Training Tips for New Climbers

Overheard in the gym by a new climber:

I have no idea how to start climbing. I’m literally over here doing handstands.

This is a common feeling that can be quite daunting.  You walk into this huge facility that’s either a training ground or a playground or something in between, and you don’t know where (or how) to begin. We asked our Head Coach, Sean Wieboldt, what four exercises he’d give to a newbie feeling lost.  Here they are:

  1. 4×4’s:  Pick four moderate problems in the bouldering area.  If you’re a beginner, these are probably V0’s to V2’s.  Climb all four without resting; that’s one set.  Rest 4 minutes in between sets. Repeat four times.  Hence “4×4.”  Ideally don’t fall off, but be incredibly tired by the end.
  2. Lock offs: Pick an easier route for this exercise. When you reach for a hold, don’t grab it (yet)—hover your hand above the hold for three to five seconds.  This causes you to lock off with your other arm.
  3. Traversing: Move laterally along a stretch of wall; using any feet or handholds.  Focus on proper technique, and stop when you fall off. Don’t climb too high. This improves focus, movement, and endurance.
  4. Treadwall: The treadwall is a great resource.  Set the machine to slightly overhung and make your goal to climb at least 50 feet.  (There is a meter that will tell you how many feet you’ve “climbed.”)


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