Training tips from Charlotte Durif
When I began to climb in the gym on a regular basis, I was hooked right away on really technical routes. Although I started competition climbing when I was 10 years old, for me success has never been an end in itself, but a means to push the boundaries of what is possible. Every success, big or small, allows me to expand my comfort zone and experience, and provides the chance for me to look at climbing in a different light. Training contributes to this success.
October 5 2018
How do you use the climbing gym to train for a project at the crag?
The first rule is to climb on a regular basis, at least two times per week. In my opinion, the most important aspect is to climb a lot and at your level (which will naturally increase week after week) to boost your endurance, technique, and strength. If you have a project in mind or a grade you want to climb, it might be worthwhile to create a training program that addresses specific skills, weaknesses, or certain aspects of the project (strength, power endurance, grip strength, endurance, etc.).
What standard three-month training program do you recommend for a typical climbing project?
Over a three-month period, I recommend climbing 2 to 3 times per week, including one session of specific training. This could mean, for example, strength or weight training or working on grip-strength (if your project is a very crimpy route). For the other two sessions, climb as many routes as possible in a wide variety of styles. Three hours of climbing is ideal for these two sessions, and an hour and a half for the specific-training workout.
Describe a typical training session.
For a three-hour climbing session:
- Start with a long warm up: spend at least a half-hour on the ground to loosen your joints and then do lots of easy moves (traverses) on the wall.
- Next, climb routes, gradually increasing in difficulty, until you reach your maximum grade; then climb 3 or 4 routes at that grade.
- Spend the last 15 to 20 minutes of your session by climbing one really easy route and then by stretching.
How do you work on endurance, power-endurance, and strength?
- On routes: climb a lot of routes that are just below your maximum grade.
- When traversing: climb 50 to 60 moves.
- When bouldering: climb a lot of boulder problems just below your maximum grade, without resting too long between each lap.
- Routes: climb at or just below your maximum grade, and do not stop at any rest holds on the route.
- Bouldering: do 4x4s. Select 4 hard boulder problems that you know and have wired. Climb all four problems in a row as quickly as possible. Time the first set and rest that amount of time between each set. Do 4 sets.
- Perform a few targeted strengthening exercises; remember to work your antagonistic muscles as well.
How can a training program help you to reach a specific goal?
My goals when training are driven by competition climbing, which requires me to be ready and at my best on a specific day. It goes without saying that training this way also helps me send my projects at the crag. In general, I have always just climbed a lot and at my maximum grade (which, as mentioned before, continues to improve week after week), and this has worked for me. Nevertheless, at a certain point I added 1 to 2 strength training workouts (in addition to climbing 3 times per week). This helped me to reach the next level and really enhanced my climbing, putting me more at ease in general even when the going gets tough, and also allowing me to target new styles and climb higher grades.