The Core Climber Program Will Make You Stronger

Finger strength training with the amazing Core Climber team

January 21st, 2020 by | Posted in Accessories, Gear, Indoor Climbing, Profiles | Tags: ,

Climbing is a process that takes time and hard work. Core Climber is a business built around a dedication for the advancement of athletes. Elite coach Christian Core is at the heart of the program, while his athletes at the centre. His programs work.


I have been climbing for five years, but finger strength has always been my greatest weakness. For years, I pursued a number of finger strength programs without ever seeing the results that I really wanted.

Each regimen I tried was unique, but followed a relatively simple repeater-based structure. Repeaters are useful for the climber pursuing a hangboard for the first time, the body adapts to the structure of the workout quickly.

Eventually, I found that I could easily hang from the 10-millimetre hold, but could not pull harder in my climbing. As such, I tried incorporating weight into my hanging exercises, but didn’t really know what I was doing.

Core Climber

In need of guidance, I teamed up with Christian Core, Stella Marchisio, and Nina Tappin from Core Climber. Core Climber is composed of experienced coaches and is designed to help athletes of all levels. Regardless of the grade you climb, there are programs that can be tailored just for you.

Each coach offers decades of experience in climbing and training, as well as support outside of conditioning. They recommended that I pursue their “Finger Strength Training Advanced Level 1” program.

The eight-week program became my go-to. The goal was to become stronger and break my plateau. Climbing harder than V9 still felt challenging, even when the boulder happened to fit my style. I knew that I needed help if I was going to progress, but I was nervous because I had never trusted my training to anyone else.

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Pinch training There are a few important things to consider when training pinch strength that will help maximize the effectiveness of the training and also more importantly help reduce the risk of injury. Some you may have heard before but some possibly not. SETTING UP YOUR PINCHES IS IMPORTANT. If you’re choosing pinches to use make sure you consider the following and if you’re setting up pinches yourself then you can use these tips to set them up perfectly for yourself. The opposing pinch holds should be symmetrical and uniform to make sure the fingers are being loaded evenly. Something that’s not often done but important, is to position the pinches slightly angled out away from you (see the 2nd picture), this really helps to keep the wrists and fingers in a more natural/neutral position and again helps prevent the fingers being loaded unevenly. The distance between the pinches is also important , make sure that they are spaced correctly for you to keep the wrists straight. They should be slightly wider than shoulder width, as in the 1st picture. WHEN PERFORMING PINCH TRAINING. Bend your arms a little and engage the shoulders but don’t pull up too much, doing so will cause you to compress the holds more rather than train your specific pinch strength. during hanging you want to stay as still as possible, avoid any movement of the fingers and wrists, and don’t swing or twist your body. When holding a pinch keep the fingers parallel. Finally and this applies to ALL forms of hang training. You’re performing neuromuscular training (the communication between mind and the muscle fibres) so focus 100% without distraction on each hang. . @corechristian #coreclimber #climb #climbing #loveclimbing #training #bouldering #sportclimbing #bodytraining #conditioning #campusboard #campustraining #fingertraining #fingerstrength #strongfingers #powerendurance #strength #endurance #trainingvideos #trainingprograms #climbingtraining #climbingcoaching #onlineclimbingtraining #onlinetraining #climbingprogram #worldchampion #trainer#coachingplan #power#fingerpower #fingerendurance #climbingtraining

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The Program

I started the program. Almost immediately, I began to realize why I had plateaued and how I was going to get stronger. What had been such a mystery before became easy to understand. Core Climber was teaching me how to try hard.

Climbers have moments when they try as hard as they possibly can, but they are few and generally inconsistent. In a gym session, it’s common to climb through a new reset and never try at your absolute limit. A climber might reach physical exhaustion, there are few moments defined by maximum effort.

The Core Climber finger strength program facilitates and replicates these moments. By completing a variety of hangs, almost all of which with weight, I learned what it meant to try hard.

Instead of just giving careless attempts to the fingerboard or to my burns, I began to try exceptionally hard in specific moments. Of course, by doing so, I required rest between these burns, but these rest were provided. As such, my body began to learn that maximum performance is a decision and not an accident.

By the two-week mark, I had not only become physically stronger, but mentally too. I learned that if you have all of the moves on a boulder problem, you only need to try hard to get to the top. This might sound over-simplified, but it’s the truth.

This approach allowed me to complete the Metamorphosis (post-break) at Niagara Glen, a problem based around an exceptionally heavy lock-off on a crimp in a 60-degree overhang. After completing the problem, I began to feel more confident in the Core Climber program. This small mental shift felt like it had opened doors to numerous boulder problems that had previously felt out of reach.

By the third week of training, things became difficult. I was hangboarding or campusing four times a week and my fingers were incredibly tired. The fourth week allowed my fingers to recover slightly before I was back on the grind again in week five. The program is two cycles of four weeks, every fourth week acting as a “de-load week.”

Week five marked the beginning of the hard training. From this point until the end of week seven, everything felt challenging all of the time. I would walk into the gym, warm up, try my absolute hardest to hang the edges with my maximum weights and struggle to climb afterwards. By week five, I had already felt that my gym-climbing strength had dropped by a couple of grades, but over the course of the subsequent two weeks, my maximum strength would drop about five grades.

I began to feel tempted to turn away from the training and work on recovery. Fortunately, the coaches at Core were there to keep me on-track. Communicating with coaches online might seem less motivating than having a person right at your back, but I was surprised by how psyched I would feel after discussing my training with them. They are invested in their athletes.

The Results:

In the eighth and ninth weeks, I began to recover. With the training complete, a great deal of recovery occurred. To test myself, I decided to return to the Niagara Glen and try a boulder that I had once thought very challenging.

Before the program began, I had never worked out all of the moves to a V10 in a single session. I wanted to see if I would be able to on a beautiful line called Seep vs. The Army of Darkness.  On Jan. 9, I managed each of the moves and fell on the second-to-last hard move on a redpoint go.

This reflected great progress in my climbing and definitely made it worth the $60 it costs. The program came equipped with a series of videos, a timer and written instructions that allow the athlete to complete the exercises with good form. The supplemental exercises teach the athlete how to use their newfound finger and grip strength.

The pinch block exercises are where I noticed the greatest improvements. At the beginning of the program, I was unable to hang the pinches at all. By the end I was able to hang for multiple sets of 16 seconds.

The greatest challenges of the program are reflected in the availability of equipment and the structure of the climber’s schedule.

You need to have access to a campus board, vertically hanging pinches and a hangboard. An irregular schedule can also inhibit the climber’s progress as the program follows a fairly rigid one. If these conditions are met, however, the value for the money you spend is incredible.

For a third-of-the-price of a new pair of climbing shoes, you can attain a new level of strength. For training plans, click here.

Core Climber