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Prepare for Fall – A Six Week Training Plan for Rocktober

As the weeks tick down, it's time to to prepare for the fall season. Here is a structure that can help

climber tapes torn skin

It is hot. Summer soaked most of Canada in a heat wave this July. So far, it hasn’t broken. Although a person can climb hard outside all year round, athletes looking to peak for Rocktober will take some time away from rock in favour of indoor training.


If you are like many climbers, then you powered through your injuries last season. The first step to any training plan has to address the injuries that you have left unchecked for months. If the injury is severe, you will need more than rest and relaxation. Instead, consider speaking with a medical professional.

Weeks 1-2

If you do not need to rehab, then first determine your goals for the fall season. If you boulder you will need power, and if you rope climb then you will need power and endurance. In either case, strength training provides a base for either power or endurance to build upon.

As such, we will begin with strength training. Strength training is our season’s prehabilitation and it will be that which protects our bodies for the length of the season. Do not over do it and note that strength training is not the same as training for climbing. Pull ups are transferable, but generally distant from the solution to your crux sequence.


  • Day 1: Train
  • Day 2: Train
  • Day 3: Rest
  • Day 4: Train
  • Day 5: Train
  • Day 6: Rest
  • Day 7: Rest


  • Day 1: Train
  • Day 2: Train
  • Day 3: Rest
  • Day 4: Train
  • Day 5: Rest
  • Day 6: Train
  • Day 7: Rest

Realistically, whichever schedule you choose will be fine. Strength training is flexible in this regard. Optimizing is ideal, but consistency is almost everything.


The training itself will follow a resistance-based approach. The exercises will include:

  • Pull ups/ weighted pull ups
    • We will aspire toward 10 sets of 10. The difficulty will increase with weight as this becomes possible. If you are incapable of pull ups, then a resistance band that makes one set of 10 possible will become your standard. Reduce the resistance of the band as you progress.
  • Push ups
    • We will aspire toward sets of 15 or 20. If you are able to do more than 15 or 20 in a row, increase the difficulty of the push up by raising your feet or changing the from through which you’re pushing
  • Leg lifts
    • The goal will be 10 sets of 10. If one leg lift is impossible, then lift your legs to 90 degrees. If this is impossible then lift to 90 degrees, with bent legs. 10 sets of 10 with straight legs, bringing the toe to the bar is as ,much resistance as the exercise requires. If you wish to push past this, begin doing so through front lever training
  • Rings
    • Rings can be a wonderful full body exercise. Aim to complete them as scripted here.

Different climbers like different approaches. Some wish to climb first and train at the end of the session while others train first and climb after the session. To get the most out of the strength training, train first, to get the most of the climbing training, climb first. The latter option optimizes for technique.

Athlete trains on rings for climbing

Week 3

Follow the same protocol as weeks 1 and 2, but reduce the volume by 50%. Maintain session quantity. Do not replace training with more climbing. Instead, end your session earlier in order to maximise recovery. We should enter our power or power and endurance section as refreshed as possible.

Weeks 4-5

We will climb on a board. Many climbers choose to board climb all year round. This is extremely fun, and a great way to get strong, but it carries a much higher risk for injury. The manner by which the climber chooses to move beyond this six week plan is at their discretion. As mentioned previously, this training is meant to help the climber peak as well as they can in a small amount of time.


  • Day 1: Train
  • Day 2: Rest
  • Day 3: Train
  • Day 4: Rest
  • Day 5: Train
  • Day 6: Rest
  • Day 7: Rest

The high stress off either power or endurance training is such that greater rest is required between weeks and sessions. As such, we reduce the quantity of our training sessions and focus more on our output in those sessions.

Trying harder is a great place to start, but the right training methods will make that easier.

After warming up on the hangboard, begin your board session on a wall between 35 and 50 degrees overhanging.

If the focus is power:

  • Board climb for 1-2 hours per session
    • Work through MoonBoard Benchmarks, bottom up. It does not matter if you are stronger than the boulder you are climbing. Time under tension will elucidate a powerful core than can snap quick between grips.
    • If you are building your own problems, take a similar approach. Aim to complete a number of a grade before moving to the next.
    • Naturally, this exercise transfers to Kilter and Tension Boards
  • Four sets of weighted pull ups at your four-rep maximum.
  • Front lever, six sets, 10 seconds a set

If the focus is power and endurance:

  • Warm up on hangboard. Board climb for 1 hour max, aim to cimb one hard problem
    • Work through MoonBoard Benchmarks, at a projecting level. Lots of rest between attempts
  • Four sets of weighted pull ups at your four-rep maximum.
  • 10-20 minute rest
  • Return to a board, ideally a Kilter Board, Spray wall, or constantly angle gym wall
    • Complete circuits with the same move number as your project. take five to 10 to 15 minutes of rest between attempts.
    • It is best to trace with sparse additional footholds. With that said, if this is your first time training endurance, using all of the holds is a great idea.

Week 6

Maintain session frequency, but reduce load