WOW: The Climb

25 Minute Climb

Variations on this WOW are encouraged. See the “How-to” and “Variations” sections below.


Warmup: 30 second Grok Squat, 30 second Grok Hang.

Rather than just train the muscles and movements that prepare us for actual, real-world skills, today we’re going to cut out the middle man and just do the real thing. Today is about skill work. There are no pullups, only climbing. There will be no sets or reps, just actions carried out until completion. The goal is not to beat your time or lift more weight; the goal is to be in the moment, aware of it as it occurs.

First, find something you can climb. Something tall, preferably. For the sake of safety I recommend a climbing gym. I can vouch for Hangar 18 here in Los Angeles. Google “rock climbing gym {city}” to find a gym in your hometown.

If you don’t have access to a climbing wall, feel very confident in your climbing skills, and are sure of the climbing terrain, climbing something that was forged by nature is also a good option. It might be a massive boulder with serendipitously placed handholds and niches for feet. It could be a cliff face, if you know what you’re doing and have the right equipment. Tall trees work well, too. For the fit, ropes or poles can also be climbed. I sometimes climb a flag pole but stop short of the top due to excessive wobbling. Whatever you choose, make sure all precautions are taken to avoid injury.

Next, climb. Keep your body close to the object you’re climbing in order to make the ascent more efficient, make sure the branch or foothold or toehold is enough to support your weight before committing to it, don’t forget about using your legs, and go as high as you can. It might get a bit harrowing, but a little derring-do is good for us. Just be safe and smart about it. Your inherent sense of self-preservation will always win out.

Finally, climb down. This might be the toughest part for some folks, since you’re leading with your feet and not your face. I recommend going barefoot for the increased grip and tactility, because you’re going to need it. Let your sensitive bare feet be your eyes (on top of using your actual eyes, too).

Repeat until 25 minutes have elapsed.

Make it harder:

  • Wear a weight vest or a backpack.
  • Take a random item along for the climb, like a rock, a small kettlebell, or even a stick. It doesn’t have to be heavy, necessarily; the simple act of carrying another object makes the climb a little more involved than normal.
  • Pick the more difficult route. Every climbable object will have multiple routes for its ascent. Some might force you to use your arms exclusively for one section, while others might offer fewer handholds.

Make it easier:

What are WOWs?

  • Workouts of the Week (WOWs) are an optional component of Primal Blueprint Fitness that add a fractal and often fun and playful quality to the basic PBF protocol.
  • In most cases WOWs should only be completed by those that have mastered Level 4 of each Lift Heavy Things Essential Movement. Also, it’s recommended that WOWsreplace one or both Lift Heavy Things workouts or the Sprint workout (depending on the WOW) each week instead of being done in addition to the Lift Heavy Things and Sprint workouts.
  • Learn more about WOWs and Primal Blueprint Fitness by getting the free eBook. And access all Workouts of the Week in the WOW Archive.

Reader-Submitted WOW Pics:

A big thanks to Mark’s Daily Apple reader and PBFer Tab for submitting these WOW pics. Grok on!


We have been doing a variation of todays workout of the week over here in Afghanistan for quite a while now. Granted it’s a little different than a regular climbing gym, rather it’s very unique!! Our Canadian contingent has built a climbing gym inside of two twenty foot storage containers. There are multiple routes going both ways and also routes that put you upside down on the ceiling of the container! On face value you would think there wouldn’t be much of a workout…you would be wrong! Doing one route called the “Tatas”, green…um somewhat anatomically correct holds, is an incredible workout that hits all areas of the body and requires an exceptional amount of hand strength and completely fries your arms. Doing these routes backwards steps up the challenge as well. Granted the fall danger is pretty low, only a max of 4 feet (if your on the ceiling), but there are pads to cushion the blow. Don’t have access to video unfortunately but please take the attached photos as a substitute for the Workout of the Week.


About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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