AT HOME EXERCISES FOR ROCK CLIMBERS

Traditionally, climbers had to travel far and wide for the next climb. But the question arises, “how can I continue training when I’m not at a crag or a gym?” Fear not, we have put together a list of some helpful gear and exercises that will help you train anytime and anywhere.

First, let’s talk about some essential gear that every climber can use to help train outside the gym. As a climber, you obviously are putting your hands through the ringer. The VariGrip Sport allows you to improve your command and control of your hands, fingers, wrists, and forearms by strengthening through a series of adjustable resistance buttons. Whether you are on the go, waiting for a route, in the gym, or just chilling in your Mercedes Sprinter, you can rest assured that the VariGrip Sport (or the VariGrip Sport Pro, which provides extra heavy resistance buttons for those with an extra strong grip) will provide a great way to improve grip strength and dexterity. Both models available have a built in callus builder, which may also help you develop those guitar skills if you are so inclined. Traditionally, climbers have used a wide range of products ranging from forearm trainers, broccoli elastics, stress balls etc… The VariGrip provides a wide range of exercises and stretches that combine all of those products into one, ergonomic, and cost effective product. Dynatomy, the company that manufactures the VariGrip also has several other tools to increase hand strength and dexterity. Explore their full product line at https://www.dynatomyproducts.com.

The most popular traditional training tool for climbers is the hangboard (aka: the fingerboard.) Hangboard training is a great, time-efficient way of building up hand and finger strength. Some are even portable, and can be hung on a hook for training on the go. If you choose to buy a stationary hangboard, all you have to do is install it on a solid surface in your home/van. You want to be careful when first beginning your hangboard training since it is such an extreme way of finger/hand training. It’s recommended to start hangboarding about twice a week when you’re first starting to avoid straining the muscles/tendons in your fingers and hands. Another tip: don’t full crimp. That’s a great way to irreversibly hurt your hands and potentially cause tendonitis. When you first start, make sure to warm up first (using your handy-dandy VariGrip Sport) and practice your hangboarding using either open hand or half crimp. Here’s a great article if your are new, or thinking about starting hangboard training: https://www.99boulders.com/beginner-hangboard-training

As for at home workouts, there are plenty of ways to improve strength and conditioning without having to hit the gym. I’ll briefly touch on some good exercises, the first being the plank. The plank is a classic core exercise that strengthens every muscle of your core, as well as your quads. Push-ups are also a great core and chest exercise. Both planks and pushups have several variations which can target specific muscle groups, and neither require any equipment. Rice bucket training strengthens your forearms, hands and fingers. All you need is a bucket and a few pounds of rice, and you’ve made yourself a way to increase flexor and extensor strength. Simply pour the rice in the bucket, and mash away at the grains with your hands. Here’s an article with some additional workouts for your all your climbing conditioning needs: https://www.99boulders.com/rock-climbing-home-workouts

Several climbers swear by yoga as a way to increase mental focus, core strength, and flexibility. By doing something as simple as focusing on your breathing, you will find that your ability to focus on the route mid-climb will greatly improve. As you may know, flexibility is key when it comes to climbing. We often find ourselves contorted into awkward positions and shapes in order to stretch for that perfect route. Yoga helps make these movements feel natural and smooth, not to mention the fact that it will help prevent the injuries that occur while in these situations.

When it comes to climbing, it’s all about strength and mental focus. Hopefully, the tips and tricks I’ve talked about will help your game and make your climbing experience that much more enjoyable. Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie or an amateur climber, all of these products and exercises are sure to make a difference when you get to the crag.

Happy Trails!