Making the jump from top roping to lead climbing is a big moment in any climber’s career that expands the routes climbers can do indoors and outdoors. With this new skill, climbers can access new training techniques that will help push their climbing even further. Whether you’ve been lead climbing for years or just learned the basics recently, everyone can benefit from additional training sessions on lead walls. The following three exercises are worth incorporating into your regular routine as they will help improve your endurance, efficiency, and strength.
Lead climb as normal to the first clip, clip in, then downclimb until you’ve reached the ground. Top rope up to the first climb, then lead climb to the second clip, clip in, and downclimb again until you’ve reached the ground. Continue until you’ve finished the route, repeating the same pattern to the top. Get ready for your arms to burn!
Pick a route that is one to two grades below your max – it should be easy enough that you are comfortable sending it, but difficult enough that you’ll feel a light pump. Send the route four times in a row without stopping, lowering down after each send. Rest for four minutes, then repeat the same exercise three more times. It’s good to mix the routes up so you get a variety of holds, wall inclines, and fight boredom. Don’t worry about climbing the route quickly. Focus more on good technique and being efficient; if you have chosen appropriate routes, it’ll be too hard to climb fast by the third climb of each set anyway. Once you become used to this workout, you can customise further by changing the number of reps or increasing the difficulty of the climbs. This is also a good workout to do on a bouldering wall for more of a power training session.
Ten Minute Repeats
Find a route that you can climb easily, then climb for ten minutes straight. Rest for ten minutes, then repeat two more times for a total of three reps. Rest on the route if you need to, but don’t weight the rope. This exercise will improve your endurance for longer routes, help your technique, and it’s a great lower intensity workout to do in the days after a hard session.