The Training Diaries: Owen Graham

This week’s CCS Superstar is Owen Graham. He placed 2nd in Men’s Sport Climbing at the 2014 CCS Nationals Competition. He was also the 2012 SCS Youth National Champion in Sport Climbing, the 2011 Pan American Champion in Sport Climbing, and a 6 time USA Climbing Team Member. He competed with and helped to coach the Colorado State University climbing team before graduating in 2014. Read on to see how he got to be such beast.


How long have you been climbing: 12 years
Do you currently have a coach or were you previously coached in climbing: I started the CSU Climbing Team, was head coach for 2 years, and now serve as an advisor to the team.


Owen on the Men’s Finals route at CCS Nationals 2014

How many days per week do you usually train and for how long: 3 days a week for around 2 hours each. Quality over quantity

When does your team start practicing each year: The second week of the Fall Semester
Describe a day of training at the gym:

Warm up/ stretch 15 min

Project 45 min

4X4’s with active rest 30 min

Core 15 min

Finger board or cardio 15 min
Describe some specific drills you do to train for your discipline

Sport- When training for World Cups in the past, it was all about power endurance. 4X4’s were the most effective for me, but also speed lead climbing helped me train physically and mentally for competition.

Bouldering- You must first build raw power then go to power endurance for competition. Power usually came from the campus board. I usually do campus jumps, and or weighted laps.

Speed- Climb smooth and fast….


Owen placing 2nd in CCS Sport Climbing Nationals 2014

What exercises do you think have helped you to progress the most in your climbing: 4X4’s have been a staple in my training for 10 years. I have worked with some of the best trainers in the world and I personally don’t know an exercise that was more beneficial for me.
Do you do any type of cross training (i.e. training that is not climbing-related, like running or swimming): I used to run for breathing and cardio, but yoga has been very helpful for me.


Owen bouldering in Moab

What is your competition day routine (i.e. stretches, mental prep, certain foods):

Stretch: Do team circle active stretching

Food: I stay really hydrated and never liked to eat much. Eat a meal before though. Nothing specific, but something you are comfortable with. Michael Phelps won gold medals on McDonalds.

Mental: I did not win competitions because I was the strongest, I won because I was the smartest. You will get nervous, but don’t over think it. It’s just grabbing rocks. When you read a route, break it into sections and think about efficiency. Never let it intimidate you.

How important do feel climbing outside is for your progression: Climbing outside is great for route reading, because there is no tape and clear direction. It is helpful to competition but not crucial. Honestly if you want to win competitions, you must train mostly inside.

How often do you climb outside: In season and in college, I tried to get out every week. I now travel 80% of the time for work, so it’s pretty rare.


Thanks to Owen Graham for helping us all learn a little bit more about how to train like a champion!

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