Steve Maisch Climbing Training Tips

Steve Maisch has been climbing for 26 years, and is the local go-to-guy for all things training.


Photos courtesy of Steve Maisch

If hanging by your fingertips from a sheer rock face sounds daunting and completely intimidating, there is a way newbies can safely train from the ground up.

Indoor climbing gyms have made it possible for anyone who wants to partake in this type of “outdoor” adventure to gain some valuable and safe experience before heading out for the real thing. Fortunately, there are climbers like Steve Maisch, who have created training programs that can help take the novice climber to the next level.

Maisch has been climbing for 26 years, and is somewhat of the local go-to-guy for all things training.

“I first give people an assessment to fill out. From there I write them a training program based on their goals,” Masich said. “It is pretty informal. The main objective for a beginner is to climb as much as they can, whether it is inside or outside. A general rule of the thumb: [use] about 75 percent of your climbing time with your climbing shoes on, meaning you are actually doing climbing stuff that will help improve your climbing.”

Perhaps the best training for beginners is volume, focusing your energy on routes or problems you can do in one or two tries rather than one or two routes or problems far above your current ability. This will allow you to increase endurance and finger strength, which, by default, will lead to climbing harder, while minimizing the risk of injury.

“Boulder problems have fewer movements, and you do not use ropes,” Maisch said. “It is more difficult, but it allows you to do more movements over the course of a day that are challenging. A lot of beginner training is instructing people to not do certain things. I recommend you just keep climbing.”

Just by doing it, you will get better. Climb the problem the way you think it out to be climbed—don’t overthink. Masich says as adults, we forget how to move, so just go for it. Worry about honing technical skill later, and remember that failure is the first step toward success.

“You basically have to go out and fail, and then realize it is not the end of the world,” Maisch said. “Your friends won’t dislike because you are a bad climber. Go out and climb as much as you can, and don’t be so concerned with the physical training end of it. The natural byproduct of climbing will be your improved physical condition and strength.”

Maisch recommends these three things when getting started in climbing:

1. Climb
2. Do drills, climb and try to do a boulder problem one footed.
3. Do a series of push-ups, pull-ups etc. Build up over time.

For more training tips from Maisch, visit his website.

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