How much do you all rest?

For a long time now I’ve been doing a day on, day off routine. Feels good because I’m always fresh for my next limit bouldering session. (I only boulder these days).

When I started this routine I was worried I was doing too little bc I just wanted to climb more. But recently I had to take 2 days off a few times in a row bc of work, family etc. And it felt good, like I was fresher than I knew I could be, and made me wonder if I actually have not been resting enough - like maybe my body would make better gains resting 2 days btwn limit bouldering sessions. But the idea of only climbing like 2 days a week doesn’t make me happy…

Anyone have experience with building max strength by resting that much?

I’m doing one of the pcc bouldering plans right now and it actually only suggests I do 3 sessions per week (2 sessions max/limit and 1 volume session) + 1-2 short gym sessions. At first I was really surprised at how few sessions are in the program, but over time I have found myself more than capable of producing quite a lot of fatigue during these workouts. Weirdly, I have however been feeling worse at climbing after two days off than at the end of the week, when theoretically I should be more tired. I think that might be more mental stuff though (end of the week, lower expectations, relying more on technique than raw strength).

This is my first time doing a structured program, (been climbing for 5 years) so probably a lot of noob gains, but I’ve seen consistent increases in strength assessments (max hangboard went from about 1.05 to 1.17 bw doing only two five-minute hv sessions per week within only 8 weeks). Hard to tell how my actual climbing is improving because of grade flux at my gyms (they all decided to change how they grade in the middle of my program).

Steven dimmit had a really interesting discussion about this with steve maisch in one of his episodes:

[The Nugget Climbing Podcast] EP 70: Steve Maisch — How to Structure a Bouldering Trip, the 85% Rule, and Hueco Debrief 🅴 #theNuggetClimbingPodcast
EP 70: Steve Maisch — How to Structure a Bouldering Trip, the 85% Rule, and Hueco Debrief 🅴 � - Podcast Addict via @PodcastAddict

Listen from 1.05 to 1.20.

Also interesting how to add in gym training on your climbing days in order to be as fresh as possible for your next climbing day.


I found a LOT of benefit from more rest. I’m a huge proponent of the

Limit boulder
Rest/repeat (if you like to have consistency, such as bouldering every Wed, repeat, but I benefit from the extra rest day)

Schedule. This was the schedule that I’ve seen the most gains in, once I learned more about my body and abilities I added in some supplementary training like hangboarding and what have you.

Where “rest” can be cross training, hangboarding, some weights, etc, but nothing too intense and almost certainly a true rest day before limiting bouldering (I usually due weight training or hangboarding on a climbing day)

This is, of course, pretty selective to me but I think that trying to climb too much ends up holding you back after a while, especially if the idea is going in to “limit boulder” every session. The podcast, most podcasts really, have a much better discussion on this in many episodes ( which I would link if I had two arms atm, sorry!).

There is, of course, something more to be said if you have a large variety in your sessions, or other goals. When I was focusing on rope climbing I found a lot of benefit from more sessions, but I think a lot of that is a volume thing…

Just one person’s view, things like this tend to be murky since everyone is different, but often more rest is good I think.

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My week currently looks like this for the most part:
Monday: PM boulder at the gym
Tuesday: rest
Wednesday: AM home finger strength, PM gym boulder sesh
Thursday: PM light PE session
Friday-Saturday: rest
Sunday: boulder outside
I like the “two on” because I think it builds some overall capacity that helps on trips when two days on is usually a good option. Also, the sessions are drastically different on day one vs day two. For me, at 37 I need two days off at least once a week to feel fresh and powerful for the outdoor sesh on Sunday.

Right now I’m in boulder mode because it’s generally cold here in NE and our Christmas trip is a bouldering trip. If I was in sport mode, I might do a finger strength session Monday morning if the sport climbing didn’t check that box.


I usually stick to 3x/week when training for bouldering, but it’s a bit more complicated than that depending on what those sessions look like. I know I can’t do more than 2 hard sessions per week, 1 easy/volume session can usually get sprinkled in there without screwing the hard sessions up. If I feel that I’m not ready to try hard I take another rest day. Rushing the week and saying “I have to have a big, super difficult climbing session on Tuesday and also Friday” usually betrays me because I’m not sure how I’m actually going to feel and how everything else in my life will fall in place. If I feel ready to rip then hard bouldering here I am, if not at all here’s a rest day, semi ready then hey how bout a little easy session followed by a rest day so the next session can be a difficult high quality one. Usually that shakes out to 2 hard bouldering sessions and 1 easy one every 7-10 days.


I almost always rest 2 or even 3 days in a row at least once in a week. The exception is when I’m doing very short outdoor sessions (warmup, try the project a handful of times and go back to work) several days a week.


The older I get, the more I rest- when I’m doing power company plans, I usually do 1 day on, 2 days off, 1 day on, 1 day off, 1 day on, 1 day off, repeat.

When doing this, I usually make sure my hardest workout is on my day after the 2 days off- then I try to maintain intensity at that level through the rest of that week.

When I’m off plans and just doing maintenance, I actually try for 2 days off in general unless my workout was a bust or I didn’t get in any substantial climbing inside or outside- then I’ll do one day off.

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I don’t know if anyone else has experienced this, but I have had a lot of success working in the 85% range this past off-season. My training was bouldering focused and I did very little limit bouldering or maximal hang boarding. Most of the hang boarding was at a 7-8 RPE and the vast majority of the boulders I was doing took no longer than a few sessions to complete.

I was able to handle 3 days per week of this style of training even with poor sleep due to a new baby at home.

While I think it’s important to spend some time on limit level work, I may have over emphasized it in the past. I’m not sure the fatigue acquired is necessarily worth the gain from working at an absolute maximal intensity (at least most of the time.)


Depends on goals and needs of course. That said, I’ve not seen many people consistently reach past 85% though, even when they think they are at their limit.

I think what resonates with me about 85% is the idea of a pyramid - I’m having a lot of luck this season not just working at my limit grade, but trying to send a lot 2-3 grades lower and carry that momentum to the limit grades. So maybe 1 or even 2 out of every three sessions is spent on “second tier” climbs.

Is that more or less what you mean?