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Keeping physically fit in lock-down as a climber

Being socially isolated, not being able to train in a climbing centre or doing outdoor climbing in this glorious weather is proving challenging both mentally and physically during the lockdown. There are ways though to stay strong and keep immune system working effectively. The choice of activities depends on personal preferences but these are the ones working for me in the time when climbing is not an option. 

Fingerboarding

This acitivity is designed mainly to train fingerstrength and should not be done by climbers who have been climbing for less than a couple of years or below 7a grade to avoid injuries. There are a variety of fingerboards on the market for different grades and made from different materials. My personal choice is Beastmaker. 

How to train on it?

Always warm up first for at least 15 minutes! This could be star jumps, running up and down stairs, core exercices. 

Start with the largest holds, a few series to get going with hangs.

  • Repeat each set 6 times for 7 seconds, rest for 3 
  • rest for 3 minutes
  • choose another type of hold and repeat in the same way
  • on average 10 sets in total is the aim but this can be adapted to personal fitness as long as it is not overdone
  • rest at least for a dayThere are some apps that can help with the training, one of them is Fingerboard Trainer. Personally, I prefer fingerboarding with music and using timer on my phone. 

Core 

This can be relatively easily achieved in the lockdown. The number of repetitions depends on the strength of our core. They can be gradually increased as the core gets stronger. My personal choice are:

  • regular planks
  • side planks
  • leg rises 
  • crunches
  • core scissors
  • abdominal trainer wheel

Dumbbells

Again, this is personal choice in terms of weight, mine is 3kg but some others may prefer 2kg. Stand with both feet firmly on the floor in a chair position. Hold both dumbbells with arms fully stretched in front of you, using your core to hold the position. Then, move your arms apart so they ened up in 180 degree angle. Slowly move your arms back horizontally to the original position. Repeat sets starting with whichever number is suitable for you. The number of repeats can increase with gaining more strenghts. There are some You Tube vidoes on dumbbell exrecices that can be helpful.

Yoga and stretching

Stretching is very important to prevent injury but also to keep your body agile and relaxed. Generally, I follow my post climbing stretching routine in which I focus on back, arms and leg stretches for about 20 minutes. But now and then, I follow a yoga class on you tube as there are many choices there. From yoga for climbers to Yin yoga to relax. 

Pull ups

The pull up bar I’m using comes from an on-line shop. It can be safely installed on door frames and just sit there, so when you feel like doing some pull ups, you don’t need to put it up again. They can be done with different width grip and locking positions. The only one I’m attempting is thumbs facing out on a wide grip, purely as I’m not very big on pull ups. 

Steep hill running/scrambling

It is a relatively recent activity for me that helps with cardio work out, leg strength and maitaing balance not to fall on steep hills is great fun. It is not quite like climbing but as near as it can get to it being outdoors. If you know any steep hills nearby, you can give it a go. 

Road biking

This is another great activity that can help with cardio and leg strength. Practically, anyone can do it as it’s great for beginners. Then, you can pump up the intensity as your fitness level improves, making it a more challenging workout. Trying different routes and landscapes each time is great and roads are emptier than ever before in the lockdown so pushing the speed feels safer as well. Nevertheless, always wear a helmet when you bike outdoors. Head injuries are one of the most common biking accidents when people skip protection.

Stay safe! 🙂