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Gym Series - Bouldering Power Hour

Learn how to maximize a one-hour climbing workout

Only have an hour? Maximize a lunch break, or shorter training session with these bouldering drills...

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“I don't have much time to go to the gym now that I have a [insert adult responsibility here], but I still want to get better at climbing.”

Whether it’s only temporary or a new routine, running into obstacles that limit time spent climbing and training is sometimes unavoidable. When time is tight, focus on quality over quantity. The workouts that follow are catered to skill development—proper technique, efficient movement, and reading sequences correctly from the ground, are all aspects incorporated. With a little planning, a productive one-hour (read: lunch-break) workout is possible. 

Select exercises (check our posts Climbing to Build Power, and Technique for examples) that highlight weaknesses, or focus on certain skills you want to develop further. 

Workout A: Style Focus


Warm-up (20 minutes) Try using two of the technique drills outlined in our Climbing Technique post for 10 minutes each. Select drills that either work on a weakness, or develop a skill (ex. toe-hooking, pogo-ing, using dropknees, etc.,) necessary for a future goal. Here's a few at a glance: 

One Touch

Sloth Monkey

One Size Fits All

Single-Leg Climbing

Perfect Repeats (2 problems; 15 minutes each) Select two problems in a style that you want to improve, at a difficulty around your flash level. Use the 15 minutes to repeat the problem 3-5 times, striving to improve with each effort. Rest as much as needed. You should feel recovered before each attempt.

Cool Down (10 minutes) Select a specific skill to focus on. This might be climbing without hesitation, One Touch, or memorizing all of the beta before you leave the ground. Focus on one specific skill while cooling down on easier terrain.

Workout B: Hard Circuit


Warm Up (10 minutes) See example drills above to incorporate into a quick warm-up. 

Stage Two Warm up (10 minutes) Climb boulders of escalating difficulty to prepare yourself to try hard. Repeating climbs that you’ve already done will help this go faster than trying to learn new problems.

Three Strike Circuit (30 minutes) Practice "flipping the try-hard switch" by selecting five boulders to work for 30 minutes. Choose one or two boulders with larger holds to try first to help complete your warm-up (think pinches and slopers); save the finger-intensive climbs for later on. Before you pull onto the wall, rehearse the problem in your head twice. While visualizing the climb, focus on precision, confidence, and fluid movement as you transition through each body position. Rest at least three minutes between efforts and work through as many of the problems as you can in 30 minutes. If you complete all five boulders in the 30 minutes, replace the easiest boulder with a new hardest problem for your next session

Cool Down (10 minutes) Select a specific skill to focus on. This might be climbing without hesitation, One Touch, or memorizing all of the beta before you leave the ground. Focus on this on easier terrain for a few problems.

Having a hyper-focused plan is the best way to maximize a short amount of time


Workout C: Low-Intensity Volume Circuit

Low Intensity Keep the difficulty around 40-50% while choosing skills to hone that you find challenging from the warm up drills, the Perfect Repeats, or from weaknesses you’ve noticed popping up when climbing pumped. Spend 45 minutes focusing on one of these specific skills
Work Your Weaknesses For instance, if you resort to climbing statically when fatigued, spend this workout climbing with momentum on all different types of terrain. Try to use it in situations that you normally wouldn’t, such as on slab. Worst case scenario, you fall on an easy problem. Alternately, if you do a poor job reading and memorizing a climb before attempting it, spend time on sequence selection from the ground, and stick to the beta you chose once you are on the climb. If the beta you tried didn’t work, analyze why afterwards, and think about possible alternative sequences. The more thought you put into this, the better you will become at reading boulders from the ground which will result in less energy-depleting mistakes.
For more training tips check out the Power Company Climbing Podcast


Written by The Power Company in partnership with La Sportiva.

Photos and Video: © Henna Taylor 

4/11/2018 4:27 PM
Posted in Climbing By The Power Company

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