Train muscular endurance for ice climbing this season!
Ice climbing is different. There are no crimpers or slopers. You always have a jug to hold onto—your tools! But swinging a tool overhead, holding on while placing or removing protection, longer pitches, the weight of winter gear (boots, crampons and multiple layers of clothing) and often climbing with a pack, all add up.
Ice climbing can give you a full body pump and gas your arms like never before.
So, we need to train muscular endurance.
First, before you start to train, you should determine if you are on your game strength-and-fitness-wise.
Go to Swing! Training for Ice Climbing where you will find:
- Questions meant to help guide you towards understanding and building your foundational fitness
- Specific strength training exercises for ice climbing
Now, you’ve decided that you’re ready to train muscular endurance for ice climbing, but you don’t live anywhere near readily accessible ice, or you have to train inside due to that funny thing called work, then read on…
10 Steps to Muscular Endurance for Ice Climbing
- Head to the climbing gym with your climbing pack and approach shoes or light-hiking boots.
- Load your pack with a few full water bottles (start with 8 – 10 lbs).
- Pick easier routes to focus on big muscles. Steep is still ok, but with big holds.
- Warm up with a few shoulder openers, wall squats, a few push-ups, Turkish get-ups and pull-ups
- Wear your approach shoes or light-hiking boots to climb (if the gym is ok with it). The point is to climb with shoes that are less precise then climbing shoes.
- Use the auto belay or find a partner who is stoked to train too.
- Climb with your weighted pack. Use a reasonable load to start. If climbing with no pack is hard enough, then start there. The pack will pull on your upper body and help mimic the torso position required to swing a tool overhead while ice climbing. (Hint:try a 10 min session without the pack first to gage where you are.)
- Climb continuously for 10 minutes. Climb up and down. Don’t lower or rest on the ground. While you are climbing, practice working through the pump: shake, breathe and keep moving. We are working on stamina.
- Try four rounds: 10 minutes of continuous movement, followed by 10-15 min rest. Work/rest can be alternated with a training partner using a you-go, I-go approach. If you are training on your own then do mobility work, foam rolling, and core work during the rest period.
- If four rounds goes well, increase the time you stay on the wall or add more weight, or both for the next session.
This workout will give you a full upper body pump and a nice pump in the arms too, for “icing” on the training cake!
Enjoy and get the stoke high for the Chicks Ice Season!!
If you need information for a specific climb or trip of any nature you can contact me at: