7 drills to help you climb better

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on improving your climbing skills. Whether you’re a beginner looking to enhance your technique or an experienced climber aiming to conquer new heights, these seven essential drills will take your climbing ability to the next level. From footwork precision to strength-building exercises, we’ve got you covered. Let’s dive in and discover the drills that will help you climb better!

Key Takeaways:

  • Practice footwork precision to improve balance and stability on challenging terrain.
  • Incorporate hangboard training to build finger strength and grip endurance.
  • Focus on endurance climbing to increase stamina and reduce fatigue during climbs.
  • Strengthen your core to maintain stability and generate more power while climbing.
  • Develop route reading skills and visualize your movements to enhance efficiency.

Now that we’ve introduced the key drills, let’s dive into each one in detail and learn how they can transform your climbing performance. Get ready to elevate your skills and conquer new heights!

1. Footwork Precision Drill

The footwork precision drill is a fundamental exercise that focuses on improving your foot placement and balance in climbing. By practicing precise foot placements on various holds and terrain, you’ll develop better stability and control, allowing you to navigate challenging routes more effectively.

To perform the footwork precision drill, follow these steps:

  1. Choose a climbing route or problem that challenges your footwork.
  2. Begin by studying the route and identifying the key footholds.
  3. Approach the first foothold and place your foot with precision and accuracy, focusing on optimal positioning.
  4. Shift your weight onto the foothold and ensure stability before moving to the next hold.
  5. Repeat this process for each foothold, paying close attention to your body positioning and balance.
  6. Gradually increase the difficulty of the drill by choosing routes with smaller holds and more demanding footwork challenges.
  7. Practice regularly to improve your footwork precision and develop a solid foundation for climbing.

Remember, the key to the footwork precision drill is to place your feet with accuracy, as even a slight misplacement can affect your balance and stability.

Developing precise footwork through this drill will greatly enhance your climbing ability and open up new possibilities on the wall. By honing your footwork skills, you’ll be able to tackle difficult routes with confidence and efficiency.

2. Hangboard Training Drill

Incorporating hangboard training into your routine is crucial for building finger strength and grip endurance. The hangboard is a specialized training tool that allows you to target specific muscle groups involved in climbing. By performing a variety of exercises and techniques on the hangboard, you can enhance your ability to hold onto small holds and improve overall climbing performance.

Hangboard training primarily focuses on developing finger strength, which is essential for gripping and maneuvering on the wall. Strong fingers not only allow you to hold onto small, narrow holds but also provide the necessary stability and control to execute precise movements.

Benefits of Hangboard Training

  • Improved finger strength and grip endurance.
  • Enhanced ability to hold onto small holds.
  • Better stability and control during climbing movements.
  • Reduced risk of finger injuries.

When incorporating hangboard training into your climbing routine, it’s important to start gradually and focus on proper form and technique. Begin with easier exercises and gradually increase the difficulty and intensity as your finger strength improves.

Here are some popular hangboard exercises and techniques:

  1. Dead Hangs: Hang from a specific hold on the hangboard for a set amount of time to build finger strength and endurance.
  2. Lock-Offs: Hold a specific position on the hangboard with one hand while bending the elbow to build static finger strength.
  3. Repeaters: Perform a series of hangboard exercises with short rest periods in between to simulate the demands of climbing.
  4. Pull-Ups: Combine pull-up movements with hangboard holds to develop upper body and finger strength simultaneously.

“Hangboard training has been a game-changer for my climbing. My finger strength and ability to hold onto small holds have improved significantly. It’s definitely a challenging workout, but the results are worth it!” – Emma Smith, avid climber

Remember, consistency is key when it comes to hangboard training. Incorporate these exercises into your regular climbing routine, allowing adequate rest and recovery time between sessions to prevent overtraining and minimize the risk of injury.

3. Endurance Climbing Drill

Building endurance is essential for sustained climbing sessions. This drill focuses on gradually increasing the duration and intensity of your climbing sessions, allowing you to build the stamina needed for longer climbs and reduce fatigue during challenging routes.

