Author Archive

Mountain Strength the book

 Hello, world! For over a year now, we have been hard at work writing “Mountain Strength: Strength and Conditioning for Mountain Athletes.”

  Creating this book has been a dream for us, aggregating our decades of experience into one comprehensive resource. As we designed and built the training programs listed in this book, we were coaching as well, allowing us the unique ability to test every concept and workout in the 300 plus pages of this book. The process was slow and tedious, writing, re-writing, and then re-re-writing some more, then testing and re-testing our training programs & techniques to ensure there efficacy.  Writing and creating a book like this has been a real labor of love. We have spent countless hours aggregating everything a mountain athlete needs to know in one place. This book is more than just a list of workouts; it includes tips and tricks to help along the way, advice on things to avoid, learned from or own failures, and explanations of broad concepts and philosophies we adhere too in the gym.  

a photo of some of our athletes who helped test our programs and workouts at our Denver, CO facility.

  After more than a year of nonstop work, we are close to completing our vision. It’s now time to print this bad boy and get it into the hands of the people we care about- the tribe of mountain savages that we know and love. This Kickstarter campaign’s purpose is to help raise money to allow us to publish this book in the quality and style it deserves. Your pre-order will help us with the upfront cost of ordering books in bulk, which will enable us to print the highest quality book possible. We’re doing this all on our own, without a fancy publishing company, or a big dollar budget- we are coaches after all! 

check out our kickstart campaign by clicking on the video below or by going to

Mountain Strength is a training manual written for mountain athletes. The strength and conditioning programs outlined in this book have been painstakingly tested and designed to build better skiers, runners, and climbers, no matter your specific discipline or fitness level. We have spent years testing every workout in this book to create a comprehensive training manual just for athletes like you. Learn about our methodologies and how to take your training to a new level.  

Included in Mountain Strength vol.1 :  

  • Over 500 unique workouts, warmups, exercises, and recovery
  • Specific training programs for route climbing, bouldering, skiing, and mountaineering
  • Scaleable in difficulty for beginners and elite athletes alike  
  • Tips and advice included along the way to take your training to the next level  
  • Full-color with vivid images and a quality binding  
  • Lessons on topics like caffeine in sports, the benefits of intensity in practice, the neuroendocrine response, speed and cadence for climbers, developing mental toughness, shoulder rehab, and prehab.  
  • Includes power and endurance centric broad non sport-specific training programs for those who want to do it all.  
  • Train a la cart by selecting one of our accessory programs such as deadlifting, squatting, rowing or Olympic lifting. 
Our book will come with a digital copy to make it easier to use in the gym.

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My favorite workouts: Coach Jamie

I have two go-to climbing workouts: 

One that tests overall endurance, and one that works on power endurance. 

#1: Overall Endurance

Matt Lloyd and I created the first one together. 

You will do three movements:

  1. Box Step Ups
  2. Ski/Bike/Row for Calories (choose one)
  3. Climbing Moves

The rep scheme is 50-40-30-20-10

To break it down, you do 50 box step ups, then ski, bike or row 50 calories, then make your way over to the climbing wall and accumulate 50 climbing moves. 

Next, you do 40 box step ups, 40 calories and 40 climbing moves. 

Then 30, 20 and finally down to 10 of each. 

If you’re feeling really rowdy, do it with a weight vest!

#2: Power Endurance

This is a climbing “interval” workout. It’s easiest to do this with a partner, but not necessary:

1 Minute on the climbing wall (without coming down) / 1 Minute of rest (off the wall)

2 Minutes on the climbing wall / 2 Minutes of Rest

3 Minutes on / 3 Minutes off

2 Minutes on / 2 Minutes off

1 Minute on / 1 Minute off

What’s nice is this workout is very easily scaled easier or harder. 

You can change the amount of time on the wall (start with 20, 15 or even 10 seconds and build up from there), add a weight vest, or swap time for number of hand moves (i.e. 50 hand moves, 1 minute rest, 75 hand moves, 1:30 second rest). You get the idea – be creative and get after it!

