Experimental Hangboard Training Program – Sam

Samantha is a super experienced lead climber, who has traveled worldwide and climbed rocks on almost every continent. She likes climbing bouldery routes, with short cruxes and good rests in between, but since her aerobic endurance is excellent, she can comfortably project longer routes as well. 

Sam’s Critical Force to MVC-7 ratio is high, reaching almost 50% (Table 1), so it is no surprise that she established her 5.13b (8a) personal best in Red River Gorge [1]. Because of that, we decided to emphasize strength development, to help her improve on overhanging and powerful routes. Sam trained diligently throughout May and significantly improved her finger strength, strength endurance, and aerobic endurance, as can be seen in the progress plots below.

At the moment, Sam is climbing mainly outdoors, so we reduced the training volume accordingly, but strength training remains the cornerstone of her hangboard program.

Table 1: Experimental Hangboard Training Program progress.

Previous cycleMixedStrength
MVC-7 (20 mm) [kg]73.476.6
Body weight [kg]5858
MVC-7 (20 mm) [%BW]127%132%
CF [%MVC-7]49%49%
CF [%BW]63%65%
CF [kg]37
Bouldering level predictionV4 (6B+)V4 (6B+)
Current bouldering levelV6 (7A) V6 (7A)
Lead level prediction5.13a (7c+)5.13a (7c+)
Current lead level5.13b (8a)5.13b (8a)

Figure 1: Critical Force as percentage of MVC-7 – progress plots.

Figure 2: Critical Force as percentage of bodyweight – progress plots.


  1. mountainproject.com, Red River Gorge Climbing, July 10, 2006. (link)