Rock climbing is an engaging sports activity that involves moving up, down, and across various natural rock formations as well as artificial rock walls. The goal of rock climbing is to usually reach a defined endpoint or a summit without falling. Rock climbing has many health benefits and that’s why people love to engage in this activity.
- It increases grip and strength since it incorporates the core, forearm, back, and legs.
- The strength workout provides an effective way to burn calories since it’s a great form of cardio.
- It improves balance since it helps to line up both the lower and upper body.
- Provides a sense of focus and concentration
It’s worth noting that this is one of the best activities that I recommend to all those who are keen on improving their general wellness. But before and after engaging in this adventurous and adrenaline-rushing activity. It’s advisable which you should engage in certain exercises. The goal of exercising is to:
- Warm-up your body: you need to activate your body so that the muscles can be ready to handle a wide range of movements. A good warm-up helps to raise the body muscle’s temperature, resulting in optimal flexibility and a high level of efficiency. Besides that, the increase in heart rate is vital in minimizing the level of stress on the heart.
- Enhance balance: a warm-up helps to develop important body conditioning such as balance as well as proprioception. This makes it possible for you to align your lower and upper body on different types of topographies.
- Build endurance: cold and inactive muscles will definitely get fatigued so soon. This means that it would become impossible for you to continuously and steadily climb longer routes. Warming up is the best way to naturally prepare your body for aerobic activities as it helps to rev up the cardiovascular system.
The Best Rock-Climbing Exercises
Rock climbing is a fun and engaging activity. However, you need to be and stay in shape if you are doing it correctly and consistently. It requires a strong upper body, core, forearms, and legs. So, the best rock-climbing exercises include:
1.Upper Body Exercises
They are the most critical since they determine your ability to handle rock climbing. The best upper body workouts include:
Traditional push-ups are great for building the upper body as well as strength. They normally work with the pectoral muscles, triceps, and shoulders. They are regarded as the fastest and most effective way of building strength. To do pushups:
- Get down on all your fours. Place your arms slightly wider than your shoulders.
- Go ahead and straighten your legs and arms then lower your body until the chest almost touches the floor.
- Pause for a couple of seconds then use your hands to push yourself back up
- Repeat this several times
This exercise is great in improving grip strength and overall strength of the upper body. It’s quite simple and popular because it doesn’t need lots of equipment.
- Stand directly below the pull-up bar then hold it
- Take your time to inhale and exhale
- Bend your elbows and then raise your upper body upwards towards the bar. You should do this until your chin is slightly over the bar.
- Once you are in the top position, inhale before going back down.
- Do this several times.
Rock climbing requires a lot of strength and involves leg work. however, most climbers tend to overlook leg workouts and instead choose to focus on upper body exercises. However, legs are critical sources of strength and control. So, you need to give them attention as well. The best leg exercises include:
While it might appear to be simply a basic exercise, lunges are critical in strengthening your legs. It’s quite easy to do them:
- Find the right position where you can comfortably stand
- Place one foot ahead and then slowly lean forward until the foot in front of you is at a 90-degree angle.
- Ensure the other leg is almost parallel to the ground as well
- Go back to your original standing position and then change your legs
Note: for effectiveness and improved strength training, you can add some weight.
- Stand up with your feet should-width length apart. Ensure that your toes are turned out slightly.
- Go ahead and pull in the lower abs while keeping your eyesight straightforward
- Slowly go down and bend at your knees
- Go ahead and lower your hips while ensuring that your heels are on the floor
- Wait for a couple of seconds before pressing up in a reverse motion to return to your original standing position
- You can add some weight to make the bodyweight squats harder
This leg exercise is important in keeping your lower back strong and improving your flexibility. Besides that, it helps to improve posture.
These rock-climbing exercises are meant to strengthen your forearms to increase grip strength. It’s one of the core upper body workouts you should focus on if you want to effectively climb rocks.
A strong grip is essential for such activity because it helps you to hold, carry, and move upwards. Besides that, strengthening your forearms will strengthen your entire body.
This weight training exercise is for developing the wrists’ flexor muscles. While it‘s normally considered to be an isolation exercise, it’s normally done in combination with the reverse wrist curl. To start, you need hand-held weights such as a weighted barbell or dumbbell.
- Get in a seated position, preferable on a bench or a chair with armrests.
- Place your dumbbells close to your feet.
- Spread your legs to shoulder-width apart. Ensure that your feet are firmly placed on the ground.
- Pick the dumbbells and then hold them with your palms facing in an upward position
- Let your forearms rest against your legs with the wrists hanging off at the front.
