Becoming a better rock climber is all about strengthening your core! How do you do it? Read on to learn about the top eight core strengthening exercises for rock climbers.
Have you ever been rock climbing? If so, you're missing out! There's nothing quite like maneuvering your way across a rock wall.
Whether you're an experienced rock climber or not it takes strength to rock climb. Particularly, you need strong core muscles to move up and around a rock wall.
Would you like to improve your core strength before you go rock climbing (again)? If so, you should take some time to strengthen your core.
How do you do it? Keep reading and we'll tell you. Here are the top eight core strengthening exercises you should do before hitting that rock wall.
1. Hanging Leg Raise
Using either a medium or wide grip, get a good hold on a chin-up bar. The bar should be at arm's length, not closer.
From here, raise your legs up off the ground. They should come to a 90-degree angle with your torso.
Proper breathing is important, so make sure you exhale each time you lift your legs.
Hold your legs up for a second or two, then release them back so your feet touch the ground again. All movement should be slow and controlled, not quick and desperate.
If you don't have access to a chin-up bar, a vertical bench can be used as well. This will also support your upper back, making the exercise easier.
2. Straight Leg Lifts
This exercise is similar to the last one, but you only lift one left at a time.
Using Rock Rings or a chin-up bar, hang with arms at arm's length. Lift the left leg while holding it straight and angled to the right.
Return the leg to center, relax and inhale, then repeat with the right leg, angling it to the left.
Exhale when lifting each leg and when returning the leg to center. Inhale while holding and prepping to lift the other leg.
Planks are great for strengthening your core muscles, and they don't require any special equipment.
Start by lying face down on a mat or whatever ground surface you're working on. Bring your elbow in under your torso and plant your toes on the ground, as if you were standing on flat ground.
Raise your body up, holding it straight (don't arch your back). Rely on your feet and bent arms to hold you up.
Focus on breathing and not scrunching your body in. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and pull your belly button in.
Start by planking for thirty seconds then gradually up the amount of time you hold for.
4. Arm Dip
Standing straight, place your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold a dumbbell in one hand. Choose one that offers a good amount of resistance,
Slowly lower the dumbbell to the side as far as you can. You should be leaning straight to the side, not bending backward or forward. Your hip should stay in line with your body.
Pause slightly, then return your body to an upright position using controlled motion. However many reps you do on one side, do the same number using the other arm.
5. Wheelbarrow Walk
You'll need a partner for this exercise, but it's a whole lot of fun. It may even remind you of your childhood.
Plank with your arms completely straight. Have your partner grab your ankles and lift.
Keep your body straight throughout this exercise. Don't bend your legs or waist or arch your back.
"Walk" forward by placing a hand a few inches in front of you, then doing the same with your other hand. Keep going for 30 feet or so.
Switch with your partner if they're also working on strengthening their core. Go for more than one round to really work your core, but don't compromise technique.
6. Oblique Curls
From a chin-up bar or Rock Rings, hang at arm's length and bring your knees up to waist level. From this position, raise one hip to the side, working to bring your feet to waist level.
Repeat with the other hip, bringing your feet to waist level on the other side (or as close to waist level as you can).
Exhale while raising each hip and inhale while you hold. Exhale when switching sides as well. Repeat up to 12 times on each side.
7. Oblique Knee Raise Plank
From a high plank position, bend your leg, bringing your knee to the outside of the elbow on the same side. Open up your hip and groin area as you do so.
Return your leg to its original position then repeat the exercise with the opposite leg. Movements should be steady and controlled.
Continue switching legs for one minute.
8. Leg Sway
Lie on the ground with your back flat and extend your legs up toward the ceiling. Place your arms against the ground, out to the side with your palms facing down.
As you exhale, keep your legs together and lower them to one side. Your opposite hip will rise, but your back should not arch and your shoulders should stay pressed to the floor.
Repeat lowering your legs to the opposite side. Exhale and scoop your abdominal muscles each time you lower your legs. Inhale and hold.
While switching sides, exhale and switch with legs directly above the hips.
Try These Core Strengthening Exercises Today
There's nothing quite like the feeling of a strong core, and you'll need one if you want to go rock climbing. These core strengthening exercises will give you the strength you need to be successful.
Great core strength isn't only helpful for success. It also keeps you safer while climbing. So don't neglect your core if you want to enjoy your time on the wall!
Are you looking for more ways to amp up your rock climbing abilities? Sign up for a membership and receive personalized coaching from experienced rock climbing instructors!