Climbing is an athletic adventure, which is sometimes difficult to reach. But the final result is worth it because you realize what you are capable of, expand your horizons, deepen your connection with nature and rethink your life. It doesn’t matter how difficult your climb is because each climb gives enough experience and teaches something new.
So, despite being a pleasant activity, it is very tough as it requires a special physical and mental preparation. If you are a novice in the climbing world but love the mountains, consider these tips. They will help you to focus on important aspects of your preparation and enjoy your climb to the fullest.
The Importance Of A Good Physical Condition For The Climber
Climbing is both a thrilling and challenging experience, which requires a profound physical and mental preparation. Having a strong body is extremely important if you decided to go climbing due to the several reasons:
Mountain Climbing Training
To start an adrenaline-pumping adventure, you should improve your physical and mental condition. Alex Johnson, a professional climber and five-time U.S. national champion says, “It’s easy to get discouraged—it happens to everyone—but the best way to improve is keep trying.”
So, don’t be intimidated, even if it’s your first experience, try your best and prepare well and then, it will be a start of a thrilling journey. Here are tips as for the mountain climbers workout.
Climbing requires a serious upper-body strength (arms, shoulders, the back) and a strong core, fingers, and hands. These exercises will help you to get ready for the demands the climbing puts on you.
During the climb, you move vertically with an extra weight, so you should be strong enough to do it. Firstly, start with exercises, which will help you to get the necessary fit. They include:
Deep squats make the legs and hamstrings stronger, which is vital for climbers.
How to do:
Push-ups make your upper body stronger and therefore, more enduring.
How to do:
Side lunges strengthen the adductors, improve the knee stability and enhance balance.
How to do:
Once you are comfortable with the classic weight training, you should do the exercises, which will help you to get the strength you need for climbing. Thus, front squats, bench press, and deadlifts are your ultimate choice.
This exercise will strengthen your legs, hips, the glutes, so it is beneficial for climbers.
How to do:
This exercise is important not only for the upper-body muscle building but for the upper-body strength as well. When you do this exercise, your back, your shoulders, your triceps, and the glutes are involved. If you do this complex exercise properly, you’ll increase your strength.
How to do:
This exercise is paramount for building strength as it strengthens the glutes and hamstrings.
How to do:
Thereby, once you’ve increased your strength with these exercises, you should be able to use this strength on the mountain. That is why you should emulate real-world conditions. For this, wear your special clothes, best sneakers for overweight walkers, and gear, take a loaded pack and try to climb the mountains of a different height.
Being able to move for hours is a crucial ability for mountaineers. So, any mountain climbing training should include both aerobic and anaerobic endurance exercises. The aerobic exercises enhance respiratory and circulatory efficiency by improving oxygen consumption. These exercises require oxygen to generate force for activities. As for anaerobic exercises, they don’t require oxygen to generate force.
To increase aerobic stamina, you should incorporate running (road running and trail running) and distance cycling into your workout routine. These exercises are a perfect cardio training. The main benefit of cardio training is strengthening the major muscle of your body – your heart. The stronger your heart is, the more enduring you are. Besides, it improves the ability of your body to recover. Cardiovascular training reduces the onset of muscle soreness and improves the oxygen-rich blood circulation so that your tissues recover faster.
As for anaerobic endurance, the win-win option here is a high-intensity interval training (HIIT). HIIT is the concept where one performs a short burst of high-intensity (or max-intensity) exercise followed by a brief low-intensity activity, repeatedly, until too exhausted to continue.
Depending on your fitness level, you may choose different HIIT sessions. Normally, they last for 30 minutes.
Strength and stamina are important for a climber, but this adventurous activity may be risky, so altitude training is vital. The problem of oxygen consumption is compounded at altitude because of the reduced pressure of oxygen. Each person is born with a unique ability to reach a certain VO2 max. If genetically you can reach a certain max and it is low, you won’t be able to reach a higher max no matter how hard you train. But if genetically you are able to reach a certain VO2 max and it is high, if you don’t train, then your actual max isn’t as high as it can be. Thus, if you train to increase the VO2 max, then you can climb harder and it is easier for you to climb.
The best way to increase your efficiency at altitude (except for the aerobic activities) is to train at altitude. The major methods are hiking and running stairs with your pack on. More experienced climbers (including those, who choose extreme mountain climbing) use a hypoxic tent. This tent is used to simulate a higher altitude with reduced oxygen. The main goal of this training is to make the body produce more oxygen-carrying red blood cells and hemoglobin. In this way, your body adapts to the higher altitude. This training will help you avoid altitude sickness, which is characterized by dizziness, vomiting, shortness of breath, nausea. If your body adapts to the high altitude, then you get an enhanced performance.
Climbing is considered to be a high-intensity activity, so it requires much energy. Nutrition is an important part of the preparation your body for climbing, but sometimes mountaineers overlook it. To get ready for climbing, follow these tips:
Other Tips & Tricks
If you are ready physically, you should do other steps in order to be ready for climbing 100 percent. A strong body is only half the success, you also need a medical evaluation and appropriate attire and gear.
If you are a newbie, a rope climbing with a belay partner is an option. You may cover much distance on the walls. If you prefer to go solo, you may use an auto-belay.
If you like climbing without ropes, go for bouldering. The height isn’t so big and the distance is short.
Besides, there is trad climbing where you follow the routes that have pre-placed anchors, but this type is for experienced climbers.
The climb will be safe if you have a strong core and appropriate gear. The first thing to remember is soft climbing shoes, which provide a great grip on the wall. You may wear thin socks or don’t wear them at all. If you choose bouldering, then don’t forget to get a chalk bag. If your choice is top roping, then you’ll need many things: a harness, lead rope, chalk bag, carabiner, and belay device.
Even if you follow a special preparation regimen, you should get a medical checkup before the climb. The doctor should evaluate your medical conditions that can cause problems on the climb. Also, he should figure out whether some medications can affect altitude acclimatization. Also, such conditions as spine problems, asthma, head injuries, kidney problems, sprains, joint dislocations, blood disease can make your trip more dangerous.
Thus, on the way to your goal, dedicate time to the physical preparation as it plays a crucial role in the success of your trip. If your body is strong and enduring enough to withstand everything climbing throws at you, then it will be a pleasant experience.
So, set up the right goals, go through planning, training, and implementation processes and then you’ll tackle your objective successfully.