Climbing Training Program | FREE | 4 Training Plans & 30 Exercises


Training program climbing
  • 30 exercises for practical Climbing/Bouldering Training. 
  • 2 Training Plans for Climbing-Specific Training. 
  • 2 Training Plans for Stabilization and Antagonist Training.   

Training Plans for Climbing / Bouldering

As we all know, it is not always possible to follow the training plan “according to plan”. But as long as you manage to stick to it “most of the time”, you will make tremendous progress with the help of a structured program.  

The training is composed of:

  • 3-4x climbing / bouldering (per week)
  • Stabilization and Antagonist training
  • Climbing specific training 
  • Recover / Mobility

#1 Example: 3x Climbing / Bouldering

Climbing Training program 3 days climbing

#2 Example: 4x Climbing / Bouldering

Climbing Training program 4 days climbing

#3 Example: Weekend Warrior

Climbing Training program weekend

Of course, the specific weekdays are only a suggestion; you can (and probably will) have to juggle something and adapt the training program to your circumstances. 

If you cannot go climbing/bouldering 3x a week, then replace each missed session with a “climbing-specific training” – Down below, you will find 30 exercises.  


30 exercises – Climbing / Bouldering Training


At the bottom of the text, will find 4 ready-to-go training plans:

  • 2x training plans for “Climbing-Specific Training” (circuit training)
  • 2x training plans for Stabilization and Antagonist Training 
Training programs for climbing bouldering
4 Training – Plans

1. Finger Strength Training 

To effectively train climbing-specific finger strength, you need to be able to hang your fingers onto somewhere.

So you need some kind of ledge or edge to hang your fingers on. 

The ideal tool for training finger strength is a hangboard. Alternatively – a door frame, a door beam, or a pull-up bar do work.

Hangboard training climbing
Hangboard training

Years ago, I did my first finger-strength workout on a door frame – and it worked perfectly. Now I train on a hangboard because it offers more variety the training.   

finger strength training climbing door
Door Frame – Training

1. Finger Strength Training – Maximum Strength

  • The goal is to hang from an edge for 12 seconds. 
  • The size of the hold must be such that 12 seconds will bring you close to failure (your maximum performance limit should be around 15 seconds).
  • After the 12 seconds of hanging, take a precisely 3 min break (complete recovery is essential). 
  • Repeat the whole thing 5 times, and you have completed a set. 
  • Do 3-5 sets (5 min rest between sets) 
Finger strength training protocol1
12 seconds hanging + 3 min rest = 1 repetition
5 repetitions = 1 set

2. Finger Strength Training – Power Endurance

Finger strength training protocol4
7 seconds hanging 3 seconds rest
Repeat 6 times (1min=1 set)
Do 2-5 sets
(5min rest between sets)

Hangboard or door frame – There’s no better finger strength training for the home – Just Do IT!


Check out my full article on Finger-Strength-Training:

Finger Strength Training

4 Complete Training-Plans

  • 3 Protocols for Maximum Finger Strength.
  • 1 Protocol for Power Endurance.
Finger strength training climbing
Click – Learn – Get Stronger

2.Body Tension / Core

Plank variations

Exercises that target the core and abs are always uncomfortable – This includes planks in all variations. Planks are one of the simplest and most effective exercises for more body tension

What’s important:

  • The entire core is activated. 
  • Straight back 
  • Do not let your hips sag 
  • Hold tension

Climbers Plank 

A climbing-specific variation. 

climbing training plank
1. Start
climbing training plank 3
2. Knee outside
climbing training plank 2
3. Knee inside
  1. Starting position Plank 
  2. Bring your knee up sideways towards the outer elbow – hold briefly 
  3. Bring your knee under the body towards the inner elbow – hold briefly
  4. Return to the starting position – change leg. 
  • Start with 10 reps and increase to 30.

Upper body rotation

Additionally trains the muscles in the shoulder girdle.

climbing training plank variation 1
1. Starting Position
plank variation bouldering exercise
2. Raise on arm
  • Slowly raise the arm and bring it up sideways until it points vertically upwards. 
  • Gaze follows the arm.
  • Hold up for 2 sec and switch arms.

Giga Plank 

A great exercise – The Giga Plank trains the body tension both back and front. 

Giga plank climbing training
Giga Plank
Giga plank climbing training1
“All in One” – Exercise
  • Simultaneously lift the left leg and right arm
  • Hold 5 seconds
  • Lower and change

The boat

This exercise originally comes from yoga – I have modified it slightly and made it more dynamic and climbing-specific.

