From your feet to your arms, rock climbing demands the use of a lot of muscles. It can be physically exhausting and frustrating, especially for newbies. The best way to make it easier is to have proper rock climbing training.
If you want to train like a pro, keep on reading and learn from the insights we’ll share. We’ll let you know how you can effectively train for rock climbing to prepare your body for the rigors of the sport.
10 Tips for Rock Climbing Training
Investing in top-notch gear like the best climbing helmets and climbing pants won’t be enough. They will be useless if your body can’t handle the physical requirements of this activity. With that, here are some of the best ways to up your training.
1. Start by Warming Up
One of the most important parts of your rock climbing training is the warm-up. The pros never hit the rocks without warm-up exercises. This will help in improving blood circulation, mobilizing joints, and preventing body pain. It pumps up the body for physical activity. It will also be an opportunity to acquaint your body with a range of movements once you are climbing.
Stretching is an effective exercise that you might want to incorporate into your warm-up routine. Jumping jacks and jumping ropes are also recommended. The goal is to prepare your body for the training and not to over-do it. Otherwise, you won’t have the energy for the main part of the training or the climb.
2. Work on Your Grip and Finger Strength
Rock climbing includes a lot of work that will demand power from your fingers and hands. While using climbing chalk can help, this isn’t enough. You need to work on your hand strength, making it easier to grip.
A spring hand gripper is one of the must-haves to work on your hand and grip. Instead of doing repetitions, it is better to practice holding the position of the gripper, which will mimic the action of grabbing holds when you are climbing. To do this, start by squeezing the gripper and hold it steady for about 30 seconds. Release the gripper, rest, and repeat.
Using a thick training bar will also be instrumental in improving your hand strength. With your hand wrapped around the bar, you will practice how to handle more weight. You can also use a pull-up bar or a fingerboard. With this exercise, you will be stronger as you hold on to climbing ropes and other accessories to complete your climb.
3. Strengthen Your Upper Body
If you want to effectively train for rock climbing, your upper body is one of the most important. Your upper body strength is crucial to pull yourself up during the ascent. This will also help to keep you stable.
Among others, push-ups should be a part of your routine. They will improve your pushing muscles. Even if climbing uses mostly your pulling muscles, improving your push is still important to have a balanced body and lessen the chances of an injury.
Doing tricep dips will also be important in strengthening your upper body. To do this, start by positioning your hands on a chair shoulder-width apart. Push your body lower by slightly bending your elbows. Stop when your elbows are positioned at 90 degrees. Then continue pressing down to straighten your elbows and resume the starting position.
You can also incorporate an exercise band into your routine. First, set the resistance band in such a way that you can pull it up to three feet. Assume a side plank position. Use your top hand to hold the resistance band and pull over the head while locking your elbows.
4. Work on Your Core Strength
Your core strength should also be emphasized as you train for rock climbing. The core muscles will allow your legs and arms to maximize torque transfer. These muscles will also provide body tension as you twist. Without proper core training, it will be difficult to move the rest of the body.
Sit-up planks and bicycle kicks are some of the best exercises that can help. If you are looking for variation, you can try the Superman, which will activate the muscles between your hips and shoulders. Lie straight with your face down, arms extended, and toes pointed. Raise one arm together with the opposite leg as high as possible. Hold the position for one second and return to your original position. Repeat on the opposite side.
If you are looking for a unique workout that can help improve your core strength, consider trying aqua Pilates exercises.
5. Engage Your Legs
Aside from building your core and upper body, leg exercises will also be important in rock climbing training. You will be pushing yourself a lot. It is your source of strength as you climb, so you must work out to have stronger legs.
Bodyweight squats will help in building your leg strength. Stand straight while keeping your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your hips and knees to squat. Keep on going down until your thigh is already parallel to the ground. Go up, do the same thing on the opposite side, and repeat.
Lunges are basic exercises that you can also incorporate into your leg training. Stand straight, step one foot ahead and lean forward. Your leg must reach an angle of 90 degrees. Your back leg, on the other hand, must be parallel to the ground. Assume the starting position and repeat. You can also add dumbbells to make the training more intense.
6. Improve Your Aerobic Capacity
Aerobic capacity is all about using oxygen to fuel exercise. It requires mastery of the right techniques, and when practiced properly, can also be one of the most important elements that can influence the success of your climb. This is also crucial for the improvement of your physical and mental alertness.
