Training Tips for Chicks: Let’s Get Serious

If you are new to the Chicks Training Tips take a few minutes to read the previous newsletters, there’s a lot of great information in there!

It’s incredibly beneficial for all the Chicks to be introduced to new movements and concepts for training, implementing these in a regular workout in almost any fashion will create positive change. So re-read the first 11 installments to get a look at all the great movements, VIDEOS have been included:

This is a huge training resource for you all!

Now on to the meat of the matter…

I’ve overhead many of my male climbing friends say to women:  “It’s always better to be a good climber than a strong climber,” usually in response to a gal wishing she had a little more upper body strength. And, they are correct, technique and skill will get you much further on a route than any amount of brawn. However, let’s get serious. It’s fun to be a good and strong climber.

Personal story:

Twenty five years ago, when I discovered the world of climbing I was a “legs and lungs” athlete. I raced both road and mountain bikes and did a ton of backcountry telemark skiing in the off season. Incredibly well developed cardio vascular systems are awesome, however… I could barely do a pull up, couldn’t hold my legs out straight in an l-seat, was okay at push ups sort of, couldn’t do a dip to save my life. I think you get the picture. I was not “strong”, except on a bike –  I’d never done gymnastics, dance, or any other sport that would predispose me to any advantage towards being a climber.

I had a lot of tenacity and I’d work hard to get better, I’m stubborn, driven, and don’t like to suck at things. Sometimes I’d get frustrated at being scared on lead, or just NOT being able to do a move even though I knew how it was supposed to be done.

After deciding my technique was not my number one limiting factor I went about getting strong.

I tell you all of this so you understand not only where I came from but that it is possible for all women to get stronger, and a little extra strength goes a long way in feeling more confident climbing! I can guarantee that.

So here we go:

How to go about getting stronger at core and upper body strength movements for gals. Just because you can’t do something now doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to learn and gain strength and skill! Never say “I can’t” learn to say “Ok! I’ll try!”

To make it easier, we’ve included videos for each movement as links in the movement list below. Be sure to watch these videos as they also include options and progressions for all movements. You can and will get stronger.



Test your ability as appropriate on all the following movements, videos have been included. Videos not only show proper technique, they include options for assistance and progression. This list is by no means even close to being exhaustive it’s a place to start.

A test is an all out max rep or weight for each movement after you have warmed up.

Pulling Movements:

Pushing Movements:

Core Movements:

Static holds should be included as supplemental for every workout, we need strong shoulders! See previous Chicks Newsletter Training Tips Videos for these. Hand Stands, Ring Support, & FLR are all done for time 30-60 seconds with rest between.

Write down how many of what you can do so you have a record of where your strength started, so you can track gains, this is super motivating, You can make big gains in just 6 – 8 weeks.

For example:

June 16th, 2016

-Pull Ups 2 unassisted

-Pull Over 25#

-Body Row 5 feet on ground 

Do this for all movements, that way you know where to begin in your workouts and you can test yourself again after six weeks and see how you do! You should complete a strength workout 2x a week for 6 – 8 weeks. In addition to your weekly climbing training. Do strength workouts after climbing (if training indoors) or climb in the morning/strength in the evening. These are ideals. After 6 – 8 weeks of two additional strength workouts it’s time to test your strength again and compare it to when you began. You’ll be surprised!

Then take a break and go climbing! SO FUN!



Put together your program?! It’s not as hard as it seems:

Depending on time and stamina pick 1 or 2 of the movements from each category, Pulling, Pushing, Core, Static Holds. Change these movements for each workout.

For the Push and Pull, make these movements HARD. To where you can do no more than 5 repetitions of the movement. Hard is relative to you and your strength level at the time, no one else. As soon as you can do more than 5 reps you’ve got to make it harder.

Then: Pick 1 – 2 core movements, muscles in the core are a tiny bit different and we use our core constantly climbing so 5 to 10 reps of these movements then make them harder.

Your program should look something like this:

Warm up:

  • 10:00min light cardio
  • 2 x 8 shoulder openers
  • 2 x 5 cuban press
  • 3 x 5 wall squats
  • 2 x 5 push ups
  • 2 x 5 pull up assisted


  • 6 x 3 Body Row
  • 6 – 1 HSPU Ladder
  • 6 x 3 Ring Push Up


  • 60 sec FLR
  • 10x Floor Wiper

In the above workout, sets comes first, then reps. You will not complete more than 12 – 25 reps of a strength movement once warmed up. This is how we gain strength and not size. As climbers we want to be strong and light. For more information on this see newsletter #2

Here’s another example.

Warm up

  • 10:00min light cardio
  • 2 x 8 shoulder openers
  • 2 x 5 cuban press
  • 3 x 5 wall squats
  • 2 x 5 push ups
  • 2 x 5 pull up assisted if necessary


  • 6 x 3 Pull Ups – assisted if necessary
  • 8 – 10x Anchored leg raise / lower


  • 5 x 5 Bent Over Row with lock off in three positions, in between complete 10x KTE.
  • Finish with Handstand holds, 60 secs and Ring Support 30 secs Rest 60 secs between complete two to three sets.

Here’s to a stronger you! Remember if I can do it you can too!

As always – for questions, help, or for more detailed information regarding training you can contact me at or e-mail me.

I’ll be happy to connect with you and write programming for you.

All my best and happy training!
Carolyn Parker
Founder Ripple Effect Training