Suspension training is one of the best rock climbing workouts to build strength and stability. The TRX or Total Resistance Exercise is a great rock climbing training tool because it allows you to focus on strength training while minimizing injury. When you incorporate suspension exercises into your rock training, you’ll reach new heights faster and stronger.

Kansas City climbing coach mark campbell

Kansas City Climbing Coach, Mark Campbell.

How to get better at rock climbing

When you’re focused on climbing training, you’re likely focused on buying the right climbing shoes, building rock climbing finger strength, and spending time on a rock wall whether it’s an indoor climbing gym or out in nature.

While all of this will help you perfect your moves, you also need discipline and a well-rounded strength training program. A rock-climbing coach can elevate your strength to a new fitness level.

Their rock climbing workout plan will encompass three planes of motion —  frontal, sagittal, and transverse. That means your program should consist of MORE than just pushing, pulling, lunging, and squatting.

You should have a rotational or anti-rotational component, which is in the transverse plane. That helps you manage the rotational forces that constantly challenge climbers.

You will notice physical changes that should complement your climbing needs. The benefits of any training program should be hyper-focused on the goal at hand, and not jumping from multiple areas just to add variety into the workout.

A well-designed strength-training program should progressively overload as you cycle through the program. So, you should do roughly the same exercises throughout the program. To strengthen your body, increase the intensity, load, frequency, or a combination of all three.

Strength training

As an avid climber myself, one of my main goals is to climb stronger so I can reach new levels of achievement in my climbing career. It’s been possible in a relatively short amount of time, due to my background in TRX suspension training.

On the TrainingBeta Podcast with Neely Quinn, we talked about how suspension training can make you better at rock climbing. I’m proof it works, climbing to V8 in just four months of beginning climbing.

No matter your age, the suspension straps are easy on the body. In fact, Dr. Julian Saunders writes in Rock and Ice, that they’re one of the secrets for climbing paste age 50.

With the TRX, you can progress your movements and resistance with one piece of equipment that you can take anywhere.

Well-rounded strength training programs using TRX suspension straps offer these benefits:

  1. Consistent gains in strength.
  2. Less likely to get injured.
  3. Control in your movements.
  4. Better endurance.
  5. Work out anywhere.
  6. Increase load and resistance with just your bodyweight.
  7. Quick yet challenging workouts.
  8. Efficient workouts combining strength, cardio, and power.

With all these benefits, it’s no wonder Rock and Ice , a climber’s magazine, calls it the “power of suspense.” Elite climbers like Adam Ondra and boulderers like Daniel Woods use rock climbing training programs that incorporate TRX suspension training.

TRX Body Saw

Kansas City Climbing Coach, Mark Campbell, showing the TRX body saw exercise.

TRX training for rock climbing

Training equipment is important to the effectiveness of any exercise program. To ensure your strength progresses, you usually need access to a wide range of weights. That allows for progressive overload to increase resistance and load.

With the TRX, you only need one piece of equipment. The straps fit in a bag, making it easy to take anywhere. Using various positioning and your bodyweight, you can increase the resistance and intensity of a TRX workout.

As the owner of the only TRX gym in Kansas City and the Midwest, clients often ask me, how do I fit everything into my schedule? My best advice — simplify and improve the quality of your workouts.

Lack of time is one of the biggest barriers to anyone’s training program. Let’s face it — it’s difficult to balance work, climbing, training, and life.

To help with this challenge, try TRX Suspension Training. It will keep you focused so you can improve your climbing and reach your training goals.

Former Navy Seal, Squadron Commander Randy Hetrick, developed the TRX out of necessity. Without access to workout equipment while on deployment, he created equipment to stay in top physical shape.

Hetrick created the first TRX out of a jujitsu belt and parachute webbing he sewed together and threw over a door. He started creating crude forms of current TRX exercises that we see today.

TRX has developed in a highly versatile workout piece of equipment and a way of training for athletes of any age and every background. One of the many reasons or benefits of using TRX training is that every single exercise that you perform on the TRX Suspension Trainer is a CORE exercise! As a climber, you should know the importance of the core, if you don’t let’s talk about it for a second.

How core strength improves your moves

Your core controls your body’s ability to move or NOT move. If you have a strong, well-connected core, you will be able to move your body better and stronger. Plus, you’ll NOT move your body when you need maximum and ultimate control during climbing.

