Let's get real. Have you ever been in one of those slumps where just showing up at the gym takes some serious effort?
We all know that training for rock climbing can help you reach your goals, but stressful days at work and dreary winter weather seem to have a knack for sucking out all motivation to hop on the hangboard.
So what can you do to keep the stoke high when life says otherwise?
Today, we'll share some rock climbing games along with a few ideas to spice up your climbing training routine.
Because the best climber is the one having the most...FUN!
Incorporating games into your session is one of the best ways to have fun while training for rock climbing...and the only limit with these is your creativity!
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
1. Add-on (1+ climbers) - Find a spray wall or surface with various types of holds. Player one does two moves where each new handhold counts as a move. The next player in your group repeats and adds two new moves. When a player fails to complete the sequence, they are eliminated. Continue until there is only one player left!
This climbing game usually works best when any foothold is 'on', but you can up the difficulty by using specific feet or playing on a Moonboard or Kilter Board.
2.Horse(2+ climbers) - Yup, this plays exactly like the classic elementary school P.E. game. Player 1 sets (or chooses) a boulder or route. If they successfully complete the climb, the subsequent players must also duplicate the climb. Any player who does not complete the climb receives the letter "H". If Player 1 fails to complete their climb, control passes to the next player. Players are eliminated once they have spelled H-O-R-S-E.
For a longer game, pick a phrase with more letters like 'Keep Climbing'!
3.Skip the Hold(1+ climbers) - Set or choose a boulder within your group's difficulty range. To start, all players climb the intended line. Then eliminate a hold and allow everyone to re-climb the problem using the new sequence. Repeat this process until there are too few holds to reach the top. The winner of round one is the person who completes the climb using the least amount of holds.
Pick a handful of routes or boulders to work power endurance. This rock climbing game also makes for a great drill to try during solo sessions.
4. Lava Run (1+ climbers) - Find a horizontal wall with many holds. For Level 1, climbers traverse the wall using any hold sequence they like. In Level 2, designate a tape or hold color to be 'off' and traverse without touching the 'lava'. If a player touches the lava (or falls off the wall), they are eliminated. Continue until there is too much lava to complete the traverse.
For longer-lasting fun, allow players to respawn and make a second attempt to cross the lava field!
5. Climbing Tag (2+ climbers) - Pick an area of the gym with a large, open wall. Choose one climber to be the tagger. Everyone else climbs using any hold to avoid getting tagged. If tagged, you become the new tagger. Climbers who fall off the wall are eliminated. Continue until only one climber is left.
Disclaimer...this game can get pretty wild! Play with caution and be ready to get pumped.
6. Limon/limes (1+ players) - Set or choose a climb your group could onsight. Player 1 makes a move then downclimbs to the start. Without coming off the wall, the climber makes 2 moves and downclimbs to the start. Continue this pattern until reaching the top (the lemon). Then, without coming off the wall, repeat by downclimbing 1 move from the TOP, climbing up 1 move to the TOP, downclimbing 2 moves, climbing up 2 moves, etc. That's the lime!
Allow everyone in the group the chance to try earning the Limon and the Lime. Play to see who gets the furthest or just for fun. Then choose a new climb.
PRO TIP: If your group has varying skill levels, throw in an extra challenge to any of the games above. This could include adding a weight belt, limiting grip types, or tying an elastic band around each ankle while a friend tugs them away from the wall.
Set Mini Goals
Climbing is fun. But it's also easy to fall into the trap of focusing on your end goal as the only definition of success — we've all been there!
Remember that grades don't define you as a climber. They serve as a roadmap to guide you when choosing appropriate challenges for your skill level. If your goal is to break into a new level, making a send pyramid like this one from Send Edition is a visual way to track your progress.
Challenge yourself to fill in each triangle even if you complete one from the upper portion first. As you work through the pyramid, draw more triangles as necessary!
Writing your goals on paper can also be extremely motivating. And no, we're not just talking about sending that one 5.16D halfway across the world.
Done all the single moves on your project? Making links is a huge accomplishment! Sent a V6 cave problem but not a V4 slab? That's something to work towards. Never trained pull-ups in your life? Go for 3, then 5.
Watching yourself tick small milestones really helps keep the stoke high while working towards the long-term goal. Try brainstorming different goals related to training, climbs, places you'd like to visit, & feelings.
Sometimes all that's missing to have fun while training for rock climbing is adding a little variety into your normal routine.
If you live in an area with multiple gyms, grab a day pass at a different facility. A change in scenery with unfamiliar faces and a fresh set of climbs can do wonders.
Similarly, don't be afraid to try different climbing disciplines or styles. Love bouldering? Throw on a harness and get pumped. Or leave the Moonboard and jump on some slabs. Who knows...you might even discover a new passion!
On a final note, many gyms offer members one-time passes for family or friends as a perk for paying monthly fees. Inviting a work colleague or someone who has never tried climbing before is a great way to mix things up and share a fun night on the rocks.
Like rock climbing games, these partner activities are guaranteed to add a few laughs to your training session.
Stick/Laser Pointer Boulders - Grab a stick, laser pointer, or whatever long object you have available. The person on the ground invents a climb using the stick to indicate the next hand holds for the climber on the wall. The challenge here is that the climber doesn't know what comes next!
Set shorter moves for a long and pumpy endurance climbing drill or big powerful moves to practice quick problem-solving skills.
Points Race- Before starting, decide with your partner what point value to award for successfully a climb (e.g. 5.10a = 1 point, V3 = three points, etc.). Set a timer for X amount of time and GO!
Is your strategy to go for one V-Hard climb or many V-Moderates? That's up to you! See who can get the most points in the allotted time or challenge your team to get the highest combined total possible.
Going to the gym doesn't have to be a drag, and we hope this guide will give you a few ideas to have fun training for rock climbing.
If you have questions or ideas you'd like to share about rock climbing fun, leave us a comment below! We’d love to hear from you.
Until then, happy climbing DS fam!
But WAIT…Don’t forget to complete your crag-fit!
Throw on a comfy top that lets the world know what you think climbing is all about. With so many colors and styles, we know you’ll be the climber having the most fun at the crag.