Steve House's 8-week Advanced Mixed Climbing Training Plan

Average Weekly Training Hours 05:45
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours 05:45
Training Load By Week

This strength-focus plan is intended for M6/M7 mixed climbers who want to break into harder mixed routes. You should be an advanced climber coming off a season of rock climbing at 5.11 on-sight / 5.12 redpoint level.

Fitness requirements when starting this plan: Be healthy and free of injuries. And after a warm up you can do 20 pull ups with good form, a minimum of 20 sec one arm tool hang.

For those with the base, this plan can be combined with a aerobic-focus plan with these strength workouts being done in addition to the lower-body strength work typically found in an uphill-aerobic training plan.

Thank you your interest in our training plans. To be sure you are satisfied with your purchase, please reach out to us anytime at coach@uphillathlete.com if you have questions.

Sample Day 1
1:40:00
Specific Strength and Core Max

Workout:Refer to the Ice Climbing Strength Exercise Video at the following link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B17gEKNZHYg

In the overall progression shown in the video; find which "phase" your strength level currently is for each exercise. You will accomplish this by warming up and then working into each exercise with the goal of finding the hardest one of these exercises that you can do 3 FULL CONTROLLED REPS (3 per side if applicable).

If you're coming into this plan after completeing our Beginner-to-Intermediate Ice and Mixed Climbing plan, you'll notice that there we used 6 reps as the benchmark, now we're looking for the limit of you strength, or your max strength.

That exercise you can do 3-full-reps of will be referred to as the Primary Exercise (PE) you do in this training plan.

The exercise that you found at one level below the PE or PE-1 will be your warm up exercise.

The next exercise up the difficulty scale from your PE will be PE+1 and what you target. This is probably something you can only do one repetition of.

If you are able to complete the most difficult exercises in the routine in perfect control for 3 reps then add challenge by wearing a weight vest or holding a barbell or by adding more instability as per the video's instructions.

WARM UP:
Video tutorial:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aFjx74PzghA&t=135s

Then
10x burpees
10x pull-up
360-degree arm swings

PLUS: 2x through
-Bird dog to each side until you start to first lose form due to fatigue
-2 point plank until you first start to shake
-Kayaker 3-5 to each side. Use a heavy enough weight that you can only do 3-4 reps per side, 5 reps at the most.

Note: A PDF of the full Killer Core Routine is attached as a reference for these exercises. Or you can view it and download it from here:
https://www.uphillathlete.com/scotts-killer-core-routine-pdf/
A video of the Killer Core Routine is here:
https://www.uphillathlete.com/how-to-do-core/


WORKOUT:
Using PE-1 do 3 sets of 10 reps of each exercise. Do not go to failure or anywhere near failure. This is meant to wake all the muscles in the chain that you will be using in the PE so it should feel like a warm up and not exhausting.

Use the 1-2 min between sets where you will also do the following;

Between the above sets do a set of the most difficult toe raise you can manage for 4 reps with full range of motion and moving slowly. Add weigh if you can do more than 4 single toe raises off the very front of the boot.

THE BIZ:
Using the PE do 4 sets of 2 reps (per side if appropriate) take a full 3 min sitting recovery between these sets.

Try PE+1 for 1-2 reps in control. Try 3 times

Ice Axe hangs;
4 sets 1-arm 10 second hangs. Use enough weight that you can only hang a max of 12-15 seconds. Take 1 min rest between hangs. Keep your shoulder activated and tense throughout the hang, don't hang totally relaxed on your shoulder joints with this much load.

CORE finale: 3 sets of the following to shaking or failure

-Hanging leg raise at what ever level of difficulty you can manage. For most of you I expect you'll want to do this on gymnastics rings and go to a full inversion. Meaning: Pull both knees to your chest and then rotate all the way up and push your feet above you until your torso is straight and vertical and you are upside down. If you can pull yourself up and bring the rings to your arm-pits without loosing form or position, do so. Reverse in a controlled, slow manner. Do these until you start to shake.

Rest 3 minutes.

-2 point hold to failure. If longer than 20 sec add a weight vest or plate on your back.

Sample Day 6
2:00:00
Ladder Workout or Long Climbing Day. Establishing your Baseline.

As with all climbing workouts, this can be done either outdoors or inside.
I've written these workouts as an 'ideal' but keep in mind that you may have to adapt to what you can do given where you're climbing, partners, etc.

Gym Protocol.
Warm up 10 minutes with 1 minute on, 1 minute off. Ideally easy bouldering.

Note:
The goal of this workout is to keep you moving continuously during the work period. The goal is not to do hard moves. In fact, I want you to do easy (for you) moves, but lots of them. The ideal location for this will depend on your ability. A gently overhanging wall with easy (for you) climbing is typically ideal for most people at this level.

Endurance Ladder Workout.
Important! Stop the progression below once you feel a solid pump. Do not go to failure, just to the feeling of being pumped. From that point, we will ladder back down as you will see below.

