Josh Wharton's 4 week Beginner to Intermediate Rock Climbing Training Plan

Average Weekly Training Hours 11:45
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours 11:45
Training Load By Week

This is the ideal program for rock climbers who have not engaged in true organized training for rock climbing. This plan will help you build the skills, strength, and endurance necessary for improved rock climbing performance. We also provide useful tips, tactics, and tricks that are critical to taking your climbing to the next level. Equipment: A climbing gym is mandatory, and it’s preferable, but not necessary that you have access to outdoor climbing as well. Timing: Expect three hard weeks, followed by a one week taper designed to create a “mini peak” useful for a road trip or sending a project. Summary: The program begins with lots of climbing. As a relatively new climber it’s critically important for you to build a movement base. If you were asked, “You have a left hand gaston. Where should your right foot go?” or “You have a right hand undercling, and want to reach far to the left. What foot position gives you longest reach?” Could you immediately and easily answer? Most people can't. So during this first week, and throughout the program there is going to be lots of climbing, so that you can begin to build a climbing movement vocabulary, that will eventually become intuitive while moving over stone. (With a left hand gaston a high right foot will generally be the best position for maximum reach. With a right hand undercling, a left foot back step, with the left hip twisted in towards the wall, will yield the biggest reach.)

Sample Day 1
0:30:00
Optional Light Trail Run

Go for a light trail run, keeping your heart rate and effort low. Pay careful attention to your intensity level. If jogging feels like too much, change to a brisk walk. Remember improving you climbing, not running, is the focus of this training plan, so we don't want fatigue from this workout to affect the quality of your climbing workouts.

Sample Day 1
0:30:00
Optional Stretching or Yoga

This is an optional workout. For some climbers flexibility is not an issue, for other climbers it might be a significant one. If you are particularly stiff, have nagging injuries, or climb at an area/have projects where flexibility is critical (Devil's Tower, Yosemite stem corners, etc) this is an important use of your time, and should not be neglected.

Sample Day 2
1:00:00
Continuous Climbing

Continuous Climbing
2 x 20 minutes split by a 20 minute rest


Choose a section of the gym that has routes or boulder problems well within your limit that you can climb without falling, or hanging on the rope. The climbing should generate a light but manageable forearm pump.


Climb up and down the wall continuously.


This workout is ideally done with a partner, or an Auto Belay, but can be completed on a bouldering wall, or Treadwall if necessary.

Sample Day 3
0:30:00
Optional Light Trail Run

Go for a light trail run, keeping your heart rate and effort low. Pay careful attention to your intensity level. If jogging feels like too much, change to a brisk walk. Remember improving you climbing, not running, is the focus of this training plan, so we don't want fatigue from this workout to effect the quality of your climbing workouts.

Sample Day 3
0:30:00
Optional Stretching or Yoga

This is an optional workout. For some climbers flexibility is not an issue, for other climbers it might be a significant one. If you are particularly stiff, have nagging injuries, or climb at an area/have projects where flexibility is critical (Devil's Tower, Yosemite stem corners, etc) this is an important use of your time, and should not be neglected.

Sample Day 4
1:10:00
Continuous Climbing

Continuous Climbing
2 x 25 minutes split by a 20 minute rest


Choose a section of the gym that has routes or boulder problems well within your limit that you can climb without falling, or hanging on the rope. The climbing should generate a light but manageable forearm pump.


Climb up and down the wall continuously.


This workout is ideally done with a partner, or an Auto Belay, but can be completed on a bouldering wall, or Treadwall if necessary.

Sample Day 5
0:30:00
Optional Stretching or Yoga

This is an optional workout. For some climbers flexibility is not an issue, for other climbers it might be a significant one. If you are particularly stiff, have nagging injuries, or climb at an area/have projects where flexibility is critical (Devil's Tower, Yosemite stem corners, etc) this is an important use of your time, and should not be neglected.