There are lots of very good reasons to start working out, not only will weight training help you to improve your overall strength, potency and capability, but you will also be able to improve your health, your appearance and your energy levels by regularly hitting the gym and partaking in weight lifting and cardiovascular (CV) exercise.
However another reason that some people might go to the gym is to improve their ability in specific capacities. A runner for instance might go to the gym to improve their running speed, while a golfer might go to improve their golf swing. If you are a rock climber or a cave climber then this is no different – you still need to be able to build up muscles and agility if you are going to be the best that you can be.
To this end, here we will look at how to improve your climbing ability in the gym, and what you need to train specifically in order to become a better climber.
When you rock climb, this is an incredibly physical and difficult task that will require a lot of upper body strength. You are essentially here using your arms and your torso in order to lift and carry your body and to defy gravity, and that requires impressive dynamic power.
As such, if you want to be good at rock climbing you need to train your muscles and develop that kind of strength. However you also need to make sure that you do this in a smart way so that you are training the correct muscle groups. Training the wrong ones will only weigh you down and won’t have that much effect on your ability.
Most important for rock climbing are the lats, the shoulders, the biceps, the forearms and the legs. Train these the most and you will become built for climbing and you will find it surprisingly easy to pull yourself up a rock face. To accomplish this there are several exercises you can use, including: pull ups, chin ups, finger board chin ups, wrist curls, bicep curls, bent over rows, lat pull down, squats, lunges, calf raises etc.
You should also make sure though to strengthen your core. This will happen to an extent as a by-product of training the rest of your body but it’s a good idea to also train it specifically. Next, make sure that you train your other muscles a bit – just enough to prevent an imbalance that can lead to injury and other problems.
Using bodyweight training is also a very good idea. This is any training that involves using your own body weight as the resistance – pull ups, press ups or dips for instance. This is ideal because it will help to prepare you for what you will be doing when you actually are climbing.
Using cardio also has its place for a rock climber trying to get into place. For instance you should use this in order to improve your general cardio fitness and to give yourself the ability to exert yourself for long periods of time without becoming tired quickly.
Running on a treadmill for instance will help you to last longer when you are gripping onto the face of a route (though this is also a matter of technique and weight distribution).
Another benefit of using CV is for weight loss. Bear in mind that when you climb you are fighting gravity and the weight of your own body – thus the lighter you can become, the better you will be able to hold your own weight.
There are countless CV machines in the gym to this end, but perhaps the most appropriate is the ‘climber’ machine if it still exists which is like climbing continuously ‘up’ a treadmill.
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