9 Critical Exercises to Become the Best Climber You Can Be
Updated: Jun 12, 2019
Have you been struggling to feel that sense of accomplishment from progressing as a climber? If so you should look into some exercises outside of climbing to help you feel that sense success again. These are some of my favorite non-climbing exercises to help me climb my best. Consider adding some of these into your weekly routine to INSTANTLY get closer to success and progress in your climbing.
I know what you are saying to yourself right now, "You said this article is about non-climbing exercises, why are you telling me climbing exercises?" The reason I start with climbing exercises is that if you aren't or haven't ever done these drills you should add them into your climbing routine now. They will help your climbing progress even just a week or two after doing these drills consistently. These climbing drills are:
- Lock-Off Climbing
This drill is pretty simple. All you have to do is find a boulder problem that is below the hardest grade you can climb and try to do the problem. The catch is you have to hover your hand above each hold for 2-3 full seconds before grabbing it. This forces you to not rush your climbing and helps you to get your body and hips set and stable before moving to the next hold. Try to do this for either a whole session or 5-10 climbs of different styles. You probably will feel muscles the next day that you haven't felt before if this is a new drill for you.
This is a climbing drill which helps you with your power endurance. You will pick a problem slightly below your max grade but still requires effort and focus. Then climb that problem twice in a row not resting at all in between. This will help you be able to flash and onsight more climbs because you will have the endurance to figure out moves while on the wall and have more time before losing your power. This drill will also help you send harder grades when doing longer boulder problems or routes.
- Perfection Climbing
Perfection climbing is basically what it sounds like. Pick a climb that you think you can do 3 times in a session. Once you have found your climb, do it the first time trying to climb it as perfect and controlled as possible. Then rest shortly and evaluate how you could have climbed it better or if you don't know as a stronger climber to watch you and let you know how you could improve on that climb. Then apply it on your second go of the boulder, make sure you focus on improving how controlled you climb. On the third attempt do the same thing making a note of what to improve then implementing it. The goal is for the last time on the boulder to be a smooth, controlled, near perfect climb.
Having a strong core is essential to becoming a great or even a better climber. Everyone should always be actively trying to improve their core. These are some of my favorite core exercises but surely not the only ones that work.
Planks are a great exercise for beginner to intermediate climbers to help them improve their core strength by improving multiple major core groups all at once. A goal for a regular plank is one minute and then once you achieve that try to get to two minutes. After you can do a two-minute plank with some energy left make sure you are doing some plank variations to get the same burn in a similar amount of time.
- Shutter Kicks
These are a great exercise to get you sweating in no time. Lie flat on your back and lift your legs slightly off the ground and simply kick your legs without letting them touch the ground. Doing this for a minute is sure to give you a nice workout.
This helps work your back and helps strengthen muscles used for climbing. Lie with your chest on the ground and then extend your arms and legs in a straight line. Lift them off the ground and keep your chest on the ground.
Some people will tell you to get climb harder you have to get stronger. This is so wrong, as you can improve greatly by learning how to use your body and hips to climb more controlled. However, getting stronger never hurts your climbing. These are some of the best strength exercises I've found to improve climbing.
This is a classic for one simple reason. It translates directly to the climbing wall as the more pull-ups you can do the more of your weight you can hold with your hands. This will help with lock-offs and powerful climbs. Try to do this multiple times a week to see noticeable gains.
Another classic exercise to help build strength in many major muscle groups all at once. Push-ups are also great to do as a warm up to get your body ready to climb and try hard. Doing this often won't yield as obvious of results as doing pull-ups will but definitely should be added to your routine.
- Flex Hangs
These are personally my favorite strength exercise to train to improve your climbing. Simply on a bar hold yourself up so your arms are bent at a 90-degree angle and hold for as long as possible. 20 seconds is a great goal to work towards if new to the exercise. Make sure you are tensing your core and legs to keep your body from moving. Think of doing a vertical plank making your body a solid board from head to toe.
Cardio is a great thing to do whenever possible as it will help you recover better, improve endurance, and improve your overall fitness. Cardio shouldn't be a long thing, no more than 30 minutes, try to keep to shorter but harder cardio sessions when possible to get best results. Another key workout and climbing tip is to not worry too much about the number of reps or the grade of the climb. Rather you should focus on how perfect you are doing those climbs or reps.
Like I always say if you want to climb harder you gotta climb smarter. If you have ANY questions; go down to the bottom of the page and comment below, go to my Instagram and shoot me a DM, or send me an email. I'd love to answer your questions and or just say hi.