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Training Doesn’t Get More Fun Than This: Short-Term Project Bouldering

This one-hour workout is great for building strength and power while also refining technique and projecting tactics

Photo by: Dimitris Tosidis/IFSC

Outdoor season is upon us. A great training exercise during this transition period from training season to rock season is short-term project bouldering. It’s perfect for continuing to make strength and power gains while also honing the flash attempt and redpoint mindset.

In a short-term project bouldering session, you climb a set of four problems in the gym with the aim of sending each one in 15 minutes or less. Choose problems on your gym’s bouldering wall, Kilter Board, MoonBoard, or spray wall. Select problems of a style, length, and angle similar to the projects you’ll be getting on outdoors. These problems should be one or so grades harder than your typical onsighting level. Here are the steps of the work out, starting with the first problem of the session:

  1. Spend a few minutes analyzing and memorizing the problem.
  2. Start the timer and give a proper flash attempt. Try your hardest to send.
  3. If you fail to send, take a short rest and then work parts of the problem that gave you trouble, refining your beta.
  4. After settling on your new beta, take another rest, and then go for the redpoint.
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 as necessary. Refine beta as needed and be sure to take appropriate rest lengths.
  6. Once the timer hits 15 minutes, stop climbing the problem.
  7. Rest five minutes before starting the flash attempt of your next problem. Use the rest period to analyze the new problem.
  8. If you send a problem before the 15 minutes are up, rest for five minutes and then go for the flash of your next problem.
  9. If you end up sending multiple problems well before the 15-minute limit throughout the session, consider adding another one or two problems to the workout. The goal is to reach around 60 minutes of climbing.
Photo by Dimitris Tosidis/IFSC

It’s a great idea to write down the details of your workout in a training logbook. Record the problem grade, angle, number of moves, and style (e.g. crimpy, powerful, etc.). Write down the time and number of attempts it took you send. If you failed to complete the problem, record which hold you reached and why you think you were unable to complete the move or sequence.

Perform this workout up to two times per week on your strength and/or power training days. It’s a great workout for boulderers and sport climbers alike, and after time, you’ll find yourself figuring out crux sequences faster than ever before.

Lead photo: Dimitris Tosidis/IFSC