Get to know us!
Charlie Manganiello (SFG II) is a strength coach, rock climber, skier, and runner. He has been training athletes for the last 10 years at Elemental Performance + Fitness in Lander, Wyoming. A frequent contributor to Climb Strong, Charlie is the author of the Climb Strong Deadlifting Manual and Unstoppable Force – Strength Training for Climbing. Charlie specializes in strength development and multi-sport programming.
Neely Quinn is a nutritionist and rock climber and the co-founder of Training Beta. Neely works hard to deliver relevant and thorough information to climbers all over the world. Neely’s primary focus is on cutting through the noise in the nutrition world and delivering real-world solutions to athletes’ fueling needs.
Tyler Nelson owns and operates a chiropractic sports medicine clinic and strength & conditioning business in Salt Lake City. While earning his doctoral degree, he completed a dual program masters degree in exercise science at the University Of Missouri. While in graduate school Tyler worked with the University of Missouri athletics department and currently is employed through two colleges in Utah. He teaches anatomy and physiology at a community college and works as a team physician for the Brigham Young football team. He is certified by the National Strength and Conditioning Association as a CSCS, and spends any extra time in his life with his three kids, or trad climbing in Zion National Park. He has been climbing for 17 years and gravitates toward all-day adventures. His expertise in human physiology and a cutting-edge knowledge of strength and conditioning techniques will help us understand training for climbing in the 21st century.
Kris Hampton is the owner of Power Company Climbing. Kris became a student of movement by watching gymnasts train at a facility near the neighborhood where he grew up. He saved his own money, took a class, and in a short time, was teaching tumbling classes and coaching men’s gymnastics. In 1994, Kris found rock climbing, and after a decade as a trad climber, and a short break from climbing, he discovered the joy of the gymnastic movement that is sport climbing and bouldering. To make up for the time away from the sport, at age 33, Kris began to get serious about training for climbing. At 40 he climbed his first 5.14, and at 41 his first V10, both of which are grades that seemed mythical when he first began climbing. He doesn’t believe that the progression will end there.
Seeing his success, Kris’ friends asked for training plans. Then readers of the blog asked for training plans. Now he’s written plans for thousands of climbers all over the world and gets just as much satisfaction from their successes as he does his own. (photo by Andy Wickstrom)
The founder of Elemental Performance + Fitness and Climb Strong, Steve Bechtel has been coaching strength and fitness for over 25 years. He is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and holds a degree in Exercise Physiology from the University of Wyoming. Steve is an SFG II, USA Weightlifting Certified Coach, a USA Cycling Elite-level coach, and has been coaching triathlon for over 20 years as a USAT-certified coach. A world-renowned expert in the training of rock climbers, he coaches many top-level climbers, and writes extensively on climbing training at the website Climb Strong. He is the author of eight books on training for climbing.
Alex Bridgewater (SFB) is a strength coach and rock climber. Coaching at Elemental Performance + Fitness and through Climb Strong. Alex believes that each athlete can achieve progress towards their goals through focused technique coaching in combination with habit changes that use simple reminders and daily systems to improve our body awareness and intentionality around physical well being, nutrition and performance. Alex specializes in strength development and performance climbing in all disciplines.
Chris Heilman, PhD, ATC, CSCS is a skier, climber, and sport psychologist who enjoys empowering athletes to develop the champion within. Chris is the founder of Mindset and has nearly 20 years of experience helping youth to Olympic athletes skyrocket both performance and personal excellence. She is the author of Elevate Your Excellence: The Mindset and Methods that Make Champions.
Mercedes Pollmeier MS, CSCS, is a Strength and Conditioning coach out of Seattle, Washington. She has a Master’s degree in Human Movement and started working with climbers of all abilities, including elite level/competition climbers, in Colorado. Currently, she works at the Seattle Bouldering Project with climbers and other athletes of all ability levels and runs her own company, Modus Athletica. She has written articles for blogs, Climbing Magazine, Deadpoint Mag, The Mountaineers, and Women’s Health, as well as a guide to movement training called Simple Strength. You can also check out her new program called The Mobility Project, designed to get your joints strong and mobile for climbing.
Dr. Jared Vagy is a doctor of physical therapy who specializes in treating rock climbers. He is also a professor at the University of Southern California, the number- one-ranked doctor of physical therapy program in the country. He lectures internationally on the topic of preventing climbing injury. Dr. Jared Vagy has published numerous articles as well as two books on the topic. His most recent book, “Climb Injury-Free” is an Amazon #1 best seller in the rock climbing category.
