Top 5 Weighted Exercises for Climbers

I try doing these AFTER my climbing sessions or on rest days. 

Climbers need more than just time on the wall to excel. Incorporating specific weight exercises into your routine can significantly enhance your climbing strength and endurance. Here’s a guide to the top five weight exercises that provide maximum benefits for climbers.

1. Weighted Pull-Ups

Why: Pull-ups are fundamental for climbers as they directly target the muscles used in pulling motions, crucial for climbing.

How: Perform 3-4 sets of 6-8 reps. Use a weight belt or hold a dumbbell between your legs to add resistance. Ensure full range of motion, pulling up until your chin is over the bar and lowering until your arms are fully extended.


  1. Upper Body Strength: Enhances the lats, biceps, and upper back muscles crucial for climbing.
  2. Grip Strength: Improves grip, essential for holding onto climbing holds.
  3. Core Engagement: Strengthens the core, providing better body control on the wall.

2. Dumbbell Rows

Why: This exercise targets the upper back, lats, and biceps, all critical for powerful climbing movements and maintaining a strong grip.

How: Perform 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps per arm. Focus on a slow, controlled movement, pulling the dumbbell to your hip while keeping your back flat and core engaged.


  1. Upper Back Strength: Builds strength in the upper back, improving pulling power.
  2. Muscular Balance: Helps prevent muscle imbalances by working each side independently.
  3. Improved Posture: Enhances posture and reduces the risk of back injuries.

3. Deadlifts

Why: Deadlifts strengthen the posterior chain (hamstrings, glutes, lower back) and core, which are essential for maintaining body tension and transferring power through your legs while climbing.

How: Perform 3-4 sets of 6-8 reps. Use a weight that allows you to maintain perfect form. Start with your feet shoulder-width apart, grip the bar outside your knees, and lift by extending your hips and knees.


  1. Full-Body Strength: Engages multiple muscle groups, enhancing overall strength.
  2. Core Stability: Strengthens the core, improving balance and body tension.
  3. Injury Prevention: Helps prevent lower back injuries by building a strong posterior chain.

4. Hanging Leg Raises

Why: Core strength is vital for climbers to maintain stability and control during climbs. Hanging leg raises specifically target the lower abs and hip flexors.

How: Perform 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps. Hang from a pull-up bar, engage your core, and raise your legs to a 90-degree angle or higher. Keep the movement slow and controlled, avoiding swinging.


  1. Core Strength: Builds a strong core, crucial for maintaining body tension.
  2. Hip Flexor Engagement: Strengthens the hip flexors, improving climbing efficiency.
  3. Enhanced Stability: Improves overall stability and control during climbs.

5. Weighted Dips on Parallel Bars

Why: Weighted dips are an excellent compound exercise that targets the chest, triceps, and shoulders. This exercise is particularly beneficial for climbers as it strengthens the pushing muscles, helping to balance the pulling movements predominant in climbing and improving overall upper body strength and stability.

How: Perform 3-4 sets of 8-10 reps. Use a dip belt to add weight or hold a dumbbell between your legs. Begin with your arms fully extended and your body upright. Lower yourself by bending your elbows until your shoulders are below your elbows, then push back up to the starting position. Keep your core engaged and avoid swinging to maintain proper form.


  1. Upper Body Strength: Dips build significant strength in the chest, shoulders, and triceps, essential for various climbing moves.
  2. Core Stability: Maintaining proper form during weighted dips requires engaging the core, which helps improve overall body tension and stability.
  3. Injury Prevention: Strengthening the pushing muscles can help prevent muscle imbalances that may lead to injuries.
  4. Functional Strength: Dips mimic many natural movements involved in climbing, such as pressing off holds and stabilizing during dynamic moves, making them highly functional for climbers.


Incorporating these weighted exercises into your post-climbing routine will provide a balanced approach to developing strength and endurance. Focus on proper form, gradual progression, and adequate recovery to maximize your gains and enhance your climbing performance. Remember, a well-rounded training program that includes both climbing-specific drills and general strength training will help you reach new heights in your climbing journey.

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