And while installing a home wall is an option for motivated climbers with plenty of space, you can often get just as high-quality of training with less equipment and a more targeted plan. If you’re starting from scratch, think about building your setup for at-home climbing training to hit five different categories: finger training, shoulder stability, strength training, power training, and core strength.
Here are some key recommendations for those with a little more space at their disposal—and those with a little less.
More space: Use a classic hangboard (maybe with a pulley setup)
Hangboards are one of the most effective ways to train your fingers. There are tons of styles, but most will do the trick just fine. Wooden hangboards can be more expensive than plastic, but they’re gentler on your skin. Wood also requires more effort to hang onto, which can make it more effective as a training tool.
Some hangboards come in two parts, which allow you to customize the board to the most ergonomic width for your body. If you have significantly wider or narrower shoulders than average, consider one of these.
The final (optional) touch is adding a pulley setup, which allows you to rig a rope from your harness through pulleys to a counterweight. Offsetting a bit of your body weight can reduce some strain off your fingers. This is especially useful for those who are new to hangboarding. The only drawback: You’ll need a large space, like a basement or a garage, in order to hang eyebolts under your hangboard to rig the pulleys.
Less space: Use rock rings
Rock rings are essentially smaller, free-hanging hangboards for each of your hands. They usually have rungs in three or four different sizes. With a little ingenuity, you can hang rock rings just about anywhere, from a tree branch in your yard to the pull-up bar in your garage. If you travel a lot, are renting a temporary room, or live somewhere you’re not allowed to drill, this is a great alternative to a hangboard. Like hangboards, rock rings come in both wooden and plastic versions. If you want to train more styles of grip, you can also get yourself a pinch block or a finger block, which can be attached to weights.
More space: Add a column of hooks to make a resistance band station.
Resistance bands are one of the most effective and inexpensive ways to strengthen your rotator cuffs, a critical component of injury prevention for climbers. Consider starting with three bands at three different levels of resistance. To use them, you can either buy purpose-made exercise band stations, or build your own by installing a row of sturdy hooks to a wooden post somewhere in your home, which makes it quick and easy to switch between exercises.
Less space: Tie a resistance band around a fixed object.
Not looking to do a lot of spackling on move-out day? No need to drill holes to use your resistance band—you can simply tie one end of a band around a fixed object like a door knob, bed post, or tree trunk.