The 19 Best Rock Climbing Workouts for home and gym

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“It doesn’t have to be fun to be fun.” — Barry Blanchard

I needed help with my rock climbing progress

I wanted a full-body workout plan to improve my climbing and all-around fitness

rock climbing workout plan
Alicia showing off on our indoor climbing wall

Rock climbing is the best full-body workout

So let’s get to the workouts

The exercises

Warming up

Avoid injuries by warming up

8 Warm-up exercises

Jumping Jacks

High Knees

Knee Pull-Ups

Hip Rotations

Deep Squats


Forearm Stretch

Easy Climbing

14 Climbing Exercises to do at home


Resistance bands
Pullup bar

Banded Face Pull-apart Exercise

Banded Face Pullapart
  1. Attach a resistance band to a stable surface at about chin height
  2. Grab the band using a double overhand grip with about 2–4 inches between your hands
  3. Stand with feet hip-width apart and hinge your hips back slightly to engage the core
  4. Extend your arms fully forward
  5. Pull the band back toward your chin
  6. Keep your elbows high — at least as high as your shoulders
  7. When the band gets to your chin, pull the band apart with both hands
  8. Hold the squeeze for a short moment and control the release of the hold back to the center
  9. Slowly control the band’s return to the starting position

Single-leg Burpee Exercise

Single-leg Burpee
  1. Balance on one leg
  2. Pivot down to place your palms on the ground in a pushup position
  3. Hop up and kick your legs out behind you to end up in a plank position keeping one foot off the ground
  4. Do a pushup
  5. Hop back forward with the one leg
  6. Explode off that leg jumping off the ground and extending your arms in the air
  7. Repeat

Jump Squat Exercise

Jump Squat

Single-leg Squat Exercise

Single-leg Squat
  1. Stand on one leg and lift the other leg out in front of you
  2. Tighten your core but relax your shoulders and neck. Try to be smooth and controlled
  3. Extend your arms straight out and keep your chest upright
  4. Drop down into a squat
  5. Raise out of the squat and stand onto your toes
  6. Hold a single leg tip-toe for a moment and then drop down for the next squat

Pull-down Side Plank Exercise

Pull-down Side Plank

Overhead Press Side Plank Exercise

Overhead Press Side Plank
  1. Use the same resistance band as the pull-down side plank exercise
  2. From the side plank position — feet pointed toward the band — hold the resistance band in your top hand
  3. Press3 the band from shoulder height to up above your head and lock out the elbow for a brief hold
  4. Keep the band tight through the whole movement

Hanging Knee Raise Exercise

Hanging Knee Raise
  1. Grip the pull-up bar and raise your knees smoothly up to a 90 degree angle in front of you and hold
  2. Keep your core tight to stabilize any motion.
  3. Lower your knees back down slowly when done

Push-up with Single Arm Row Exercise

Push-up with row

Thumbless Pull-up Exercise

Thumbless Pull-up
  1. Grab the bar with palms out and hands at shoulder-width. Don’t wrap your thumb or palm around the bar. Hang off the tips of the fingers.
  2. Extend your arms and lift your feet off the ground in a smooth motion maintaining core control
  3. Pull yourself up to the bar, hold at the top, and lower back down to full extension maintaining smooth and controlled movements throughout — no bouncy or sloppy pullups!

Spider Push-up Exercise

Spider Push-up
  1. Complete a normal pushup, but as you lower yourself, lift your right knee to your right elbow and squeeze your obliques tight
  2. Repeat with the left leg next and alternate legs each time you go down
  3. Keep your back straight, core engaged, and maintain control of the entire movement

Single-leg Lever Exercise

Single-leg Lever
  1. Grip the pullup bar with palms away from you
  2. Extend the arms and lean back to raise your body into a horizontal position
  3. Extend one leg in front of you and bend the other pulling the knee toward the chest
  4. Pull yourself up keeping your core tight and your back straight as you lift your foot into the air
  5. Slowly lower yourself back down
  6. Alternate legs each rep

Wall Sit Exercise

Wall sit
  1. Place your back flat against a wall
  2. Slide down to a sitting position until your knees are at a 90-degree angle
  3. Raise your hands up above your head
  4. Hold the position as long as you can

Dead Hang Exercise

Dead Hangs

Back Extension Exercise

Back Extensions
  1. Laying on the floor face down, engage the glutes, back, and core to raise your shoulders and chest off the ground
  2. Activate your back muscles by squeezing your shoulders together
  3. Hold in a raised position for a moment
  4. Avoid raising your chin up out of line with your spine

5 On-the-wall Exercises

Bouldering Strength Intervals

Bouldering Strength Intervals
  1. Pick a series of up to 6 boulder problems 1–2 grades below your max
  2. Climb each problem with a 3-minute rest between each problem
  3. Repeat the six problems 3 times each

Bouldering Power Intervals

Bouldering Power Intervals
  1. Pick a boulder problem many grades below your max that you can climb quickly with several power moves
  2. Complete the problem 3 times in a row with a rest between each climb

Lockoff Interval Exercises

Lockoff Intervals

Peter Pan Exercises

Peter Pans

Ladder Exercises

  1. Find a section of wall several grades below your max
  2. Begin climbing to the first bolt or to the top of the route if it’s short
  3. Descend back down and proceed back up
  4. You can move in a zig-zag pattern to keep things interesting
  5. Keep moving smoothly and steadily, avoid resting positions
  6. Stay on the wall as long as you can without falling off
  7. Time yourself to see how long you can keep going and work to improve your time

10 Cool-down stretches

Ab Stretch

Spine Stretch

Hip Flexor Stretch

Lower Back Stretch

Standing Forward Bend

Quad Stretch

Calf Stretch

Shoulder Stretch

Bicep Stretch

Child’s Pose