Are you a climber who hates going to a traditional gym? Do you prefer to workout at home or just be outside instead? Trust us, you’re not alone. Most outdoor-focused athletes prefer to exercise outdoors rather than running on a treadmill, riding a stationary bike, or climbing on an elliptical machine.
Fortunately, there are plenty of exercises that you can do at home that translate nicely to climbing. Many are simple body-weight routines that help build strength and muscle, while helping to keep you lean. If you’re looking to improve your performance and stamina at the crag, these are the best at-home workouts for climbers.
This one almost goes without saying. Pull-ups don’t just build arm and should strength, they improve your grip too. All of those things will help make you a better climber, providing more stability and confidence on the wall. If you have the space, install a pull-up bar, but if not, don’t fret. There are plenty of other items that can serve that roll in a pinch, including a sturdy doorframe, an outdoor wash line pole, or the monkey bars at a local park.
Push-ups are another simple exercise that can help climbers improve their strength and stamina. By adding in a few sets of push-ups each day, you’ll not only build strength in your arms and shoulders, but across your core too. And since this is an exercise that doesn’t require any special equipment, you can do them just about anytime and anywhere.
Much like push-ups, blanking provides a good workout for the core. To get the most out of this exercise, start in the push-up position, then bend your elbows 90º until they come to rest on the floor. Your weight should be supported by your forearms, while balancing on your toes and keeping your back straight the entire time. Hold as long as you can.
Crunches are yet another way to improve your core strength. Simply lie down on your back, keeping your feet flat on the floor at all times. Place your hands behind your head and push up towards your knees. Allow your heard to lift four or five inches off the ground, then let it rest back down. Repeat as many times as you can, building muscle in your abs and chest as a result.
Having a strong core and upper body is always useful for climbing, but much of the work is done with your legs. Building leg strength will take you from being a good climber to a great one, allowing you more flexibility and versatility when working on particularly challenging routes. Squats are a great way to build those muscles and are once again an exercise you can do anytime or anywhere. Simply stand with your feet shoulder width apart then bend at the knees and hips until you are in a squatting position. Hold that position for a few seconds, then stand up straight. Repeat as often as your legs will allow.
Use a Hangboard
A hangboard is an incredible useful and versatile tool not just for improving your climbing technique, but for building strength in your fingers and wrists too. Adding one to your home allows you to practice your grips and holds, even on days when you can’t go to the climbing gym or the crag itself.
Introducing a set of lightweight dumbbells to your exercise routine allows you to further improve your strength in your fingers, wrists, shoulders, and arms. There are numerous different types of workout options here, including wrist and bicep curls, shoulder presses, and even just gripping the weights and holding them off the floor. The key here isn’t to use a large amount of weight, as the goal is to build lean muscle that can be useful on the wall.
The benefits of a proper yoga workout are innumerable. Not only will yoga help with building strength throughout your body, it provides good stretching techniques that will help keep you limber and flexible too. That translates to being able to move better on the wall and hold positions that you might not normally be comfortable in. Best of all, there are plenty of beginner, intermediate, and advanced yoga classes that can be found on YouTube to give you a variety of workouts.
Rock climbing can be grueling, exhaustive work at times, but having a good cardio base will help keep you going. By mixing in some outdoor runs into your exercise routine, you’ll build good lung and heart strength, while also learning to control your breathing. You’ll also build stamina that will come in handy both on and off the wall, while building leg and glute strength too.
Finally, be sure to add a daily stretching regimen to your fitness routine. This will help to keep your muscles loose and limber, even on days when you don’t have time for a regular workout, a yoga routine. or get out for a climb. Stretch your arms, legs, shoulders, back, fingers, neck, and other body parts. This will help speed recovery on rest days and stimulate blood flow to your aching muscles. It will also lead to improved flexibility over time.
These are a few very basic at-home workouts for climbers. Most of these are very simple to get started with, but can have great gains for improving strength, fitness, and technique. And since you can do all of them without ever stepping foot in a gym, they provide added flexibility to your schedule and routine as well. Good luck!
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