Resistance Band Training for Climbers
Whether you do free climbing, mountain climbing, or indoor climbing, you need to work all your body muscles. You need to have strong core muscles to help you climb better and powerful leg and arm muscles for endurance. You also need excellent balance to make crossings or to move up rock faces.
Resistance bands are excellent for a full-body workout that goes easy on your joints and improves your flexibility and balance. When you train with resistance bands, you are strengthening not only large muscle groups but the connective tissues around your joints that can protect you from injury.
Here follows a complete resistance band training for climbers.
Note: Make sure to warm up before exercising with 5 to 10 minutes of easy cardio, such as jumping jacks. Complement this training with 2 to 3 weekly cardio sessions, such as swimming or rowing. Cardio sessions will help improve your climbing endurance.
#1 Banded calf raises
For this exercise, you will need a long resistance band, such as a pull-up assist band (like this one https://victoremgear.com/products/pull-up-assist-band).
Calf raises strengthen your calves and help you when you're slab climbing.
- Stand on the middle of the band. Your feet are hip-distance apart.
- Hold the ends in each hand and make sure there's tension in the band.
- Rise up on your toes and hold at the top, then slowly lower back down.
- Repeat as needed.
#2 Banded knee squats
This exercise will help build power in your thighs, preparing you for when you're on a climb, and you need a lot of strength to stand up.
- Stand on the band as in the previous exercise, but with your knees bent into a squat. Keep your back straight. Your feet are facing forward (not turned out).
- Hold your hands closer to the band's ends so that your hands come up to shoulder height. Your elbows should be facing out, with your arms bent at 90 degrees.
- As you straighten your knees, keep your hands in the same place near your shoulders. You are making your thighs work hard against the band. The tighter the resistance in the band when you start, the more challenging this exercise will be.
- Pause at the top and then bend your knees again to come back to start.
- Repeat as needed.
#3 Banded chest flies
Chest flies work your chest and back muscles, which help you in steeper climbing with compression moves.
- Wrap the middle of the band around a pole or another stationary object at shoulder height.
- Hold either end in your hands and stand with your back to the pole and one foot forward. Your feet should be hip-distance apart. Begin with arms straight out to your sides. Bring your arms in together with your palms facing inward.
- Hold for a few seconds before slowing releasing your arms back out to your sides.
- Repeat as needed.
#4 Banded side planks with overhead press
This exercise works your triceps, deltoids, and upper trapezoid muscles. These muscles are what will help you pull yourself up during a climb.
- Wrap the end of the resistance band around a pole or another stationary object about 2 feet above the ground.
- Lie down on your side with the top hand holding the end of the band. Your top elbow should be bent and close to your waist. Your head is facing away from the pole.
- Put your weight on your elbow, keep your legs straight, and engage your abs as you come up into a side plank. Keep your chest facing out with your shoulders perpendicular to the mat or floor.
- While holding this position, straighten your arm so that you are pulling the band up towards your head. The resistance band should be tight throughout the entire movement.
- Do this for 15 reps, then switch sides.
Note: You can make this exercise more accessible by bending both knees or crossing your top leg over your lower leg.
Here's what this exercise looks like.
#5 Banded Russian twists
Russian twists work your obliques, your hip flexors, your core, and your spine.
- Sit on the floor.
- Your legs are extended, your knees slightly bent.
- Wrap the band around the middle of both feet and hold the band's ends in your hands.
- Hold your hands in front of you, lean back 45 degrees, raise your legs up.
- Twist your torso from one side to another. Keep your hands in front and the resistance band taut the whole time.
Enjoy your resistance band training for climbers!