Strength Training Exercises for Advanced Rock Climbers

So, you’re an advanced rock climber looking for strength training exercises to enhance your climbing performance? We get it; we’ve scaled those challenging routes too. Based on Eric Horst’s “Training for Climbing,” seasoned climbers should spend 60% of their time doing the real thing and supplement with targeted workouts.

This blog post provides a roundup of strength training routines specifically tailored to advanced climbers like you. Ready to reach new heights?.

Strength Training Exercises for Advanced Rock Climbers

In this section, we will discuss three key strength training exercises that are beneficial for advanced rock climbers: campus board training, plyometric pull-ups, and inverted rows with hand lift.

Campus board training

Campus board training is an excellent way to increase finger strength and dynamic power for advanced rock climbers. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Campus board training focuses on the development of finger strength and dynamic movement, making it a perfect exercise for those aiming to improve their climbing performance.
  2. This training method was created by Wolfgang Gullich, a world-renowned German climber, with the intention of enhancing his ability to climb extremely difficult routes.
  3. For effective campus board training, we recommend this as a part of your climbing workouts at least two or three times a week.
  4. A typical campus board setup includes wooden rungs spaced evenly apart on an inclined board.
  5. You can start your workout by reaching up to the first rung and then alternating hands as you try to reach the next rung above without using feet.
  6. To avoid overexertion or potential injuries, ensure you warm up thoroughly before each session and gradually increase intensity over time.
  7. Keep in mind that while campus boarding can greatly enhance your finger strength and power, it’s essential not to neglect other areas of physical fitness necessary for climbing like core strength and lower body stability.
  8. It’s also important not to overlook the fact that climbing itself should constitute the majority of your workout routine— as recommended by Eric Horst in “Training for Climbing”, intermediate climbers should dedicate about 60% of their training time climbing.
  9. Also consider combining campus board training with additional off-the-wall exercises such as push-ups and pull-ups for maximizing results.

Plyometric pullup

The plyometric pullup is a great exercise to add explosive power to your climbing. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Grab the pull-up bar with an overhand grip, slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  2. From a dead hang position, explosively pull yourself up as high as possible while simultaneously pulling your knees towards your chest.
  3. At the top of the movement, release your grip on the bar and quickly switch to an underhand grip.
  4. As soon as you switch grips, immediately lower yourself back down into the starting position and repeat the movement for the desired number of reps.

Inverted row with hand lift

One great strength training exercise for advanced rock climbers is the inverted row with hand lift. This exercise targets the muscles in your upper back, shoulders, and arms, which are crucial for climbing technique and power. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Set up a suspension trainer or TRX straps at chest height.
  2. Stand facing the straps and grab onto the handles with an overhand grip.
  3. Walk your feet forward until your body is at a slight angle, keeping your arms extended.
  4. Engage your core and squeeze your shoulder blades together as you pull your chest up toward the handles.
  5. Once at the top of the row, lift one hand off the handle while maintaining balance and stability.
  6. Lower that hand back down and repeat with the other hand.
  7. Aim for 8 – 12 repetitions per set, focusing on maintaining proper form throughout.

Incorporating Power Exercises into Your Workout Routine

Incorporating power exercises into your workout routine is crucial for advanced rock climbers looking to improve their climbing performance. Power exercises focus on explosive movements, which can help you generate the strength and speed needed to tackle challenging climbs.

Some recommended power exercises include plyometric pull-ups, medicine ball slams, and inverted rows with hand lift.

Plyometric pull-ups involve explosively pulling yourself up while incorporating a small jump at the end of each rep. This exercise targets your upper body muscles, specifically your back and biceps, helping you develop greater pulling power.

Medicine ball slams are another effective power exercise that engages your core, shoulders, and arms. By forcefully slamming a weighted ball onto the ground repeatedly, you build explosive strength in these key areas.

Lastly, inverted rows with hand lift are excellent for strengthening your back muscles while also engaging your grip strength. To perform this exercise, set up a TRX suspension trainer or use a barbell placed just below waist height.

Grab the handles or barbell with an overhand grip and lower yourself down until your arms are fully extended. Then pull yourself up towards the handles or barbell while simultaneously lifting one hand off its respective handle/barbell at the top of each rep.

Incorporating these power exercises into your regular training routine will enhance both your upper body and core strength necessary for tackling advanced climbs successfully. Be sure to warm-up adequately before starting any workout session and listen to your body to prevent injury during high-intensity movements like plyometrics.

Keep pushing yourself but always prioritize safety first!


In conclusion, incorporating strength training exercises into your rock climbing routine is essential for advanced climbers looking to improve their performance. By targeting key muscle groups and increasing overall power and endurance, these exercises can help you conquer even the most challenging climbs.

Remember to listen to your body, balance out lifting days with climbing days, and vary your workouts to continue challenging yourself and reaching new heights in your climbing journey.

Happy climbing!


1. What are some strength training exercises specifically for advanced rock climbers?

Some strength training exercises that can benefit advanced rock climbers include fingerboard hangs, campus board exercises, weighted pull-ups, and deadlifts.

2. How often should I perform these strength training exercises?

The frequency of your strength training workouts will depend on your individual goals and current fitness level. However, it is generally recommended to incorporate these exercises into your routine 2-3 times per week with proper rest days in between.

3. Can I substitute other types of workouts for specific strength training exercises mentioned?

While it’s important to tailor your workouts to meet your individual needs and preferences, certain strength training exercises like fingerboard hangs and campus board exercises have specific benefits that may be difficult to replicate with alternative workouts. It’s best to consult with a professional trainer or coach familiar with rock climbing-specific training techniques before making substitutions.

4. Are there any safety precautions I should take when performing these advanced strengthening exercises?

Yes, safety is crucial when performing advanced strengthening exercises. Be sure to use correct form and technique to prevent injuries. Start with lighter weights or progress gradually as you build up strength. It is also advisable to warm up properly before each session and listen to your body for any signs of overexertion or pain during the workout. If unsure about proper technique or safety measures, seek guidance from a qualified professional in the field of rock climbing or sports conditioning.

Calvin Rivers

Hey, I’m Calvin Rivers, a climbing veteran with 10+ years on crags and walls around the world. I can’t wait for you to explore our site and fall in love with the outdoors just like I have.

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