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Climbing Fitness: Finding the Strength Within
Becoming a good climber isn’t just about having strong arms or giant calves. Check out Groupon’s rundown of the peak physical condition climbing demands—and can help you maintain.
Whether navigating synthetic handholds bolted to a wall or scaling a weathered rockface, during an ascent climbers can rarely relax. The very nature of climbing requires all-around physical conditioning in order to keep up with the constant aerobic exercise and strain on the muscles. Though the entire body is used in climbing, the core plays a significant role in maximizing leverage and transferring torque from the hands to the feet, and vice versa. Every full-body climbing movement calls the core muscles into action, and consequently, a lack of core conditioning makes executing climbing moves harder.
Strength isn’t all that matters, though. Even in bouldering, which tests muscles along shorter routes, climbers must train their bodies to maintain power over extended durations, often using high-repetition exercises to mimic the effects of a lengthy climbing session. Indeed, the most common weakness in climbers is not a lack of strength but of endurance. As forearms grow tired and muscles lock up, continuing along routes is made all but impossible without inserting another quarter into your sleeve. But, even conditioning isn’t always the culprit, as form and technique play just as crucial a role in the endeavor. In even the strongest climbers, poor technique and decision-making along routes can accelerate energy drain and force the muscles to give up prematurely.