Climbing Training for Peak Performance

While recovering from shoulder reconstruction 15 years ago, climber and outdoor-fitness writer Clyde Soles began to realize the advantages of resistance training. In Climbing:Training for Peak Performance, Soles presents 28 resistance training exercises keyed to the special challenges of climbing. He explains the benefits of each climbing exercise and how it will improve climbing performance. Each explanation includes photo illustrations. For example:

  • Lat Pull
    Why: This multi-joint exercise is the next best thing to real climbing. Lat pulls are superior to pull-ups because you can lean back to simulate the angle of overhangs and better target muscles.
  • Finger Hangs
    Why: Short of actual climbing, there is no better training for finger strength than short hangs on a finger board. Novice climbers should only use large holds and longer hangs -- you need to strengthen the ligaments and tendons before working on the forearm muscles (there are no muscles in the fingers).
  • Straight-arm Pull-down
    Why: This single-joint exercise, also called levers, is akin to dynoing for a hold. It works the back muscles with a different movement pattern than the standard exercises.
  • Dip
    Why: A multi-joint exercise that can help on those mantle climbing moves. This also balances the major climbing muscles.
  • Reverse Wrist Curl
    Why: These muscles are little-used when climbing so they are often underdeveloped -- the underlying source of many elbow pains.
  • Calf Raise
    Why: Strong calves are essential for all climbers, who spend a lot of time on their toes. If you ever climb at Devil’s Tower, you’re going to wish you’d done more of these. And frontpointing up a long couloir with a pack is like doing calf raises for hours!


-- Adapted from Climbing: Training for Peak Performance by Clyde Soles, The Mountaineers Books



The chapter on "Climbing at Altitude" from Climbing: Training for Peak Performance
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