Measuring Progress (or Stagnation or Failure)

After reading this article from PN ( ) I was reminded of how challenging it is to measure the results of my climbing training. I’ve even slacked off with my training journals because of this.  My journals showed progress on paper, but it didn’t feel like it was enough to keep me motivated with my climbing goals (the real problem was that I didn’t have any climbing goals that were related to my training, but that’s another story).

I like to see progress.  I like knowing that I’m getting better.  So for those of us who train and climb mostly indoors – where the grades are inconsistent, and the problems are always changing – what sort of metrics can we keep to know that we’re on the right track?  You need a way to evaluate your training program, to make sure that your work is being rewarded, and to know when you need to make course corrections.

Consistency Is Key

The best way is to measure your relationship to something that is not changing (standard).  For me, the only things in my gym that stay the same are the weights, the hangboard, and the campus board.  If you have a static system board, or a project wall at your gym, then you can use these too.  I’ve been working on my hangboards using Eva Lopez’s ideas, and now I’m venturing into some power training on the campus board.

My Metrics

Currently I only have a couple of metrics to work with:


2nd smallest rung of the DRC V5.12 board with 50 lbs for 10 secs x 3

Plate Pinches

25lbs 3×3

After spending some time with the campus board, I’ll have an idea of how to track progress there as well.  I don’t plan on spending a lot of time on the campus board.  I feel like I still have much to learn from working boulders. But it’s just one more tool to evaluate my training programs.

I also onsight about V6 or V7 in my gym, but that can change dramatically based on route setting variables, so I try not to use this to evaluate progress.  It’s just a rough guide.

The problem with these indoor metrics is that your strength on the hangboard and campus board are only minimally related to your ability to climb hard boulders.  That’s why I’m going to do some bouldering outside this year.  It will be a chance for me to measure the effectiveness of my training.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to battle with the same boulders, season after season, and keep seeing progress.  Even if I lose the battle, I can use that info to change up my training and keep it efficient and effective.

How do you measure the effectiveness of your climbing training?



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