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Training plans on Climbro

The Climbro app offers seven different training plans across three ability groups, totalling 21 plans and featuring 748 exercises. These training plans are automatically selected based on factors such as the weakest point in the testing battery, current ability, and training objective (lead climbing vs. bouldering). Alternatively, users can opt for manual selection of a training plan based on their objectives.
In this article, we provide an overview of the training plans offered. All plans are designed to complement your climbing training, and it is important to adhere to the proposed rest periods to prevent overreaching or overtraining. However, if Climbro is used as the sole method for strength/endurance development during non-climbing periods, more frequent training is possible. The volume and intensity of additional climbing alongside Climbro plans depend on various factors such as climbing ability, training type, and overall physical activity throughout the week. Nonetheless, a general rule of thumb to avoid overreaching with Climbro is to monitor the “execution score” (Fig. 1). If there is a sudden drop in this indicator compared to the typically obtained values for two or more exercises, it is advisable to consider sufficient rest and/or a reduction in additional climbing.

Fig 1. Pay attention on your execution score and  in case of several consecutive low scores decrease additional workload and ensure sufficient rest.

Strength (8 weeks)

Strength training aims to develop maximal finger flexor strength, which is crucial for bouldering and challenging lead climbing. It is considered one of the most significant predictors of climbing ability. Different methods are utilised for lower grade and advanced climbers. For instance, lower grade climbers primarily use hypertrophy training at 60-70% maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) to build muscle mass and prevent injuries from very high-intensity training. On the other hand, advanced climbers predominantly utilise intensities above 80% MVC to stimulate neural mechanisms and increase finger flexor strength.
A proper warm-up is essential before strength training. Additionally, it is not recommended to start with this training plan if you are new to Climbro training. It is advisable to undergo a few weeks of endurance or balanced training to become acquainted with proper hanging and grip positions.
No high-intensity training should be performed 1-2 days prior to strength training. After completing the training using intensities above 80% MVC, the forearm muscles should be slightly pumped, when using intensities between 60-80% MVC, very pumped forearms are to be expected. Alongside the improvement in finger strength, there may be a decrease in continuous and intermittent test results, which is expected as these tests are performed with higher absolute intensity compared to the initial testing.

Strength-endurance (8 weeks)

Strength-endurance training focuses on muscle hypertrophy and increasing buffering capacity against muscle acidosis (pumped forearms). This training is beneficial for climbing slightly overhanging routes on small holds. Most exercises have intensities between 60-70% MVC, inducing forearm muscle acidosis. At the end of the exercise, the forearms should be pumped, and there may be difficulty holding the rung at the proper intensity.
Some endurance exercises are included in the training plan to stimulate the oxidative capacity of the forearms and enhance lactate removal from the muscles. Upon completion of this training plan, progress should be observed mainly in the continuous test, with possible improvements in the intermittent or maximal strength tests.

Endurance (8 weeks)

Endurance training is essential for climbing as it improves oxidative capacity, lactate removal from high-intensity training, and recovery. Training is performed at low to high intensities (30-70%), ensuring no significant acidosis occurs during exercise. Low-intensity training is suitable for learning appropriate grip technique and hanging on a rung. If you feel pumped at the end of an exercise, decrease the intensity before the next exercise by 5-10% to ensure training adaptations lead to improvement in oxidative capacity.
If you are unfamiliar with hangboard training, it is recommended to start with endurance training as an initial plan. Endurance training is the only method that does not require previous rest from high-intensity training, allowing for several training sessions to be performed in a week. After completing an endurance plan, the main improvement should be reflected in the intermittent test, with less experienced climbers potentially seeing improvements in all other tests.

fingerstrength training plans
Fig 2. Balanced, Maintenance and Recovery training plans are available when “Manual” mode is selected from the Workout Plan Generator settings.

Balanced (5 weeks and 10 weeks)

Balanced training is intended for climbers with limited time to follow periodized training and those seeking to quickly get in shape before peak climbing events. It is based on non-linear or wave periodization methodology, combining both strength and endurance training within a single week. Initially, more endurance training is prescribed, gradually transitioning to more intensive sessions with longer rests.
After completing this training plan, slight improvements should be observed in all battery test results. However, improvements in strength and endurance will be more pronounced in less advanced climbers, while advanced and elite climbers may require linear periodization methods to increase finger flexor strength and endurance.
The five-week training plan may be considered the minimum training period to see any improvement and can also serve as a get-to-know plan for new Climbro users. The ten-week balanced plan is suitable for climbers with limited time to get in shape and is also ideal for peaking performance.

Recovery (2 weeks)

The recovery plan is designed for climbers in various situations, including feeling very tired after climbing sessions, recovering from an injury, or completing a rigorous training plan, attaining climbing goals, and requiring rest. The recovery training method is executed at very low intensities (between 15-30% of maximal strength), incorporating a combination of one- and both-hand training. The aim of the training is to increase blood flow and stimulate the creation of new capillaries. Such training does not provoke any fatigue and should be perceived as very light. The feeling of warm forearms is exactly what is to be expected after completing a recovery session. No additional climbing training has to be completed during the 2-week period when seeking to recover from injury or climbing-specific training.
The recovery plan is also beneficial for learning new grasping strategies (such as crimp or half-crimp grips) or shoulder and body positioning. As the intensity is low, climbers can fully focus on listening to their bodies and experimenting with finger, arm, and body positions. Moreover, if climbers are familiar with blood-flow restriction training, the recovery plan aligns perfectly with the intensities and volumes required.

Maintenance (10 weeks)

The maintenance plan is ideal for climbers seeking to stabilise finger strength and endurance with minimal effort over a longer period. It is suitable for climbers engaged in frequent rock climbing activities who are concerned about losing finger strength or those fatigued from regular board training. With just one session per 5-7 days, climbers can prevent the decline of their strength and endurance capacity. The plan combines endurance training from low to high intensities, hypertrophy, and maximal strength methods.

General comments

  • Balanced, recovery and maintenance plans are not generated automatically; instead, users must manually select them when creating a new training plan (Fig. 2).
  • During all exercises, it is recommended to shake hands under heart level to enhance blood perfusion and recovery between static contractions.

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