Matt Ray’s HFM Strength Transformation: Week 1
Rock climbing

I’m definitely living the HFM brand over the next few weeks as I undergo an intense strength-training program. If there’s one thing that we should all be able to do in the gym it’s get stronger – whether we’re working out to burn fat, build muscle or get fitter, strength gains will accompany all these goals.

But what if, like me, you have some specific strengths you want to build for your own sport? I’m heavily into rock climbing, indoors at the bouldering gym and outdoors on crags and mountains.

I have noticed that as my climbing improves I am failing not through a lack of fitness but a lack of strength – my arms fail before anything else so it’s time to enlist an expert.

Strength and conditioning

Rich ‘Tricky’ Hudson is a strength and conditioning coach with specialist climbing knowledge. Over the last couple of weeks he’s set me a program to improve my climbing strengths, create functional muscle growth and get me climbing fit.

‘You don’t want to grow muscle for the sake of it,’ he says. ‘Climbers don’t need much extra weight – they need grip strength and a good power-to-weight ratio so we’ll focus on improving that.’  To learn more about what he can do for you, check out 

Sounds good to me – until the tabata starts, that is. These high intensity intervals are murder! 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off sounds easy but by the eighth set of dumb-bell squats my thighs are screaming for mercy.

The post-workout burn feels great though and I’m enjoying the bouldering sessions at London’s The Castle as I would have done those anyway – but it’s a new way of training particularly at the upper end – I’m dropping off after only 2-3 moves but jumping back on after just 60 seconds rest. My anaerobic capacity is going to go through the roof…

In the meantime, Multipower have stepped in to provide nutritional support – their protein supplements, creatine monohydrate and BCAAs are powering my workouts and recovery. Tricky says that adding lean muscle while burning body fat and improving my sports performance is totally doable – I can’t wait to see the results. Check back next week for my progress report and get a handy tip from Tricky on how to apply strength training to your own sport, or goals…