- Go ahead and curl your wrists such that they face your body.
- To complete your first rep, slowly lower the dumbbells back to the ground.
Reverse Wrist Curls
Remember that a combination of wrist curls and reverse wrist curls give the best results for forearm exercises. Using this combo can also prevent injuries, especially in the elbow area. Unlike the usual wrist curls, the front of your wrists needs to face down.
- Sit on a chair and then use both hands to take the dumbbells
- Firmly place your forearms against your legs with the wrists holding the dumbbells left hanging off at the front
- Ensure that your palms face the ground and then try to curl your wrists such that they face backward towards your body
- Complete the first rep by slowly lowering the weight back down
Core strength is vital for improving your rock climbing. It ensures that you are more in control of your body and your footwork is more accurate. The best core exercises include:
It’s the most common, straightforward, and effective core exercise. It helps to deal with back pain, improves core muscle stability, and strengthens the core. The best way to do planks is to first get in a “push-up” position.
- Bend your elbows until they are positioned at a 90-degree angle
- Effectively balance your body weight such that the rest of your weight sits on your forearms
- Remain in this position for as long as possible
It’s also known as the ab workout and they are among the top core exercises. There are many types of leg lifts but to get you started, here are the basic steps to follow:
- Lie flat on your back. Ensure that your legs are slightly stretched out in front of you.
- Bend your knees and then raise your legs. Keep your face and eyes direct to the ceiling to minimize the chances of neck pain.
- Slowly straighten your legs until your feet are facing the ceiling. At this point, your back should still be in contact with the floor.
- Wait for a few seconds and then slowly lower your legs to finish your first rep.
- Do this as many times as you can.
Note: you might find leg lifts to be quite easier. But you can also practice complicated hanging leg lifts
Yoga and jumping rope are ideal for warmup and improving flexibility.
Did you ever think that there is a strong correlation between rock climbing and yoga? Well, now you know that doing yoga can help strengthen your body and allow you to efficiently complete your rock-climbing sessions.
The benefits of yoga for this activity are a combination of emotional and physical support. Emotionally, yoga provides benefits such as reducing mental tension, fatigue, and stress. It’s worth noting yoga which has asanas are designed to help participants improve their level of concentration, focus, and memory. This three are among the top strong emotional components that a rock climber should strive to have.
On the other hand, the different postures and their longevity are essential in improving balance as well as flexibility. Note that there are various yoga routines that they focus on flexibility, strength, or both. Before you engage in a rock-climbing activity, it’s important which you prepare yourself mentally and physically.
Meanwhile, you need to strengthen your muscles in a relaxing way after a day of rock climbing. That’s why yoga-based sessions come in handy for serious climbers. This activity provides an excellent way of easing muscular tension, especially after a day of pulling and holding on to objects.
As a rock-climbing enthusiast who also loves yoga, my sample sessions usually include the bridge pose, eagle, and downward dog. They are great in stretching the chest, shoulders, lower back muscles, trapezius, and hip flexor. Besides that, they help to strengthen butt and leg muscles.
For athletes, jump ropes are the staple workout activities for warming up. And if you engage in activities that involve navigating various bouldering zones, then you don’t want to approach it with stiff and cold muscles. Your body needs to be effectively warmed up and skipping is one of the easiest ways to do this.
I have consistently jump ropes just before a start rock climbing. A 5-10-minute session is usually good to get me properly warmed up. Not only does it help to elevate my heart rate but also loosens my stiff shoulders and improves concentration. It’s what I need to ensure that I am focused and in control of my breathing rate.
This is a cheaper exercising tool that everyone should definitely have even if they are not rock climbers. Well, jumping rope provides a simple and faster way of warming up the body and you don’t need any form of experience to do it. In fact, most of us learned how to jump ropes at a young age, and for a long time, we probably didn’t know that we were working out while having fun.
The best thing about this equipment is that it doesn’t need lots of storage space or a large area for use. It’s also a great way to relax your mind and body after a long day.
Most of these exercises can be done in an indoor setting. However, there are still other activities that you can engage in to stay physically fit. They include:
Taking part in hiking activities frequently can help to improve your stamina as well as endurance. All these usually lead to improved muscle strength that’s important in rock climbing. If you take part in hiking frequently, then this allows your body to be flexible in stretching and reaching out for appropriate holds that you need to move forward and upwards.
For most people, raking a hike is a prerequisite that they need before they can fully engage in rock climbing activities. This outdoor activity involves different paces and various levels of elevations. Just make sure that you have the right footwear and attire to avoid injuries.
