How to Train for Rock Climbing: Workouts & Exercises

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Imagine the rush of conquering a towering rock wall, defying gravity as you ascend higher and higher. Rock climbing is not just a sport; it’s a thrilling adventure that challenges both your body and mind. Whether you’re a seasoned climber or just starting out, incorporating targeted exercises into your gym routine can significantly enhance your rock climbing fitness level. Let’s explore the key exercises to incorporate into your rock climbing workout routine that will help you build strength, endurance, and technique for rock climbing. Grab your harness, chalk up your hands, and let’s embark on an exhilarating fitness journey!

Training Schedule for Rock Climbing

To improve your rock climbing performance, a well-structured training schedule is crucial to keep you on track. Consistency and progressive training will pave the way to successful climbing training. While everyone’s training schedule will look different, here’s a suggested training plan to help you get started:

  1. Monday: Strength training 
  2. Tuesday: Climbing 
  3. Wednesday: Cardio and endurance training 
  4. Thursday: Rest day 
  5. Friday: Strength training
  6. Saturday: Climbing
  7. Sunday: Cardio or active recovery – enjoy a light activity

Training Exercises for Rock Climbing

Rock climbing is a physically demanding sport that engages many muscles throughout your body. Some of these muscles include upper body muscles like forearms, back, and shoulders as well as core, lower body, and grip muscles. Regular rock climbing workouts will strengthen and tone these muscles, improving climbing performance. 


Position yourself face down on an exercise mat or the floor in a push-up position. Place your forearms on the ground, bent at 90 degrees, and aligned with your shoulders. Engage your core to keep proper form and avoid arching your back. Hold this position for as long as you can. Planks are great exercises for working out the upper body and lower body and building core strength.


Develop overall upper body strength by performing pull-ups, starting with assisted variations if needed. While it may seem like a straightforward exercise, it can challenge your upper body muscles. Stand beneath the bar and reach up to grasp it with an overhand grip (palms facing away from you). Pull yourself up and bring your chest to the bar. Then lower back down to starting position by extending your arms. 


Strengthen your chest, shoulders, and arms with the classic push-up. Start with your hands on the ground slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, and your legs extended straight behind you. Bend your arms to lower yourself to the ground and keep your elbows close. to your sides. Push and extend your arms to lift your body back up. 

Wrist Curls

Wrist curls are a simple yet effective exercise for strengthening your forearm muscles. Sit with your feet flat on the ground and hold a dumbbell or a barbell with an underhand grip. Rest your forearms on a surface and flex your wrists while curling the weight up. Squeeze your wrist flexors at the top of the movement and keep your forearms steady throughout the exercise, using only your wrists to move the weight. Lower the weight back down while maintaining a slow and controlled movement.


Squats are a fundamental exercise that target your core and lower body muscles, including your quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. Engage these muscles by performing bodyweight squats or adding resistance for an added challenge.

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes pointing straight, spine neutral, and shoulders relaxed. Push your hips back and bend your knees simultaneously as if you’re about to sit in a chair. Maintain a balanced distribution of weight through your feet. Push through your feet to raise yourself back up to the starting position.


Enhance leg strength and balance with these lower body bodyweight exercises. Or you can add resistance for more of a challenge. Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart and step forward with your right foot, ensuring a comfortable stride length. Keep your upper body upright and engage your core muscles for stability. Bend both knees simultaneously to lower your body straight down toward the ground until your front knee is at a 90-degree angle aligned with your front ankle. Also, make sure your front knee doesn’t bend past your toes. Push through your front heel to lift your body back up to the starting position, and repeat on the left foot.

Kettlebell swings

You can use kettlebells to build muscle through various exercises, one being the kettlebell swing. Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and your toes pointing slightly outward. Hinge at the hips, pushing your hips back and slightly bending your knees. Drive your hips forward explosively, using the power from your lower body to swing the kettlebell upward. Allow the momentum to swing the kettlebell forward and up to chest height or slightly above. Allow the kettlebell to come back down as you hinge at the hips and push your hips back. Control the downward swing using your hips and core muscles and keep your arms relaxed to guide the kettlebell back between your legs.

Hanging Leg Raises

Hanging leg raises are effective for targeting your abdominal muscles, particularly your lower abs. Find a stable pull-up bar or any sturdy overhead structure. Grip the bar or structure with your palms facing away from you in an overhead grip, and keep your arms straight and shoulders relaxed. Keep your legs together, and start by flexing your hips to lift your legs up. 

Use your lower abs to initiate the movement and avoid excessive swinging or momentum. Continue lifting until your thighs are parallel to the ground, and slowly lower back down while maintaining control.

Conquer New Heights with Chuze Fitness 

By incorporating these rock climbing exercises into your gym routine, you’ll build the strength and endurance needed to conquer any climbing surface. 

If you need a place to start your rock climbing workout routine, we’ve got you covered at Chuze Fitness. With locations across the country, finding a location near you has never been easier. Plus with personal training and fitness classes, you can find a supportive community to encourage your rock climbing habits and journey. 



Healthline. What Muscles Do Planks Work? 

Gymless. Hanging Leg Raises.

Reviewed By:

Ani is the Vice President of Fitness at Chuze Fitness and oversees the group fitness and team training departments. She’s had a 25+ year career in club management, personal training, group exercise and instructor training. Ani lives with her husband and son in San Diego, CA and loves hot yoga, snowboarding and all things wellness.

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