At Alta, we know that rock climbing is not just about technique—it’s also about strength, endurance, and flexibility. To climb harder grades, incorporating specific workouts to improve rock climbing into your routine can play a key part. Here are some exercises to help you improve your performance and reach new heights.

1. Grip Strength Training

Why: Strong hands and fingers are crucial for gripping holds, especially on challenging routes with small crimps and slopers.


  • Hangboard Training: Use a hangboard to perform dead hangs and finger strength exercises. Start with short intervals and gradually increase the duration as your strength improves.
  • Grip Squeezers: Use grip trainers or stress balls to build finger and forearm strength. Squeeze and release in sets of 10-15 repetitions.

2. Pull-Ups and Chin-Ups

Why: These exercises build upper body strength, particularly in the back, shoulders, and arms, essential for pulling yourself up the wall.


  • Pull-Ups: Use a pull-up bar to perform standard pull-ups, aiming for multiple sets of 8-12 repetitions.
  • Chin-Ups: With an underhand grip, perform chin-ups to target the biceps more directly. Aim for similar sets and repetitions as pull-ups.

3. Core Strengthening

Why: A strong core stabilizes your body and improves your balance on the wall, making it easier to execute complex moves.


  • Planks: Hold a plank position for as long as possible, maintaining a straight line from head to heels. Aim for multiple sets of 30-60 seconds.
  • Leg Raises: Lie on your back and lift your legs towards the ceiling without bending your knees. Lower them slowly and repeat for 10-15 repetitions.

4. Leg and Hip Exercises

Why: Powerful legs and flexible hips help with pushing off holds, maintaining balance, and executing dynamic moves like heel hooks and high steps.


  • Squats: Perform bodyweight squats or add weight for more resistance. Aim for multiple sets of 12-15 repetitions.
  • Lunges: Step forward into a lunge position, keeping your knee over your ankle. Alternate legs and aim for 10-12 repetitions per leg.
  • Hip Flexor Stretches: Stretch your hip flexors regularly to maintain flexibility and prevent injury.

5. Shoulder Stability and Mobility

Why: Healthy shoulders are critical for climbing, as they endure significant stress and movement. Stability and mobility exercises help prevent injuries.


  • Shoulder Rotations: Use light weights or resistance bands to perform internal and external shoulder rotations. Aim for multiple sets of 15-20 repetitions.
  • Scapular Pull-Ups: Perform pull-ups focusing on engaging the shoulder blades, lifting your body slightly without bending your elbows. Aim for 10-15 repetitions.

6. Cardio and Endurance Training

Why: Climbing often requires sustained effort, so improving your cardiovascular fitness and endurance will help you climb longer without fatigue.


  • Running or Cycling: Incorporate regular cardio sessions into your routine, aiming for at least 30 minutes of moderate to intense activity.
  • Interval Training: Perform high-intensity interval training (HIIT) to boost cardiovascular endurance and overall fitness.

7. Flexibility and Mobility Work

Why: Flexibility allows you to reach holds more comfortably and perform dynamic moves efficiently.


  • Yoga: Incorporate yoga sessions to improve overall flexibility, balance, and mental focus.
  • Dynamic Stretching: Perform dynamic stretches before climbing to warm up muscles and joints, and static stretches post-climb to aid recovery.


Incorporating these workouts into your training regimen will help you build the strength, endurance, and flexibility needed to excel in rock climbing. Remember, consistency is key—regularly performing these exercises will lead to noticeable improvements in your climbing performance. At Alta, we’re here to support your journey every step of the way, whether you’re scaling your first wall or conquering advanced routes. So, gear up, hit the gym, and let’s climb higher together!


Need some extra help or motivation with workouts to improve rock climbing? Check out our personal trainers and fitness classes!