The core connects your upper body with your lower body. So, when it comes to power and control, the stronger and more connected your mid-section is the better and stronger you move.

There are countless core exercises you can do to get a stronger core. Crunches and sit-ups are bad for you, and often a cause of low back and neck pain. Suspension training is the best way to tighten your mid-section because it’s core all the time plus there’s a variety of exercises you can do.

Most of the time, you move your core isometrically or statically. Therefore, you hold part of our body while moving another part of your body.

The TRX Suspension Trainer allows you do perform similar types of exercises that you would perform during climbing or that would directly relate to climbing-specific movements.

At CORE Strong Fitness in Kansas City, our team put together three TRX suspension workouts for rock climbers. We also shared them with TrainingBeta.

Whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or advanced fitness level, we have a strength training workout for you. They’re perfect to build your core for climbing.

Focus on your core if you want an efficient strength training workout that maximizes your time while making you a stronger climber. That’s one thing you’ll notice with these workouts – you’ll get a lot of work done in a short amount of time using the TRX suspension trainer.

Suspension training workout progressions

Since TRX training uses your body weight as resistance, you are working multiple things at one time, just like your body moves in daily life. You never, if ever, rarely move one joint without directly effecting another joint or muscle group. So, does it make sense to train or workout like that? Why put the focus on just muscle groups like chest and tris or quads and calves instead of movements?

When training with the TRX Suspension Trainer, you can focus your workouts around movements instead of body parts. It’s “functional training” at its core. That’s training the way you live so you can improve your actives of daily living. With TRX workouts, you train the way you move.

TRX strength training maximizes your time while significantly improving your core’s ability to connect and keep you more stable. With TRX Training, you can perform a particular set of exercises for one movement then quickly move to the next exercise with little downtime or need for any additional equipment.

You will be able to get multiple types of workouts in with just one piece of equipment as well—strength, power, endurance, cardio, or any combination of these.

Of course, it’s essential to challenge the body and progressively overload the muscles to see gains. Since you’re not grabbing weights, increase resistance, tempo, or load to help your body see those gains.

How do you add more load for an upper-body exercise? Simply walk toward the anchor point (where the TRX Suspension Trainer is anchored). Real simple, right? By moving your feet, you create more load because you are using more of your body weight.

When you decrease tempo or slow down your movements, you will help your muscle take on more time under tension. That breaks down more muscle and will help you gain more muscle, with the correct nutrition as well.

Slowing things down will also help expose potential movement pattern faults. Movement patterns faults could lead to possible injuries down the road. To address these, by slowing down and focusing on the correct movement of the exercise and firing the right muscles.

Increasing tempo also works. When you move faster or more powerfully, you’ll increase cardiovascular recruitment as well as cellular oxygen demand on your muscles.

By increasing the number of reps done in a certain time, you are taxing muscle endurance and cardiovascular ability to bring oxygen to the muscles to keep from fatiguing out too quickly. Over time, this improves endurance. No matter what type of climber you are, you will see benefits.

Grip Test

Climbing Coach, Mark Campbell, working on a finger test in his Kansas City gym.

Rock climbing training program

One of the BIGGEST benefits with TRX Suspension Training is the fact that you literally can train ANYWHERE with it. Hang it over a door at home, over a tree branch at your local crag or in the park on a light pole at a campsite or outside your apartment.

With this versatility, you can take the gym with you anywhere you go. You don’t have to be limited to gym hours, locations, or the amount of time to train.

With the TRX Suspension Trainer, you can get a workout in as little as 15 minutes. You can train indoors if the weather isn’t ideal or take your workout outside with the fresh air and sunshine without having to lug a bunch of equipment around and little setup time.

*This post contains an affiliate link. I may receive a commission, at no cost to you, if you click on the link. As a Certified Personal Trainer, I only recommend products and services that I feel strongly about for their proven benefits. 

Take your strength training to the next level

If you want to take your fitness level or strength training to the next level, invest in a TRX. You’ll reach your goals faster!

I’m able to offer you 10-percent off with TRX coupon code TRX10-Campbell.

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Remember, the main take away is that you want to have a well-rounded and balanced rock climbing training program. It will help you reach your climbing goals, improve strength, reduce injury, and maximize your workouts so you can be efficient with your time and spend more time climbing!