5 Ways to Practice Coordination Climbing at Home
Updated: Jul 27
Coordination climbing is a rock climbing style that has become more prominent in gyms in recent years as competitive climbing has increased in popularity.
Dynos and slab climbing are nothing new. Climbers have been jumping from hold to hold and smearing on granite for decades. But climbing gyms have adopted coordination climbing in recent years not only to help train climbers for competitions but because it is a fun and exciting change of pace for any climber.
You certainly know it when you see it, but what makes coordination climbing different from other climbing styles? We’ve put together 5 ways to practice coordination climbing at home. The emphasis on these exercises is not fitness or strength, but rather balance, fast-twitch muscles, and you guessed it, coordination.
There is no better way to train the “springy-ness” required to perform big dynos. Box Jumps are an effective way to train fast-twitch muscle fibers in your legs with minimal equipment. Try finding some picnic tables outside or setting up some wooden crates in the garage! They are also incredibly modular. You can increase and decrease the intensity of the exercise by simply finding a taller surface to jump on. Check out these box jump variations:
Standard Box Jump
From a static position (no walking or running start), jump up to a surface. Upon landing, fully extend your legs like you are completing a squat. This is 1 rep. Perform 6 reps at your absolute tallest height for 1 set. You should try hard with each jump. Rest 4 minutes between sets.
Seated Position to Jump Squats
From a seated position (about 6-12 inches off the ground), jump up to a squatted position. Upon landing, extend your legs like you are completing a squat. Step back down and perform 3 jump squats. This is 1 rep. Perform 8 reps for 1 set. Rest 3 minutes between sets.
Circuit with Varying Heights
Starting dynamically (with a couple of steps to get you going), jump up to a short surface. Keeping your legs engaged, jump back down. Jump up to a taller surface. Upon landing, fully extend your legs like you are completing a squat. This is 1 rep. Perform 10 reps for 1 set. Rest for 3 minutes between sets.
If you have a pull-up bar, fast-twitch pull-ups can work those upper body fast-twitch muscle fibers that you need to generate power when coordination-climbing. Fast-twitch pull-ups involve hanging with your shoulders engaged on the pull-up bar. Pull up as quickly as you can. At the apex of the pull, as you’ve generated momentum, release your hands briefly and catch the bar again as you return down. This is 1 rep. Perform reps until failure for 1 set. Rest for 4 minutes between sets.
Slacklining or any kind of balance beam work is an excellent way to prepare for slabby or balance-oriented coordination climbing. Generally, slacklining and similar balance work are considered to be leisure activities. Don’t forget the amount of coordination and core tension involved in making it all the way across a slackline! The only difference between having a fun slacklining session and working out on the slackline is your mindset (and maybe a bit of structure). So layout some 2x4s in the yard or bring your slackline to the park and try one of the exercises below:
Try to get as far as you can! Whether you can walk all the way across with ease or can only make it a couple of steps, walk as far as you can on the slackline until failure. Rest 2 minutes between tries.
Perform a plank with your forearms on the slackline. The instability forces core engagement and is a great way to train. Replace these planks for any other core exercises or planks you may currently do already!
Slackline Balance Squats
Perform one-legged squats while on the slackline. These are tough! You may need a friend, or a tree, to help you maintain your balance while you learn this exercise, but it is an excellent way to build leg strength and improve balance.
Homemade Obstacle Course
Who said training has to be boring? You will be surprised at how exhausting it can be to play an intense game of “don’t touch the lava.” Pull whatever you can from your garage and set up an obstacle course in your yard! Focus on making obstacles as balance-oriented as possible. Walk on exercise balls, set small pieces of wood 3 feet apart, hop from one to the other, and even incorporate some of the previous exercises! You can even get the kids involved! Time yourself and try to improve with each lap.
Fast Hands in Push-Up Position
Our final exercise involves training hand-eye coordination and core tension to round out your coordination climbing skill set. Get into a push-up position and reach as far as you can in each direction with both hands. At various points just at the end of your reach, place a cone or any kind of marker. Return to the push-up position and reach to each location in varying patterns as quickly as you can while maintaining the push-up position. This exercise works best with a partner to call out locations, but you can easily perform this on your own by coming up with different patterns for each set. Some of those patterns may include:
Left to right with the left hand
Right to left with the right hand
Every other marker with both hands
2 left, 2 right
Do sets for 30 seconds and rest for 30 seconds.
Coordination climbing, even for those of us who do not climb competitively, is an incredibly fun change of pace in the climbing gym, and can even make an appearance in outdoor climbing. Try incorporating 1 or 2 of these exercises into your at-home workout routine so that you are prepared for coordination climbing next time you’re at the gym!
For in-gym training, try these 4 Power Exercises To Up Your Bouldering Game.