Rural Rock Climbing Training

by sean

I live in a fairly rural area and have to commute about an hour or so to the nearest gym. Do you have any ideas about good exercises that can be done with no real equipment around the house? I’ve started some stuff like chin ups on door frames for finger strength but its not ideal. thanks

Thanks for the question Sean. You are certainly not alone there are many climbers who have to commute an hour or more to their nearest gym.

Don’t worry though because I am going to give you some exercises that will help you get sick strong in and outside the gym.


First things first I am going to assume that you basically have zero equipment. Since, you are a climber I will also assume that you have built up a foundation of overall muscular fitness.

If I were in your shoes here is what I would do. Lots of pushups, chair dips, handstand pushups, lots of stretching, running, and open handed dead hangs on your door frame.

You should be doing these types of exercises about 3-4 days a week and climbing at least 2-3 days a week if you can.

You’ll want to first find out what your max push up number is and then start building it up from there. For example if your max is 40 push ups in one set start doing 4 sets of 30 with a 1-2 minute rest in between each set.

Chair dips are simple to do at your house all you need to do is get a chair put your hands palms down fingers on outside of the seat and throw your legs up on a couch or another chair. You should just put your heels on the other chair or couch, then start cranking. You’ll want to do about a 100 or so. You can break it up into a few sets, but go for endurance here.

I have done a ton of handstand push ups in my day and I can honestly say that these are some of the best ways to build up shoulder and upper back strength. If you cannot do them by yourself first try doing a handstand up against a wall so your heels rest against the wall and start cranking nice and slow down and up. If you can’t do that you’ll need a spotter just have a friend grab your ankles when you kick into a handstand and assist you as you go down and up.

It might take you a while to get used to these but they are great strength builders. Take it slow on how many you do, listen to your body to make sure you don’t strain anything.

Dead Hangs on door frame

Since you are already doing door frame pulls you should build up your open handed dead hang on the door frame. Grab the door frame in a open handed crimp position and just hang for about 10 seconds.
Try and do 3 sets 1-3 times a week if you need to build it up you can keep one foot on the ground and just hold as much weight as you possibly can on your fingers eventually being able to lift both feet off the ground.


You should be doing some form of cardiovascular training. For climbing especially rope climbing your cardiovascular endurance is essential. I like to run a couple times a week doing some easy and hard days. I will typically run anywhere from 2-5 miles depending on the day. You should structure this so that your easy days follow your climbing days.


Most climbers overlook stretching for some reason, but having good flexibility can help prevent injuries and make you a better climber. Not too mention that stretching before and after training or climbing can help you recover faster and decrease muscle soreness. As far as the stretches you will want to do focus on ones that stretch your forearms, fingers, biceps, triceps, shoulders, back, neck, hips and hamstrings. It is even a good idea to stretch everyday.

I hope that this helps you train more effectively at home. There is nothing though that will help you get better at climbing faster than climbing.

So as much as you can get into the gym or out on the real rock.

– The Climbing Expert

Related posts:

  1. Rock Climbing Training
  2. Climbing Injury
  3. Overtraining
  4. Building a Rock Climbing Wall
  5. Rock Climbing Glossary

This entry was posted on Thursday, September 16th, 2010 at and is filed under Rock Climbing Articles, Rock Climbing Training. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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