5 x 2 minutes on, 1 minute off
3-5 min rest
5 x 3 minutes on, 1 minute off
3-5 minute rest
5 x 4 minute on, 1 minute off
3-5 minute rest

If you are strong enough to climb 5 x 4 minute continue the progression adding one extra minute per 'rung' on the ladder.

Once you've reached a point where you've achieved a solid pump then "Ladder back down" as laid out here.

Sample Climbing Ladder Workout
5 x 4 minute on, 1 minute off (second round of your 'max')
3-5 min rest
5 x 3 minutes on, 1 minute off
3-5 minute rest
5 x 2 minutes on, 1 minute off


To progress the gym protocol you need to record how far you got in the duration of the work:rest intervals, and aim to go one step further next week. You may not be able to complete the full set at the next level. So if you complete 5 x 3 min you may very well complete 2 x 4 minutes before laddering back down.

It may help to bear in mind that the rule of thumb is to increase one's training load by 5-10% per week (not per workout, per week).

Outside climbing instructions:

If you do this outside, then it you will be climbing for pitches. The catch is this: climb enough that you're tired but not exhausted. So like 75% of "I can't climb anymore" (assuming skin is fine). The reason for this is that we want to be able to progress this in a logical way. So if you can climb 10 pitches this week (and be 75% done) for a total climbing time of 100 minutes, then we will aim for a 10% increase week to week. So 11 pitches/110 minutes, then 13 pitches/120 minutes, then 16/135 minutes, etc.

A note on difficulty:
We recommend climbing 2-5 full (North American, YDS) grades below your onsight ability. So if you can onsight 5.11d (7a in the French Grading system if you're European), then aim for pitches in the 10b-11b range. If you're used to European (French) grades, the above example would translate to 7a onsight, then climb pitches from 6a-6b+/c.

A note on pitches.
Obviously what constitutes a pitch varies a lot, so do your best to be consistent with what you define as a pitch. Ideally these are long pitches with sustained sub-maximal climbing as noted above.

Sample Day 9
0:30:00
Recovery-Yoga

Emphasize movement and stretching. This is a recovery workout so do not do a strenuous form of yoga.

Sample Day 13
2:00:00
4 x 4 Workout

IMPORTANT: Please read all of this before you go to the gym as it might seem a little bit complicated at first.

This workout is to be done is a bouldering gym or a very good bouldering area with a high concentration of problems.

Warm up:
1 x 20 minute continuous climbing at an easy level until breathing moderately hard and feeling 'warm' and starting to break a light sweat.

Warm up #2:
Bouldering, start with very easy boulder problems. Choose and rehearse the problems you will use for your 4x4 drills doing 1-3 problems at each grade up to your "flash grade" (no more than 2 attempts per problem max)

4 x 4 Bouldering circuits:
Select 4 boulder problems that you scouted and rehearsed in the previous phase of warm-up. Ideally these should be longer boulder problems with bigger holds and long reaches and possibly mildly dynamic movements (nothing extremely dynamic as that will be overly taxing on joints), as you know, with mixed climbing we never need to crimp...

The first boulder problem should be the most difficult and the steepest.
the next three slightly less steep and slightly less difficult.

Note: The drop in grade from each problem should not be great.
Let's say you start with V4 and you end with V3, but together they are V4, V4, V3, V3. Something like this.

Note 2: The right difficulty is usually something you can flash, but is difficult to flash. So if you flash V4, then V4, V4, V3, V3 is about right. If you flash V3, then: V3, V3, V2, V2.

4 x 4 Workout Description:
Climb all 4 boulder problems one after another with basically no rest in between.
Note the time it takes to climb to the nearest 30 seconds.

Rest for DOUBLE amount of time it took to climb the 4 problems so we establish a climb to rest ratio of 1:2. If you take 5 minutes to climb the 4 problems then you rest 10 minutes. (It usually takes like 3 minutes to climb 4 boulder problems, not 5, but you get the idea)

Do the same problems in the same order each time.

Do this 4-boulder problem circuit 4 times through.
Rest 15 minutes
Attempt another 4 x 4 until you fall of 25% of the attempted problems due to fatigue. (If you fall off because some one makes a joke, that doesn't count...)

Sample Day 20
2:00:00
4 x 4 Workout

IMPORTANT: Please read all of this before you go to the gym as it might seem a little bit complicated at first.

This workout is to be done is a bouldering gym or a very good bouldering area with a high concentration of problems.

Warm up:
1 x 20 minute continuous climbing at an easy level until breathing moderately hard and feeling 'warm' and starting to break a light sweat.

Warm up #2:
Bouldering, start with very easy boulder problems. Choose and rehearse the problems you will use for your 4x4 drills doing 1-3 problems at each grade up to your "flash grade" (no more than 2 attempts per problem max)

4 x 4 Bouldering circuits:
Select 4 boulder problems that you scouted and rehearsed in the previous phase of warm-up. Ideally these should be longer boulder problems with bigger holds and long reaches and possibly mildly dynamic movements (nothing extremely dynamic as that will be overly taxing on joints), as you know, with mixed climbing we never need to crimp...

