It doesn’t take long on the internet to find loads of new climbing training exercises. Quite often, exercises are even presented as some kind of shortcut to climbing improvement. Combine this abundance of information with the fact that our scientific understanding of the foundations of climbing training and performance is still very much evolving and it easy to waste time/energy chasing training fads. Conversely, it’s also all too easy for quality training advice to get drowned out and lost in the shuffle.

Ultimately, both of these situations result from the combination of an abundance of information and the difficulty of discerning what information is actually valuable. When confronted with this type of situation, the only solution is to fall back on foundations and to use basic principles as a lens through which to evaluate new ideas.

To help spell out exactly what these foundational principles are for climbing, here’s an article from coach and co-founder of Tension Climbing Will Anglin.

“When I introduced the paragraph above I wrote, “…if our goal is to end up with a higher performing climber…” This, I think, is actually a lot more loaded than most would think and a very important part of what I am trying to get across. In order to think critically and make productive decisions when training, it is imperative to understand fundamental principles of climbing and physiology and to make goals that are built on that foundation. I am not saying that all people should have the same goals. What I am saying is that all peoples’ goals should be founded on a fundamental understanding of what it is that they are trying to do. When this is accomplished, It equips climbers, coaches, and trainers alike to think critically and make decisions that push themselves forward.” – Will Anglin


In his article, Anglin spells out 7 foundations. He believes these principles should be central to all training programs and approaches to climbing. They are:

  1. Climbing is a hugely variable activity
  2. Climbing exposes delicate body structures to extraordinary stress
  3. Climbing is highly skill based
  4. Physical attributes are important
  5. Climbing ability takes time and energy to develop
  6. Practice and performance are different
  7. Performance is a training stimulus

In reading Will’s list, you may think many of these principles are self-explanatory or simple. However, that’s exactly the point and there’s value in spelling them out. I urge you to click through below and read about them in greater detail.

Will isn’t suggesting that he has all the answers or even that his way is the best way. What he is suggesting, though, is that spelling out foundational principles let us use them as a tool to evaluate information. Ultimately, being able to do so is extremely important.

In the end, cultivating the ability to think critically about your climbing and training should be a central concern for all of us. Honing this skill gives us a way to evaluate new information and being able to make value judgments about new training ideas is a far more effective approach to long-term improvement than simply hoping you stumble across the “perfect for you” new exercise.

Click through below for the full article.

Full Article: Tension Climbing – Foundations


climbing training programs

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