Climbro app provides five different training plans for three ability groups (15 plans) with 628 exercises. Training plans are selected automatically based on the weakest point in the testing battery, current ability and training objective (lead vs boulder). Recently, we have added manual selection of a training plan.
In this article, we give an overview of the training plans. All plans are meant to be complementary to your climbing training and proposed rest periods should be respected to avoid overreaching or overtraining. However, when using Climbro as the only method for strength/endurance development during non-climbing periods, more frequent training is possible. The volume and intensity of additional climbing to Climbro plans depend on many factors such as your climbing ability, type of training, overall physical activities during the week, etc. Nevertheless, the rule of thumb to avoid overreaching with Climbro is to keep track of the “execution score” (Fig. 1). Upon a sudden drop in this indicator compared to normally obtained values for two or more exercises, sufficient rest and/or decrease of additional climbing should be considered.
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 is focused on developing maximal finger flexor strength. High level of maximal finger strength is needed in bouldering and in difficult lead climbing. It is one of the most important predictors of your climbing ability. Different methods are used for lower grade and advanced climbers. For instance, lower grade climbers use predominantly hypertrophy training at 60-70% maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) to build-up muscle mass and prevent injuries from very high intensity training. On the other hand, advanced climbers use predominantly intensities above 80% MVC to stimulate neural mechanisms to increase finger flexor strength.
Generally, a proper warm-up has to be completed before strength training. Moreover, we do not recommend starting with this training plan if you are a novice to Climbro training. Few weeks of endurance or balanced training is recommended to become familiar with proper hanging and grip positions.
No high intensity training should be performed 1-2 days prior to the strength training. After this training, the forearm muscles should be slightly pumped. Upon completion of the training plan, you should see an increase in your maximal finger strength. However, along with the improvement in finger strength, you may experience a decrease in the continuous and intermittent test results, which is in order as you perform these tests with a higher absolute intensity compared to the initial testing.
Strength-endurance 8 weeks
Strength-endurance training leads to muscle hypertrophy and increase in buffering capacity against muscle acidosis (pumped forearms). This training will definitely help you climb slightly overhanging routes on small holds.
Most of the exercises have intensity between 60-70% MVC leading to forearm muscle acidosis. At the end of the exercise, you should have your forearm pumped and it is possible that you will not be able to hold the rung at the proper intensity by the end of the exercise. If the intensity is too low for you, retest your maximal strength or increase the intensity manually before exercise by 5-10%.
Some endurance exercises are included in the training plan to stimulate the oxidative capacity of your forearms and enhance lactate removal from your forearm muscles.
Upon completion of this training plan, you should see progress mainly in the continuous test and possibly in the intermittent or maximal strength tests.
Endurance 8 weeks
Endurance training is one of the most important and neglected training in climbing. It improves your oxidative capacity, lactate removal from high intensity training and recovery. Training is performed at low to high intensities (30-70%) so that no significant acidosis should occur during exercise. Moreover, low intensity training is suitable to learn an appropriate technique of grip 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%, otherwise training adaptations will not lead to improvement in oxidative but rather in glycolytic capacity.
If you are not familiar with hangboard training, we recommend endurance training as an initial plan. Low intensity leads to greater muscle oxygen delivery, high intensity leads to oxygen utilization in the muscle. Endurance training is the only method which does not require previous rest from high intensity training, and several training sessions can be performed in the course of a week.
After completing an endurance plan, the main improvement should be reflected in the intermittent test. Less experienced climbers with hangboard training may see improvements in all other tests.
Fig 2. Balanced plans are available when “Manual” mode is selected of the Workout Plan Generator settings.
Balanced 5 weeks and 10 weeks
Balanced training is intended for climbers with no spare time to follow periodized training and wanting to quickly get in shape before peak climbing events such as climbing trips. Balanced training is based on non-linear or wave periodization methodology. You train both strength and endurance in the course of a single week. Initially, more endurance training is prescribed, and progressively, more intensive sessions with longer rests are undertaken.
After completing this training plan, you should slightly improve all your battery test results. However, improvement in terms of strength and endurance will be observed predominantly in less advanced climbers. Advanced and elite climbers may need linear periodization methods (separate training in endurance, strength-endurance and strength) to increase their finger flexor strength and endurance.
Five wks training may be considered as the minimum training period to see any improvement. It can be also used as a get-to-know plan by new Climbro users. The ten wks balanced plan is definitely suitable for all climbers having less time to get in shape and it is also suitable to peak your performance.