Creating a Personal Climbing Training Plan

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5 minute read

Training for climbing is a personal process, each individual needs a plan created specifically for them – there is no such thing as ‘one size fits all’

Let’s look at the most important considerations when creating a training plan

Your Personal Bio

Age, weight, gender

We’re all different and that matters.

Age – As we age, our bodies muscle mass decreases (1) and our likelihood of training injury increases (2). We must factor this in, and make sure that the prescribed exercises are appropriate. Training is ineffective when it is too strenuous / not strenuous enough, and injury must be avoided learn more

Choose your vital stats in ClimbingCoach
set your vital stats

Weight – Measuring finger strength is most meaningful when done as a percentage of body weight, this allows us to consider what the number actually means in relation to your climbing ability

Gender – the physiological differences between genders (3) mean that there are differences in the ideal climbing training plan. Knowing your gender will also allow for more meaningful comparisons of your exercise performance with other climbers.

Your Current Climbing Grades

Sport Climbing, Bouldering, Both.

This is the biggest indicator of your physical ability, and a key metric when deciding which exercises are appropriate. Knowing both can provide insight into your climbing strengths and weaknesses, as each climbing discipline requires a different performance balance.

more about climbing performance areas

Choose your current climbing grades in ClimbingCoach
choose your climbing grades

Your Climbing History, and Current Workout Habits

From newcomer to the seasoned trainer, everyone can train for climbing, but it needs to be right for them. The amount of time you’ve been climbing and training for is an important factor in deciding what exercises you should be doing, as well as how much training you should do each week.

Knowing how much time you currently dedicate to training is important too, if you currently train less than you intend to, it is recommended that you should increase your volume at no more than 10% per week, to minimise the risk of injury (4). ClimbingCoach will handle this for you.

ClimbingCoach will recommend a weekly training amount and session length based on your profile. You’re free to control these though, and can change them at any point in your training cycle.

where are you coming from?
where are you going?

What You Want To Train For

We’ve all got different aspirations, make your training the quickest route to achieving them

Sport Climbing sequences are typically long, often sustained, and contain crux movements. You need to have plenty of aerobic endurance to keep climbing for longer and recover faster (5), power endurance to move through sustained difficult sections, and finger strength to stick the holds.

Bouldering sequences are typically short, burly, and powerful. You need to have strong fingers across a wide range of grip types – from tiny crimps, to bare slopers. You’ll also need power; bouldering often forces you to do dynamic movements. Don’t forget overall body strength too, difficult moves will need serious performance particularly from your upper body and core.

If you want to do both, you’ll have to balance these priorities. It’s easily done and makes for an enjoyable and very varied plan

If you’ve got something really specific in mind, you can choose a custom plan and rank your priorities

Choose a training plan that matches your climbing performance goals in ClimbingCoach
choose from a range of popular training goals…
Optionally, define your climbing priorities in ClimbingCoach
…or choose to take control of your training priorities
(only on custom training plans)

What Equipment You Can Use

Sadly we’ve not all got a fully equipped gym at home, or even at the gym! No problem. Choose from 16 key pieces of equipment and ClimbingCoach will create a training plan that uses only what you have access to

No need to compromise, no need to skip a training goal.

Training is simply about adaption – you create a strenuous condition for your body, and it adapts – If all you have is a hangboard and some weights to hang off yourself, you can tick almost all of your physical training requirements (you’re not going to have much fun though, and it won’t help your technique!).

Tell ClimbingCoach what equipment you can train with
what can you train with?

The Length of Your Training Cycle

ClimbingCoach creates for you a mixed periodised training cycle, this means that – while every week will contain a mixture of exercises to target the important climbing strength and energy systems – each week will have different amounts of time dedicated to those systems.

It takes significant effort to develop performance, but you can maintain performance when training is reduced by as much as 65% (6). So you’re best off training like this.

how long do you want this training cycle to last?

The cycle is designed so that your climbing performance peaks at the end, this means if you’re working towards a specific climbing trip or event, you can time you training plan to match. Alternatively just choose an optimal 12 week plan

Each week will also have a different length, some may be shorter if your training volume is ramping up, others are shorter if you are having a mid-cycle rest, or tapering at the end of the plan. These are an important for end-of-cycle performance (7) and injury-prevention.

At the end of your plan, give yourself a pat on the back and a week off. Then it’s time to set your next training objective!

We’ve got you

ClimbingCoach takes all of these factors into consideration, ensuring that you get the best climbing training plan. That’s not all, you can find out more about how ClimbingCoach adapts to your needs here

rock climbing training app


  1. Gallagher, D., Visser, M., De Meersman, R. E., Sepúlveda, D., Baumgartner, R. N., Pierson, R. N., … Heymsfield, S. B. (1997). Appendicular skeletal muscle mass: effects of age, gender, and ethnicity. Journal of Applied Physiology83(1), 229–239.
  2. Heir, T., & Eide, G. (2007). Age, body composition, aerobic fitness and health condition as risk factors for musculoskeletal injuries in conscripts. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports6(4), 222–227.
  3. Miller, A. E., MacDougall, J. D., Tarnopolsky, M. A., & Sale, D. G. (1993). Gender differences in strength and muscle fiber characteristics. European Journal of Applied Physiology and Occupational Physiology66(3), 254–62.
  4. Gabbett, T. J. (2016). The training-injury prevention paradox: should athletes be training smarter and harder? British Journal of Sports Medicine50(5), 273–80.
  5. Tomlin, D. L., & Wenger, H. A. (2001). The Relationship Between Aerobic Fitness and Recovery from High Intensity Intermittent Exercise. Sports Medicine31(1), 1–11.
  6. Schoenfeld, B. J., Schoenfeld, B., Grgic, J., & Schoenfeld, B. J. (2017). Evidence-Based Guidelines for Resistance Training Volume to Maximize Muscle Hypertrophy Active Aging View project Active Aging Longitudinal Study View project Evidence-based guidelines for resistance training volume to maximize muscle hypertrophy. Article in Strength and Conditioning Journal.
  7. Mujika, I., Goya, A., Ruiz, E., Grijalba, A., Santisteban, J., & Padilla, S. (2002). Physiological and Performance Responses to a 6-Day Taper in Middle-Distance Runners: Influence of Training Frequency. International Journal of Sports Medicine23(5), 367–373.