So I’ve got a confession to make… a dirty secret that I can’t keep any longer! I know this may shock a lot of people, but…
I don’t really climb, I boulder…
There, I said it! Even though the site is called Climbing meta, I’m all about the bouldering. I’m sorry, please forgive me.
Actually, those that know me won’t be surprised at all, but I am working on fixing this bias with the help of some power endurance training, in the form of boulder 4×4’s.
In fact, even though I’m calling them boulder 4×4’s here, you can just as easily implement these as route climbing 4×4’s (it might be a little harder to use the interval timer I’ve made for this routine though).
If you are a route climber I hope you hang around because I’ve still got a bunch of climbing specific training that will help any climber with their sport. Actually, I’m hoping to do more route climbing in the future, so should have a lot more of this content coming soon.
The main reason I focus on bouldering in our Climbing meta routines is because they are easier to implement from a training perspective. Most people can get to a boulder wall pretty readily and you don’t need anyone else to belay for you to carry out the exercise.
Boulder 4×4’s are actually extremely useful for both route climbing and bouldering as they help to develop your power endurance. The net result of this training means you will increase your overall climbing fitness, be better able to climb through a pump and send longer routes or boulder problems (particularly on those long weekend trips or climbing competitions).
To kick things off, get yourself nice and warm and choose 4 boulder problems that you could flash when fresh (start at least 4 grades below your max boulder level).
REPEAT this process for all 4 problems, the full session should last 40 minutes (plus warm up).
If you get the chance, it is a really good idea to film yourself doing the 4×4’s. This will help you identify inefficiencies in your climbing, particularly as you fatigue through the session.
If you can’t complete each problem successfully at least 3 out of 4 times, then you should drop the difficulty of the problems. Once you are hitting all 4 problems successfully, move on to 4 new problems around the same difficulty (or change the ones you are succeeding on with new problems).
You might even like to train a specific area with each problem, like a particular grip type, dynamic movement, lock-offs, spans etc.
To progress this exercise, you can do one of two things:
I like to use easier boulder 4×4’s early in my climbing training program to build some endurance and sometimes use harder boulder 4×4’s later in a program if I’m training for a competition to simulate those conditions. Either way, boulder 4×4’s are a great way to increase your climbing fitness.
Use these in a 4-week block and assess the results for yourself.
Train hard and climb smart!