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Lockdown Strength Training: Week 1

We dig deep one last time to come back to this year's bouldering season stronger and more psyched than before. This is strength training

As much of the country enters another lockdown, climbing gyms once more shut their doors and cragging locals again question the morality of pursuing their sport at their favourite local spots. Although things might feel desperate for many Canadian climbers, the almost country-wide lockdown comes with it increased vaccination efforts and a viable chance at getting climbers back to business come May.

For many, these words might feel empty. It can feel like this cycle will never end, but, of course, it will. The struggle to remain fit over another lockdown remains one of the more challenging aspects of the pandemic when even something as simple as a run carries with it inherent risk.

Everything is not lost. Although this next month will take a forced and directed effort to come out the other side in good shape, through improving our abilities, we might find the next weeks of stay-at-home orders a little more bearable. Exercises releases endorphins that, in themselves, should allow the climber a little bit more peace of mind.

In an effort to remain positive, let us consider training. Let us think ourselves the athletes that we want to be and work toward bettering our mental health. These next four weeks of training will improve your ability if you climb less than V8 and will help you maintain strength if you climb V9+. Let us begin.

Week 1

We have broken this program into two segments. You will find the hangboarding side of the work out here, while this article will cover your next four weeks of strength and conditioning. The focus of these four weeks will be flexibility and strength.

Flexibility training is probably the easiest way to level up through consistency, while strength helps us pull hard. We require strength training for maintenance and we require flexibility for progression.


Day 1 – Train

Day 2 – Train

Day 3 – Rest

Day 4 – Train

Day 5 – Train

Day 6 – Rest

Day 7 – Rest

The Warm-up:

Shoulder rolls and large kicks make for an excellent warm-up. You may also hang on the bar with your feet on the ground, and engage your shoulders as to lift your feet off the ground. The greater the repetitions the warmer you will become.

The Exercise:

You will complete three of these same exercises each day of the next week. We will alter the exercise next week. Due to the fact that everyone has their own training equipment, pick three of the following exercises that best reflect the equipment you do have access to. The exercises are listed in order of priority, but each of these will help you improve.

TRX or Rings:

Hang your TRX grips or rings a couple of inches off of the ground. Enter the push up position with your hands on the grips. Make sure you have straight wrists, otherwise you risk injury. We will complete three exercises.

  • Complete 3 tri-sets of IYT. Go as low as you can, and then compress back to your starting position. You may also walk forward as to reduce the angle at which you complete the exercise.
  • 1 tri-set looks like: 10 repetitions of I, 10 repetitions of Y, and 10 repetitions of T. Space each of these exercises by 10 seconds. Complete tri-set twice more for a total of 30 reps of I, 30 reps of Y, and 30 reps of T.

Pull Ups:

We have all probably tired of pull ups, yet they really do help us become better climbers. We will complete these sets of pull ups in sets of 5 or sets of 10, with up to one minute of rest between sets. We will also carry out these pull ups in the form of tri-sets.

  • One tri-set will look like 5-10 regular pull ups, 5-10 wide grip pull ups, 6-10 side-to-side.
  • Complete 3 total tri-sets.
  • Side-to-sides are effectively assisted one-arms. Pull into a full lock with one arm and let the other arm pull into a horizontal and straight position. Switch sides each rep. If you were to do 6 repetitions, that would mean 3 left-handed repetitions and 3 right-handed repetitions.


  • Ideally this will mean toes-to-bar. Complete between 50 and 100 leg-lifts at either toes -to-bar, or toes-to-90-degerees. Take as much rest as needed. Complete in a many sets as you require.


Antagonist muscle training prevents our bodies from becoming imbalanced. As such, these should present on at least one of your training days this week. We will complete these, too, as tri-sets.

  • 1 push-up tri-set will look like 10 repetitions of elbows back, 10 repetitions of elbow out, and 10 repetitions of diamond.
  • Complete two more tri-sets for a total of thirty repetitions for each exercise.


Pull into the front-lever position. Naturally, this exercise is extremely difficult. As such, it will require that you pull into as perfect a front-lever as you can must. This does not have to be close to an actually perfect front lever. This exercise strengthens your lumbar. By trying your hardest, even at an angle less than perfect, you will approach increased lumbar strength.

  • Complete 5 sets at 10 seconds a set. Rest 3 minutes between each set.


This does not count as one of your three exercises. Instead, stretch every day including your rest days. Hold each for 30 seconds. Complete each exercise twice.

  • Middle splits
  • Straddle splits
  • Touch your toes
  • Butterfly
  • Frog