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I've felt of late that my rock climbing has somewhat plateaued. I seem to be stuck at around V4 bouldering and 6(b) rope climbing. I'm pushing my grade as best as I can but simply climbing doesn't seem to be generating the results I want any more. I've not pushed passt V4-5 for a number of years now. Sometimes, if I can't go climbing for some times, it drops but then I'll start making gains again and hit the same plateau.

I think my technique is good. I always just either can't hold a crimp for long enough or run out of stamina. At the moment I don't train (at all really), I just climb. I do circuit training once a week, indoor climbing once a week and get outdoors as much of the weekend that I can. I'm pretty busy with my work life, etc. and can't really devote any more time to climbing.

I've started doing dead hands (hanging statically from training aids until your grip fails) to improve my grip strength. My climbing gym has installed a series of campus boards and beastmakers, etc.

Can anyone suggest any good training systems to improve my climbing? Grip strength, endurance, etc.

  • Could you add some information on how long you are on that plateau already? Is it more like some weeks or more like half a year or more? – Benedikt Bauer Jul 11 '14 at 8:57
  • It varies but I've not pushed passed V4-5 for a number of years. Sometimes, if I can't got climbing for some times, it drops but then I'll start making gains again and hit the same plateau. I think my technique is good. I always just either can't hold a crimp for long enough or run out of stamina. At the moment I don't train (at all really), I just climb. So I'm just after some good starting points – user2766 Jul 11 '14 at 9:09
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    Still I would be VERY happy to climb an indoor IX some day ;) – Wills Jul 11 '14 at 10:54
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    Ahh ok, no I think your getting confused, a 6b is a UIAA VII @EverythingRightPlace – user2766 Jul 11 '14 at 11:01
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There's one exercise where I can't remember the name but let's call it climbing marathon. It is best done in a gym at the end of your climbing session when you are already somewhat pumped.

Search for a sector in your gym that is vertical with routes where you know that you can climb them without really thinking about it and where you wouldn't need any funky moves, so technically easy – typically this should be two or more grades below your limit. You should be able to install a top-rope belay there as we don't want to be slowed down by rope handling issues.

Now try to climb up the wall as fast as you can – don't care if you mix up handles from different routes, just try to be fast. Instruct your belay guy to lower you as soon as you reach the top and start over to climb as soon as you are back on the floor again. The idea is to give you the least possible recovery time between the ascents. Try to climb the wall at least 4-5 times without a break, or until you feel so pumped that you just cannot grip the holds anymore. By this you should develop some stamina in your gripping muscles but also the whole upper body.


Additionally you can do some training on finger boards such as the beastmakers. For this, try to make the exercises asymmetric, i.e. do not place both hands into the same grip type on both sides, but take the deep holes for the left and the shallow ones for the right or take holds at different heights. If that is not possible and you only have a simple pull-up bar for example, then don't keep your weight centred between your hands but shift your weight towards one hand when doing a pull-up. By doing things asymmetrically you will invoke more of your shoulder and back muscles and not just train always the same muscles to pull your body straight up vertically.


On the other hand I would keep away from things like campus boards as they are used to train for some very special movements which won't be of much use in the grades that you are climbing. At the same time they have quite some injury potential, so you might do more harm than good on them.

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