One effective way to improve endurance is through interval training. This involves alternating between high-intensity climbing and rest periods. By pushing your limits during the intense segments and allowing for adequate recovery, you can progressively increase your climbing endurance over time.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to incorporating endurance climbing drills into your training routine:

  1. Warm-up: Begin with a thorough warm-up, including dynamic stretches and light climbing to prepare your muscles for the upcoming workout.
  2. Interval Climbing: Choose a route or wall section that challenges you. Climb at a high intensity, aiming to maintain a sustained effort for a set duration. This can be anywhere from 1-5 minutes, depending on your fitness level. Focus on efficient movements and breathing techniques to optimize your endurance.
  3. Rest: After completing the intense climbing segment, rest for an equal or slightly longer duration than your climbing interval. Use this time to recover and catch your breath before the next round.
  4. Repeat: Perform multiple rounds of interval climbing, gradually increasing the number of intervals and/or the duration of each interval as your endurance improves. Start with 3-4 rounds and progress from there.
  5. Cooldown: Finish your endurance climbing session with a cooldown period, focusing on gentle stretching to help your muscles recover.

Remember, consistency is key when training endurance. Aim to incorporate this drill into your climbing routine at least once or twice a week. Over time, you’ll notice improvements in your climbing stamina and the ability to tackle longer, more demanding routes.

So, put your endurance to the test and take your climbing to new heights!

Benefits of Endurance Climbing Drill

The endurance climbing drill offers several benefits:

  • Improved Stamina: By gradually increasing the duration and intensity of your climbing sessions, you’ll build the stamina needed for longer climbs.
  • Reduced Fatigue: Building endurance helps reduce fatigue during challenging routes, allowing you to maintain strong performance throughout the climb.
  • Enhanced Recovery: Interval training in this drill helps improve your body’s ability to recover quickly between climbs, enabling you to tackle multiple routes with minimal downtime.
  • Increased Mental Resilience: Endurance training challenges your mental fortitude, helping you develop resilience and push through the physical and mental barriers during difficult climbs.

So, lace up your climbing shoes and embark on the journey to improving your endurance with this effective climbing drill!

4. Core Strengthening Drill

A strong core is essential for maintaining stability and balance while climbing. In order to generate more power and maintain control during dynamic movements on the wall, it is crucial to strengthen your core muscles. Here are some specific exercises and techniques to help you target and strengthen your core:

Exercise 1: Plank

The plank is a foundational core exercise that targets your abdominal muscles, lower back, and shoulders. Begin by getting into a push-up position with your elbows resting on the floor. Keep your body in a straight line from head to toe, engaging your core muscles. Hold this position for as long as you can, gradually increasing the duration over time.

Exercise 2: Russian Twists

Russian twists are great for targeting your oblique muscles, which play a crucial role in stabilizing your body while climbing. Sit on the floor with your knees bent and your feet lifted off the ground. Hold a weighted object, such as a dumbbell or a water bottle, and rotate your torso from side to side, touching the weight to the ground on each side. Repeat for a set number of repetitions on each side.

Exercise 3: Leg Raises

Leg raises are a challenging exercise that targets your lower abs and hip flexors. Lie flat on your back with your hands by your sides or underneath your lower back for support. Lift your legs off the ground, keeping them straight, and raise them towards the ceiling. Slowly lower them back down without letting your feet touch the ground. Repeat for a set number of repetitions.

Exercise 4: Bicycle Crunches

Bicycle crunches engage your entire core, including your abs, obliques, and lower back. Lie flat on your back with your hands behind your head and your knees bent. Bring your left elbow towards your right knee while extending your left leg straight, then switch sides, bringing your right elbow towards your left knee. Continue alternating sides in a bicycle-pedaling motion for a set number of repetitions.

Remember to perform these exercises with proper form and gradually increase the intensity and duration as your core strength improves. Incorporating these core strengthening drills into your climbing training routine will help you develop a solid foundation and improve your overall climbing performance.

core strengthening drill

Exercise Description
Plank A static exercise that targets your core muscles, including your abs, lower back, and shoulders. It helps improve core stability and endurance.
Russian Twists This exercise targets your oblique muscles, which are important for rotational stability. It helps improve core strength and stabilization.
Leg Raises A challenging exercise that primarily targets your lower abs and hip flexors. It enhances core strength and stability.
Bicycle Crunches This exercise engages both your upper and lower abs, as well as your oblique muscles. It helps improve core strength, stability, and rotational power.

