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.