When I tell people that I climb, they often think: ‘you must have really strong arms’. Well I don’t. Climbing is not about having massive biceps. It’s all about your core and your legs. And this is what one should be focusing on in his/her trainings.

I’ve been climbing for 3 years now, and swimming for as long as I can remember, but it has only occurred to me recently how complementary those two sports are.

Everyone knows that swimming is a complete sport, it’s a full body workout, but what I try to focus on when I hit the pool is my upper body: shoulders, back, core and arms. Exactly what you need to be a strong climber. So I thought I’d share with you my training routine, hoping it will help you improve your climbing performance:

  1. Strengthening my back and shoulders: whether I’m doing crawl, breast stroke or back stroke I always try to focus on the technique, starting each stroke from my shoulder, keeping my arms straight in the water and pushing all the way to my thighs. Something you might want to try is using a float; it will help you concentrate on the movement rather than the kicks.
  2. Getting my heartbeat up and breathing right: after warming up, I typically start with power exercise: 100 m of sprint. Rest 10 sec. And again for 300 m. This helped me control my breathing and build stamina for climbing.
  3. Committing to training (as long as it’s fun!): I strongly believe that if you’re passionate about something, then you will do what it takes to get better at it. I love going to the wall to finish a particular route, or going to the pool to beat last week’s training. But there are days where I just don’t feel like it, and so I never force myself to do it. I’d take some time off, reenergize and start fresh the day after. Resting is AS important as working out!

To wrap up, climbing and swimming are two sports that complement each other, and if you invest time in swimming, you will definitely start seeing a radical change in your core strength, stamina as well as climbing technique.

So climbers, put on those fins, and hit the pool next time you get the chance. Heck, you could even climb straight from the pool! Check out this Psicobloc competition…

More: Did you know? Pools can teach runners how to breath! 


Who is Pascale?
Pascale works in the marketing department at LinkedIn, and is based in London. She is an outdoor sports fanatic and loves traveling to undiscovered territories. 

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