If you can’t take a hike, then running is still a great alternate. Some people hate hiking because navigating different terrains isn’t a walk in the park. Running helps to build muscles and physically engages all parts of the body.
Just like hiking, running helps you to bond with nature as you move through different surroundings. Pre- and post- rock-climbing running is advisable since it can speed up the process of recovery. This is an activity that increases the rate of blood flow throughout the body, thereby providing the muscles with all the necessary nutrients they need for healthy development. Besides that, the increased blood flow helps to remove unwanted waste products.
Generally, running is one of the best low-intensity cardio workouts that rock climbers should aim to engage in more often.
If you are a frequent rock climber, make it your goal to run at least 3 times a week for 30 minutes, especially if you are not engaging in other cardio training activities. This will give you the perfect physical and mental balance that you need to stay fit. make sure that you don’t overdo it since you need to make sure of the energy elsewhere.
For most people, cycling provides the easiest way to lose body fat. However, it has also been proved to be an effective cardio fitness activity that can significantly help rock climbers. A lot of people opt for cycling rather than hiking and running since it’s less damaging to the joints.
If you need better control and improved leg strength, then you should cycle frequently. This is because cycling helps to build more leg muscles. In other cases, cycling is also a great way to maintain the stability of your knees. As a matter of fact, it’s one of the recommended rehab activities that orthopedics recommend for people struggling with knee stability.
For better knee and leg strength, bike at least twice weekly on hilly terrain. This will enhance your muscle recovery time and limit the severity of strain you put on your body.
Personally, I love biking for leisure as well. So, while I am enjoying the breeze outdoor and bonding with nature, I am also working out my legs and strengthening my needs. I can take my bike at any time to run errands and easily ride down the street while getting my workout done.
Equipment to Use
Most of these activities involve motion as well as the use of additional equipment to enhance the effectiveness of muscle buildup and the development of core body strength. If possible, these are some of the equipment that you should consider using:
They are the most ideal for strength training and the development of lean muscle mass. Dumbbells are the most effective for ab workouts since rock climbing mainly requires a well-trimmed upper body part.
To tighten your core, use dumbbells regularly and make sure that you always switch sides. With weights in your hands, the muscles in your arms will be well-toned.
Gym and Yoga Mats
Some workouts require you to lie or sit on the floor. In this case, you need to have a workout mat that helps to enhance user comfort. Such a piece of equipment can help to minimize the chances of injuries and slipping.
Yoga mats are almost like any other workout mats. They help yoga practitioners to stand or hold strong on the surface since they are usually made with anti-slipping properties. besides that, these mats also provide users with insulation since they help to cover the area between the human body and the floor or ground. This is critical in preventing any form of heat loss, energy, or charge from the body to the surrounding ground. This process is usually known as thermo-insulation.
They are also known as yoga balls. Exercise balls are made using a soft elastic material, and normally require the use of muscular response to facilitate movements or to maintain the user’s center of gravity.
Having an exercise ball as one of your workout equipment for rock climbing helps to add versatility. This is because the ball can help you:
- Learn proper postures
- Find your neutral spine position
- Improve balance and stability
- Improved strength and control of the core body muscles
- Perfect equipment for ab, arm, and leg strengthening activities among others.
How to Effectively Prepare for Rock Climbing
Well, how can you train for this type of activity to attain optimal results? well, we all have different goals and types of metabolic activities. If you are just starting:
Do a comprehensive research
You need to find exercises that suit your specific needs. If you have a personal trainer, then this would be a good way to start. But you don’t necessarily need one since there is a ton of relevant information that you can easily find over the internet. Videos are usually the best since they effectively highlight how to do this exercise.
Regardless of when and how you are going to do rock climbing, don’t let your creativity slide. Remember that you need exercises that are tailored to fit your needs. At some point, you, therefore, need to get creative and design your own workout plan. Focus on activities that help you attain the best results.
Improve your concentration and focus
While rock climbing is great for your mental health, you need to ensure that you practice a high level of concentration and focus. Losing focus, for instance, could mean that you will end up making errors that could lead to slip-ups that could potentially lead to injuries.
The Bottom Line
Climbing up and down through various rock formations or artificial rock walls requires you to be physically fit. your upper body, hands, and legs need to be well-strengthened and flexible for you to effectively ascend or descend various levels of topographical regions.
Rock climbing exercises are, therefore, essential in preparing your mind and body for such activity. Besides that, some of them help to facilitate the recovery process. the above-mentioned exercises which can be done indoors and outdoors are among the best. So, if you are a serious climber, make it your goal to engage in them regularly.