Rock climbing is one of the most challenging sports, especially for beginners without the necessary strength and conditioning.
Training is, of course, integral to your climbing experience: building greater muscle tone and endurance ensures better performance. Being out of shape and unprepared puts you at risk of exhaustion, straining, and injury.
Of course, you don’t have to be Vin Diesel to start climbing rocks, but you do need to condition your body to cope with the sport’s demands. Let’s check out a selection of training tips to get you in rock-ready shape.
This is an obvious training exercise, given how important lifting and pulling is when climbing.
Pull ups work your arms, core, shoulders, and back brilliantly. While these can be difficult for novices, continued practice over time will reap real rewards – just don’t push yourself too hard or too fast when starting out.
Pull up bars are available at decent prices, and are fairly easy to set-up in your home. Alternatively, your gym will have bars in place, while you may be able to find alternatives if you prefer working-out outdoors.
Head down to your local park and try some reps on the climbing frame or monkey bars.
During climbing, you’ll need to plan your routes and pause to identify the safest hand-holds. There may be times when you’re left hanging for brief periods too, and endurance is vital to maximize your safety in these situations.
Try bar hangs to build your strength. You can do this using your pull up bar or any horizontal fixture able to support your weight (check this before trying, as you may injure yourself and cause structural damage!).
To start with, try hanging with your feet off the floor for 10 seconds. From then on, add a few seconds at a time.
A staple exercise for great all-round strength and conditioning. There’s a good reason push ups continue to be incorporated into military circuits year after year!
Push ups work the chest, shoulders, biceps, triceps, and core, depending on the variation you’re doing. Proper form is key, though: spread your hands too wide or let your back sag, and you may injure yourself.
If you’ve never done these at all before, start with your knees on the ground. Over time, as you build more and more strength, graduate to full-body push ups.
Part of the push up’s beauty is that you can do it anywhere, at any time. You can even drop and do twenty before you start a climb, to get your muscles working.
While many people prefer to squat with weights, beginners should start off nice and easy using their body’s weight only.
Squats build strength in the legs, which is a must to push yourself and maintain fixed positions for long periods (as you may need to do while hunting for your next hand-hold).
Keep your back straight, raise your arms out in front of you as you descend, and move slowly to start with. Maintaining proper form is crucial.
Follow these training tips to get yourself in great basic shape before climbing. Take climbing lessons with an expert until you feel ready for the real thing, and make sure you invest in the right gear to protect yourself and your supplies in varying weather.
For those of us yet to try climbing, it can seem daunting, dangerous, and flat-out scary.
However, with commitment, training, and the right gear, climbing is actually more accessible than you may imagine. While it might not be the best option for anyone who struggles with heights, climbing is otherwise an exciting, challenging way to see the great outdoors.
Here in the United States, there are plenty of stunning spots perfect for climbing. Red River Gorge, Silver Mountain, and Rifle Mountain Park all offer fantastic ascents in picturesque surroundings, spurring you on with the promise of stunning views at the peak.
As a beginner, you’re sure to have your concerns, and may even be a little nervous. This is understandable, and to help you out, we’ve compiled some invaluable expert tips.
Understand that Everyone Falls Sooner or Later
Without doubt, falling is one of the scariest parts of climbing. You can imagine that sinking feeling in your stomach as you miss a handhold or slip, and the world seeming to spin off its axis.
However, you’ll have a rope to keep you fastened securely. If you fall, your gear will keep you safe – but falling is the perfect way to test it out. After all, how else are you supposed to know all that equipment’s doing exactly what it should?
Once you get used to the feel of falling and trust your equipment, you’ll find you can relax and enjoy climbing even more.
Don’t Think You’ve Failed if You Can’t Reach the Top
When starting out on your climbing career, remember to take it easy on yourself.
You may approach climbing with the mindset that not being able to reach the top makes you a failure, but it doesn’t. At all.
Who’s to stop you coming back and trying again someday as your skills improve? Whoever started something new and instantly conquered every challenge?
Focus on learning with each climb, and put this to good use the next time you try that route again. Knowing your limits is vital. If you try to push yourself too far too soon, you may fall out of love with climbing when you’ve only just started.
Spend Time with a Pro
While it’s all well and good learning to climb with your friends, you should invest in some professional classes.
Indoor climbing centers will usually offer courses or tutorials, helping you to learn the basics, how to use your gear, and identify the best routes up a surface.
As with any activity, searching for a shortcut and failing to prepare as you should can lead to problems along the way.
Never Skimp on Gear
Don’t cut corners to save a few cents here and there.
Investing in the best climbing gear you can afford is essential. If you buy a worn rope or a pair of ancient, ripped boots to be thrifty, you may well be risking your safety.
Speak with experienced climbers and pick their brains for recommendations. At Adamant Gear, we stock a variety of climbing pro mountain gear – feel free to get in touch if you have questions. We’re always happy to help.