Rock climbing is a fun, but challenging activity that requires strength, endurance, and skill. It is important to strengthen your arms and legs to move up near-vertical or overhanging rock. Having a strong core and torso will help keep the body balanced and up against the wall during the climb. Check out the following exercises below that to help condition your body before you tackle your next mountain or rock climbing wall.
These are an upper body, compound exercise that targets the biceps, latissimus dorsi, and upper back muscles. Use banded pull-ups if body-weight pull-ups are too difficult. Then progress to weighted pull-ups for 4 sets of 10 reps.
a. Hang from a pull-up bar and grasp the bar about shoulder-width apart with palms facing away from your face b. Retract and adduct the scapula c. Pull yourself up while bringing your elbows down to the floor until your chin passes the bar d. Lower yourself all the way down, breathe, and repeat the pull-up
2) Staggered pushups
These engage your entire core as well as target your shoulder and chest muscles. Begin with regular pushups with hands side by side and slowly increase the difficulty by extending your one hand a few inches away from the other in various directions
a. Assume a prone position with your body straight, supported by your extended arms and your toes. Your hands should be outside of shoulder width but staggered, with one being higher than the other. This will be your starting position.
b. Initiate the movement by flexing the elbows, lowering your torso to the ground. Do not allow your hips to rise or to sag
c. Pause at the bottom of the motion, and then extend at the elbows to return to the starting position
d. At the completion of this set, reverse your hand position for the next round.
3) Finger hangs
Can be performed on a door frame, rock rings, or pull-up bar simulate finger gripping on a rock climbing wall and helps to build hand and arm strength. Hang for five seconds, then rest for another five seconds. Repeat for a full minute.
4) Weighted step ups
These help condition your legs for power during a climb. Do 10 – 20 repetitions on each leg. Use a light to moderately heavy barbell or a dumbbell in each hand.
a. Stand facing a bench, step or plyometric box and place the ball of one foot up on the bench
b. Push up into full extension and then jump back to the floor, landing as softly as possible, returning to a squat position.
5) Cable rotations
These target core strengthening and mobility that can help stabilize the body while moving the body in various positions across a rock wall.
a. Adjust the pulley handle to chest height. Step out and away from the weight. Feet are shoulder-width. Stand with a tight core and flat back. Push the handle out in front of you. Keep elbows slightly bent
b. Twist from the hips. Move arms across the body, achieving a full extension
c. Return to starting position
d. Once complete, do the same amount of sets/reps on the other side.
BONUS: Watch Claire (PT) from INSYNC PHYSIO demonstrate the “Ultimate Workout for Agility and Core”
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