Lattice Blog

Training Tips for Climbers | When should you strength train, to maximise performance?

When I (coach Oli Grounsell) was 18 I was doing a reasonable amount of strength training as I was training with Tom Randall. But, in my late teens I had had a little rest from doing as much structured training, and had just been climbing outside loads. When I got to Uni, I thought I’d ramp up the training again as the winters are pretty wet in Wales.

When I started doing more strength training at the age of 18/19, I really noticed the difference and remember a trip to Spain where I felt I had really moved things up a gear. I could dig that little deeper and I just felt solid in more and more positions on steeper terrain which was typically my weakness. Hence, I would now tell my younger self the following;

1. Don’t be afraid to start young.

If the benefits of strength training were so good when I was 18, I should have kept it up in some format between the ages of 15-18 as well!

Young Oli, climbing Exaltation, E6 / V6 Stanage North
Photo by Mark Rankine

2. Strength train all year round.

Don’t just do it in the winter! A bit of strength training over the summer months appears to be amazing for maintaining strength, working lesser recruited muscle groups and slowing the detraining that occurs with too much time on the rock! I’ve definitely learnt this way too late (even though it’s quite obvious), and have found that working a little more, and being forced to train in the week is great for maintaining form at the weekends.

3. Technique before strength training.

That said, I’d still go for the technique before strength approach. Once you are strong, it’s really hard to revisit technique development, as you always find a way to pull through – or just totally fail. This means when it comes to pushing your top end, where both strength and technique are necessary for success, there won’t be the technical base in place, and unfortunately you can no longer just pull through the moves.

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