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Try these climbing workouts

Try these complete training workouts taken directly from our 6 week intensive climbing training camp

Day 1 – Strength Training

Warm Up: Overhead foam roll on wall: 30-45 seconds, Subscap trigger point: 30-45 seconds (add arm slides and body rocks), Bear Rolls: 2-3 sets x 10/side, Climb 8 rounds of 25 moves or 4 rounds of hangboarding :06 on/ :04 off for :60 sec  

Strength Component: -4 rounds of: 12 (6x per arm) Single Arm Tempo Row (slow down-fast up, use a dumbbell or kettlebell) + 12 Bulgarian Split Squats with weight (stay light here!) -4 rounds of: 10 Deadlifts w/ a 30 sec hold, using your bodyweight + 8 Weighted Sit-ups (weight plate behind head)  

Recovery- Rehab: Double ball trigger point: 6-8 at each spot along spine, Prone arm lifts: 2-3 times through, ER with step away: 2-3 sets x 10-12/side, ER with forward press: 2-3 sets x 10-12/side, Side-lying KB rotation: 2-3 sets x 12-15 rotations/side 

  Day 2 – Climbing Skill and Technique 

Warm Up: 10 min of climbing easy moves, 10 pass throughs, 10 strict press, 5-10 scap pullups, 5-10 scap pushups, 10 wall squats 5 pass throughs, 5 strict press + 5 push press, 5-10 pullups, 5-10 pushups, 5 single arm circles each direction each arm, 10 air squats, 10 lunges (5 each leg) Stretch out your forearms and get them ready to work.  

Skill: 20 min practicing quiet feet and deliberate foot work. Climb an easy boulder or route as quickly as you can without making any noise. Each time you make noise, restart.  

Discuss and teach: red-point climbing tactics & how to send a project.  

Climbing: Create a hard project climb in which each move is doable but you are unable to link. Make the boulder 5-7 moves long. Once you have the moves memorized, give the boulder one effort every 3 min for 15 min – focusing on maximum try hard and climbing until you “fall” aka – don’t let go!  

Hangboard: First: Find maximum hang time on 1 pad edge (aiming for about :30-:60 sec). Then: Complete 10 hangs at 50% of your predetermined max hang time while wearing a weight vest, adding weight each round. Example: Max hang time 34 seconds, each round would be 17 sec adding 10# of weight each round starting from zero.

Recovery: stretch + 5 min ice tub forearms

For more training tomfoolery, check out our online training site here

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New to Mountain Strong? Here’s What to Know

So you’re considering an exciting journey – becoming mountain strongER – congratulations! Starting a new gym always poses a few questions, and we hope this post helps you feel more comfortable in your early weeks.  


Let’s be honest. It’s about the people too. First: The coaches are a mix of athletes with diverse passions/skill sets and sense of adventure. (We’ve got martial arts, van living, world exploring, archery, etc. on our resumes.)

We have endless love and excitement when it comes to coaching and watching people earn small and big wins every day.

We challenge you to do your best, and the members come ready to deliver every single day. We don’t push you overboard. We have colorful programming, and we work with everybody to make the day successful. Members are genuinely curious how you are and will ask you about your life because we are real people who thrive on the strength of our close-knit community. We are supportive of each other, whether’s its sharing some of our hard earned advice or cheering somebody through a timed workout.

We love kickin’ back with the occasional beer (this is Denver, after all) so expect some social gatherings!



Despite being labeled a CrossFit gym, we focus our energy on helping people who live the Colorado lifestyle – mountain athletes, skiers, runners and climbers- take their performance to the next level through injury prevention, conditioning, mobility, and strength training. CrossFit is just one tool we utilize. We integrate grip work, Olympic lifting, running, bouldering, campusing, gymnastics, animal flow, and kettlebells to make you a well-rounded, long-lasting badass human. 


No question is too silly. We’ve all been where you have been once. We also keep a sharp eye on how well each individual is integrating with the program – we don’t view you just as a class – we monitor each body’s progress!

This is Coach Anne talking: I still vividly remember the day I signed up for a gym. The first few months, I would gather all my equipment for the assigned workout I selected out of a magazine and bring them into the studio. The studio was a place with dim lights and very few other members, if any!

With that said…here are some questions:

  • What do I do about this specific imbalance or injury?
  • I’m not familiar with this movement – can you go through it with me?
  • Do you have alternatives I might be more comfortable with during the assigned workout?



We will work with you to modify the workout every time. We don’t believe in pushing through the pain we do love working around it! We want you to come back smarter and stronger. Injuries are a common part of an athlete’s life and we won’t allow it to detour us!



We suggest coming 10-15 minutes early. This will give you adequate time to change clothes, make small talk, and warm up before the coaches’ warm up. All coaches offer a unique style of warm -up and activation drills to prep you for the workout, but it helps to get warm for about five minutes before class officially begins!

We recommend:

  • Climbing 
  • Rowing
  • Ski ERG
  • Foam rolling (if you are familiar with how to foam roll – otherwise ask us!)
  • Air Bike

Checking in? 

