Making it into the climbing gym can sometimes be difficult (or impossible) depending on your schedule.
But that doesn’t mean that you don’t have time to complete a climbing specific workout like grip strength training. If you’re a little creative and very dedicated to your training, there are many ways to strengthen climbing specific muscles at home or in your office. If you’re having difficulty finding enough time to regularly hit the gym, try incorporating a few of these short office/home workouts into your training routine.
Suggested Grip Strength Training Workouts
Door Frame Hangs
Every time you walk under a doorway you pass up an opportunity to improve your climbing strength. Hanging on your doorway is a fantastic way to build up your grip strength, and doorframes are roughly the same size as many 5.11 crimp moves. Just hanging on a door frame is plenty of a workout, but if you’re looking to kick it up a notch you can do doorframe pull-ups.
The workout: Hang on the doorframe in your bedroom or office for as long as possible; perform this exercise three times per day. If you can hold on for 10+ seconds, it’s time to start including some pull-ups. Remember to use good form in your shoulders and never to close-crimp over the door frame!
Admittedly, a door frame is a small hold for most individuals – even some intermediate and advanced climbers can’t hang on a door frame for more than a few seconds. So if you don’t have the strength to perform this little workout don’t feel discouraged; instead, make it a goal!
Grip Strength Trainers
They come in all shapes and sizes and can be purchased from a variety of outdoor retail stores or climbing gyms. Squeezing a grip strength trainer can be done while you’re driving, reading a book, talking on a conference call, or performing any number of other daily work/life activities. Also, it’s easy to pick a trainer that conforms to your personal grip strength.
The workout: Find a grip strength trainer, now squeeze it until you’re tired – squeeze it all day, everywhere you go.
Rice Jar or Rice Bucket
This is a low-tech way to improve your grip strength, perform rehab exercises, and generate well-balanced hands/forearms that are resistant to overuse injuries. Sometimes thought of as an “old school” way to train your climber hands, giant rice buckets are popular in some climbing gyms across the country; however, there’s no reason you can’t keep a rice bucket (or rice jar, if you’re trying to save space) at home. Also, you don’t have to use rice (although rice is popular because it’s cheap and easy), you could also use rocks, soil, or beans if you feel so inclined.
The workout: Dive your hand/forearm into the rice bucket, now open and close your hand (yes, it can be that simple). Because your hand is working against the rice as it continuously closes and reopens, you’ll find that you’re experiencing a well-balanced forearm exercise. Do this for 30-60 seconds, three to five times.
Admittedly, if you don’t have an appropriate wall in your home or office space, it might be difficult to install a hangboard (if that’s the case, you’ll just have to stick to the previously mentioned door frame hangs). That being said, hang boards are fairly affordable and offer a simple way to sneak in a climbing workout.
The workout: There are a million ways to train on a hangboard. We recommend that you vary the holds you’re using, the number of sets/reps you’re performing. The most important part of using a hangboard is being consistent, make sure you’re using your board 2-3 times a week and you’ll see a big increase in your climbing strength. For more info about hang boarding, check out our guide here!
Time to Train
Remember, just because you don’t have time to make it to the climbing gym doesn’t mean that you can’t perform climbing specific exercises. Above, we’ve listed out four simple ways for climbers to train their grip strength at their home or their office. Oftentimes, all it takes is a little creativity and/or dedication to find the time for a climbing workout. Whether you’re hanging from a doorframe or a specially installed hang board, there are plenty of ways to knock out pull-ups around the house. Further, for those of us that have to work at a desk for most of our day, a simple grip strength trainer or bucket of rice is enough to work on our climber hands while getting stuff done around the office.
Regardless of how you choose to squeeze in a short workout at home, commitment and consistency with your training is the most important part of improving your fitness. Train hard!
One of the biggest barriers to training is knowing where to begin. Luckily, we laid it all out for you! Check out How to Start Training for Rock Climbing.