There are several ways to go about this but I’ll share with you the two methods I used to get stronger. I’ve heard of people talking about campus boards, hanging on their fingers for as long as they can and whatnot, but puh-lease! If you can’t even do a chin-up, you can forget about these methods. So I say, forget about these methods (at least until you can at least campus – where you can climb using your hands only, no feet – with jugs) and try something that really works.
What can you do for strength training to improve your climbing if you aren’t that strong to begin with?
1. Climb overhangs (you don’t have to go for anything extreme, even a mildly overhanging incline will do)
If you do any amount of climbing on a regular basis, you are bound to get stronger whether you want to or not. However, if you specifically want to get stronger, you should consider tackling an overhanging route as a project on a regular basis. My most notable strength increases came about after the Rockrats started climbing at a place called “Comic Wall“. We spent a good few months climbing there every weekend and by the time I walked out of that place, I could climb everything 6B and below (except for one 6B which I seriously think is sandbagged).
Anyway, this shot gives you a good impression of the overhang.
When I first started climbing, I hated bouldering. I avoided it like the plague because I was extremely weak at it. That and the fact that I couldn’t climb without a rope because I was afraid of falling. Even when I got better, I could never tackle bouldering routes that went up too high on the wall because I didn’t trust myself to fall onto the mats below.
I also found bouldering rather tedious because I wasn’t strong enough to complete the problems given to me. At least when I climbed, I had the benefit of feeling some sort of success from reaching the anchor. I wasn’t quite sure what mental benefit was derived from bouldering. And since I wasn’t all that strong, most of my boulder problems involved large holds, like jugs. If you climb a lot, you’ll realise that using juggy holds too often is a great way to develop callouses, but in the interim, you’ll have to endure the pain that comes with it.
Anyway, there was an additional benefit from working the overhanging routes first. By the time we were done climbing at Comic Wall, I could finally boulder with some degree of success. Being able to boulder was encouraging and it made me feel more inclined to boulder again and that helped me to further develop my upper body strength.
Next Tip – the importance of a training regimen