Sure, yeah.


Neely Quinn: I know that there have been videos on this done and everything but it’d be cool to hear you talk about it. Are you currently training right now?


Tom Randall: Yes, I am. I’ve just started the long process of some heavy training again. Well, a heavy training with Pete, whom I climb with a lot.


Neely Quinn: Right. Specifically for offwidths?


Tom Randall: There is an offwidth element included in it but I would say more like specifically for crack climbing.


Neely Quinn: Okay. Can we talk about what you’re doing? On a weekly basis, can you tell me sort of what you’re doing?


Tom Randall: On a weekly basis I train around five days per week. I normally train twice per day. I will do fingerboard work in the morning and then in the afternoon I will do crack-specific work, endurance work, just on normal style holds, and/or rings or bar work.


Neely Quinn: And/or. So you might do all of these things in one day?


Tom Randall: Yeah, it depends on energy levels, it depends on how much work I’ve got going on, it depends on what’s going on with the family. It’s mostly timing nowadays.


Neely Quinn: So you’ll train fingers five days a week?


Tom Randall: Yep. Not always at the maximum intensity, though. Never train at max five days a week. That would just be madness. You’d just get slightly worse.


Neely Quinn: Okay, so on those other two days of the week are you fully resting or are you doing something else?


Tom Randall: I’m usually sneaking something else in.


Neely Quinn: [laughs] Like what?


Tom Randall: It’ll either be running or going out climbing outside, just kind of really low level, or just pottering around on my training board at the lowest possible intensity you can imagine, so basically – what would you call it – at 5%.


Neely Quinn: So, fingers in the A.M., not always at high intensity but sometimes at high intensity.


Tom Randall: Yeah, generally – at the moment, because I’m in a strength phase, I will train my fingers at high intensity three times per week.


Neely Quinn: And then in your sessions after, in the afternoon, you’ll do crack-specific. What does that mean?


Tom Randall: That will be down in the cellar, underneath the house, where I’ve got a load of roof cracks of different widths so hands and offwidths, and that’s a split of specific work, so drills work on a crack, particular movements that I think I’m weak on, or are needed for a project that I’m working for.


Neely Quinn: Right, since I just watched a video of you doing pinky mono drills in cracks.


Tom Randall: Yeah, for example, yeah.


Neely Quinn: Did you ever injure yourself doing that, by the way?


Tom Randall: Yeah, I have a number of times with different things. I’ve injured practically everything I think but, and I think this is a useful thing for people to know out there is, if you’re motivated enough and disciplined you can always train something else and still make really good gains. You just have to realize that you have the injury, switch that part of your brain off that operates in that injured area. Forget about it, leave it to fix up, and work everything else really hard and try not to get injured in the other parts. You can just keep going.


Neely Quinn: Do you think you can do that if you have a ring finger injury?


Tom Randall: Yeah, definitely. I’ve had the ring finger injuries. Last year I had two A2 pulleys in my middle fingers, which are really annoying to get because you feel like you use them on everything.


Neely Quinn: Were you just buddy taping or something?


Tom Randall: No, I did a lot of finger crack climbing around that time because that doesn’t stress the A2 pulley in your middle finger. I did a lot of open hand climbing. I did a lot of crack climbing because, again, that doesn’t stress the pulleys in the fingers and I see it mostly as an opportunity when I get injured. I go, ‘Right. That just reminds me that let’s go back to things that I’m not very good at, reassess, make some new goals, spend four months improving in this thing,’ and I completely turn my mind off the thing I got injured on. Then I know that I’ll just revisit it in four months’ time and so far it’s worked well because I just keep ticking forward a little bit by little bit, consistently.


Neely Quinn: That is good to know because it is interesting. As a sport climber, if I injure a finger I’m not going to be like, ‘Okay, I’m going to go crack climbing,’ because I just don’t do that but I probably could and should [laughs] so that at least I could keep climbing.


Tom Randall: Yeah, or you just choose grip positions that don’t antagonize it or you just do work where you don’t use the hand at all and you do everything based on sling work on rings. Even if you can’t grip in a ring – so you know when you do gymnastics rings – you can get slings that you prop up onto your elbows. It’s the same thing you do when you’ve got problematic elbows and you can still do loads of shoulder work, back, lats, core, and just keep as motivated because you’re working hard and you feel like you’re progressing.


Neely Quinn: Right. Back to your training on crack-specific stuff. In the video that I saw it looked like you have cracks of basically every size, not every size, but a lot of sizes down in your cellar, right?


Tom Randall: Yeah, that’s right.


Neely Quinn: And you’ve kind of made those yourself. It’s not something that you bought online or something.


Tom Randall: No, no, I made them myself and I think if most people saw my carpentry skills they’d be horrified.


Neely Quinn: [laughs] You’re taped up for your sessions. Your hands are taped and everything. You’re not messing around, you’re really doing drills.


Tom Randall: Yeah, you need to tape up to eliminate the pain aspect because otherwise you can’t train or rather, you can’t concentrate on the training.


Neely Quinn: Right. How long do those sessions last?


Tom Randall: For what, the offwidthing?


Neely Quinn: Yeah.


Tom Randall: In the past or now?


Neely Quinn: Now.


Tom Randall: They will last anything between 45 minutes and maybe 2.5 hours for a long session.


Neely Quinn: And what was it before? Was it like 10 hours before?


Tom Randall: We kind of did excessively long sessions when we were training for the U.S. in the first trip. Me and Pete were too psyched and overcooked it a bit and hence, when we got back from that trip we took about four months off because we were annihilated.


