T Nation

Any Rockclimbers Here?


Today I went to Berkeley Ironworks to climb a wall and I liked it very much. I cleared 5.10A, however mostly to upper body strength rather than tehnique. Could not clear a much easier wall in 10 minutes...

Any exercises that can assist with rock-climbing?


Done a bit of climbing myself but Im by no means an expert. Firstly its much more important to have good technique, although strength obviously helps in certain situations. The instructor guy I used to see was a fairly small guy, decent forearms of course but great endurance ability.

For excercises the obvious ones are forearm / grip work, pull-downs / pull-ups. You need strength but probably more important is total body endurance so Id say static holds might help. Its not all upper body as well, any one limb may end up having to take most of your weight at a given time so dont neglect your legs.

As you progress you'll find yourself in crazy positions like hanging on to tiny grips with two fingertips of each hand and having to swing a leg up to get your foot to the next point thats like 2 meters above and to your right!! So you need flexibilty as well.

First time I went climbing I thought "No problem, Im in shape, I do my pull ups" and thought Id muscle my way up. The training walls were easy and fun but the harder walls were well... harder! Its more aerobic than it looks too so cardio and GPP will help.

All things considered the best way to get better is by actually doing it!! And a good teacher is invaluable.

Hope this helps, its a good sport/hobby to be into.

Hell Im in the mood to go climb now.....


Is this your first time climbing? It sounds like it was, so I'll make that assumption. If not, just delete the post.

  1. Strength - very easy, get stronger at whatever made you the most sore. Muscles like forearms, grip muscles, lats, and calves (yes, calves, have you experienced 'sewing-machine legs' yet? That's when your on a hold with your legs (usually just a toe), and it starts to burn out so the whole leg will start to convulse, e.g. jump up'n'down like a sewing machine needle. Good stuff). You'll quickly learn what you're weak at.

  2. Just climb - Nothing makes you better than at climbing than climbing, especially at the beginning. Power has so little to do with success, relative to balance, technique, self-control, etc..

  3. Get some instruction - this can mean pay for a good instructor, or connect with some good climbers who don't mind teaching newbies. You'll learn far faster than flailing up a route on your own. Also, use common sense and read to make sure you're being taught solid ropework and safe techniques.

  4. Get outside - If you live anywhere near good rock, go with some experienced folks and do some real rock work. For some of us, a climbing gym is a workout, but climbing real rock is ...difficult to describe. There's a reason people get addicted, but for most folks, you have to experience it outdoors on real climbs to find that level. It's tremendously rewarding.

  5. Finally, switch instructors/climbing partners up a little - this is a reality check to make sure you're not doing stuff because 'that's the way you were taught', when the guy/gal who taught you was a retard who proved that Darwinism is an imperfect mechanism for selection. As a newbie, you can't really evaluate how thorough someone is, because you can't imagine all the stuff that can happen on the rock. There are some crazy ideas on safety, anchors, etc., and some total clowns running around out there. Protect yourself.

Climbing is an amazing sport, if you take it past the 'good workout' stage. There are lots of ways to get good workouts; there are far fewer ways to get that unique high you get from a decent climb.

Best of luck.


I'm no expert, but....

Forearms/grip work (for obvious reasons), calf raises (obvious reasons), and one-legged bodyweight squats (to build strength, endurance, AND motor unit control).

Also, get yourself one of those gyroscope wrist exersizer balls and carry it around everywhere. you'll annoy the hell out of every single person you know, but your grip and forearms will get better and build endurance - grip is usually the first thing to tire, especially on someone who's not incredibly light (like me!).

good luck man! and as was previously mentioned, get out there on a real rock! nothin' beats it. you'll start looking at every boulder and stone wall as a potential traverse/bouldering exersize! A good climbing partner is INDESPENSIBLE, but do have more than one.

be safe.


Climing rules. It's by far my favorite sport.

As "Climber" posted, the best way to get better at climbing is to climb. A LOT!

Train on a campus board to get your fingers/forearms in sick condition.

Doing a 5.10 on your first try (if it was your first try) is pretty good!

IMO weight training can be good if you train for strength and explosive power and not size/bulk. Pull ups will actually do you less good than campusing.

Have you tried bouldering? Most of the sickly strong guys that I know boulder and ignore routes. And even though these strong guys bust out one-arm chins like nothing they can't climb routes for shit. Personally I love routes cause I'm not as strong pound for pound as the guys that are good at bouldering, but bouldering is always fun as long is it's not overhung! :wink:





Haha, i happened to go climbing the other week, indoors, for the first time. I was expecting to fly up the walls sinc ei have good gpp levels, 190lbs 9.5 % bf, I thought id kick ass.

FUCK, it was so demoralising, i was worse than a 5 year old girl, in fact, I think a five year old girl did manage some of the stuff I fucked up on.

ive got a 10.8 in the 100metres and I can't climb a fucking wall.


I haven't climbed in a bit but prebulkup I could get 5.10. I found, honesly, that one legged squats, and deadlifting did as much for me as arm exercises, as good technique requires leg power more than you think.


Yeah I got that feeling too, when a tiny guy in his forties scales a wall in seconds its a bit of an eye opener!!

Some guys have been doing it their whole lives so its second nature to them.