5. Route Reading and Visualization Drill

Learning how to effectively read a climbing route and visualize your movements is key to successful climbs. Route reading involves analyzing the route, identifying key holds and sequences, and strategizing the best way to tackle the climb. Visualization, on the other hand, allows you to mentally rehearse each move, building familiarity and confidence before you even touch the wall.

Mastering route reading and visualization requires practice and a keen eye for detail. Here are some tips and strategies to help you develop these essential skills:

  1. Study the route: Before starting a climb, take a few moments to study the route from a distance. Look for different colored holds, distinct features, or potential challenges. Pay attention to the angles and inclines, as they can impact your movement and technique. By analyzing the route beforehand, you’ll have a better idea of what to expect and can plan your approach accordingly.
  2. Break it down: Once you have a general understanding of the route, break it down into smaller sections or sequences. Identify the crucial holds and transitions between them. Visualize each move in your mind, picturing yourself executing them flawlessly.
  3. Identify resting spots: Take note of any potential resting spots or places where you can shake out and regain energy. These strategic pauses can significantly impact your endurance and overall performance.
  4. Experiment with different beta: Beta refers to the sequence of movements used to climb a particular route. While some climbers may have a preferred beta, it’s essential to explore different options and find the one that suits your style and strengths. Visualization allows you to experiment with different beta mentally.
  5. Practice visualization drills: Set aside time to practice visualization drills off the wall. Sit or lie down in a quiet space and close your eyes. Mentally run through the route you’re preparing to climb, picturing each move, hold, and transition. Engage all your senses to make the visualization as vivid as possible. This drill helps build muscle memory and increases your confidence when you’re on the wall.

Remember, route reading and visualization go hand in hand. By honing these skills, you’ll be able to approach climbs with greater clarity, efficiency, and overall success.

6. Balancing Drill

Maintaining balance while climbing is crucial for improving your overall performance on the wall. The balancing drill focuses on exercises and techniques that enhance your balance and body positioning, enabling you to move smoothly and efficiently with precise movements on every hold.

Why is Balance Important in Climbing?

Balance plays a vital role in climbing as it helps you navigate tricky routes and maintain control during dynamic movements. By honing your balance skills, you’ll be able to distribute your weight effectively and find stability on various holds, allowing you to tackle challenging climbs with confidence.

Exercises for Balancing

Here are some key exercises you can incorporate into your climbing training routine to improve your balance:

  1. One-Legged Stances: Practice balancing on one leg while engaging your core muscles. Hold each position for 30 seconds to 1 minute before switching legs. This exercise helps strengthen your stabilizing muscles and improves overall balance.
  2. Bosu Ball Training: Utilize a Bosu ball or balance board to simulate the instability of climbing. Perform exercises such as single-leg squats or lunges on the Bosu ball to challenge your balance and improve your proprioception.
  3. Slacklining: Set up a slackline between two sturdy anchor points and practice walking across it. Slacklining helps develop your sense of balance and improves core stability.
  4. Weight Shifting: Stand on a balance board or a small, unstable object and practice shifting your weight from side to side, forwards and backwards. This exercise enhances your ability to adjust and maintain balance in dynamic climbing situations.

Techniques for Balancing

In addition to specific exercises, incorporating these techniques into your climbing routine will further enhance your ability to maintain balance:

  • Center of Gravity Awareness: Focus on keeping your center of gravity centered over your feet while climbing. This increases stability and improves your balance.
  • Relaxed Upper Body: Avoid unnecessary tension in your upper body, as it can throw off your balance. Keep your shoulders relaxed and let your core do the work of maintaining balance.
  • Trust Your Feet: Place your feet deliberately and trust the friction between your climbing shoes and the holds. This allows you to rely on your feet for balance and conserves energy.

