More and more climbers are starting to incorporate traditional weight lifting into their climbing training.  When used properly, weight training can be a powerful tool to increase overall strength levels and prevent injury.  However, when training for climbing, weight lifting needs to be kept in perspective.  It needs to be thought of as a tool to help you increase your climbing level and not a goal in and of itself.

To help you understand exactly how weight training fits into training for climbing, here’s an article by coach and trainer Steve Bechtel that gives you some basic strength guidelines to let you know when enough weight lifting is enough.

“Over the years, many climbers have started weight training at my urging, but it doesn’t take long before the questions start rolling in. How much? How heavy? How many exercises? It always depends on the athlete, but we keep coming back to a few guidelines. The most important is this: training is not something you do instead of climbing, but rather something you do to support climbing. Our goal in performing any training is to create more high-level performances and to reduce injury.”

“Weight training allows us the fastest path toward total-body strength. By building this strength, we can then develop all of the other qualities of fitness more quickly and safely. There is a limit to the efficacy of any training mode, though. We need to always try to figure out the just-right amount of volume and avoid letting our training get away from us. What we always look for is getting away with as little non-climbing as possible.”

Strength Level Weight Lifting Guidelines

To put weight lifting in perspective, here is a chart Steve uses with his athletes to help them know when they have achieved high enough strength levels that focusing further on lifting isn’t the most productive use of their energy.  In other words, these levels represent targets for Steve that once he get athletes to them he knows they have a good foundation for correct movement patterns and don’t need to further increase these levels.


Weight Lifting Schedules

Beyond simply giving you these target numbers, Steve also outlines several weekly weight training schedules.  Steve’s schedules include one for basic strength training, one for a targeted strength phase, and one for strength maintenance.

Ultimately, using weight lifting to effective train for climbing can be difficult.  Click through below for more information and to read the complete article.  Also if you are really looking to start adding lifting into your training schedule, we highly recommend Steve’s Strength Training Guide.  In it, he not only expands on the information covered in this article, but also takes you through exactly what lifts you should be doing and how to do them properly.

Full Article: Weight Lifting Guidelines with Steve Bechtel (link no longer available)

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