I’ve been reading a very good book called the Self-Coached Climber. Well worth the cost, it focuses on improving climbing movement, which I haven’t seen in any of the other training books on the market. It has a great section on aerobic and anaerobic exercises and it provides a framework for creating your own customized workout regime. My focus this winter is to add some of the routines used in this book to increase my overall climbing abilities.

I recently paid for an annual membership to the local climbing gym, Stone Gardens, so it’s allowed me to climb 3-4 times a week, which is about optimal for improvement. Recently I have added bouldering pyramids to my routine.

Bouldering pyramids aren’t new, they have been around a while. They are very effective for increasing overall climbing stamina. To create your own pyramid you take the highest grade you can redpoint. For myself, I can consistently redpoint a V3. This will be the top of my pyramid. I will go from V3 progressively down to V0, which forms the base of the pyramid. V0 is where I will start AND end my routine. The routine consists of 15 routes total.

The image above captures how the pyramid will look. So my routine will go like so:

1. 4x V0
2. 2x V1
3 1x V2
4. 1x V3
5. 1x V2
6. 2x V1
7. 4x V0
= 15 routes

Get as much rest as you need in between each route. Also, I do a full warmup before starting my pyramid. My warmup is a timed 10-15 minutes of easy traversing/climbing, easy enough to stay below pump level.

Select only routes in your pyramid that you have climbed before. You should be able to get up each route in three attempts. If not, then your pyramid may need to be brought down a grade. It’s advised not to do your pyramids more than twice a week else you risk overtraining.

The bouldering pyramid is the first routine i’ve added to my climbing sessions. I plan on experimenting with future routines as the weeks progress. In the meantime I find the pyramid a great way to get alot of focused climbing done in a very short period of time. Including the time for a proper warmup you should be able to finish your pyramid in about 40-45 minutes and have your climbing workout for the day.

This will all pay off in due time, but i’m counting on routines like this to keep me ready for nice weather windows and the impending summer.