As a doctor of physical therapy in clinical practice, he has completed an additional one-year residency program in orthopedics and a one-year fellowship program in movement science, totaling 9 years of concentrated study. He is a Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.
Leif Gasch is the owner of SUBSTR8 Climbing Performance and has been involved in climbing training for almost a decade. Having spent much of his professional career working in the trades as a home builder and electrician, he approaches climbing training from a practical viewpoint focused on building a solid foundation of climbing fundamentals. Utilizing a steady and methodical approach to training, he often works with athletes in the “blue-collar” sector that require a carefully cultivated balance of effective training days coupled with critical rest periods.
Eric Hörst is an internationally renowned author, researcher, climbing coach, and accomplished climber of 40+ years. He is the author of the best-selling Training for Climbing which has, along with his seven other books (and many foreign translations), sold more than 400,000 copies worldwide. Hörst has written hundreds of magazine articles and appeared on numerous TV broadcasts; his training techniques and photos have appeared in countless publications around the world. He has co-authored one research paper: “Behavior Analysis and Sport Climbing”, Journal of Behavioral Health and Medicine, 2010, with Dr. Richard Fleming, and has been a keynote presenter for the International Rock Climbing Researchers Association. Hörst maintains the popular TrainingForClimbing.com web site and YouTube channel, and he broadcasts a monthly climbing science and training podcast available on iTunes, Spotify, and elsewhere (search for “Eric Hörst’s Training for Climbing podcast”). In December 2018, Hörst founded PhysiVantage performance nutrition for climbers.
During over 20 years of full-time guiding and coaching John has helped thousands of climbers improve both in performance and enjoyment; from their first trad leads to 5.13 redpoints and V11 boulder problems.
John has also been training and educating climbing coaches and instructors for over 15 years and delivering the UK’s national climbing qualifications since their inception 6 years ago. As a passionate multi-discipline climber he has gained extensive experience over four decades, including first ascents of trad, sport and ice routes, solo winter expeditions, and establishing new bouldering venues.
Best known in coaching for his specialist knowledge of climbing movement, in 2018 John published what has become a bestselling book on climbing technique, alongside regular articles and interviews that can be found online. John lives in Kendal, on the edge of the English Lake District, and can usually be found with his family or on his mountain bike when not on the rock.
Amanda Watts is the founder of Thrive Nutrition & Dietetics. She is one of the worlds leading climbing dietitians, working globally with climbers including members of the Swiss, US, NZ and Australian climbing teams and lots of recreational climbers all over the world.
She is the nutrition columnist for Vertical Life magazine in Australia and co-host of the Baffle Days climbing podcast.
Amanda is an accredited practising dietitian, an accredited sports dietitian and ICF accredited coach. She has worked with people now for over 25 years as an outdoor ed instructor, climbing guide, climbing coach, behaviour and health coach and sports dietitian.
Amanda wants to make a difference to people’s lives and is passionate about helping build robust body image, a healthy relationship with food and helping climbers perform and feel the best they can. She takes an in-depth, evidence-based approach to nutrition, health and performance.
Amanda has been climbing for over 25 years and lives with her daughter and partner Tom in the Blue Mountains in Australia. When she’s not working as a dietitian, Amanda can be found climbing in the Blue Mountains, training or exploring new climbing areas overseas with her little family. Over her 25 year climbing career, she has represented Australia in World Cup sport climbing, podiumed at multiple national and state level bouldering and climbing competitions and has climbed outdoors at a high level across sport and trad climbing and bouldering.
Amanda founded Thrive N&D to help people and athletes of all levels achieve their health goals and sporting dreams and to help non athletes evolve into a healthier and happier version of themselves.
Tiffany Melius was born and raised on the lands of the Jagera peoples (colonially known as Brisbane, Australia), and now lives and works on the traditional, ancestral, unceded territory of the kʷikʷəƛ ̓ əm (Kwikwetlem), Katzi, Səl̓ilwətaɁɬ təməxʷ (Tsleil-Waututh), Skwxwú7mesh-ulh Temíx̱w (Squamish), S’ólh Téméxw (Stó:lō) ), Qayqayt, Stz’uminus & Sxʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nations (colonially known as Vancouver, Canada).
I gratefully acknowledge and would like to pay my respects to Elders past and present.
A climber since the age of 14, Tiffany has over two decades of global climbing experience under her belt in many areas including competition, outdoor, governance, and coaching. Tiffany is the Executive Director of a community mental health non-profit, and is the owner and principal coach at Force of Nature Coaching – a life, sport, and performance coaching business. Tiffany recently trained for a bid at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in sport climbing, and now is on a new adventure as a climbing mama. Tiffany’s values are authenticity, integrity, and personal growth.
