The goal of training should be to get better at rock climbing. If it’s not making you better then what’s the point in doing it.

Sure that sounds nice and simple, but things get more complicated when we factor in that climbing is a skill sport and doesn’t just revolve around getting stronger. The question then is how can we structure our training so that we are improving our skills while also getting stronger?

To help answer that question, here’s an article from Rock and Ice Magazine by renowned alpinist and climbing coach Steve House. In it, House advocates for differentiating between skill practice sessions where we try to become better climbers and strength sessions where we focus on becoming stronger climbers.

“All of us want to become better climbers. Some of us say we’ll go to the gym and climb X times a week for X months. However, climbing randomly will not usually yield the best results. If progress is your goal, you must be intentional about how you train. A common mistake is to mix skill and strength training into the same workout. Here, I’ll discuss how to work on specific skills—you can become a better climber without necessarily getting stronger.” – Steve House

Steve House on Skill vs Strength Sessions

The central point of House’s suggestions here is that to improve our climbing skills we need to target the weaknesses in our technique and intentionally practice them so we can improve in those areas. He believes that it is more efficient and effective to do this in separate sessions than those designed to make you stronger.

In terms of a schedule, House suggests aiming for two strength/physical training session and two to three skill practice sessions per week.

Luckily, House believes that, if you approach them correctly, climbing days both indoor and outdoor can constitute skill practice sessions. The key is approaching them correctly. Click through below to read his suggestions about how to identify, target, and approach improving your technical climbing weaknesses.

Full Article: Rock and Ice – Steve House on Skill vs Strength Sessions


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

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