If you’ve been climbing for any length of time, you probably realize that there is perhaps no other sport in the world that provides such a dynamic “full-body workout.” If you’re a regular at a climbing gym, there’s a good chance that you’re also one of the fittest people on your block. But what happens if life gets in the way and you can’t get to the climbing gym? Here are 5 “regular” exercises you can do in any “regular” gym that will help you shred it when you finally get back to your rock gym.
The military press will work out your shoulder and back muscles and making those long pulls in the climbing gym all the easier. To perform a military press, stand with your feet apart, about as wide as your hips. Ben your arms so that your palms face forward and your elbows are at 90 degrees at your sides. Push your arms up and extend your hands directly overhead until your biceps are even with your years. Lower your hands and repeat for 10 to 12 reps. If you really want to start packing on the muscle, add some dumbbells.
Dumbbell Chest Press
You might not realize just how much you use your pectoral muscles while climbing. The dumbbell chest press can help work out your chest muscles so you won’t notice the burn as much during your next trip to the climbing gym. Start by lying down on the floor or a bench. Grab a set of dumbbells (start light to start, 5 to 10 pounders). Press the dumbbells up and hold them over your chest. Your palms should face away from you, and your wrists should be in line with your shoulders. Lower until your elbows are 90 degrees with your body and press again. Repeat for 10 to 12 reps.
Dumbbell Front Raise
Front raises with dumbbells are one of the best exercises for building the important shoulder muscles used in rock climbing. To start, grab a pair of 5 to 10-pound dumbbells (increase the weight as you build strength). Keep your palms facing down and lift the weight up in front of you to eye level with your elbow straight (but don’t lock it out). Lower the weight slowly and feel the burn. Repeat with the other arm. Do 12 to 15 reps on each arm.
If you’ve been climbing for a while, you know that it’s your booty and legs that do most of the work. The goblet squat is a great “non-climbing” exercise you can perform to work out those vital lower body muscles. Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart. Hold a dumbbell or kettlebell in front of you with both hands at chest level. Keep your chest up and back straight and then lower your upper body by bending your knees and sending your hips back. When your butt is parallel with your knees, press back up through your heels. Repeat for 12 to 15 reps.
Our last recommended exercise will work out your core muscles—vital for tackling those complex routes at the climbing gym that require you to stretch a bit more than usual. Start by lying on your back and placing your palms on the floor next to your hips. Keeping your legs straight, raise your feet together until your body is at slightly less than 90 degrees. Slowly lower your feet back toward the floor, but don’t let your heels touch until you’ve finished the set. Repeat as many as you can in a minute, rest for 15 seconds, then repeat a few times.