Lor Sabourin is the Training Leader for the Warrior’s Way, an organization that uses climbing-based mental training to optimize human performance and mental health. Lor believes that climbers learn best through experience, so they love to convert “big picture” mental training concepts into tangible drills and activities that athletes can practice in their training sessions and everyday lives. Lor’s work is trauma-informed and explores how an athlete’s life outside of climbing can influence their ability to stay committed to the stresses of the sport and focus during key moments. Lor is currently pursuing a Masters degree in mental health counseling with an emphasis on somatic therapy and adventure-based counseling. In addition to their work in the climbing industry, Lor also volunteers with LGBTQ+ youth in crisis. When they are not coaching, Lor can be found exploring steep desert splitters and limestone roofs in the desert Southwest.
AJ Sobrilsky is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and Orthopaedic Clinical Specialist who currently lives and works in Bozeman, MT. With a comprehensive background in biomechanics, sports performance, and exercise physiology, he is able to provide a unique perspective and comprehensive coaching and training packages for climbing athletes.
As a Wisconsin native who made his way to Flagstaff, AZ to pursue altitude training as a competitive runner, he soon shifted away from running to pursue the never-ending climbing opportunities in the southwest and around the country.
Living and climbing in the desert southwest allowed AJ to understand and experience what it means to have a year-round climbing season and learn the kinds of programming required to perform at a high level consistently. In contrast, Montana has provided a seasonal climbing trend and the distinct training months/seasons that can be programmed for planned road trips or extended periods of desired peak climbing performance during an athlete’s local “climbing season”.
AJ fully believes in the Climb Strong philosophy – supporting and guiding climbing athletes by providing simple, effective, and individualized programming.
Andrew Caraballo is a Climb Strong Coach, Certified Performance Climbing Coach, and NSCA-Certified Personal Trainer. He’s been coaching and instructing climbers in gyms and professional settings for over 8 years. He currently resides in Salt Lake City with his wife Abie, where he coaches for Climb Strong remotely. Andrew has grown and learned from many injuries and setbacks during his 13 years of climbing. He has used his experience to forge a sustainable path of progression for his own climbing, and the climbing of his athletes.
Andrew coaches climbers all over the country and the world with varying levels of experience and ability. He has developed systems to ensure that he can continue to provide high quality coaching while his roster of athletes continues to grow. Each new athlete brings on a unique challenge, which has allowed Andrew to adapt and grow as a coach. He makes it a priority to utilize communication tools to help his athletes create a deeper understanding of what’s really holding them back, and how they can progress to reach their full potential.
Zahan Billimoria is a coach and athlete based in Jackson, Wyoming. He is the founder of Samsara Experience – an online training company that specializes in strength and movement training for outdoor athletes. The Samsara approach is rooted in the study of Human Locomotion, the natural patterns of movement that we use to cover ground. Zahan has coached elite athletes from across the spectrum of sport from Olympic downhill skiers, to Boston RedSox players, to RedBull Athletes and elite rock climbers – all using the same simple 3 step process Pattern – Load – Accelerate.
The Samsara Method is intertwined with the study of human athleticism, and the study of the fascia system – the integrator and accelerator of all movement. Zahan teaches movement from an integrated perspective, teaching your body to harness its elasticity, coordination and proprioception to transform the way you move on the rock.
Photo © Andrew Burr
Hazel Findlay is a professional climber and a mental training coach, and she’s been climbing for 27 years since the age of 6. Well-known for bold ascents and strength of mind, she has climbed E10, 9a, font 8a (V11), freed El Capitan 4 times and put up many first ascents. While Hazel admits to still being scared when she climbs, she’s built the tools, skills and practices to manage her mind through mental training. Hazel has been coaching for the past 7 years in the area of performance psychology, stress and fear management. She specialises in helping people manage their fears in climbing and maximising performance using psychological tools. She is a trained coach with Animas coaching and The Flow Centre, and is working on her MSc in Psychology and Neuroscience.
Joy Black is an avid rock climber, kettlebell enthusiast, and trail runner. She is a Mom of three, and is living the craziness of having a teenager, toddler, and infant all at the same time. She truly believes that we are all much stronger than we realize, we just need someone to help us tap into that potential.
With over a decade of experience training and coaching, Joy has combined her love of strength training, climbing, and movement with extensive knowledge on training during pregnancy and postpartum. She is on a mission to equip climbers with knowledge that will empower them during their journey as a pregnant and/or postpartum climber.
If there was ever anyone that could casually find a way to use the words ‘climbing’, ‘ pelvic floor’ and ‘breath mechanics’ in the same sentence…it’s Joy.