Climbing is an excellent way to stay active, build strength and endurance, and enjoy the great outdoors. But to make it to the peak, you will need a strong core. Maintaining balance, keeping your feet on, and moving efficiently, all require a solid core. Moreover, strong muscles lower your risk of injury.
Many climbing exercises can help you improve your muscle strength, keep you in shape, and ensure a great adventure next time you hit the rocks. We have covered ten of them that target multiple parts of your body including the upper body, forearms, core, and legs. But before then, let’s look at a few guidelines.
Climbing Workout Guidelines
To get the most out of your climbing workout, follow the following rules.
- Rock climbing training involves high-intensity exercises, so if you have a back or neck problem, talk to your doctor before you begin.
- Choose four or five of these workouts and perform them at least three to four times a week.
- Avoid doing climbing exercises right before you ascend, as this may cause your base to get tired, which could result in an injury. The best time to train would be after a climbing session, after a morning jog, or on a rest day.
- Take a rest at least two days every week to allow your muscles to recuperate.
10 Climbing Exercises You Need To Become A Rock Jock
The following workouts will help you build significant strength and endurance so you can reap the maximum benefits of rock climbing.
1. Single-Leg Squat
Your legs are probably some of the most essential parts of your body when it comes to climbing. This is because it is easier to push yourself up using your legs rather than pulling yourself up using your arms. And since leg muscles are much larger than arm muscles, building strength around your leg muscles will also enhance your climbing. Single legs squats work the hamstrings, gluteus maximus, quadriceps, and calves.
- Stand straight with your hands placed on your hips.
- Lift and straighten your left leg, as you slowly lower your body weight onto your right leg.
- Go as low as you possibly can and pause for about 10 seconds before coming back up.
- Swap legs and do 15 reps, with 30 seconds rest between legs.
Here is yet another important workout to strengthen your hamstrings, quadriceps, and glutes. The calf muscles, abdominal muscles, and back muscles will act as stabilizers during the exercise.
- Start by standing straight, then step ahead with your right leg.
- Lead forward until your right leg is at 90˚ and the rear (left) leg is parallel to the floor.
- Pause for about 10 seconds, then return to the starting position.
- Switch legs and repeat 15 times, with 30 seconds break between legs.
Pushups work our shoulders, arms, chest, and core to enable better and stronger climbing. Working for these muscle groups also helps you maintain balance while you climb, which in return prevents injuries.
- Start in a standard pushup position with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Keeping your core engaged, lower your chest in a straight line to just a few inches from the ground.
- Bring your elbows near the sides of your rib cage to activate your triceps.
- Keeping your body straight, push back up.
- Repeat 10 to 15 times.
4. Triceps Dips
Triceps dips focus on your shoulder, chest, and abdominal muscles.
- Begin with your hands placed on a bench or chair, shoulder-width apart, your chest facing up, and your legs stretched out in front of you.
- Bend your elbows slowly and lower your body to the ground until the elbows are at 90˚.
- Hold this position for 7 seconds and rise back to the starting position.
- Repeat 20 times. You can do 3 or 4 sets of the exercise depending on how flexible your body is.
5. Hanging Leg Lifts
Another effective exercise to strengthen your core is the hanging leg lift. Leg lifts are particularly important when climbing overhangs, where you are required to use your core to push your legs up.
- Hang from a pull-up bar or a hangboard with straight arms.
- Raise your legs until your hips have formed a 90˚ angle with your upper body.
- Hold this position for 25 to 30 seconds, then bring your legs slowly back to the ground.
- Repeat 10 times with 15 seconds rest in between.
- If you are just getting started with hanging leg lifts, you can bend your legs at the knees to reduce the strain and make the exercise easier.
6. Wrist Curls
Rock climbing starts with your shoulders, forearms, and fingers, which all work together to pull you up to the top. Wrist curls help tone and strengthen the muscles that work these parts of your body to ensure a stronger and longer climb.
- Sit in a chair and hold a dumbbell in each hand. If you don’t have a dumbbell, you can use a water bottle or soup can.
- Place your forearms on the arms of the chair with your hands over the edge, and palms facing upward.
- Slowly curl your wrists upward and then downward to complete one rep.
- Repeat 10 to 15 times.
Planking is one of the easiest climbing workouts to perform. It is an essential resistance workout that adds strength to the core, arm, and leg muscles.
- Start in a pushup position.
- Bend your elbows at 90 ˚ and rest your body weight on your forearms.
- Remain in this position for at least 60 seconds or for as long as your body can hold.
- To enhance finger strength, try the exercise on straight arms, with your fingers outstretched.
8. Wheelbarrow Walk
Wheelbarrow walks are great for the core. They work your arms, shoulders, glutes, lower back, abs, and obliques.
- Start in a plank position, with your palms resting on the ground just below your shoulders.
