Diminishing returns to strength training

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  • #7699
    Peter W

    I’m looking at structuring a training plan for this year coming year building towards a series of trips in late summer/Fall (September – November). My target routes are long single-day multi-pitch trad and sport routes. I’m leaning towards a combination of 3-4 long weekend trips (Cannon Cliff, the Front Range, Red Rocks) with a longer 1-2 week trip to Yosemite or Zion as the main focus.

    I know the standard TFTNA approach says that I should continue training general strength during a long base phase. However, I have a long background in general strength work and bouldering so I have these pathways fairly well developed. For ex, I can deadlift 400lbs (2.4x body weight) “off the couch.”

    Given this high level of general strength, should I bother doing general strength work during my base phase (I know my forearms can never be too strong but that’s a somewhat separate issue)? Perhaps I should just use a program with minimal general ME or strength work, maybe focusing on injury prevention, and just train those attributes in a climbing specific way?

    Thanks for the thoughts and help!

  • Inactive
    Anonymous on #7713


    As you surmise, you have more than adequate general strength. You just do not need to be super strong for climbing (except, as you note, in the climbing specific muscle groups). I certainly do no know many climbers, skiers or runner who can deadlift even 2x BW. Spending time trying to get stronger in that non-specific way will be a waste of your time. You should spend you time developing sport specific strength and the muscular endurance that can stand on top of that specific strength. Devote your strength training time to finger and core strength and doing climbing specific workouts.

    Doing a bit of general strength maintenance, as you note will be good for injury prevention. Stoping heavy lifting may help you loose some muscle mass in your legs which will probably pay off in climbing performance too.


    Peter W on #7737

    Thanks for the advice Scott! Much appreciated.

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