Bouldering training boat exercise
1. Boat pose
Training for Bouldering at home9
2. Variation

Starting position is “the boat” – then bring elbow and knee together alternately.


Sideplank 

Train your lateral abdominal muscles. You can perform the exercise statically (hold up) or dynamically (lift and lower the hips). 

bouldering training side plank
1. Sideplank
bouldering training side plank1
2. Sideplank Variation
  • Lower and raise hips – hold at the top for 2 sec.
  • The body forms a straight line – do not bend the hips. 

Superman

Exercise Superman climbing training program
Superman

The best exercise for the entire back muscles

  • Lift opposite arm/leg and hold for 3-5 seconds.
  • Consciously build and maintain body tension (especially in the lumbar region). 

Possible variation: Lift both legs and arms at the same time. 


Knee Raises

To isolate the training of the abdominal muscles, do not let the legs sink too far. The further you lower the legs, the more the hip flexor muscles are activated and trained. 

Knee raises climbing training plan
1. Starting position
Knee raises climbing training plan 1
2. Raise knees up

Lower and raise – hold at the top for 5 seconds and repeat.


Knee Rolls – knee to elbow

The range of motion is wider here, which means that the shoulder girdle and parts of the Latinismus are also activated. 

Knee rolls climbing exercise
1. Starting position
Knee rolls climbing exercise1
2. Knee roll
  • Roll knees “up” to the elbows
  • Don’t use momentum – be sure to execute static and with precision. 
  • Lower slowly. 

Variation: Perform the exercise with legs extended. 


Variation lateral

climbing training program exercise core
climbing training program exercise core1
  • Starting position: Hanging but not “sagging” (shoulders activated) 
  • Bend knees and twist lower body sideways. 

Variation windshield wiper: execution with straight legs.


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Training with Gymnastic Rings or Sling Trainer

Mega Core 2000

training plan climbing core
1. Starting position
training plan climbing core 1
2. Keep a straight back
  • Starting position: Kneeling with arms stretched out in front – rings/slings approximately at the level of your belly button. 
  • Slowly bend forward and hold the position for a second – the pelvis must not sag. Keep a straight back (otherwise, you will stress the lumbar vertebrae). 

Reverse Crunches

A variation of the “knee lift exercise”. 

training program bouldering body tension
1. Start out straight
training program bouldering body tension1
2. Activate core and bend

Starting position: feet in the loops – straight body.


3. Pull & Lock-Off Strength

Prerequisite: door frame, pull-up bar, hangboard, or anything else you can use to pull yourself up from.

In addition to the classic pull-ups, a few more climbing/boulder-specific variations provide some variety. 


Square dance 

Also called pull-up square. Since we don’t just pull straight up when climbing and bouldering, this exercise is more climbing-specific than regular pull-ups. The pulling muscles are loaded and trained in various positions. 

Square dance pull up
Square dance pull up

Uneven pull-ups

Attach a sling or rope to the pull-up bar, hangboard, etc. Make a knot in the sling for better grip. 

uneven pull up climbing training
uneven pull up climbing training1

Pull-ups with extra weight 

To improve maximum strength, it makes sense to use additional weight.

Once you can perform 10 or more clean pull-ups, you can use some extra weight. 

Workout bouldering at home5
Pull up with additional weight.

Explosive pull-ups

Training of explosive power. Perform “normal” pull-ups as fast and explosively as possible. Accelerate upwards as quickly as possible – lower down slowly and controlled. 

Variation: Flight phase Try to accelerate upwards so hard that your hands lift off the bar at the end of the movement. The strong ones among you can clap their hands during the flight phase. 

climbing workout plan explosive pull up
Explosive pull up

Frenchies

Strengthen your blocking power – Frenchies are regular pull-ups but locked-off in 3 different positions – for 4 seconds each. 

Training climbing lock of strength
Lock-off each position and hold for 4 seconds.

Typewriter

Similar to the above square dance, only here you stay on one line. The grip position is wider than with regular pull-ups.

Lock of strength climbing training
From left…
Lock of strength climbing training1
…to right – and back.

Move from left to right and lock off at the end for 1-2 seconds. 


One arm Lock-Off and release slowly

bouldering training program strength
1. Start with both hands
bouldering training program strength
2. Hold as long as possible

Pull up with both arms – release one hand and lock-off as long as possible. Then release down as slowly as possible (negative-load). 


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4. Stabilization & Antagonist Training

Here is a small selection of my absolute favorite exercises – You can find more Antagonist & Mobility exercises on “Antagonist Training -The 20 Best Exercises“.

