Training for a High Strength-to-Weight Ratio for Rock Climbing

Training for a High Strength-to-Weight Ratio for Rock Climbing

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Indoor bouldering is just one aspect of rock climbing

Rock climbing is an intense, physically demanding sport that requires strength and stamina combined with shear determination and guts. The key to improving your strength-to-weight ratio is a weekly strength training routine, a nutritious eating plan and some rest. Most rock climbers love their sport so much that resting is sometimes hard to do, but it's a crucial component to improving your strength-to- weight ratio.

Strength Training

You have two types of muscle fibers, fibers for strength and fibers for endurance. Rock climbing requires both. Add a whole-body strength training workout two to three times per week to your rock climbing routine on non-climbing days. Include exercises for your whole body such as a dumbbell chest press, wide grip pulldowns, shoulder presses and biceps curls. Do several sets for each exercise you choose and vary your reps from five to 15 per set. Choose a weight for each set that is heavy enough so that it's impossible to finish the last rep.


Good nutrition is an important component of any physical activity; eating well will help improve your strength-to-weight ratio because it helps to keep your body fat percentage low which will reduce your overall weight. When you reduce your weight by reducing your body fat while maintaining your muscle, your strength-to-weight ratio improves. You need nutritionally dense foods and enough calories to sustain your energy and add muscle. However, you want to keep your body fat percentage and overall weight gain low. Eat small meals five to six times per day to increase your metabolism. Your diet should consist mainly of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, legumes, nuts, seeds and complex carbohydrates.

Rest Your Body

You might love rock climbing so much that it's difficult to rest. But rest you must if you want your muscles to give you peak performance. Rest enables your body to build new muscle which is your main goal if you want to improve strength. A full day off per week will give your body the down time it needs to build muscle and will also give your joints, ligaments and tendons a rest. Take time off to prevent injury.

Safety and Tips

Whether you climb indoors or outdoors, start with an easy climb to get your muscles warmed up and to get your circulation going. Stretch during and after your climbs to keep your muscles and joints flexible. If you do injure yourself during a climb, it's important to give your body adequate time to heal before you resume your regular activity. Many injuries need at least six weeks to heal properly. It's better to rest regularly, warm up and stretch than it is to suffer the down time of an injury.