My goal is to use the gym to get in shape for mountaineering and rock climbing on my vacations. I don't have access to rock walls or mountains so I try and use what I have: a gym, and running routes. I also enjoy running, and the added benefits of a better cardiovascular system, so I want to fit that into my fitness plan as well.

I have lost about 7 kilos in the past three or so months through just general getting in shape. This has included its fair share of strict dieting, as well as weeks of beer drinking (vacations). I currently have some muscle definition but I definitely also still have a layer of fat. I weigh 78 kilos and am 177.5 cm, and I can't see my abs.

Diet: I eat oatmeal with milk and banana and peanut butter for breakfast. I have a hard boiled egg at 10 am. For lunch I eat leafy greens, lentils or flaxseed or peanut butter, occasionally sweet potato, and an apple. For a snack I have nonfat yogurt and some sunflower seeds before I go to the gym. For dinner I have more green vegetables, tomatoes, cucumbers, and 2-3 eggs. I live in Thailand so protein supplements are very expensive and I don't enjoy eating low quality protein (chicken breast) from grocery stores. My protein is low, but I don't want to be putting on a lot of muscle weight so I don't see it as a major concern.

Training: I do 8-9 exercises with 3 sets of 10 reps. I have switched between single muscle splits and full body routines - this is a major point where I want suggestions. I do this 3-4 days a week. The other 3 are spent running (6 miles) in about an hour, sometimes longer if I am tired. On my cardio days I also work on pullups and body weight core routines. Occasionally (maybe 1-2 a week) I do HIIT cardio on a treadmill. I also have a problem with hip and ankle flexibility so i regularly stretch.

I am looking to improve my relative strength, and get lean. I want to lose my last layer of fat in the next 12 weeks, while improving/maintaining strength. For strength I am most interested in improving core, pull, and grip strength. I do a pullup regimen of 5 sets every other day with 4 sets of 50% of MR and one set of 80% MR (I can do approximately 10 open hand pullups right now, but I really want this to improve). I want to know if it is bad to do long cardio 2-3 times a week - will this cause muscle degradation? Also what is the best split for lifting? How should my strength training and cardio be mixed together? Do I truly need 2 times my body weight in proteins? This just seems unrealistically high, broscience.

Sorry for the length - any suggestions about how to better present my stats would be appreciated.

  • For starters, chicken is a HIGH quality source of protein. Second; protein is necessary for overall health needs, not just building muscle. Third, you won't put on a lot of mass if you don't eat (in other words, controlling how much you eat will control how much mass you gain). Fourth, you probably only need ~ 1 g of protein per kg of lean body mass, but more might help you continue to lose weight as it can help with satiety.
    – Alex L
    Mar 12, 2016 at 5:36

2 Answers 2


I have been climbing and competing in this sport for a long time. I am not a mountaineer but I have done a lot of sport climbing in the past and have been primarily bouldering for the last 8 years. For hand strength I suggest being very cautious in how hard you push yourself in this regard. Always use open hands when doing training specific to finger strength (no crimping). Be cautious of your tendons in your fingers. They take longer then your muscles to improve.

For hand strength I use a rice bucket about 5 gal filled to train both grip strength and the antagonist muscles in my hands. I push my hands as deep as possible and squeeze the rice. Near the bottom of the bucket should be quite a lot of resistance. For the antagonist muscles I use my wrist and fingers to push the rice back. This should engage the back side of your wrist and forearms. This is an odd but fairly common tool in the climbing community. The following workout I do not recommend if you have not been working grip strength regularly for at least 6 months. I also do dead hangs to train hand strength. Because you do not have access to a climbing wall and I am guessing you do not also have access to a hang board for climbing a sturdy door jam will likely work. For sport climbing I usually hung with an open hand grip for 30 sec then rested for 30 sec for ten reps and I would do this three times.

For lock off strength without access to a wall I am sure someone here can help you find a routine with weights for that. If you have a pull up bar you can train most of the range with frenchies. This is a modification on a pull up where you hold the up position for 4 - 6 sec and then hold the half way down for the same time and then if you want repeat holding at the 3/4 and 1/4 positions.

Obviously this is only part of what you need to climb hard but I think other people on this site are more qualified to help with those aspects.


Long Cardio is fine and won't cause muscle degradation so long as it doesn't interfere with your strength training by making you really tired before / unable to do the strength workout. I'd advise a cycle of a Strength day followed by a cardio day and then either strength again (but less intensity) or a full rest day. For the pull ups, I'd look to start adding weight as you're up to 10 pullups. There's plenty of progression guides online that will be a useful in understanding how to achieve this. I understand that you don't have access to rock walls or mountains, but the best way to train for rock climbing is always rock climbing! With that in mind, see if you can get access to a fingerboard, or if there's any hardcore climbers in the area, a homemade training wall (or make your own).

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