Weightlifting and Strength Training

Hi, guys! It’s been a while since I’ve posted on this blog but I am going to try and start posting regularly again. A few new changes…I’ve gone back to my old blog because LT11 is no longer hosting athlete blogs and as you can probably see I’ve got a new look. What do you think?

If you follow me on other social media outlets then I am sure you have noticed that I have been doing a lot of weightlifting and not a lot of climbing. I don’t mean body building, I don’t mean Crossfit, I mean olympic weightlifting and powerlifting. I’ve been getting a ton of questions about it and I’d like to answer some of them here.

Squatting at Mission Cliffs several weeks ago.

Squatting at Mission Cliffs.

NO, I’m not bulking up. In fact, I’ve only gained about 4-5lbs and the strength I’ve gained in return more than cancels out the extra weight. Also, I get to eat as much as I want whenever I want which has been a 180 degree change from the anorexic climber mentality.

***UPDATE: I’ve been TRYING to gain weight now and have been eating a lot. Last time I weighed myself I was 131.6lbs, 13.6lbs more than when I began lifting. The extra weight still has not affected my climbing very much.

NO, I’m not going to stop climbing. EVER.

YES, weightlifting is safe. I’ve had the opportunity to work one-on-one with two amazing coaches at Anthropos Performance where I lift three days a week. Through weightlifting I’ve managed to get rid of all my little climbing injuries/aches (shoulder and hip pain). My current coach, Josh Garza, has helped me tremendously with strength and technique. When we first started working together he took me from squatting 85lbs to squatting 125lbs in just one session by tweaking my technique a little. AMAZING. We’ve since added 70lbs to my squat. I was totally hooked after that session. Josh has also encouraged me to start competing. It wasn’t very difficult to convince me since I LOVE competitions. I entered my first weightlifting competition– The Ultimate Lift-Off –at United Barbell where I competed in the snatch, clean and jerk, back squat, bench press and deadlift. I managed to PR 4 of my lifts, I won the deadlift event, got second in the squat and I got really strong training for it. No injuries.

My PR's from the Lift Off (Personal Records).

My PR’s from the Lift Off (Personal Records).


My coach Josh setting up for a 191lb (87kg) snatch.


Josh snatching 191lbs (87kg).


Anthropos Performance.

YES, it has changed my climbing. Some of you might find this surprising but I don’t really consider myself a “powerful” climber. I think I am lucky that I have good technique thanks to an amazing coach when I was younger and to the polished granite of Yosemite. I use my legs to drop-knee, toe hook, heel hook and I know how to use my legs to get my hips into better positions to reach from. I also happen to have strong fingers naturally and enjoy moving off of crimps that some wouldn’t even consider foot holds. These are my strengths. Since I’ve been weightlifting I’ve noticed an increase in overall strength, especially core strength and the ability to generate a lot of body tension. I’m starting to feel like a more powerful climber.

A screen shot of me three or four weeks ago PR'ing my squat at 190lbs. Not perfect form as it is a 1RM PR. Click to watch the video.

A screen shot of me three months ago PR’ing my squat at 190lbs. Not perfect form as it was a 1RM PR. Click to watch the video.

Click HERE to watch my 260lb deadlift PR.

And HERE to watch my (wobbly) 195lb squat PR.

My goals right now are to focus on getting better and stronger in weightlifting and to continue climbing routes or start hangboarding to maintain climbing fitness. I’m planning to do more weightlifting competitions because they are good for keeping the psych high while training and it’s easier to set goals when you have a competition in mind. Don’t worry, I’m sure when it’s Yosemite and Jailhouse season again I’ll be back full force into climbing and I’ll be a stronger climber from all this. I might even try and compete in ABS National Championships this year (the first time since 2007).

That’s it for now. Stay tuned for more!

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