Full Body Strength Exercises and Their Benefits for Rock Climbing – The Adventure Gypsies

Preparing for rock climbing

Rock climbers exert a lot of stress on their bodies. The more challenging the climb, the harder it is on the body. It is fair to say that the act of rock climbing is a full body workout. It’s not something that you should do until you are in fit condition though. Your muscles need to be prepared before you subject them to the rigors of rock climbing.

What can happen if you don’t prepare?

When your muscles and tendons are not strong and in an ideal condition they are more vulnerable to damage. They simply cannot take the stress and strain of rock climbing without becoming injured. Training builds strength so they can hold up under the intense pressure and strain.

Safety Concerns

Without strength and stamina, rock climbing can not only cause injury to the tissues of your body, but it can also put your life at risk. You need to have the strength to hold onto narrow ledges and finger pockets. Doing this can be a challenge for seasoned climbers and a beginner that hasn’t properly developed strength in key areas will have a far harder time. Falls are more likely and so are jolts and slips that can be jarring. This is why it’s important to engage in a training program that includes full body strength exercises.

The Best Full Body Strength Training Exercises

Strength is built slowly over time to avoid injury. Each session should begin with a warm-up session to prepare the muscles for activity. An assessment of the athlete’s finger strength and overall body strength should be done first to start at the right level of exercise.

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Workout With the Rings

Working out with a set of rings is a good exercise for beginners who want to build their core body and arm strength.

Exercise #1

Lower the rings to about 18 inches off the floor. With one hand in each of the rings perform a set of pushups. Keep the elbows straight and start with your body even with the rings. Pull the rings together under your body, keeping your elbows straight while pushing your body straight upward until your arms achieve a full extension. Lower your body to the original position slowly. Repeat this move ten times for a complete set. Start out slowly with one to two sets as you can tolerate them, no more than twice per week. You can increase the number of repetitions in your set from 10 to 20 as your strength increases.


This exercise is good for building your shoulder and arm muscles and strengthening them. It also helps to stretch the tendons gently for greater flexibility.

Exercise #2- Flys abdominal

The Flys exercise also uses the rings. In this workout, you begin on your knees in a kneeling position with your hands firmly gripping the rings and your arms slightly bent. Extend your arms fully out in front of you, allowing your core to lower, then pull the arms slowly back to the original position. Repeat 10 times for one set. It is recommended to start out with two sets, two times a week with a two minute rest period in between sets.


This exercise is useful in building abdominal muscles while strengthening the arms and shoulders. It also helps to condition the tendons and make them more flexible so you have greater agility and you’re less prone to injuries such as muscle and tendon strains.

Exercise #3- Flys chest strengthening

This exercise is performed by beginning with your hands firmly gripping the rings in a kneeling position. You start with your body at the level of the rings and instead of pushing the arms forward, you push them diagonally away from the body in opposite directions. Move the rings outwards away from the body and then pull them back in and repeat 10 times for one set. It is recommended to start out with two sets, two times a week with a two minute rest period in between sets.

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This core body workout focuses on strength training on the chest and pectoral muscles. In rock climbing, it gives you additional upper body and arm strength with stronger shoulder muscles and more flexible tendons. It also increases your stamina for more challenging climbing routes.

Exercise #4- Extreme Flys

Using the rings, you begin as you would for the Fly’s abdominal exercise, but instead of kneeling, you are going to position your body so your weight is supported by your feet. With your body parallel, begin the exercises with legs fully extended and the weight supported by the balls of the toes. Your body should be level with the rights. Start by pulling both rings under the body until they meet while pushing your body straight upward until the arms are fully extended. Lower the body to its original starting position. Repeat these steps five times for one complete set. One set is recommended for your first extreme full body workout. You can increase the number as your strength increases. Do not perform this exercise more than twice per week to allow your body muscles, tendons and nerves to fully recover.


This is an extreme body workout that is recommended as a more advanced strength training exercise. It builds and strengthens the arms, abdomen, chest, legs, and shoulders.

Exercise #5- Rows

Rows are exercises that are done with the rings in a higher position than for the Flys about double the distance from the ground at 3 to 3 and a half feet. Begin this exercise with your back on the exercise mat below the rings. Grab both rings firmly with your hands. You must keep your entire body straight to get the full benefits of exercise. Pull your body upward slowly until it is even with the rings. Your arms should be bent at the elbows throughout this exercise. You are pulling yourself upwards. Repeat this exercise 8 to 12 times to complete one full set. Start out with 2 sets per session and do them twice per week

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This workout is ideal for strengthening all of the muscles in the back as well as in the arms and the shoulders. It helps you to not only have more stamina when rock climbing, but it also makes you more limber and less likely to sustain an injury during your climb.

Final thoughts

Rock climbing is an exciting and enjoyable activity and it is only enhanced when your body is fully ready to tackle the challenges. It’s more fun and less dangerous when your body is fit, healthy and well-conditioned. When starting any training program it is best to start light and work your way upwards into more challenging exercises. By building your muscle strength gradually, you avoid the risk of serious injury both during exercising and when you’re climbing. There is no substitute for good preparation and when done properly and with consistency, it will make a big difference in how much you enjoy the climb and how well you perform.

Video explaining Climbing Exercises with Ring:

If you are new to our blog, check our Climbing Resources:

  • Rock Climbing Shoes for Wide Feet
  • Climbing Shoes Care
  • Climbing Rope Care
  • Fitting Guide for Climbing Shoes
  • Overcoming the Fear of Falling
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