A PT’s Guide to Getting Started
What Is Out There?
A ton! Climbing is more popular than ever and people are serious about their performance. Reflecting that is the volume of plans, platforms, and companies offering their training services. It ranges from slick, app based, professionally individualized assessment with loads of data gathered to some psyched and well-intentioned (if not always especially knowledgeable) climbers offering up their own program to people looking to crush some rock or plastic. Whether you are doing pull ups from a door frame, cranking in your basement training dungeon or basking in the LED glow of your hydraulic home Kilter board there is something out there for you.
Pay To Play
The Power Company https://www.powercompanyclimbing.com/
One of the most well-known online training platforms and popular climber podcast The Power Company offers a number of different training options. Choices range from their ebook platform to a custom 12-week plan with climber assessment and online/phone coaching support. Prices range from $15-400+.
Pros: A wide range of plans and price points. Climber analysis helps to direct training to specific weaknesses. Much of the training is done on the wall, not just the hangboard. App based.
Cons: Assessment/analysis is only included in the 12-week custom plan, otherwise it’s an additional $65. Custom plans are sold out, waitlist may take some time.
Lattice takes a very scientific and analytical approach to climbing and training. They use data gained from assessment to make personalized training and to see objective improvements.
Pros: If you like numbers, analysis and hangboarding this might be the one for you. Data gives you a clear picture where you are, where you were. A wide variety of prices and plans available.
Cons: Assessment not included in price; $100+ for advanced remote assessment, $165+ for Lattice board analysis. Required equipment includes Lattice or Beastmaker hangboard, pulley system, weights, scales, etc.
Training Beta https://www.trainingbeta.com/
This popular climber podcast acts as a one-stop-shop for climbers offering a number of different training programs including finger strength, bouldering, power endurance, injury management, route climbing, nutrition, and even sports psychology.
Pros: Most of the programs are very reasonably priced ($80 for the 6 month bouldering plan). Whatever your discipline there is a plan for you. Plans are scalable, exercises can be made easier or harder to suit your needs.
Cons: Doesn’t offer individualized coaching or performance analysis; scaling and self-assessment is up to you.
Climb Strong https://www.climbstrong.com/
Like Training Beta, Climb Strong offers a number of different programs for different climbing disciplines. With more options than space here, programs are typically broken down into types (ie: endurance, bouldering, finger strength, general strength/fitness). Access to the content in the programs is available in 3 tiers of membership. Climb Strong also offers individualized coaching or assessment.
Pros: Access to the 3 tiers of training programs is very reasonably priced: free for level 1, $15/month for level 2, $110/year for level 3.
Cons: General training programs do not come with personalized coaching or assessment. When you start adding the individualized coaching it can start to get expensive: $150/month for the lowest priced plan up to $700/month.
Core Climber https://coreclimber.com/
Created by Chrisitan Core, Bouldering World Cup champion and first person to climb V16, Core Climber offers personalized or general training programs. Many programs are finger strength centered but they also offer general conditioning, bouldering strength, sport climbing and general climbing fitness platforms. For ~$400 for 3 months you can have an individualized training program with 2-hour monthly video calls with Christian or Stella Marchisio.
Pros: Among the cheaper of the online trainers, especially with Candian dollar conversion. Chrisitian is super friendly and you just might run into him if you are climbing in Squamish.
Cons: Which training level you are placed in is based on bouldering grade level. Sport/trad climbers might have a bit of ‘translation error’ (not to mention bouldering grades are highly subjective: outside vs inside, Fontainebleau vs Joe’s Valley, etc).
The quantity of information out there for free can be pretty overwhelming. While there could be 10 blog posts detailing the different training plans that climbers have out there (let alone another 5 posts on the different hang board protocols…), here are a few free resources:
Rock & Ice’s “Training for Climbing https://rockandice.com/how-to-climb/training-for-climbing/
From Eric Horst (author of How to Climb 5.12 among other books)
Friction Lab’s “Fundamentals of Training”
Gripped Magazine’s “Stay At Home Climbing Routine”
Which Kind Is For Me?
There is something to be said for both the pay and free platforms. Free is obviously great but these cookie cutter programs often lack the specificity or customization that many of the pay programs have. If you are pretty knowledgeable about training already, can be objective about your strengths and weaknesses and have a lot of intrinsic self-motivation, then creating your own program from all the free content out there might be for you. On the other hand, simply paying for a training program can help keep you motivated “I spent all this money, I better keep up with it!” Having an outside party review and revise your program as you progress can also help minimize training plateaus, avoid periods of overtraining, and refine your technique. Whichever you choose, most importantly, have fun with it!
If you face any injuries in your search for climbing progression or if you feel you would benefit from a thorough in-person assessment of factors that may be limiting you, please consider scheduling an appointment at our Seattle-based physical therapy office.
About the author:
Jon Sparks, PT, DPT, CSCS is a physical therapist at Union PT in Seattle. He is experienced in treating acute and chronic industrial injuries, postoperative rehabilitation and orthopedic injuries. He enjoys staying up-to-date with evidence-based treatments. Outside the clinic Jon is thoroughly obsessed with rock climbing. When not climbing, he enjoys traveling, exploring new restaurants and snowboarding.