by Christopher Schafenacker
When you consider that, in the early 1990s, UK luminary Ben Moon trained almost exclusively on the 50-degree overhanging spray board of the Sheffield School Room (and sent Hubble, the world’s first 8c+ or 5.14c in the process), it almost makes more sense to ask what can’t you accomplish on a home climbing wall. Times have changed, though, and so too has the face of training.
Climbing gyms are approaching the size of shopping malls, and between the cafés, gear shops, yoga studios, and full-service gyms, they are almost beginning to feel like them. This embarrassment of riches is amazing—and, don’t get us wrong, we love our local gyms—but it comes at the cost of giving the impression that you need all this equipment to get stronger. Truthfully, you don’t.
With enough motivation, you can get everything a gym provides from a home climbing wall—except, maybe, the friends and the lattes. But who needs friends and lattes, right?
Home Climbing Wall Workouts for Continued Progression
1. Set A Project (or Three) Climbing is the best training for climbing. The complexity of our sport means that no amount of sets, reps, and drills will make you a better climber if these climbing training exercises are performed as a replacement, rather than a supplement, to climbing. To master climbing’s complex movement, you need to practice it. Having a project motivates you to spend your training hours on the wall; setting it yourself means your project caters to your specific needs.
To project successfully on a home climbing wall (or anywhere, really), it helps to set intermediate goals that deliver that sweet feeling of success. Design a series of progressively more difficult projects or set a single project with extra holds for easy and hard variations and you’ll pull on more often than if you have just one nails-hard rig to play on.
2. Get Serie-Us Terrible play-on-words, yes, but a boulder series is an indispensable training tool. Set three or four problems that you can reliably send (with effort), and use them to practice 4x4s or run circuits. You might even take advantage of easy variations of a project—or old projects—that you have since completed in this series to get more mileage out of your setting. To keep things interesting (and to practice new movement), periodically rotate a hold or two, switch up the feet, or otherwise add variation to your routine.
3. Get Systematic After a solid session of projecting or running circuits, a little climbing-specific conditioning never hurts. Setting a systems board on your home climbing wall, or even just fitting a few mirrored moves into whatever space is available, allows you to train weak movement patterns and create bilateral strength.
While it is crucial to remember that the best climbing training exercises involve actual climbing, exclusive dedication to this approach inevitably creates imbalances that eventually provoke injury. Periodic systems training corrects for this by exposing and correcting gaps in our left- and right-side capacities.
Featured Climbing Training Gear
*NEW* The Rocketeer Wall: our free-standing adjustable solution for those who can’t mount a hangboard anywhere in their home or apartment—or who are limited on space. The Rocketeer gives climbers the additional option to set specific climbing holds. Recreate the crux holds of your proj and get ready to send, bruh.
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.
The Rock-Stah: Our handcrafted version of a traditional hangboard, with curving crimp rails to help alleviate unnecessary strain on your pulleys. Because ain’t no one got time for a finger injury…