Image: Balancing Drill

Balancing Drill

“Balance is the foundation of successful climbing. Mastering the art of balancing not only improves your technique but also boosts your confidence on the wall.”

7. Dynamic Movement Drill

Mastering dynamic movements is essential for tackling challenging climbing routes. These exhilarating moves require explosive power, coordination, and quick reflexes. By incorporating dynamic movement drills into your training, you will improve your ability to execute jumps, dynos, and other dynamic maneuvers with confidence and precision.

One effective dynamic movement drill is dyno training. A dyno involves launching yourself from one hold to another, requiring explosive power and precise timing. Practice dynos on a variety of holds and wall angles to develop your ability to read and react to dynamic climbing sequences.

Coordination exercises are another valuable tool for honing your dynamic movement skills. These exercises challenge your hand-eye coordination, balance, and timing. Incorporate ladder climbing drills, where you move your hands and feet simultaneously in a coordinated manner along a ladder-like structure. This will improve your ability to execute complex dynamic movements during climbs.

Benefits of Dynamic Movement Training:

  • Improved explosive power
  • Enhanced coordination and balance
  • Increased confidence in executing dynamic maneuvers
  • Greater adaptability to challenging climbing routes

Dynamic movement drills are not only beneficial for climbing challenging routes but also make your climbing sessions more exciting and dynamic. So, step out of your comfort zone and embrace the thrill of dynamic movement!


By incorporating these seven essential drills into your climbing routine, you can elevate your climbing skills and conquer new heights. Each drill focuses on specific areas of improvement, targeting everything from footwork precision to dynamic movement. The result is a stronger, more efficient climber who is better equipped to tackle challenging routes with confidence.

Improving foot placement and balance through the Footwork Precision Drill enhances stability and control, allowing you to navigate various holds and terrains more effectively. The Hangboard Training Drill builds finger strength and grip endurance, enabling you to hold onto small holds and improve overall climbing performance.

Building endurance with the Endurance Climbing Drill increases stamina and reduces fatigue during long climbs. Strengthening your core muscles using the Core Strengthening Drill helps generate more power and maintain control during dynamic movements on the wall. Developing route reading skills and visualization through the Route Reading and Visualization Drill improves mental preparation and efficiency on the wall.

The Balancing Drill enhances balance and body positioning, ensuring you stay centered and make precise movements on every hold. Finally, the Dynamic Movement Drill hones your dynamic movement skills, allowing you to confidently conquer dynamic moves on challenging routes.

So, if you’re serious about improving your climbing ability, these seven drills are the key to unlocking your full potential. Incorporate them into your training routine and witness the remarkable progress you can achieve in your climbing journey.


What are some drills to help improve climbing skills?

Here are seven essential drills that can significantly enhance your climbing ability:

What is the Footwork Precision Drill?

The Footwork Precision Drill focuses on improving foot placement and balance through practicing precise foot placements on various holds and terrain.

How can Hangboard Training Drill help in climbing?

Hangboard Training Drill is crucial for building finger strength and grip endurance, helping climbers improve their ability to hold onto small holds and enhance overall performance.

How does the Endurance Climbing Drill work?

The Endurance Climbing Drill gradually increases the duration and intensity of climbing sessions, helping climbers build stamina for longer climbs and reduce fatigue during challenging routes.

What is the purpose of the Core Strengthening Drill?

The Core Strengthening Drill focuses on specific exercises and techniques to strengthen core muscles, generating more power and maintaining control during dynamic movements on the wall.

How can the Route Reading and Visualization Drill improve climbing skills?

The Route Reading and Visualization Drill provides tips and strategies to enhance route reading skills and teaches climbers how to mentally rehearse their moves, increasing confidence and efficiency.

What does the Balancing Drill focus on?

The Balancing Drill aims to improve balance and body positioning through exercises and techniques, helping climbers maintain stability and make precise movements on every hold.

What is the Dynamic Movement Drill?

The Dynamic Movement Drill focuses on enhancing dynamic movement skills, including dyno training and coordination exercises, allowing climbers to confidently conquer dynamic moves.

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