- Have someone lift you by the ankles.
- Looking directly ahead and keeping your body straight, move your left hand forward about 5 inches, and then move the right hand 5 inches past the right.
- Walkabout 25 feet.
- Repeat 5 times with 60 seconds break between reps.
9. A-Frame Arm Drop
An A-frame arm drop workout concentrates on the shoulders, lower back, obliques, and abs.
- Sit on the ground in a C position, with your knees bent at 90˚, upper body off the ground, and heels on the ground.
- Place your arms directly above your head, with your palms held together.
- Keeping your lower and upper body still, lower your arms slowly to the left of your hip, touch the ground, and return them to the top of your head.
- Lower the arms to the right side.
- Repeat 30 times, 15 per side.
Many rock climbers these days are taking up yoga classes because not only does workout improve their climbing but also helps them last longer during the ascent. It is also a fun and great way to strengthen the core and improve balance and flexibility.
There are numerous yoga poses, focusing on different areas of the body, all meant for different purposes. Some enhance flexibility, other’s strength, while others are meant for relaxation.
After a long day in the rocky terrain, a few yoga poses based on relaxing your muscles would be a great way to relieve muscular tension. You could try the eagle, downward dog, warrior 1, bridge, and seated twist pose. These are the perfect yoga poses for trail runners, climbers, backpackers, and all backcountry junkies. They stretch your lower back, hip flexor, calf, chest, trapezius, and shoulder muscles, while also firming your butt and leg muscles.
Any serious rock climber should try doing yoga at least 2 times a week to loosen the climbing muscles. This will also make the muscles stronger and less prone to injury and keep the climber going harder.
Q: Is Climbing Good Exercise?
Yes, climbing is a great exercise for anyone looking for a full body workout. It improves your flexibility, stamina, balance, and cardio fitness and helps you shed excess weight. It also focuses your mind, relieves stress, and gets you reconnecting with nature.
Q: How Many Days A Week Should I Climb?
The number of days you climb in a week will depend on your experience level. If you are just getting started, you should not climb any more than 3 times a week. Expert climbers can climb up to 6 days a week. If you are skilled enough and your body can handle it, you can even climb every day.
Q: How Do I Strengthen My Core For Climbing?
To strengthen your core, focus on climbing workouts that work the transversus abdominis, pelvic floor muscles, internal and external obliques, multifidus, erector spinae, and rectus abdominis. Planks, wheelbarrow walks, leg lifts, and pushups are some of the best workouts for core conditioning, but they also work the glutes and hamstrings, improving balance and posture.
Q: Does Rock Climbing Get You Ripped?
Yes, rock climbing does get you ripped. It targets your legs, core, biceps, upper back, and shoulders, leaving you with a toned upper and lower body. The exercise also works smaller groups of muscle like those in your feet, forearms, and hands. It is the perfect way to get a leaner, fitter body.
Q: Does Rock Climbing Give You Arthritis?
No, rock climbing does not give you arthritis. Of course, climbing can take its toll on joints, but climbers have stronger bones, mainly due to the training they undergo before adventuring the rocks. The only time rock climbing can cause arthritis is if the person is overdoing it or is injured.
Q: How Do I Get Better At Climbing?
The most effective way to get better at climbing is climbing often. However, incorporating exercises that build strength and endurance in your daily workout will also make you better in climbing. Investing in proper gear like well-fitting rock climbing shoes, climbing ropes, climbing helmet, etc. will also give you more confidence in the sport, helping you get better in it.
Q: How Can I Strengthen My Fingers For Climbing?
To strengthen your fingers for climbing, focus on exercises that target grip muscles. Dumbbell head grabs, farmer’s walks, wrist curls, plate curls, barbell finger rolls, plate pinches, and towel chin-ups would all be a great place to start. These exercises work the flexor digitorum profondus, flexor digitorum superficialis, and flexor pelicus longus, the muscles involved in gripping.
Q: What Muscles To Train For Climbing?
Leg muscles, especially the quadriceps muscles, are the most important muscles to train for climbing because this is where the real climbing strength comes from. Other muscles to focus on include the hamstrings, calf, and gluteals, shoulder muscles (deltoids and rotator cuff), and torso muscles (latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, and pectoralis major).
Globo Surf Overview
Climbing is an amazing way to keep fit and bond with nature. Ensuring that you are in good shape before you go will reward you with a better, stronger ascent, and a more fulfilling adventure.
All the climbing exercises listed above are easy to execute and you can perform them in the comfort of your home. They will work all the muscles needed for climbing including the core, leg, shoulder, arm, and hand muscles to ensure a safer, more efficient, and injury-free ascent.
Try a few exercises and select a set that you are comfortable with. For best results, perform each set three or four times a week. If you have arthritis, back problems, or any health condition, consult a doctor or certified instructor before starting any training.