Training for Climbing

You can climb rock or ice without any specialized training, but you'll get much more out of your climbing if you strengthen the specific muscles and tendons needed for harder moves. Our expert-written articles will help you get the most out of your training for climbing, whether it's at the climbing gym, in a weight room, or in your own home. Plus, we'll show you how to train safely, and even how to prevent climbing injuries.
  • Make Your Own Suspension Trainer on a Budget

    With a $199 price tag, the TRX Suspension Trainer is cheaper than most exercise equipment, but possibly outside the budget for many climbers. The system is so incredibly simple that it can be easily replicated with materials readily available to most climbers: webbing and biners. The homemade version won’t be nearly as adjustable, and the loops of webbing are not nearly as cushy as foam stirrups, but if you’re strapped for cash you won’t feel left out of the suspension training party (a pretty expensive party to attend).

  • HP10ExercisesCore

    Training: 10 Exercises for a Complete Core

    A strong core is crucial to progressing as a climber. Body tension, keeping your feet on, moving efficiently, toeing-in on overhangs—it all revolves around the core. Plus, a solid core helps prevent injury. You’ve probably heard a core-strength evangelist preach the benefits before, and you’ve probably been pointed toward endless crunches or even expensive programs like Pilates, TRX, or yoga. Get ready for a new approach: varied exercises that are specifically targeted to work multiple parts of your body at the same time—just like climbing does.

  • HPPlat

    Training: Never Plateau Again

    Climbing is addictive. One reason is that you can see massive strength gains and technique improvement from day one of your climbing career. But after a few months—or for the extremely lucky, a few years—a plateau can sneak up on you, slow your progress, and frustrate you beyond belief. During my own personal three-year-long plateau, I heard every kind of advice from doing more pull-ups to climbing every day despite the pain to even going vegetarian (not gonna happen). On a quest to find the one true way, I started to interview top climbers to see how they handled these annoying performance flatlines—both mentally and physically—and the answers I found were as diverse and interesting as the climbers themselves.

  • HPBrain

    Learn This: Mental Training for Climbers

    Years of personal climbing experience, countless climber surveys, and psychological research all point to mental strength as the most influential factor in whether a climber succeeds or not. Your body might be strong and willing, but if you don’t have an equally strong and willing mind, your body has nothing to guide it. The good news is that you can train your brain just like you train your body. We’ve developed a mental training plan that outlines the knowledge and skills you’ll need to improve your head game and thus, your overall climbing performance.

  • Cirque Traverse Training Exercises

  • HPFootwork

    Training: 7 Simple Drills To Improve Footwork And Technique

    You’ve surely heard this once (if not a thousand times) before: Climbing is all about your feet. However, when a fellow climber recites that adage, it’s generally not followed with a detailed explanation about how and why your feet are important, so it can be confusing and frustrating and maybe not mean much at all in the end. So listen up, as that’s about to change.

  • FPAlpinism

    Strength for Alpinism: How to Train

    You might train your upper body endlessly for the demands of technical climbing, but getting to intense backcountry objectives demands a base strength in your lower body as well. Legs are the main propulsion you have in the mountains, and their large muscle mass requires special attention. We’ve developed a solid, structured training program that will help you build the necessary strength and endurance to achieve your goals, keeping you healthy and energized when you set off from high camp.

  • Breathing

    Climb Harder By Mastering This Breathing Technique

    It’s strangely easy to forget about something you do 20,000 times a day, but taking a minute to focus on maximizing your oxygen intake while climbing can offer a considerable performance boost. Coach and world-renowned climber Justen Sjong has developed a breathing style that supports a relaxed body and mind, even when you’re climbing at your physical limit.

  • FitHP2

    Train Like A Guide

    “So many guides are active all the time,” says Sciolino. “They’re active during on-season guiding, and they’re active in the off-season because they’re doing their own climbing and activities.” Strength and mobility work are key, says Sciolino. Below are common exercises and stretches that Sciolino uses to keep her guides strong and injury-free.

  • Train Indoors For Ice and Mixed Climbing

    When it comes to training, rock climbers have it easy. Look online for countless articles on different ways to get stronger, and then work hard in the gym (and there seems to be a new one popping up on every corner) to get better on the rock. But ice and mixed climbers don’t get the same benefit from pulling on plastic, and training resources are harder to find.

  • Photo courtesy Boulder Rock Club

    Create-A-Crux: Strengthen Mind and Body at the Gym

    During winter, rock climbers experience a patience-testing stretch of inclement weather, making it difficult to climb outside consistently. Consequently, more climbers flock to the gym and recommit to a training regime to prepare for spring sending. Forget the treadwall, auto-belays, tedious lines for the lead wall, and campus and hangboards.

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    Stretch and Strengthen

    Stretching is an often-overlooked aspect of the pre-climbing routine. The following stretches pull double duty; not only do they lengthen your muscles, tendons, and ligaments for the approach—therefore preventing injury—but they also provide more mobility and flexibility on the wall so you can climb smarter and stronger.