For such a highly recommended book, I found this disappointingly incoherent.

The introduction spends a long time hammering home that mental and technical training are far more important for most climbers than physical training. It then devotes one chapter to each, and then five chapters to physical training.

The chapter on mental training is pretty standard, except for some weird asides about left- vs right-brain training and learning styles.

The chapter on technical training spends a lot of time talking about general principles of skill acquisition and explaining specific climbing techniques but only has a few concrete exercises.

There’s a ton of information about energy systems and how to target each, but the terminology used varies so much throughout the book that it’s hard to follow. The chapter on energy systems talks about anaerobic alactic, anaerobic lactic and aerobic systems, and then just a few pages later talks about power-endurance vs strength-endurance and finally finishes with a page by dividing training into anaerobic power, anaerobic capacity, aerobic power and aerobic capacity. It’s not really clear how any of these relate and there is no attempt to fit them into an overall map.

The chapters on mobility and core strength are just a list of pretty bog-standard exercises.

The chapters on finger strength and pull strength are also pretty standard, and focus mostly on non-climbing exercises - fingerboards, campus boards, pull-up bars etc. A few anaerobic endurance exercises are thrown in. Cross-training is recommended for aerobic endurance.

The advice on training schedules is both overwhelming in detail and unhelpfully vague. The examples given use a mix of all the different terminology so far. The terminology used in the weekly schedules doesn’t match any of the example workouts. There is a single ‘skill’ workout that mentions no specific skill training - just laps and intervals - and does not occur in any of the weekly schedules. I’m left feeling less able to design a schedule than when I started reading.

All I feel qualified to say about the chapter on nutrition is that it seems plausible. It’s anti-creatine (because of the weight gain) and pro-caffeine, and dismisses all other supplements (none of which I had heard of before anyway). It also regularly reinforces the authors extreme fondness for skimmed milk.

The recovery chapter advises active rest between climbs, regular snacking and hydration while climbing (it’s weird that this is actually controversial - a lot of people I climb with don’t like to eat during the day) and carb-loading immediately afterwards. Plus stretching, foam rolling / massage and active rest on non-climbing days.

The injury prevention chapter has a long list of possible injuries followed by some common-sense advice (warm up before climbing, don’t train every day). The one piece of climbing-specific advice is to avoid both passive hanging and catching weight on straight arms - engage your shoulders and catch with bent arms, otherwise you’ll wreck the joint.

Two tidbits in the book were interesting enough that I did some extra research:

The central governer model explains fatigue as a primarily cognitive phenomenon - integrating signals from across the body and limiting exertion to prevent injury. The book describes it as ‘controversial’ which seems generous - a quick search doesn’t turn up any actual evidence and it seems to be primarily the pet theory of one lab group.

The Golgi tendon organ monitors muscle tension and inhibits contraction to prevent damage. There seems to be some debate as to how large a role this plays, but the broader idea of strength gains via neural disinhibition seems to be more well accepted.

Overall, I’m disappointed in how detail-focused the book is. It’s the internet age - I can drown myself in details for free online. What I want from a book is for someone knowledgeable to filter, prioritise and organise information into a coherent structure so that I can actually make decisions about how to train. This book does not do a good job of that.