Anyone who has watched American Ninja Warrior has seen how fit and strong rock climbers can be. Their lean, efficient, and precise physiques are a powerful asset, as a single misstep or missed grip means failure (and a watery splashdown). At the Junction, we see athletes of all levels make climbing part of their regular workout to provide an alternative to traditional training.
Some of the benefits to cross training with climbing include:
- Increased core strength – Loosely defined as the muscle groups from below your shoulders to your waist, your core provides strength and structure. Climbers are consistently engaging core muscles to maintain correct posture on the wall. Disengage your core and you get the real-world consequence of coming off the wall. This translates well to power sports, such as weightlifting, or to sports like golf and tennis where a strong core contributes to rotational force.
- Forearms and hand strength – It’s no surprise that climbers develop strong hands. That same strength turns into enhanced power when taking shots in basketball or hockey. One key when training in this area is not to overwork – take advantage of repetition training on easier climbs to build up the muscles slowly and without injury.
- Flexibility – The greater your range of motion, the greater your options for finding balance. Climbing demands constant contortion to new positions. This flexibility is essential to gymnastics or cheerleading, and also sports like football where avoiding your opponent is a vital skill.
- Fun – Climbing is never the same twice. Each different climb requires different muscles and different movement. This maintains a sense of new challenge and problem solving. Over the months of training, a sense of routine can dull our enjoyment. Taking a few weeks out to train in other environments can give a break from routine that invigorates without setting back a training plan.
Submitted by Junction Climbing Centre