How to Get Fit for Climbing

You want to start climbing but you don't think you're fit enough? Read on.


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    Improve upper body strength.
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    Start doing arm pull ups, sit ups, weightlifting and other exercises that would help. Remember that your lower body (i.e. legs) strength is, if anything, even more important than your upper body strength. You propel yourself up the wall with your legs, and reliance on upper body strength leads to sloppy technique. Squats, particularly one-legged squats, should feature heavily in any weights workout.
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    Try to make yourself more agile -- seriously, it helps.
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    Do hand and finger exercises so your strength in your hands get stronger.
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    Do your best to try to make your grip better. Buy or build grip exercisers and learn to use them.
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    Improve your cardio-vascular fitness by including exercises like running, biking, swimming or jumping rope in your exercise routine. Not only will a cardio routine burn fat turning you into a leaner, more fit athlete, but a cardio routine will also increase your endurance.
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    Include balance exercises in your training program.
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    Buy a fitness ball, like those used in pilates, and learn to use it. These help build strength and balance.
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    Learn to Walk a Slackline. Learning to move precisely and gracefully will pay big dividends once you start climbing.
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    Eat healthy foods. Your body needs high-quality food to operate at peak performance. Minimize junk food in your diet and increase protein and vegetable intake (see warnings below!) to provide the nutrients your body needs to build muscle and bone mass. Include healthy, slow-burning carbs like rice, oats and sweet potatoes to provide energy during your workouts.
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    Go climbing! The best training for rock climbing guessed it! Rock climbing.


    1. When weightlifting, do more repetitions with lighter weights -- stamina is more important than brute strength when rock climbing.
    2. When you start climbing watch how more experienced climbers move over the rock. Powering your way through climbs will work at first, but once you start climbing harder routes (5.10/V1 or better), you will plateau if you don't learn good technique as well.


    1. Check with a doctor before starting an exercise or diet program. Sudden changes in exercise or diet can do far more damage than good, in some cases.
    2. Make sure you give your body time to recover between workouts, especially when you first begin.
    3. Pay attention to your body's warning signals. If you find yourself in pain after a workout, you might need to take some time off or decrease the intensity of your workout until your body is used to exercising regularly. While some muscle soreness indicates that you are building muscle tissue, pain is a warning sign that something is wrong. In particular sharp pains in your muscles, joint pains or a feeling like an electric shock in your forearms during or after your workouts can indicate more serious problems that should not be ignored.

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Categories: Climbing