Elbow Grease

Winter is slowly dwindling away and welcoming the next season in Squamish. The days of sun are coming around more frequently and the rock is starting to dry out. You can see the climbers emerge from their caves with wide eyes and hopes of a sending spring.


Over the last 5 months I’ve made some massive gains in my climbing and overall physical fitness. What initiated the training was a serious plateau in my climbing. I felt I was stuck at a standstill. Everything felt hard. I was easily fatigued and stuck at the same grade without any positive progress. So I decided to do something about it.

First step was joining a training program to get an idea of what I should be doing to become a better climber. I hopped into some sessions with Patrick Humphries , a trainer at our local climbing gym. His classes gave me an awesome understanding of climber specific exercises, proper body positioning and pushed me physically. After his classes I was able to build my own training program from what I’d learned.

In the beginning, everything seemed impossible. It was beyond hard to do hangs with added weight, pull-ups and even attempt pinch blocks – now those are some of my favourite workout items.

“What! I can campus!!!”…could be heard echoing across the gym as I belted it out to my boyfriend a couple weeks ago. The campus board at the gym always seemed so daunting. I’d only seen strong climbers using it before. I remember trying once last year and completely failing trying to go up a single rung.

I’ve recently discovered that after all the training, I am really enjoying bouldering. What once seemed impossibly hard is actually kind of attainable now. We’ve been out a few times already this spring – and although I’m only climbing V2 – V3, it’s still a huge achievement for me!



Pearce (my guy) and I have become quite the training duo. We keep each other psyched and motivated. We also tend to always match which is a little embarrassing…


Photo Credit: Thomas Fahrun

A few people online have asked what my training program looks like, so here is the one I’ve created for April (keep in mind I do about a 20 min warm-up that isn’t included here). Also I have weight added for most exercises – I’ll add it in the column the day of.

Mon:  Add Weights | 5 – 8 Reps x 4 |

Set 1:

Week 1  Overhead Press Dead
Week 2  Toes to Bar Dead
Week 3  Overhead Press Dumbbell
Toes to
Week 4  Box Jumps Dead
Hang board
chin ups

Set 2:

Pull Overs
(kettle bell)
Roll Outs Pull Ups Hangs
Hang board chin ups Pistol
Pushup TRX
Hangs Squats Box Jumps
Pull Overs
(kettle bell)
Dips Pistol squats Dumbbell row


Week 1 4 X 4s (Boulder)
Week 2 Route Climb
Week 3 Free (Boulder)
Week 4 4X4s (Boulder)

Wed: Climbing

Friday: Campus/Tread-wall

Week 1 Up Down Ladders Reach White 1 min x 10
Week 2 Ladders Single bumps Up Down Pink 1 min x 5
Week 3 Up Down Ladders Single bumps White 1 min x 10
Week 4 Single bumps Reach Lock off Pink 1 min x 5

I also always include about 30 minutes of rolling and stretching afterwords. Trust me I’ve had my fair share of tweaked and pulled muscles. Don’t skip out on the cool down. My favourite rolling tool for my IT band and calf is a rolling pin (I’m useless at baking so at least it’s being used) Try it sometime!


I feel really good these days. Not only in my climbing but in all my day-to-day activities. Especially with work. I do a very physical job that requires a ton of cardio and carrying weight. I’m excited to see how I feel going into my summer contract after a winter of building up my body.


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