Matt Fultz has dialed in his climbing training routine from the comfort of his own home. Learn from his experience to maximize time on your own home climbing wall!

When the COVID pandemic shut down commercial gyms, climbers had to get creative with their own spaces. They built woodies, bought smart walls, set up hangboards, gathered strength training equipment, and got to work while hunkered down. For some, it was just a temporary fix. But other climbers prefer it that way, with everything they need to train right there at their fingertips. Accessibility, privacy, and flexibility can go a long way. 

Matt Fultz is one of those climbers. When he’s not traveling or pursuing specific projects, he spends most of his training time zoned in on his home wall. “I’m a very outdoor oriented climber,” Fultz explains. “I don’t get a lot out of jumping around and playing on volumes. That’s all very fun and challenging, for sure, but it doesn’t line up with my goals right now. So seven times out of ten, I’m doing the work here at home.” 

That way, he can get exactly what he needs out of the terrain. Fultz sets his own boulders ranging in difficulty from warm up to project level so that the wall works for pretty much any kind of training session. “I have a project roster, and try to keep that to at least 10 problems that I’m actively working on,” says Fultz. He then fills in the gaps with easier problems that he uses for circuits and movement drills. Hangboards, barbells, and free weights round out his home gym system. 

Warming Up

Every session starts the same with an off-the-wall warmup to get his blood pumping, followed by dynamic stretches and strength work—either heavy lifting or hangboard training. On lifting days, Fultz emphasizes the “big four” lifts: squat, deadlift, overhead press, and bench press. These compound exercises work multiple muscle groups at once for maximum efficiency, and give him a foundation of full-body strength. He’ll add in more specific exercise like dips and thrusters as needed. His hangboard regimen depends on his goals at the moment. Fultz spent much of 2022 coming back from a finger injury, so right now he’s focused on building resilience in his tendons and pulleys. Performing maximum strength hangs at least two times a week (plus a daily serving or two of Supercharged Collagen from PhysiVantage!) has been central to his ongoing recovery.

Training Routines

From there, Fultz cycles through three different training routines over the course of a typical week. “I like to mix things up,” he describes, “so I don’t follow a linear plan. That means I’m trying to do different things each day through the week, staying consistent with those things but working on multiple things all at once.” He’ll either spend the session working on two to three of his standing projects, set new projects and practice limit bouldering while putting them up, or perform circuits for volume on climbs in the V7 to V10 range. “I’ll set a timer for an hour and see how many I can do in that time,” Fultz says. “I’m really paying attention to my quality of movement and pump management during these circuits!”

Mixing It Up

Once a week or so, Fultz does emerge from his lair for a session at the local gym. “I try to include lots of variety in my own sets, but there’s always going to be some personal bias involved there,” he admits. “Visiting the gym helps me add in different styles, movements, angles, and skills that I might be missing on my home wall.” 

Fultz is currently gearing up for a trip to the Tecino region of Switzerland in the early spring. In preparation for that, he’s been ramping up the hangboard training to make sure that his fingers can keep up with his excitement. “I’m terrified of being on a trip and getting injured,” laughs Fultz. “That’s everyone’s worst nightmare, building up to something and then getting hurt. I’m trying to improve the durability of my fingers ahead of time.” 

He’s also headed to Bishop this month to get his head in the game. Home gyms certainly come in handy, but it’s easy to get comfortable being in the same space all the time. Fultz’s main goal for Bishop is simple: “I just want to be somewhere different and spend some time trying hard on unfamiliar things. I’ll focus on being outside, trying climbs I haven’t gotten on before, and getting into the new project mentality.”   

Key Points: 

  • Home walls can make training more accessible, flexible, and maintainable for busy climbers 
  • Be sure to challenge yourself with an up-to-date project roster with climbs of various styles that you are actively working on
  • Incorporate easier climbs as well for days focused on quality of movement and volume
  • Training at home isn’t an excuse to neglect important strength work; make sure to include weights, bands, and hangboards in your setup for a well-rounded workout routine
  • Keep things fresh by mixing in trips to the gym and scheduling trips—both big and small—that refresh your project mentality

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