1. Push-ups and Variations 

Push-ups are the BEST! The shoulder and chest muscles are trained. In addition to the usual execution, I present 3 variations.

Climbers Push-up

Much more demanding – besides the regular push-ups, these also work the abdominal muscles and hip flexors. 

climbers push up
1. Starting position
climbers push up 1
2. Lower & knee to elbow

Push-up and raise on hand

Here the entire shoulder girdle and parts of the lateral abdominal muscles are also trained. 

push up climbing training program
climbing training push up variation 1

Push-up on rings/sling trainer

Due to the “unstable” position, those are significantly harder than ordinary push-ups. Additionally, train the otherwise rarely used muscles in the shoulder girdle.

push up variation climbing training plan
push up variation climbing training plan1

Handstand

handstand climbing training program

Climbing and bouldering are all about pulling – the handstand is the pushing” counterbalance to this. In addition, the stability of the entire shoulder girdle is improved. 

If you have problems with your wrists (like me), I advise you to invest in a set of Parallettes (Amazon price). This way, you can train handstands for hours without hurting your wrists.


Stabilisation and Antagonist Training:

T Y I

One of my absolute favorite exercises – anyone who climbs a lot should incorporate this exercise into their Antagonist Training. It pulls the shoulder blades backward and straightens the upper body. Counteracts the climbing hunchback. 

climbing training antagonist
Starting postion
climbing training antagonist t
T
climbing training antagonist y
Y
climbing training antagonist i
I
  • Keep arms straight
  • Bring arms back as far as possible
  • Move shoulder blades as close together as possible.
  • Through the positioning of your legs, you can easily adjust the difficulty. 

Shoulder blade pull-up

The arms remain extended – the upward movement comes solely from bringing the shoulder blades closer together. The extent of the movement is only a few centimeters and trains the rotator cuff in the shoulder girdle. 

shoulder blade pull up climbing training program
Starting postition
shoulder blade pull up climbing training program1
Pull back shoulder blades

These exercises counteract the “climbers back” – they stabilize or strengthen the muscles responsible for contracting the shoulder blades (straightening the upper body). 


Postural deformities due to climbing and bouldering

  • Climber’s back
  • Problems with the Neck – cervical vertebrae
  • Lower back (posterior pelvic tilt)
Climbing posture climbers back bouldering
Fix and avoid climbers back

Forearm extensor

Thera Band 

Antagonist Training climbing forearm
Starting Postion
Antagonist Training climbing forearm
Extend Fingers

Wrist Curls

Antagonist Training climbing forearm
Starting position
Antagonist Training climbing
Lift weight

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Legs and Glutes

Strong leg muscles help when climbing and ensure to spare you from back pain. Especially the lower back does cause problems for many climbers. There can be many reasons, but one of the most common reasons is muscular imbalances

A weak gluteal or leg flexor musculature can lead to malpositions in the hips (posterior pelvic tilt). The following simple exercises help to strengthen the neglected muscles. 

Lunge backward

antagonist training climbing legs
Backward Lunge
antagonist training climbing legs1
Lift leg at the end of the movement

Pay attention to the angle in the front knee joint. Try to activate the backside of your legs (glutes and hamstrings). If you have dumbbells at home, you can add some extra weight. 


One leg squat

climbing training program plan legs
climbing training program plan legs1

Pay attention to the angle in the front knee joint – big lunge. Concentrate on activating the glutes and hamstrings. 


Lateral bend

Super exercise that additionally improves hip mobility. Also, an ideal warm-up before bouldering / climbing.

bouldering training program side bend
bouldering training program lateral bend

Make sure to stay low – to keep the tension in the muscles. 


Training Plans for Climbers

Circuit training

The following muscle groups are trained:

  • Finger Strength 
  • Core
  • Back
  • Pull and Lock-Off-Strength 

All exercises are described in detail above and can be combined as desired. 

Training plan #1

Total: approx. 30 minutes = 6 exercises & 5 Sets.
6x exercises: 30 seconds each – then 30 seconds rest.
2x finger strength: 12 sec maximum load (hangboard).

Training program climbing bouldering
Climbing specific training plan #1

Training plan #2

Total: approx. 30 minutes = 6 exercises & 5 runs.
6x exercises: 30 seconds each – then 30 seconds rest.
2x finger strength: 12 sec maximum load (hangboard).

Training plan climbing bouldering
Climbing specific training plan #2

Training Plan | Stabilization – Antagonist Training #1

Training program climbing Antagonist training
Stabilization- Antagonist Training #1

Training Plan | Stabilization – Antagonist Training #2

Training program climbing Antagonist training1
Stabilization- Antagonist Training #2

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