7 Home Workout Exercises for Rock Climbers | Appalachian Mountain Club

    climbers are used to having rest days, but this quarantine is causing my calluses to soften involuntarily. I have been climbing for 15 years, both competitively and recreationally. after high school i hung up my competition shoes and moved to california to attend college (based on its proximity to joshua tree national park climbing refuge but don’t tell my parents) then moved from back east, where I mainly take out plastic these days. There is a lot of information floating around right now about how to stay fit during isolation; basically, everyone tells me to become a long-distance runner, but I find myself nostalgic for that evocative scent of chalk and climbing shoes. I even miss that gym rat who yells “sahhhhht” while climbing a 5.8 shirtless.

    quarantine has forced me to be creative to stay fit to climb. It’s easy to get carried away with upper body workouts because so much of climbing involves arms, arms, arms, but legs, abs, and balance are just as important. Aside from rubbing your hands on the questionable sandpaper you found in your basement to get that sweet feeling reminiscent of sharp rock, here are some home exercises for climbers you can do to stay in shape for hard shipping and pulling plastic.

    Reading: Exercises for rock climbing at home

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    door frame lifters (upper body)

    table pullup

    make sure the wood frame over your door is solid; consider doing some short blocks to try it out. do pull-ups in shorter sets instead of maximizing each time. Just like on a hang plank, use an open thumb-down curl position, unwrapped, while doing these pull-ups.

    I know, you hate curls. if your fingers aren’t up to this, find a tree branch! if one side of the branch is higher than the other, turn off which arm is positioned higher to balance these pull-ups.

    If in doubt about door frame pull-ups, get under a table or railing (pictured above), with your legs sticking out where the chairs would be, and wrap your hands around the edge of the table , palms in. lift yourself up and down, keeping your feet on the ground.

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    textbook hold (grip)

    grip strength is hard to train unless you’re constantly climbing pinches. To maintain a strong grip, walk around the house or block several times a day with a large book in your hands. For books, think massive tomes like Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, War and Peace, or Infinite Jest. your hands should hang by your sides with your fingers gripping the spine of the book, as if you were carrying a suitcase.

    I used to walk around my high school with my history book by my side, pinched between my fingers when I changed classes. (as if anyone needed another reason to call me weird in high school).

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    planks (core)

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    Core strength is vital to climbing. improves balance, aids in the accuracy of your footwork and allows you to have more control over your movements. plank, adopt a push-up position. making sure your back is straight and try to hold this position for as long as you can. If you’re having trouble holding the push-up position, bend your elbows to 90 degrees and drop down to rest on your forearms, holding the position for as long as you can.

    Do you want a challenge? try lifting the opposite leg and arm while in the push-up position. plank with your right leg and left arm in the air, then switch, holding each position for as long as you like.

    See also: NHL Waiver Rules

    tricep dips (upper body)

    I love a good corner problem with tons of mantelpieces. triceps strength is key to this.

    Take two chairs of similar height and spread them apart so that your feet can rest on one with your legs stretched out and your hands on the other. dive in, keeping your head up and legs straight, then push yourself up. for an abdominal workout, hold in the top position for 10 seconds before lowering back down.

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    single-leg toe touches (lower body and balance)

    Balance is one of the most important parts of climbing. I can’t tell you how many times my climbing coach had me climb a slab with tennis balls in my hands just to focus on balancing on my feet.

    Stand on your right leg with your left leg behind you, slightly off the ground. Bend your right leg and squat down to touch your right big toe with your left hand, then stand up. try to keep your left leg in the air behind you the entire time. switch legs and continue.

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    If you want to make a game out of this, sterilize and place an open paper bag upright on the floor in front of you. every time you bend down, try to grab the top of the paper bag with your teeth and carry it with you. each time you can grab the bag, cut off a portion of the top, making it shorter. this move should be done slowly, focusing on your balance.

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    30 second single leg balance stand (balance)

    I like to call this “oh you think you’re strong? try this” exercise.

    Stand 5 inches in front of a wall, facing it. put your hands in front of you, hovering just in front of the wall but not touching it. close your eyes and lift one foot off the ground. try to balance on the other foot for 30 seconds.

    don’t be fooled: this is very difficult to do. let your hands catch you against the wall if you think you’re falling, but first try to correct the falling motion with your foot. think hard about balance and really focus your energy on maintaining a strong ankle. strong ankles make strong climbers.

    See also: NHL Waiver Rules

    wrist winds (forearm strength)

    Hardly anything compares to coming down a climb with swollen forearms. Forearm strength and endurance are important for all climbing categories, especially sport and pitches.

    For this exercise, you’ll need 3 things: string (p-cord or a shoelace can work in a pinch); something cylindrical (such as a hard plastic water bottle, a rolling pin, or an empty wine bottle); a can of soup or beans.

    Tie one end of the string around the water bottle and the other end around the soup can, leaving a good length of string in between. hold the water bottle sideways with both hands and slowly rotate it with your hands, wrapping the rope around the water bottle and moving the can towards you. unravel the rope slowly using the reverse motion. repeat until you feel that sweet burning! To make it more difficult, try tying various objects to the end of the rope.

    See also: NHL Waiver Rules

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