Close to my home, there is only a bouldering gym, but no climbing gym that offers roped climbing. But my real goal in climbing is leading harder/longer routes. The bouldering really improves my strength and technique, but I often find myself unable to redpoint routes near my limit because my arms are getting pumped before the top.

So: Are there any exercises that can be used to specifically train endurance at home that need at most a hangboard?

4 Answers 4

  1. Get a hangboard. Use it multiple times a day.
  2. If possible, set up a pull-up bar on each door of your rooms. Enter only after you do one pull-up. To exert your body as much as you do when climbing, Pulls ups and hangs are the simplest exercises which do that.
  3. Do Leg-lifts regularly, although they are typically for control and not for strength.
  4. Iron chairs/ Wall sits: This one appear the simplest to do, but I find it a real beast mode exercise. Bend the knees and squat as though sitting in a chair.
  5. Use an adjustable finger strengthener. I am looking forward to keep on in office just nearby my keyboard. I might turn into a better climber next season.

Edit: One might ask if these things really train for endurance. I' say, they should. For example, If you keep on increasing the hang time without straining your fingers beyond a certain point where you injure it, struggle for a particular hang-time goes on decreasing. I definitely am sure that being able to hold onto a particular hold is not exactly required in overall climbing skills, because while climbing we move, fast. But, training your fingers to keep functioning with the same strength over a longer period of time is what directly correlated to endurance. These exercises should do exactly that.

  • From your experience, does that really improve endurance? I'm wondering especially about the hangboarding part - my experience is that, so far, I'm getting stronger so that the moves in the routes get easier, but my arms still get pumped too early...
    – anderas
    Dec 26, 2016 at 14:52
  • 1
    This process does work - it's the same as almost any exercise. I do the same planking - just a few more seconds every time until I begin to wonder why it was so hard to start with! :)
    – Aravona
    Jan 13, 2017 at 10:05

You can also train endurance at the bouldering gym (at least when it's not too crowded) by doing "4x4" exercises:

  • Do 4 relatively easy bouldering problems back-to-back without any pause between them, ideally ones that are next to each other.
  • Rest just enough so you're not out of breath anymore; If you're not out of breath after 4 problems, do harder ones or downclimb them.
  • Repeat 4 times.
  • What means back-to-back? Apr 12, 2017 at 13:28
  • 1
    @PaulPaulsen: same as no pause. Apr 13, 2017 at 19:51

Forearms are one of the most important things you can train in climbing. Get a hang board or just screw on a few crimps to the wall. Especially in big wall climbing and sport, you've got to have a lot of forearm strength.

A good workout is to stay on the wall without coming down for a set amount of time, say five minutes. It's a lot harder than it seems but it will build endurance fast.

Also, don't underestimate rest days. You're body needs time to recover, so don't climb more than two or three days in a row without a rest day.


Full body weight hangboard training or pull-ups are way too intense for me to build or maintain route endurance.

To extend the time under tension to the length experienced on a route and to practice resting as is needed in route climbing I suggest a modification: chair pull-ups, but using the hangboard or other training holds.*


  • it lets you stay on the holds much longer, as you would on a route
  • you work pulling muscles at an intensity that is realistic for route climbing
  • a slight backward incline is more realistic than a plumb free-hang
  • you can offload enough weight onto your feet to shake out and recover
  • full-body workout: you work your arms and legs simultaneously

You can move the chair (or other support) around to vary the intensity and work different positions, all the way to body rows.

I feel it is important to work your entire body at once, i.e. upper and lower body in the same exercise, as this is inherent in climbing and there are aspects of endurance that are specific to the muscle groups being worked.

* For endurance I like sloper holds like Bombs, as these are kinder to the fingers and seem to work the hands and forearms more completely.

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