6 Fitness Challenges for Climbers

6 Fitness Challenges for Climbers

As you progress through your climbing in hopes of pushing yourself to new heights in your climbing, training can become repetitive. Climbers often end up in a place where 4x4s, hangboarding, and high-volume endurance sessions are on repeat. At some point, even the most stoked climbers get bored of their training regime and need a change. However, there is an easy remedy! The next time you start dreading a training session, pick one or more of the six fitness challenges for climbers below. They are guaranteed to provide a fun but challenging workout. Even better, grab a friend, try out the challenges below, and see who is the ultimate fitness champion!

Challenge 1: Paper Bag Pick-up Challenge


Do you think you're flexible, good at pistol squats, or good at picking up things with your mouth? If so, give this challenge a try.

Supplies: Paper bag, open space

How to do it:
Place the paper bag upright on the ground in front of you.
Start standing behind the bag and slowly squat/lean-forward on one leg, letting the other leg flag (extend behind your body) for balance.
Without letting your hands or elevated foot tap the ground, pick up the paper bag with your mouth and return to standing.

Benefits: This challenge is great for working on pistol squats, a one-legged movement often demanded on the climbing wall when you have to push all of your weight up on one leg. It is also great for improving balance, mobility, and stability - components of being a well-rounded climber.

Challenge 2: Bring Sally Up

Join in with the slew of viral Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook workout videos aesthetically set to music. This challenge, set to the song Flower by Moby, is guaranteed to leave your muscles burning and, maybe, a smile on your face.

Supplies: Pull-up bar, the song Flower by Moby

How to do it:
Start the song and immediately begin to dead hang from the pull-up bar.
Every time the song says 'Bring Sally up,' complete one pull-up on the word "up."
After the rep, return to the dead hang position on the bar and repeat for the entire song, or as long as you can make it before falling! If doing it with a friend, see who can last the longest.

*Modification: If this challenge is too difficult to do with pull-ups, substitute with a different exercise! Alternative movements include squat-hold/squat, plank-hold/push-up, or 6-inches leg-lift hold/leg-lift.

Benefits: If you last the entire song, you'll complete 30 repetitions of whichever movement you choose to do! Doing pull-ups will help improve your pull strength and max-hang time and provide a mini-power endurance workout (for any physical activity you decide to complete)!

Challenge 3: Lock off Challenge

Be prepared to shake, feel the burn, and increase your lock-off strength if you undertake this challenge!

Supplies: Pull-up bar, piece of paper, timer,

How to do it:
Go to the pull-up bar, start the timer, or have a friend time.
Hold a 90-degree lock-off for 30 seconds while keeping the piece of paper pinned between your forehead and the pull-up bar.
If the paper falls, stop the timer, take a rest, and then try again. You can only claim victory if you last 30 seconds without the piece of paper slipping to the ground.

Benefits: As the name implies, this challenge helps increase lock-off strength. The ability to lock off on a climbing hold for an extended period will make big moves and reaches less taxing.

Challenge 4: 4x100

Inspired by the Norwegian climbing star Magnus Mitdbo, this challenge will test you in every way possible. Be ready to push yourself, draw on mental fortitude, and get stronger! Pro tip: Be consistent and don't rush; try not to stop moving the entire time. As they say, slow and steady wins the race!

Supplies: Pull-up bar, stopwatch, *optional* mat

How to do it:
Grab a stopwatch and start the clock. You can't stop the time until you complete the following: 100 pull-ups, 100 push-ups, 100 crunches, and 100 squats.
Complete all exercises in whatever order you wish and as many sets as needed.
The goal is to get them done as fast as possible, and if you're competing against a friend, you'll want to beat their time!
If training alone, repeat the challenge every few weeks to see if you beat your old time!

Benefits: Completing this challenge will work to improve your muscular strength, muscular endurance, power, and cardiovascular endurance - truly an all-in-one workout!

Challenge 5: The Broomstick Challenge

Supplies: Broomstick handle, open space, yourself, *optional* mat

How to do it:
Wrap both arms around the broomstick so it is between your arms and your back.
Slowly lower yourself to the ground without using your hands.
Once lying flat on your stomach, stand up while keeping the broomstick behind your back.

Benefit: This challenge will test your flexibility, mobility, and core strength. If you struggle on the first go around, consider incorporating a stretching routine into your training. Try the challenge again to see if the improved strength and flexibility make it easier to complete!

Challenge 6: The Chair Traverse Challenge

Maybe you have heard of this challenge or seen a video of someone trying to attempt it. Be warned - it can be tricky, but if you think you have what it takes to traverse a chair, try out this challenge!

Supplies: a sturdy chair

How to do it:
Start sitting in the chair.
Pull your feet off the ground and climb over the front of the chair, continuing underneath the chair, and then over the back.
End back in a seated position. Don't let any body part touch the ground, or you'll have to start over.

Benefit: This challenge aims to provide a good laugh while strengthening a climber's creativity, strength, and body awareness. Sometimes climbs demand awkward movements and for you to contort your body, so this challenge is perfect training for those awkward moves!

Remember: training for climbing doesn't have to be repetitive or boring. There are plenty of ways to mix it up and have some fun! Try out one or more of these six challenges next time you're in the gym, and let us know how it goes in the comments!

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