If you haven’t already, download the Mind-body app on your phone. This app allows you to check in to class, see whos coaching and helps us stay prepared and organized for every class. If you sign up for a class and can’t make it in- don’t worry – its no big deal!

What to wear? 

Wear clothes you feel good in and are capable of moving in all planes! Coach Anne here: I’m a strong believer in wearing attire you feel confident in, especially in new surroundings. Second, as mentioned, we deploy barbells, climbing work, kettlebells (and lots of chalk for our sweaty hands!): You want durable attire that won’t snag or tear. 


Can I come in to climb or lift without following the gym’s programming or coaching?

The short answer is YES. We understand lots of athletes have their systems in place and want to do their own thing when it comes to training- using our top-notch equipment and facility. We offer a 24hour membership for athletes who have a solid understanding of training methodology and best practices. You get a code to the door and are allowed to come train anytime the gym is open or closed- to your heart’s content. Email us if your interested ( ) 


High-five on considering becoming mountain strong. We mean that literally and will do our best to make it happen for you. We are psyched to have you become part of our growing community! 

Check out our other blog posts to learn more about the gym and our training methodologies!

More questions/concerns? Just take the leap and come drop in for a class ( your first one is always free- no pressure ! )  or Talk to a coach!


Written by Coach Anne R.  check her out on instagram @liftlivelead and the gym at @mountainstrongdenver



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Coaches Corner: The pull-up

The pull-up is one of those movements that comes so naturally for some and is a constant struggle for others. But, no matter where you lie on the pull-up spectrum, there is always room for improvement. 

Why should you do pull-ups?

Pull-ups are a great test of body weight strength. They work your grip, biceps, shoulders, and back. They also help improve general body awareness and help you learn to control your body through space. Pull-ups are the ultimate real-world upper body exercise.  

Why do some people struggle?

Sorry ladies, the cards are sort of stacked against us! Women have a higher body fat percentage than men, which means that their strength to body weight ratio is low. Women also don’t build muscle as fast which makes it more difficult but not impossible!

Also, taller and larger people have a harder time with strict pull-ups. Smaller people have a relatively higher body weight strength than a larger person-once again, that strength to body weight ratio. It often comes down to weight, levers, and physics. 

The good news: You can still get a pull-up!

If you are committed to working towards it, there are many things you can do to work towards that elusive strict pull-up. 

  1. Work on the basic muscle groups to build bicep and lat strength through free weight movements and lifting. 
  2. Scale the pull up to something that directly translates to the full movement. I recommend toe assisted box pullups (video) and only SOME band assisted pull-ups. 
  3. Make a goal and commit and be diligent to whatever program you choose! (check out my pull-up program on the website or find one that works for you!)
  4. If it is healthy and feasible for you, shedding even a few pounds will make pull-ups, and every body-weight movement much easier.  


To kip or not to kip. 

Why do we do the kipping pull-up? In any high-intensity training, we want to find ways that you can do more reps in a short amount of time to keep the intensity up. 

However, if you cannot perform a strict pull-up, there is no reason to do kipping pull-ups in a workout. It’s just not safe! However, you can continue to work on the skill outside of workouts while you are developing your strict pull-up strength.

Improving on your strict pull-ups.

If you already have a good strict pull-up foundation, here are a few things to add to your routine that can help improve them even more. 

  1. Add some weight: Go slow and work up in weight and reps.
  2. Improve your mobility: If you know you have tight lats or thoracic spine, spend some time every day working on those areas for a better full range of motion. 
  3. Negatives: Work on negatives until failure (no longer able to control descent)
  4. Chest to bar: Work on pulling even higher! Aim for your chest or sternum. This will help engage even more lats, chest, and triceps. 

wait for it…..



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Meet our members.

Ben Roden 


Ben packed his life into his 2-door Honda Accord and moved to Denver 3 years ago to study fancy numbers in grad school and play in the mountains. Now, he works in corporate finance consulting doing some of that fancy numbers stuff. He grew up playing soccer but took up climbing after college and never looked back. Much like many of our members, he came to Mountain Strong looking for a community and was happy to find one that was similarly motivated to himself. 

Outside of the gym, he climbs, summits mountains, trail runs, snowboards, reads books, writes poorly and plays chess. Currently, he’s psyched on snowy mountain summits, muscle ups and almond butter toast. You can find Ben in the gym at almost any hour of the day lifting and working on his gymnastic skills. He is one of our strongest body weight to strength athletes!



Ashley Munoz

Ashley started coming to Mountain Strong in October this year after moving from Washington DC. She picked Mountain Strong because she was looking for a new wonderful CrossFit community filled with talented and amazing athletes.  She has CrossFitted for the last 2 years and when not at the gym you can find her outside: whether that is skiing several days a week, trail running, snowshoeing, swimming or hiking 14ers. 