Neely Quinn: Well, it worked. I mean, there is something to be said for doing a lot of training. I mean, obviously you’ve pared it down so it’s more efficient now.


Tom Randall: Big peaks equal big troughs, though, unfortunately.


Neely Quinn: I would love to have you back on. I don’t want to keep you for much longer. We’ve been going for over an hour but is there anything else that you would like to add that you really wanted to talk about but we didn’t?


Tom Randall: I think probably the only thing that I want to add is that for anyone that kind of knows me and what I do with my training and all that, is that I’m very much a person who constantly tries to self-improve and make the system better each year that I do it. I by no means see this as a perfect answer to climbing improvement and this year I’ve started working with two other people who I feel very much help improve the imbalance or lack of skills that I have in some areas. A guy called Ollie Torr, and Remus Knowles.

I want people to know that whatever you see from the trainer or coach that you work with out there is that hopefully that person will always be trying to self-improve theirselves as well as trying to improve your climbing. I think that’s an important message for all of us to take on.


Neely Quinn: Yeah, and so does that mean if somebody works with you they’re also working with these other two people?


Tom Randall: Yeah, we all work as a team, basically. I’m/I suppose you could call me the metabolic energy systems specialist, Ollie is a strength and conditioning specialist, ex-gymnast, and Remus is a data analyst.


Neely Quinn: Wow, that’s really cool.


Tom Randall: So we kind of work as a team.


Neely Quinn: So, if somebody wanted to work with you guys, where would they go? Online?


Tom Randall: That’s a good question. I think until now I’ve been a bit of a dinosaur and I’ve done everything by – what’s it called?


Neely Quinn: Telephone?


Tom Randall: Personal contact. People just kind of reference – or no, what’s the word – or pass on my contact details, but we are going into the 21st century and building a website which is Lattice Training but will be up very soon, fingers crossed. For the moment I suppose just find us on Facebook, if that doesn’t sound too flaky an answer.


Neely Quinn: No. [laughs]


Tom Randall: It doesn’t make me sound very professional, does it?


Neely Quinn: No, I mean you do have a website here and I see that…


Tom Randall: Oh, I do have a website. I forgot about that.


Neely Quinn: [laughs] That’s really funny. It looks like people have contacted you there. I contacted you on Facebook but also, would you want to give out your email to people?


Tom Randall: Yeah, I can give out the work email which is where we kind of take requests for training programs and assessments and things like that, which is


Neely Quinn: Okay, and that’s


Tom Randall: Yeah, that’s right.


Neely Quinn: One last thing is I saw that you have a climbing brush company?


Tom Randall: Yes, that’s right.


Neely Quinn: Is that something that’s been taking up a lot of your time or do you want to mention that?


Tom Randall: Oh, that’s Sublime Climbing brushes. That’s actually about the least un-training based, least analytical thing I’ve done for some time. That was just born out of meeting up with this really cool creative designer called Ransom Allison and just a random internet meetup/crossover. We talked about producing some climbing products and we developed this brush together. We kind of put our different skills into one part and tried to produce the best brush that we could. It’s been really good fun and I’ve learned so much along the way from this guy.

I suppose I just love doing different things and learning something more because it always feel like, if every year you can just be a little bit more self improved and know something a bit different or have improved yourself in some way, then that’s a successful year.


Neely Quinn: Yeah, it sounds like you have a lot of energy to spare and that you do a lot of things.


Tom Randall: Yeah, that’s occasionally said.


Neely Quinn: I just looked online and there is a website for that called


Tom Randall: Yeah, that’s right.


Neely Quinn: Cool. Well, I may be contacting you to work with you when I want to be training again, so you might have one client in me.


Tom Randall: When that shoulder improves.


Neely Quinn: Right. I really, really appreciate your time and all of your information, so thank you.


Tom Randall: No problem at all. It was really cool chatting and I hope I haven’t confused you too much.


Neely Quinn: No, no, not at all.


Tom Randall: I know this stuff gets all complex and I get a bit geeky about it so I try and pull myself back.


Neely Quinn: No, that’s what I appreciate about you is you’re like the nerdiest trainer I’ve talked to so far and I mean that in the best way possible. It’s really cool.


Tom Randall: Okay. [laughs]


Neely Quinn: I hope I didn’t insult you. I really do mean it.


Tom Randall: No, I’m not insulted. I do pride myself in some geek factor so it’s fine.


Neely Quinn: Alright, well thanks and hopefully I’ll talk to you soon.


Tom Randall: Yeah, thank you.


Neely Quinn: I hope you enjoyed that interview with Tom Randall. If you want to put his nerdiness to work for you you can go to and you can start working with him.

Next week on the podcast I have Nina Williams. She’s a V13 boulderer out of Boulder, Colorado and we talked about her training, her climbing, her nutrition, all the usual things, and how her climbing goals have changed, actually, so stay tuned for that.

The only other thing I will let you know about is that pretty soon we will have not only one personal trainer on the site but two. Currently we have Dan Mirsky as an online coach for people, so if you want to have a conversation or a training plan created specifically for your needs you can see Dan Mirsky about that. Kris Peters, who created several of our training programs on the site, is going to join him starting in two weeks, in January of 2016. So that is coming up soon.

I’m super excited to be able to offer more personalized training resources for you guys, so if you want to look at that you go to and then at the top there is a tab that’s called, ‘Coaching.’

That’s it. I’m going to let you guys go. I’ve kept you for long enough. Thanks for listening to the end and I will talk to you next week.



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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