Circuit training is one of the best ways to improve your aerobic capacity. It is a body conditioning exercise that is geared towards building strength and muscle endurance. Pick two parts or major muscle parts that you would like to improve. Then, pick four exercises and do them in a circuit.
Interval training will also help. It requires climbers to engage in exercises that will make their heart rate increase and engage in an activity that will eventually decrease their heart rate.
7. Learn a Variety of Climbing Techniques
To successfully train for rock climbing, exercise will not be enough. While working out is crucial in improving your skills, this isn’t enough. There are several techniques that you need to learn.
Among others, you will need to learn how to use your feet. It is your foundation for climbing, so you must use it properly. One technique you need to learn is edging. Position the rubber edge of your climbing shoe on the holds. This will let you practice the hold position for better stability.
Maintaining balance is another important technique you need to learn during training. You need to avoid staying vertical. Distribute your weight evenly and raise one leg along with the arm on the opposite side. If you are vertical, your body is straight and it will be more difficult to move up.
Using wobble cushions and stability balls will also help in improving your balance. Inflatable rubber balls will not only work out your core but will also teach you how to balance better.
8. Eat Right
Rock climbing training goes beyond working out. It is also important to be mindful of your nutrition. The food that you are eating will have an impact on overall performance. Rock climbing is a physically demanding sport, so you also need to have tremendous energy levels.
On an average climb, you will burn 800 calories per hour. When you climb longer, the glycogen levels in the body will deplete. This will result in sleepiness, fatigue, and a lack of ability to concentrate, among other problems. So, you need to eat right to make sure that the body will have the fuel that it needs to withstand the physical demands of climbing.
9. Train Mentally
As you train for rock climbing, build more than physical strength. You also have to work on your mental fortitude. Improving the quality of your thinking will have a direct impact on your performance as you climb. If you are mentally tougher, you will also be physically stronger.
One of the most important for successful mental training is to surround yourself with the right people. Their influence will improve your attitude, and consequently, will positively impact your performance during a climb.
Being more self-confident is also a good way to train mentally. Stop saying that you can’t! Now is the time to challenge yourself with the things you previously thought were impossible. However, be sensible. For instance, if the climb does not suit your skills, be humble enough to admit that you still have a lot to learn.
Visualization is also an important training exercise for climbers. It is a process at which you build a mental image. You will be projecting the challenges that you will encounter along the way and planning how to act in case some obstacles confront you during the climb.
10. Be Familiar with the Sport
Lastly, effective rock climbing training also means that you have to be familiar with everything about the sport. For instance, you need to learn the lingo. Know the most common rock climbing terms so that you will have a better understanding of the activity. Especially when working with a belayer, this will help you to easily understand the instructions.
You should also know how to use the most common climbing equipment, such as belay devices and a climbing harness. This will help to keep you safe and sound during a climb. The more you know about the climbing must-haves, the easier it will be to unleash your full potential in every climb.
If you have questions about rock climbing training, we’ll try to answer some of them below.
Q: Is rock climbing a good form of exercise?
Yes, rock climbing is a good form of exercise. It is a good way to improve both your physical and mental health. It strengthens both upper and lower body muscles. This is also a good exercise to improve your core strength.
Q: How can I improve my rock climbing?
The best way to improve rock climbing is to invest time and effort into your training. Regardless if it is indoors or outdoors, rock climbing training is an effective way to condition your body. Aside from building strength, it also minimizes the chances that you will suffer from pain.
Q: How do I learn to climb at home?
To learn climbing at home, you can watch climbing movies and read climbing books. You can also go online and watch climbing videos or access reading materials that will provide you with more insights.
Q: How many days a week should I rock climb?
You should rock climb a maximum of three days a week, especially if you are a beginner. Leave a day in between climbs to allow the body to rest and for the muscles to recover. This is more than enough to make your body used to the physical demands of rock climbing.
Q: Can you rock climb every day?
Yes, you can rock climb every day, but this is not advisable. At a maximum, you should be climbing only three days a week to give your tendons and ligaments the time to heal. This will aid in recovery. Even the pros need to rest.
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Now is the time to unlock the health benefits of rock climbing. Engaging in such a physical activity, however, won’t be easy. With this, invest time and effort to train for rock climbing. Take note of the things mentioned above for your body and mind to handle the physical demands of climbing.