For work, she is a nurse in the Cardiac Intensive Care nurse at Childern’s Hospital and works primarily night shift, so you will find her at random times at the gym. Her favorite work out movements are HSPUs, box jumps and, if you can believe it, burpees! She loves the vast knowledge of everyone at the gym and is looking forward to growing as an athlete and meeting all the other members at Mountain Strong. 

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Occlusion training : aka Blood flow restriction

Occlusion training: aka Blood flow restriction

Below is a collection of articles and information I gathered from a verity of sources to help get you up to speed on BFR training and its benefits.



What is blood flow restriction training?

Wikipedia definition:“Blood flow restriction training (abbreviated BFR training) or Occlusion Training is an exercise approach whereby resistance exercise or aerobic exercise is performed whilst a tourniquet is applied to proximal aspect of the muscle. Limb blood flow is restricted via a cuff throughout the contraction cycle and rest period. This results in partial restriction of arterial inflow to muscle, but, most significantly restricts venous outflow from the muscle. Given the light-load nature and strengthening capacity of BFR training, it can provide an effective clinical rehabilitation stimulus without the high levels of joint stress and cardiovascular risk associated with heavy-load training ”

Explain the physiology:

Excerpt from 

“In order to understand how BFR works, it’s important to do a quick debriefing on how your circulatory system (also called vascular or cardiovascular system) works. Your arteries are blood vessels that carry oxygenated blood away from your heart to your body. Your veins are blood vessels that carry mostly deoxygenated blood from the body back to the heart.

The goal of blood flow restriction training is to restrict venous return while still allowing arterial flow by strategically wrapping the topmost portion of your limbs. By restricting the veins and not the arteries, blood can keep pooling into a working muscle and it stays trapped there. It’s like filling a water balloon to max capacity (without it popping, of course).

By bringing in all of that blood to the working muscles without letting it leave, a couple key things happen.

One, you get a crazy pump. Seriously, your muscles become supersized. The theory is that this leads to cellular swelling which shocks the muscles into new growth.

Two, it’s gonna burn like hell. Your muscles quickly become deprived of oxygen and can’t get rid of accumulating waste materials and this creates a lot of metabolic stress or acidosis. Metabolic stress is one of the three major mechanisms of muscle growth and should not be overlooked.

Dr. Brad Schoenfeld is a regular Men’s Health contributor and one of the leading authorities on hypertrophy (the scientific term for muscle growth).

In his book Science and Development of Muscle Hypertrophy, he says: “The prevailing body of literature shows that BFR training stimulates anabolic signaling and muscle protein synthesis and markedly increases muscle growth despite using loads often considered too low to promote significant hypertrophy.”

Brad goes on further, saying that “it has been speculated that metabolic stress is the driving force behind BFR-induced muscle hypertrophy.”

Another really cool thing that happens with BFR is since your oxygen-dependent slow-twitch fibers fatigue way faster than normal, you have to quickly start tapping into your fast-twitch muscle fibers, which have the biggest potential for growth.

What’s crazy about this is your fast-twitch fibers typically don’t get hit unless you’re using heavy loads or moderately heavy loads performed explosively. But BFR allows you to go fast-twitch with loads less than 50 percent of your one-rep max. In fact, one study from the Journal of Applied Physiology showed increased muscle cross-sectional area with BFR training using loads as light as 20 percent of one-rep max. That’s the equivalent of pink baby weights in some cases.”


Show me the evidence:

A meta-analysis of studies pertaining to BFR

How to incorporate this into my cross training and climbing :

At Mountain Strong, we like using the somewhat standard program of :

30 fast succession reps (or: 45 secs of work) at a low eight ( >20%1rm ) followed by a: 30-second rest repeated 4 times. We like to do this in a couplette (with two different exercises- 4 rounds each – resting and releasing the cuff once after the first  4 round set and on completion of the second).

We find this methodology is best put into practice for our climbers by selecting Zottman curls and grip squeezesfor their BFR training. For a less sport-specific approach, we like calf raizes, air squats, and triceps extensions.


exsample workout :

Tighten band just above the elbow:

4 rounds of :45 sec rapid squeezing with rubber grip trainers followed by :30 of rest

Release the band – rest for 3 min –

Tighten the band just below the shoulderat the top of the biceps then:

4 rounds of 30 reps of the zottman curl followed by :30 seconds of rest


Links to learn more: 

Buying a BFR band :

The Science of Blood Flow Restriction Training

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