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Resources for Training for Climbing: Top 8 Books and Podcasts

With the burgeoning popularity of rock climbing in the mainstream, climbing-specific training programs have become increasingly trendy.

Whether you are a pro athlete or an amateur climber, training is all the rage. This is because no matter what level you are at, if you are psyched to get better, stronger, or more well-rounded, there are now many resources out there to help you supplement your regular sessions at the gym. But where to begin? Among the long list of titles available, which books should you read? What podcasts should you listen to?

Below is a short list compiled of the preferred training resources of competitive athletes and coaches, as well as keen, recreational climbers across Canada. Anyone who wants to step up their regular climbing routine is bound to benefit from something in this list. Be sure to follow Gripped Magazine Comps below for daily inspiration at the gym.

Books

Get a personalized program with…
(1) Logical Progression by Steve Bechtel (2017)

Logical Progression can help you develop a flexible, easily-personalized training program to kick up your climbing game. “Training for climbing can be fun, but sticking to a schedule can be desperately hard. Many climbers have seen the value of a carefully planned out, periodized training program…but many of us can’t stick to such a rigid schedule. What if there were a better way? What if there were a more flexible way of planning that provided the same great results?…For the climber that has limited time to train, there may be no better program than Logical Progression.”

Get better with…
(2) Training for Climbing: The Definitive Guide to Improving Your Performance, 3rd Ed. by Eric Hörst (2016)

This book offers instructive information on almost every aspect of training. The new edition explores system training (for strength, power-endurance and aerobic endurance), mental recalibration to increase power and stamina, daily periodization, “training zones” for rock climbers and stabilizer training. “Also included are expanded chapters on developing strength, power, and endurance in the crucial finger flexor and pulling muscles, as well as a must-read chapter on developing exceptional core strength. Hörst completes his coaching with dedicated chapters on technique and mental training, performance nutrition, accelerating recovery, and injury prevention.”

Get stronger with…
(3) Periodization Training for Sport, 3rd Ed. by Tudor Bompa, PhD and Carlo Buzzichelli (2015)

“Periodization Training for Sports goes beyond the simple application of bodybuilding or powerlifting programs to build strength in athletes…[the authors] demonstrate how to use periodized workouts to peak at optimal times by manipulating strength training variables through six training phases (anatomical adaptation, hypertrophy, maximum strength, conversion to specific strength, maintenance, and tapering) and integrating them with energy system training and nutrition strategies.”

Get smarter with…
(4) The Brave Athlete: Calm the F*ck Down and Rise to the Occasion by Simon Marshall, PhD and Lesley Paterson (2017)

“The Brave Athlete solves the 13 most common mental conundrums athletes face in their everyday training and in races…Dr. Simon Marshall and Lesley Paterson will help you take control of your brain so you can train harder, race faster, and better enjoy your sport….Together they offer this innovative, brain training guide that is the first to draw from both clinical science and real-world experience with athletes…The Brave Athlete is packed with practical, evidence-based solutions to the most common mental challenges athletes face.”

Podcasts

(5) TrainingBeta Podcast with Neely Quinn is by far one of the most popular for climbers at the moment.

Quinn explores a wide variety of topics, from how to build endurance, dealing with fear, to injury-prevention and diet. Climbers of all abilities can find something applicable and interesting to them.

For example, since a large demographic of climbers are *not* pro athletes, in a recent episode she covers training when you don’t have a lot of time. Or, on breaking out from your 5.10/5.11 plateau, listen to the 2016 interview with Neil Gresham.

Some of the most popular interviews from the archives include the 2015 episode with Adam Ondra, or the 2016 interview with Sean McColl. Quinn has lots of interviews with pro female climbers, too, such as the recent episode with Mina Leslie-Wujastyk and the 2016 interview with Nina Williams.

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We’ve got a new installment of the “How I Trained For” series! In 2018, Paige Claassen (@paigeclaassen) made incredibly proud ascents of "Necessary Evil" 5.14c, "Mission Impossible" 5.14c, and lastly "Algorithm" 5.14d. These routes share a common theme of being highly technical, vertical to slightly overhung, and require precise footwork. In the latest article, Paige shares how weight training, bouldering, and eating more protein gave her a strong power base and helped her get up these hard routes. She outlines her long term training, short term training, “in the moment” training and specifically, the training program she used to get ready to climb the 40-meter long, technical masterpiece “Algorithm” 5.14d at the Fins in Idaho. Paige’s approach to her training methods are not only incredibly thoughtful and calculated, but mindful of the fact that she has her own individual needs, apart from what every other pro athlete is doing. Give it a read! (There’s also a video of her Algorithm ascent!) photo by @arjandekock.

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(6) Power Company Climbing podcast with Kris ‘Odub’ Hampton is another extremely popular resource.

“Join hosts Kris Hampton and Nathan Drolet as they sit down with other coaches, trainers, and athletes, to find out exactly what it is that makes them so good at what they do best. Born from a genuine desire to learn, these podversations are in-depth discussions on the guests area of expertise, and Kris and Nate try to deconstruct the tools, tactics, and training techniques that we can all use to climb harder, smarter, and better.”

Non-Climbing Specific

(7) Sports Coach Radio, hosted by Glenn Whitney is a resource for coaches, individual and team athletes that provides a lot of useful information on physical and mental conditioning, applicable to a wide variety of sports.

(8) While its target audience is entrepreneurs, The Good Life Project is recommended for great podcasts, with highly acclaimed guests (e.g., Brene Brown, Tim Ferriss) that help improve one’s mindset and emotional wellbeing, which are surely underestimated factors in one’s success in rock climbing, as they are in business.