Ice Climbing Training Upper Body [archive copy]

Part One of an in-season upper body Ice Climbing training program. You should alternate this with Part Two. Since this is an in-season program we’re not going to try to get stronger. Ice climbing training should assist the primary activity of ice climbing, but not take away from it. Proper strength training would require you to take 3-5 days off from training to let the muscles recover fully before training again. This would take away from your outdoor climbing fun, since most of the week you’d be recovering, and in the long run the load would be too high. Begin with about 5-10 minutes of a light duty warmup to get the whole upper body full of hot blood and nice and flexible. I like a full range exercise like the Concept2 SkiErg. You could substitute bands, which I’ll show you in Ice Climbing Training Upper Body Part Two.

Ice Climbing Training: Warmup on SkiErg

Remember, this should not be a workout or cardio. Just crank away till you’re nice and warm and your joints are soft. For most people 5:00 to 10:00 minutes should be good enough warm up for an ice climbing training session. I’ve actually gone without it a few times and been none the worse for wear and tear. But I do recommend it until you know your own body. My first exercise in this upper body program is a very light, fairly quick, nearly full range of motion power rack bench press. Since I’m alone I use a power rack to protect myself from dropping the weights. I set the safety bars about half an inch off my fully expanded chest. If you’re just starting out you might want to set it a few inches higher until you know what works best for you. I usually do a set of 25. I think anything from about 10 up will do, but if you can’t do 25 with pretty good form it’s probably too much weight for this type of in-season ice climbing training program.

Ice Climbing Training: Bench Press


This is as far as it got when I saved it as a draft on March 13, 2014! I’m only putting it here for historical purposes and will get my new Ice Climbing Training articles up about once a week for the next few weeks. Remember, if you wanted the free pre-season General Physical Prep (GPP) training program – fill out this form. I’ll totally keep you in the loop.

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Remember – Train Smart and Hard for Best Progress!