No Equipment Necessary: 10 Body Weight Exercises for Rock Climbers
Climbing performance goes hand-in-hand with training consistency. I don’t know about you, but consistency is the last thing I’ve seen during this pandemic…other than consistently training myself to consume large amounts of baked goods.
With gyms and crags opening back up, some of us have started to venture out, while others are still playing it safe. Whatever your decision may be, there still doesn’t seem to be enough opportunity to get back into a consistent climbing routine.
If this is the case for you, now might be a good time to try to incorporate some at-home exercises. Actually, yesterday was an even better time to get started, but today will have to do. The following list of 10 climbing-specific bodyweight exercises require no equipment at all. So let’s stop curling those loafs of bread and get to work here…
Climbers tend to pull a lot, and this can lead to hunched, imbalanced shoulders and unnecessary tension on pulleys, tendons and ligaments. In order to counter this, it’s important to incorporate some push movements to develop strong antagonist muscles and prevent injury:
Push-Up: This specific exercise strengthens your chest, triceps and shoulders. Not only will this protect you from joint injury, but will help you get through that next shoulder-intensive gaston.
Tricep Dip: These can be done using stairs or your dining room chair. Dips target muscles in your upper arms, shoulders, chest and back. Having strong triceps will help you with your next mantle, press or stem movement on your project.
Core Exercises for Climbers
Your core muscles play a role in every climbing movement, especially when it comes to vertical to overhanging terrain. The stronger your core, the easier it will be to step higher, hang onto sloping holds, and create tension for powerful movements. Luckily for you, this group of muscles can be trained every single day.
Crunches: This is a great exercise to really isolate the abdominal muscles. Crunches will help you build muscle, strengthen your core—to include lower back muscles and obliques—and can improve your posture.
Leg-Lifts: Ever cut feet on a climb? Well this is the exercise that targets the core muscles which will help return your feet to the wall.
Plank: The plank is an isometric exercise that not only targets your abdominal muscles but also your lower back. There are so many variations to this exercise as well so you can always find something to challenge yourself with.
Posterior Chain (Core and Legs)
Targeting the posterior chain helps to strengthen the relationship between our upper body and lower body. For climbing, this provides stability and enables you to pull yourself in to the wall for steep, powerful moves. It also assists in adding explosive power to big lunge or dead point moves.
Superman: The Superman is great posterior-core exercise as it targets commonly weak muscles in the lower back.
Glute Bridge: This exercise really targets those glutes and hamstrings, and will help you with more powerful hip drives and stronger heel hooks.
Squat: Body weight squats are one of the most fundamental and comprehensive movements. They target multiple different muscles from your calves, to your glutes and core.
Legs are often forgotten about in climbing, but leg strength is critical for rock climbing. I’m sure that you’ve heard over and over that “you climb with your legs, not with your arms.”
Step-Ups: Take it back to the stairs or that chair you used for your dips. This exercise will help you gain strength for upward power and momentum.
Pistol Squats: Don’t worry if you can’t do these unassisted. You can progress from practicing squatting down to your couch cushion or using a door frame as a guide. But mastering pistol squats could be a game changer for your climbing. This exercise will help you stand up from a significant flexed hip and knee position.
Although these exercises will truly help enhance your climbing, they can only take you so far. Going back to the training consistency piece, it might be a good idea to consider adding some climbing-specific gear to your home set-up. This will give you a lot more versatility, and options to also work on finger strength, mobility, and expand upon the exercises mentioned above.
Feel free to peruse our line of handcrafted training gear. Everything is in stock and ready to ship to anywhere in the lower 48 states!
Featured Climbing Training Gear
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The Rocket Wall: Available in 6’ and 8’ widths, it’s been tough for us to keep up with the demand for this innovative home climbing wall solution. Slightly overhanging, the Rocket Wall is big enough to set routes on, or to build a systems board.
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