There is a lot of back-and-forth in the rock-climbing community about the usefulness of gym-based workouts in improving your climbing abilities. When you are climbing, the goal is to get to the top of the route with- out reaching failure. In the gym, we are pursuing failure as a way to cause change and growth. Since there is so much to think about, we took the subject of how to use the gym to improve your climbing to our resident expert, Pure Austin Fitness specialist Mallory Cox. She was a sponsored climber for many years, and now she specializes in helping her clients realize their own awesome strength. All the exercises that cox demonstrated are done just using body weight as resistance. Do each exercise in succession for a total of 3 sets per exercise.
First, cox took us back to the monkey bars located in Pure Austin’s “functional training area.” then, she took us across them. At the end, she lowered to a full hang, turned around, and went back to the other side. Woof! If somehow that is too easy for you, skip a bar and do the same. Or, do it back and forth twice!
Next, we did some hanging leg raises. Cox used the monkey bars again, and in this case used some rock rings attached to the bars, although this can obviously be performed on any pull-up bar. Take an overhanded grip, keep your abs in tight, and alternate knee tucks with straight knee raises (tough!). Start with 5 of each and work up to 10 of each. The isometric hold on the arms will work arm endurance, while the knee tucks are going to help your abdominal and hip flexor strength. Cox then demonstrated the challenging single leg walk- out push-up. Start by balancing on one leg. Bend down and bring your hands to the ground, walking out into a full push-up until the body is in a plank (with one leg still raised). Push up! Walk hands back to feet and stand up. Repeat 5 times on each leg, and work up to 10 repetitions. This will work leg endurance, core strength, and of course your chest.
Flexible, strong hips are going to enhance your rock climbing. To work these, cox stands on a step with one leg hanging over the step side. She lowers the free leg to the ground (if the step is low enough), and then brings it back up. This is a great exercise for runners as well. Repeat 20 times per leg.