January 16, 2014

Treadwall Training with Piz: Training Plans

Contact Piz at pizem@hotmail.com for Motivational/Instructional/Entertaining Speaking Engagements, Climbing Instruction, Training and Periodization Programs

Until then... Get outside and have an adventure!

piz : )

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I know that not everyone or every gym has a Treadwall, but if you have access to one this post is for you! I will be sharing a few ways to incorporate a Treadwall into your program.

A few notes before I begin.
  1. If you have been "training/working out" the same way for a long time (years) and have seen no gains in your climbing you need to reevaluate what you are doing. Cutting the crap, you are wasting your time and not doing anything that is actually developing your weaknesses.
  2. If you think that training is going to the climbing gym and doing some routes, some boulder problems and then using some of the training equipment, then you are NOT working out.
  3. If you are not taking notes and measuring daily progress and tracking your "workouts" then you are not really training seriously and will never make the real gains that you are seeking.  
  4. To address some misconceptions, campus boards are not only good for developing power and Treadwalls are not only good for warming up or training endurance. Understanding the tools that are before you and how they can be used to promote physical development is the key to improving fitness. If you don't understand or think that you do, it is worth asking a qualified person to help clarify any confusion.
  5. Finally, Training is Not for Everyone. It requires more hard work, focus and dedication than just going to the gym and climbing.
So how can you use your Treadwall?

You can use it for warming up.
  • After doing some simple stretching hope on the wall at a more vertical angle and do a couple laps while using good holds.
  • After a couple laps and a short rest (2-3 minutes) kick the angle back and complete another lap or two on more good holds.
  • After another short rest period, get back on and increase the difficulty so that you get pumped, keep climbing through the pump as much as you can and move to better holds until you complete those few laps.
  • Rest and then begin your gym session (whether it is bouldering or routes)
You can use it for power development.
  • Initially, just lock the Treadwall down (non moving) and work hard 2-3 move boulder problems.
  • I suggest starting at a just less than vertical angle and doing a problem that you can complete every time, but just barely.
  • After 2-3 laps on the problem, increase the overhang angle (maybe 5-10 degrees) and try the problem again.
  • Your goal would be complete the problem at the steepest angle.
  • Then change problems and begin again with a new sequence.
You can use it for endurance training.
  • Endurance comes from a high volume of lower intensity climbing.
  • Choose an appropriate angle (normally less steep at the beginning) and climb a certain number of laps in a controled manner or for a specified time.
  • Break that up into a few sets with a good rest in between and you will be building your endurance.
  • If you are climbing at a higher level, then steepen the angle or increase the difficulty of the routes that you are lapping.
  • Remember that you are attempting to remain at a level of pump that is just below out of control. (that constant forearm "pain" but not to the point that you are going to fall off.
You can use it for power endurance training.
  • There are a couple methods for doing this and I am sure something that I don't know about too!
  • One method is to choose 3 or 4 different routes. In one set you will climb one of the routes 4 times in a row with a minute rest inbetween each route. Then rest 5-10 minutes and then do the next route and the third and forth in the same manner. Be sure to choose four routes that work on different styles of climbing and that have different holds and cruxes. I try not to end on a "easy" route because I am looking to increase my threshhold for trying hard and muscle memory. Note doing this before a day of climbing outside will make for a bad day. Build in rest days after doing this type of training.
  • Another method is to add in a hangboard (like in the photo at the top of the page.) I have found that an effective way to get me able to hang on to routes longer is to do the following. Choose a route (or two if you are at that level) and climb it. Then instead of resting for a minute while sitting on the floor, hang on the fingerboard and shake out for 1-2 minutes, then get on your next problem or routes and then shake out again. Repeat this for up to three or four shake and climb sessions in a set. Then you must rest well before doing the next set. That could mean a 15-20 minute break. Then go for it again. This is particularly destructive. Choose your routes wisely and develop the type of power endurance that you are looking for. The combinations that you choose make or break the training. Also, I try to use smaller and smaller holds to recover on to simulate real rock routes and recovery on them.
  • A final method that has worked too is to climb fast on a medium difficulty route. Normally doing double or triple laps on that route will get you into the zone of a power endurance route. Choose three to four of those types of routes and climb 3 sets (each set might be 1, 2 or 3 laps) with about a 5 miutes minute rest between each effort and 15-20 between each set.
You can use a Treadwall to develop finger and grip strength.
  • Choose a route that has all crimps or open handed hold or underclings or whatever and climb it over and over in order to develop your skills. If you want big vertical reaches, work on those with a route set to that style. If you want to work on side pulls and compression, set that kind of route and work on those skills. You can always adjust the angle to make it steeper in order to increase the difficulty if you get a type of move too wired. Be creative, the Treadwall does it all!!


  1. A perfect explanation. You are so right with a little creativity, "...Treadwall does it all!!"
    One additional aspect, I particularly like about the Treadwall is its real-time feedback on pacing. I monitor and record my time for each 20' boulder problem in my log book. I then try to force myself to climb at that pace between rests when I'm doing endurance work. After all, we all saw how Adam Ondra used speed to magnificent effect on his route "Move".

  2. Peter, nice to hear from you. Thanks for the compliments. I hope 2014 brings you great climbing and personal success!