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The Power Cycle: Stay-At-Home Routine Day 23

Day 23 of a 28-day power-training cycle for the climber looking for strength at home.

Day 23:

Day 23 is our first training day of week four and as a result we will begin to deload from the previous three weeks. After these last few weeks of training our body is necessarily powered out, and our fingers are in need of some respite. As such, we are going to avoid hangboarding today, and instead focus on weighted pull-ups, and our isometric exercises. The fatigue we generate should be similar to how we felt over week three, but we should be conditioned enough at this point to only require five days of deload instead of a full week.

That said, if you feel as though you require a greater amount of recovery time, you may take it. This is week four and your body does need to heal. If you can train hard, today, however, it will be worth your time. We are striving to prime ourselves for returning to climbing at the end of this week.

Following Day 28, the training cycles, as they have existed, will change dramatically to a single post a week. It will not be a “routine” as we have become accustomed to it, though we would be entering another conditioning faze if you are looking to continue following a structured training program. The coming training posts will focus more on the technical aspects of climbing as the crags begin to open up around the country. If you live in Ontario, then you will have at least a little while longer to wait before we return to to the crag. As such, conditioning would be the best option for your training.

You could also try to repeat the Power Cycle, but this is only recommended if you are climbing at a V7+ level. Even if you are climbing at that level, think carefully about your own physiology and how much punishment your fingers can take. Here is Day 1 from the conditioning cycle if you are interested in beginning another cycle after this power-training cycle. Details will be posted as to how one might approach this conditioning cycle on Day 27, our last training day of the Power Cycle.

Warm Up:

  • Warming up will likely differ between people, but these are a few good warm ups.
    • Shoulder rolls
    • Rotations: hold arms out perpendicular to the length of your body. Your arms should be parallel to the floor. Begin by rotating your wrists clockwise while your arms are straight. Then increase the rotation from the shoulders, maintain g your straight arms. Steadily increase the radius of rotation until your arms are wind milling, then reverse the direction.
    • Hang on a bar and retract and relax your shoulders
      • Complete a number of pull ups that would warm you up but not tire you out

Agonist muscles:

Once your biceps and shoulders are fully warm, or so warm that you could pull as hard as you would want, begin off-set pull ups.

Weighted Pull-ups:

Weighted pull-ups are fairly easy to execute and, though they may not feel fatiguing over the course of the exercise, exceptionally taxing on the body. As such, it is important that they are executed with proper pull-up form. If you do not have weights, try to fill a backpack with water bottles. Each litre of water is equal to a kilogram.

  • First, pick a weight that is below your limit and complete four pull-ups with that weight. If it feels like you can increase the weight, do so for the next set of four pull ups. Continue this process until you find the maximum weight with which you are able to execute good form. This will be your training weight.
    • Complete three sets of three repetitions at that weight. We are completing three reps as opposed to one because climbing is made up of more than one hard move, most of the time, and it is difficult to build strength when completing a single repetition per set. Instead, use your one-rep maximum, if you are interested in finding it, as a test instead of as training.

Rest for five to ten minutes, then:

  • Beginner: complete ten sets of five pull ups
  • Moderate: complete five sets of ten pull ups
  • Expert: complete ten sets of ten pull ups

Complete these pull-ups if your arms are not too tired to handle them. Watch your elbows for tendonitis and be sure to pull up faster than you let yourself down.


For Day 23 we will maintain a fairly high level of repetitions in our core exercises. We will reduce this number slightly in an effort to perfect our form. On the leg-lifts especially, strive for perfect form. Remember, perfect form means no swing and straight legs.

Hanging leg-lifts:

Beginner: 10 sets of 5 repetitions: bring the legs up so that your body makes a 90-degree angle

Moderate: 10 sets of 5 repetitions: bring your feet to the bar

Expert: 10 sets of 10 repetitions: feet to bar

The 5-minute Core Destroyer:

  • One minute each of the following exercises:
    • Plank
    • big kicks
    • swimmer kicks
    •  V-Sit
    • big kicks
      • There is no rest between each exercise, instead rest at the conclusion of all five exercises. Then rest for five minutes and repeat the series twice more.

Antagonist Muscles:

Push-ups: High Intensity

Complete 5, 7, or 10 repetitions depending on your skill level per exercise on Day 23. Once that is established…

Complete the following exercises three times in a row for a total of nine sets. Your total push-up count for the day will be either 45, 63, or 90 repetitions.

  • elbows-back push-ups: complete 5-10 then rest 30 seconds
  • diamond push-ups: complete 5-10 then rest 30 seconds
  • archer push-ups: complete 5-10 then rest 30 seconds


Hold each stretch for 15-30 seconds:

  • Straddle Splits: This stretch is important to climbing as it increases a climber’s lateral flexibility for moves like stemming in a corner.
  • Hamstring: keep your legs straight and bend down to your feet. Keep your back flat for an alternate version of this stretch.
  • Hip-flexor: Flexible hip-flexors allow a climber to high-step.
  • Quadricep: preventative against injury
  • Triceps stretch: preventative against injury
  • Shoulder stretch: increases mobility
  • Calf stretch: increased heel-hooking mobility

Featured photo of Katie Jo Myers by Bobby Sorich.