The Training Bible Phase 7: Power Endurance

Power-endurance conditioning will give you the fitness required for sustained climbing sequences of between 15 and 40 moves, typically encountered on sport routes.

The The Training Bible has included the following phases, that build to this, Phase 7. If you missed the earlier phases you’ll need to skip back and progress through them to get the most out of this year-long program:

Phase one: general conditioning

Phase two: low-intensity endurance

Phase three: strength training

Phase four: power endurance

Phase five: strength/power

Phase six: endurance


Power-endurance conditioning will give you the fitness required for sustained climbing sequences of between 15 and 40 moves, typically encountered on sport routes. This is the main focus of this phase, although it includes a small amount of bouldering to keep your strength topped up. After finishing the previous phase, take four full rest days and then commence. At the end of this cycle, take another four rest days before moving to the final phase in the series. Those of you who have limited access to a climbing gym should simply swap the bouldering sessions with a home hangboard session.

If you are required to train on two consecutive days, then go bouldering or use a hangboard on day one and do power endurance on day two. It’s up to you how to fit the sessions into your weekly schedule.

Weekly Microcycle Calendar

Select the appropriate weekly plan for your level.


Intermediate Advanced / Elite
1. Power Endurance 2 3
2. Bouldering 1 1
3. Conditioning & Flexibility 1 1
4. Antagonists & Core 2 1

Session-Plan Details

1. Power Endurance

Four different structure options are given, two for the lead wall and two for the bouldering wall. Do not attempt more than one per session and the best approach is to alternate between them.


Option 1: Redpointing / Warm up then work the moves on a redpoint project that you would hope to complete in two or three visits to the gym. Rest 20 minutes, then have a go where you attempt to do the route in two or three sections. Rest 20 minutes again and then have two more redpoint attempts. Next session, repeat the process and try to send the route. Allow yourself one more session on the route before moving on to a different project, one that affords a slightly different climbing style (for example, if the first project was crimpy, then move onto something on rounded holds, or a steeper angle).

Option 2: Doubles – 6x2s / Warm up then select two different routes of the same grade that you can climb consecutively. See guidelines for optimum wall angle. For intermediates, the grade should be approximately one below your current maximum onsight level (and two or three below for elites). Lower off, pull the rope and move to the next route as quickly as possible. Do this six times with rests equal to climbing time. Aim to complete the first four sets and fail on the fifth or sixth. It is better to use a selection of different routes than sticking to one or two, and to try climbing them in different combinations or a different order for variety. Make the training slightly harder each session, first by making the first route a grade harder, and then by making the second route harder.


Option 1: Boulder intervals – 7x3s / Select three different boulder problems of approximately the same grade that you can climb consecutively. See guidelines for optimum wall angle. The grade for intermediates will be approximately one below the level you can flash at your limit (two or three below for elites). Move from problem to problem as quickly as possible. Take an eight-minute rest and attempt this seven times. Aim to complete the first five sets and to fail on the sixth or seventh set. If you start training and realize that the problems are too hard or too easy, adjust the grades accordingly. Make the sessions slightly harder by gradually adding more difficult problems.

Option 2: Circuits – 6 x 40 moves / To warm up, work out the moves of a sustained 40-move circuit on the bouldering wall. This circuit should include upward, downward and diagonal climbing as well as traversing. Always finish by climbing up for the last few moves. One option is to link together some of the set, color-coded boulder problems, but down-climbs will need to be easier than ups. Avoid hard single cruxes or good rest positions. Go for six repeats with 10 minutes rest. If you fail on the fifth or sixth, then you’ve judged perfectly. If you start training and realize that the circuit is too hard or too easy, tweak it. You can train on the same circuit the next session, but after that, scrap it and set a new and slightly harder one.

2. Strength & Power Sessions

Use boulder and hangboard sessions similar to those in the strength-training phases (Phase Three and Phase Five).

To summarize: For bouldering, advanced/elite level climbers should work hard projects. Beginner/intermediates should go for problems that they can do within three or four tries. Projects should be overhanging but don’t forget to work on slabs and vertical problems during the warmup. Also remember to vary the holds and style of your projects and make sure to put time into problems that highlight your weaknesses.


Rest two to three minutes between all exercises. Calibrate exercises using a weight belt or selecting a smaller hold, or switching from two arms to one arm.

a) Deadhangs One or both arms, subject to ability. Do single hangs and aim to reach the failure point before 10 seconds.  (Intermediates) do three sets per grip and (Advanced/Elites) do four sets. 1. Half crimp.
2. Hang/open-hand. 3. Full crimp (two sets only).

b) Campus Ladders (Advanced/Elites only) Use medium/first-joint campus rungs with a half-crimp grip. Warm-up/ submaximal set (one rung spacing below your limit). Maximal sets x4 (farthest
possible rung spacing).

c) Fingertip Pullups (Intermediates) OR campus offset pull-ups (Elites) with a half-crimp grip on a campus rung or a first-joint, flat finger hold. All sets to failure, using a pyramid structure.

> Set 1:  Approximately 6 to 8 reps

> Set 2: Approximately 3 to 4 reps

> Set 3: Approximately 1 to 2 reps

> Repeat in reverse.

d) 90-degree lock-offs (on bar or hangboard jugs). Two arms (Intermediates). One arm (Elites). Do four sets, aiming to reach failure before eight seconds.

e) Pull-ups (on bar or jugs). Four sets of approximately 6 to 8 reps to failure. Two arms (Intermediates). One arm with assistance (Elites).

3. Conditioning & Flexibility

See Conditioning Phase for more information.

a) Run (20 to 30 minutes)–include three or four intervals.

b) Conditioning circuit (10 minutes)–Burpees or rope skipping, e.g.; one minute on/one minute off x5.

c) Flexibility (15 minutes)–holds stretches for 20 seconds, twice each.

4. Antagonists & Core

See Conditioning Phase for more information.


Do three sets of 20 reps of the following exercise, with two minutes rest between sets. Only go to failure on last set.

a) Push-ups (kneeling if required).

b) Reverse wrist curls.

c) Finger extensions (with rubber band).


a) Extreme Plank–10 reps x3 sets with two-minute rest.

b) Iron cross–10 reps x3 sets with two-minute rest. Do an extra rep each session.

c) Leg paddles–50 reps x3 with two-minute rest. Do an extra five reps each session



Phase One: General Conditioning

Phase Two: Low-Intensity Endurance

Phase Three: Strength Training

Phase Four: Power Endurance

Phase Five: Strength/Power

Phase Six: Endurance

Phase Seven: Power Endurance

Phase Eight: Peaking


Neil Gresham has been training climbers since 1993. Check out his training website