Bouldering Exercises

Somebody came to this site looking for bouldering exercises. I’m sorry you didn’t find any!  But I thought I’d share my list, in case you come back.  These are the exercises we do in the climbing gym as preparation for bouldering outside.

1.  Traverse the gym.  This is our warm-up.  We start slow and concentrate on form.  This means being conscious of moving your weight deliberately, and moving quietly – no banging the panels!  This can be good for stamina (just trying to stay on the wall as long as possible), and also balance – big vertical climbs don’t always give you practice at moving your weight side-ways, which is more common in bouldering.

2.  Hang straight.  Find a hold in the cave where you can’t hang from your hands for more than 10 seconds.  Practice hanging for as long as you can, and come back to it later in your session.  Aim to build up over a couple of weeks until you can hang for 30 seconds or more, then move on to a trickier (crimpier?) hold.  This will help your hand strength, and usually inspire you to find new ways to hold the holds you hate.

3.  Move your feet. Find a nice juggy hold in the cave.  Don’t move your hands, but move your feet to as many different holds as they can reach.  I can usually do about 5 before I fall off, but I’m a wimp.  This helps with body placement and gets you used to all sorts of nasty angles.  It’s also good stamina training for your hands.  For added challenge, try using a really slopey “soccer-ball” hold.  You’ll have to change your grip as you move your body.

4.  Make a circuit.  In our gym at the moment, a few guys have been playing with a really nasty circuit in the cave.  It’s about 34 big moves between juggy holds.  Oh, and there’s a rest-break in the middle where you climb onto the pull-up bar, pull to failure, then finish the circuit.  They’ve designed it for stamina training, and boy, does it work.  They made it up by playing add-ons – each adding two moves to the circuit until it reached the length they want.  Of course, you don’t need to focus on stamina.  You could make a really nasty short circuit just working on crimpy holds, or slopers.

Next time you’re in the climbing gym, try one out!  I’m no climbing expert, and I’ve only got my own experience to judge their effectiveness.  These are just the exercises we do – no guarantees given, and no responsibility taken.  Now, if you don’t mind, I need something to eat before I head to the gym.

Happy Climbing!


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