The Training Diaries: Josh Levin



The last CCS athlete in the Training Diaries series is Josh Levin. If you haven’t already heard of Josh, it’s probably time to come out of that rock that you’ve been living under. Josh has won Youth Nationals 19 times–the most in climbing history, has been on the USA National Climbing Team 30 times–again, a new record, and was the undefeated youth speed climbing champion from 2003-2012. He’s also won the Triple Crown Climbing Series, the Dark Horse series, and Dominion River Rock. Last year was his first time competing at CCS Nationals, and he took home 2nd place in bouldering. He’s bouldered V12 and climbed 5.14c, all while studying mechanical engineering at Northeastern University!

Ring of Fire Round 1
Ring of Fire Round 1


How long have you been climbing:

16 years

Do you currently have a coach or were you previously coached in climbing:


2014 Ring of Fire Championships
2014 Ring of Fire Championships

How many days per week do you usually train and for how long:

4-5 days per week for at least 3 hours


When does your team start practicing each year:


CCS Nationals
CCS Nationals 2014

Describe a day of training at the gym:

For Northeastern practices, we have 30 minutes of warm-up, followed by 30 minutes of projecting. We then break off into whatever the exercise is for the day, varying between power-endurance, laps, circuits, or power. This typically lasts 1-2 hours. Following this, we do conditioning for 30 minutes.
Describe some specific drills you do to train for your discipline (sport/speed/bouldering):

For bouldering, I specifically focus on power endurance, finger strength, and onsighting ability. Having enough power endurance is key in order to lasting all through the qualification round and 3 grueling finals problems. Finger strength is my biggest weakness, so I do a lot of campus board to keep up with everyone else. Practicing onsighting is the best mental training you can do to work on route-reading abilities that are essential to figuring out a boulder problem in five minutes or less.

2012 SCS Open Nationals
2012 SCS Open Nationals

What exercises do you think have helped you to progress the most in your climbing:

I do a lot of interval training on boulder problems, which is beneficial for both sport climbing as well as bouldering. It helps keep me versatile and ready for any climbing challenge since it combines the raw strength that is required for bouldering and cardio and general fitness required for sport climbing. It’s helped me transition from performing at the best of my abilities in high-level bouldering competitions one weekend to sending hard sport climbs outdoors the next.

Winning 2014 Dominion Riverrock
Winning 2014 Dominion Riverrock

Do you do any type of cross training (i.e. training that is not climbing-related, like running or swimming):

I bike a lot during the summer while I’m in Boston. It’s great cross-training and keeps my legs in shape for speed climbing.


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

It’s a secret 😉

2014 Dark Horse Championships
2014 Dark Horse Championships

How important do feel climbing outside is for your progression:

Outdoor climbing is necessary for keeping the psych high at all times. If you just train indoors, the risk of burnout from mental fatigue is quite high. I’ve found that the best mix is to train indoors during the week, then go outdoor climbing on weekends if the weather’s nice. I was able to do that all of last fall while I worked some projects up at Rumney, and it’s by far the most motivated I’ve been throughout my climbing career.

How often do you climb outside:

I climb every weekend in the fall, if I can manage it. Also lots of trips during the summer. Rodellar is my favorite; I definitely plan on making a return trip when I have time.

Northeastern Climbing Team
Northeastern Climbing Team at 2014 CCS Nationals





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