Most climbers will tell you that the best way to get better at climbing and bouldering is to simply go climb. They are unique sports that require muscle endurance, explosive power, finger strength, agility, flexibility, and core strength, and the most effective way to work all these components together is usually on the wall. However, you can certainly complement your training with additional exercises. We caught up with Miho Nonaka, a world-class athlete in competition bouldering, to find out which exercises she uses to get herself in top condition. In addition to a regular regime of climbing, here are a few of the exercises she integrates into her training.
TOP EXERCISES FOR ROCK CLIMBING
1. LUNGE AND TWIST
Targeted muscles: Core, Glutes, Quads
How to Do The Exercise: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and step down into a lunge position. Raise your hands palms facing inward in front of you with elbows bent. To twist, move from your core while keeping your glutes and tummy muscles engaged.
How It Improves Your Climbing: This movement challenges your stability while helping you to strengthen your core muscles and legs. It will also help you to improve balance and coordination.
Targeted muscles: Core, Lower Back
How to Do The Exercise: Lay flat on your back with your belly engaged. Lift one leg at 90 degrees and hover the other leg above the floor. Raise one arm behind your head and extend the other arm to reach toward the foot of the opposite leg. Make sure your movements are slow and controlled. Pause at the top of the movement to make sure your arm and opposite leg are fully extended and your core is fully activated.
How It Improves Your Climbing: This exercise helps you build core strength in the muscles that run the length of your spine, obliques, and abs. These muscles are your powerhouse, and support movement in all limbs.
3. MOUNTAIN CLIMBERS
Targeted muscles: Glutes, Legs, Core
How to Do The Exercise: Get down into a plank position with your shoulders stacked over your wrists. Make sure your core is engaged while you bring one knee in toward your chest. Watch your neck and ensure that your head is extending in a straight line from your spine, not dipping down toward the floor.
How It Improves Your Climbing: Mountain climbers are a great exercise to build your muscle endurance while challenging stability. They help you build some serious leg strength for more powerful, explosive moves on the wall. In addition, they help with spine stabilization.
4. KNEE TUCK CRUNCHES
Targeted muscles: Abs and core
How to Do The Exercise: Sit on the floor with your arm behind your palms touching the floor. Engage your core muscles to crunch your bent knees in toward your chest, and then extend your legs outward hovering your feet above the floor.
How It Improves Your Climbing: These crunches also strengthen the entire abdominal region—your powerhouse for climbing movement.
5. SPEED SKATERS
Targeted muscles: Glutes, Quads
How to Do The Exercise: Start standing with your feet shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent, and core engaged. Leap to one side and sweep the other leg behind you bringing the opposite arm in front (your arm movement will mimic what they would do if you were running). As you move from side to side, make sure you are bent slightly forward.
How It Improves Your Climbing: This workout is great for getting your heart rate up, challenging your stability, building lower-body and ankle strength.
Want more workouts to complement your climbing training? Check out our latest featured workout on the adidas Training app.