The first boulder problem should be the most difficult and the steepest.
the next three slightly less steep and slightly less difficult.

Note: The drop in grade from each problem should not be great.
Let's say you start with V4 and you end with V3, but together they are V4, V4, V3, V3. Something like this.

Note 2: The right difficulty is usually something you can flash, but is difficult to flash. So if you flash V4, then V4, V4, V3, V3 is about right. If you flash V3, then: V3, V3, V2, V2.

4 x 4 Workout Description:
Climb all 4 boulder problems one after another with basically no rest in between.
Note the time it takes to climb to the nearest 30 seconds.

Rest for DOUBLE amount of time it took to climb the 4 problems so we establish a climb to rest ratio of 1:2. If you take 5 minutes to climb the 4 problems then you rest 10 minutes. (It usually takes like 3 minutes to climb 4 boulder problems, not 5, but you get the idea)

Do the same problems in the same order each time.

Do this 4-boulder problem circuit 4 times through.
Rest 15 minutes
Attempt another 4 x 4 until you fall of 25% of the attempted problems due to fatigue. (If you fall off because some one makes a joke, that doesn't count...)

Sample Day 32
1:00:00
Figure-4 Pain Circuit

Warm up:
Three circuits executed as follows:
1st circuit slow.
2nd circuit brisk.
3rd circuit fast.


Circuit:
10 Burpees
10 Pullups
10x Hanging Leg raise; Knees tight to chest
20 TGU with 10-20lbs (10/side)
In and Out of 1 Figure-4, 1 to each arm, 2 total.

Work out:
You will need a safe place to hang from your ice tools. A sock on the tools, or gloves, are recommended.

If you aren't current on how to do the Figure-4 Move, read this:
https://www.uphillathlete.com/ice-climbing-figure-4/

The Figure 4 Pain Circuit:
Hanging from two tools, move into and out of Figure-4 position.

1) Figure 4 Pulls:
Right side:
3x from a full hang pulling up into a high-figure-4 (Pause with your leg gripping wrist area lightly)
(rest if needed, no more than 2 minutes)
3x to the middle-figure-4 (Pause with your leg tightly gripping forearm)
(rest if needed, no more than 2 minutes)
3x to the low-figure-4 position (Pause with your leg in the crook of the elbow)

Rest 2 minutes.

Repeat to the left side.

If 9x per side feels easy you can make these more difficult by:
Doing the above weighted (ankle weights or wear boots)
Or holding your legs out straight, approaching a front-lever position.
Each week I expect you to be able to make the above slightly harder than what you did the previous week.

Rest 5 minutes.
Then:

2) Figure-4 Reaches
10x per side. 2-3 minutes rest in between sides.

Get into either an open or closed (you need to practice both, so go back and forth), middle or high figure-4 position and drop your free hand down. From that starting position twist and reach your hand as high and as far up and forward as possible; as if you’re reaching for a hold. At first you probably are best off doing this without any weight. After the first week, progress this part of the workout by holding a little weight in the free hand, typically 1kg was enough to make a big difference for me.

Practice extending wth the straight leg. This extension or pushing is often key to extending your reach in a real application of this movement.


3) Typewriter on a Pullup Bar. (if no pullup bar, you can use your tools)
Pull up into a high lock off position. Shift your body all the way to the right, pressing your left arm as far out to the left as you can while holding this for a 5-count (approx 5 seconds). Move to the other side.
5x to each side or until you start to shake.

Week 1: Do this circuit 2x
Week 2: Do this circuit 3x
Week 3: Do this circuit 3x
Week 4: Do this circuit 4x

Sample Day 54
2:00:00
Bouldering at your limit

Warm up: 1 x 20 minute continuous climbing at an easy level until breathing moderately hard and feeling 'warm'.

Warm up #2: Bouldering, start with very easy boulder problems, V1. Climb back to back problems moving quickly from one problem to the next:
4x V1
4x V2
etc until you fall off something that feels hard.
Rest 10 minutes

Then start to boulder, ideally with a partner who is a bit stronger than you are. With the aim of the remainder of your time being to try as hard as you can and climb the hardest problem you're currently capable of during this session.

You can take rests of up to 15 minutes to recover and then start again (the main risk here is to cool off too much and then get injured when you get back on the wall)

Quit when you're 'spent'.
Do not go to complete muscular failure. (triggers hypertrophy)
Use common sense--don't get hurt!

When you're done go once through the core routine as a warm-down.

Uphill Athlete by Steve House and Scott Johnston
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Uphill Athlete LLC.

What originally inspired us to write Training for the New Alpinism, and what inspires us to continue to share the things we’ve discovered through Uphillatlete.com, is the information void when it comes to specialized training for endurance mountain sports. We have successfully demonstrated a more systematic approach, using proven principles, to help you improve both your chances of achieving your goals, and your long-term fitness and safety in whatever mountain sport you are practicing.