Many climbers think that they’re too busy or don’t have enough time to put in the required work to improve their climbing.
However, climber’s with busier schedules often become better than climbers with more free time because they know how to make better use of thier limited time. They can’t say “I’ll train/climb later” because there is no later, there is only time now.
So, if you’ve been under the impression that you just don’t have the time to climb to your greatest potential, well, you’ve been sorrily mistaken.
Below I’ve listed 5 super simple ways that you can boost your climbing level that don’t require a lot of time. All it takes is a bit of dedication. Add this to your regular rock climbing training and schedule and you’ll be climbing like a beast in no time.
1. Climb Quantity
Honestly, short sessions at the gym can be way more successful and beneficial than longer ones. Long climbing sessions are usually filled with long breaks and a lot of talking with friends. Fun but not super productive. When you know you’ve only got like an hour, you get down to business and make every second count. Plus, you know you don’t have time to start projecting anything so you don’t get caught up working on the same climb over and over. Basically, during a shorter session we have a better mindset to push and climb hard. There’s no time to get distracted by new routes or problems. You go with the sole purpose of climbing, and climbing a lot. When you climb with the intention of climbing a lot of quantity you are likely climbing at least double what you normally would in a more casual session. So not only are you spending more time working your technique and strength but you’re also improving your endurance.
So next time you feel bummed out that you’ve only got an hour to hit the climbing gym, just think that it’s likely going to benefit you more than if you actually had more time to spare.
2. Pull Ups
Put a hangboard or pull up bar somewhere in your house. Make it a rule that whenever you walk past it you have to do 5 pulls. It only takes 10 seconds (I just timed it)! You can take 10 seconds out of your day can’t you? Even if you only pass your hangboard or pull up bar once a day that adds up to 1,825 pull ups in one year! That’s a lot of training you could be missing out on for just 10 seconds a day.
3. Rice Training
Who would have thought that filling a bucket with rice could be such an awesome training tool!? This is perfect for the end of your days when all you want to do is just veg on the couch. Just put on your favorite show, stick your hands in the rice and start feeling your forearms pump! I admit I was pretty surprised the first time I tried this at just how pumped my forearms got. And I’m pretty sure it was under 10 minutes! Rice training is great for helping to improve your finger strength and your forearm endurance. I also feel like it’s helped my wrist strength. I’ve had repetitive wrist tweaks, stemming from a past tennis injury, and I feel like the rice is helping to strengthen them back up. If you’ve never done rice training before check out this video and this video to get you started.
4. Warm Up
Most climbers climb mindlessly during their warm ups. This is a big missed opportunity. Your warm ups don’t have to be just the gateway to training, they can be a form of training just on their own. Start climbing consciously during your warm ups by making every single movement deliberate instead of just climbing in auto pilot. Warm ups are a great time to focus on your technique, body positioning and work on your weaknesses. Usually, climbers throw all that out the window during their warm ups because they know they can just muscle through it no problem. What a waste of training! Plus, you’re also likely reinforcing a lot of bad habits by doing that.
So instead of climbing mindlessly, try climbing more mindfully. Don’t just power through the moves because you can. Throw in heel hooks if you struggle with them. Focus on precise body positioning. Only move once you’ve achieved perfect balance. Grab every hold with an open hand grip. These are just a few of the many ways you can start improving your climbing just from your warm ups! And don’t be surprised if you actually start feeling worked after only your warm up. Just that little bit of conscious effort really goes a long way. I’ve personally seen huge improvements just by doing this alone!
5. Dead Hangs
This is similar to the pull ups in point #2 except you’re going to do dead hangs with a bit of core work to mix it up. When you pass your hangboard (which you’ve cleverly placed in an area that you pass by frequently, right?) grab on and do 10 knee raises, or L-sits, or anything similar that works your core. Just from that you’ll get a mini core workout and a 30 second dead hang. You can keep things challenging by using different holds or grips, or by bringing it up to a bent arm hang. Once things start feeling too easy, up the number of knee raises to increase the dead hang time, or increase the difficulty of the hold. You can either combine this with the pull up exercise in point #2 or alternate between the two. Pull ups the first time you pass by, dead hangs the next.
It doesn’t get much easier than that! Yes, you have the time to get better. So, the question now is, how do you choose to use it?