How to turn your house into a climbing space

If you've ever decided to climb with some friends and notice that you tend to burn out within the first half hour at the gym, you might be in need of quick intervention! Building a small wall at your house can push you past the point of "recreation climbing" into "hobby climber" and you might not be ready for a new label. Not yet. This is your guide to turning your house into a climbing space... for free.

1. Train. 

There are a myriad of activities you can do at your home to train your upper body (especially forearms) to avoid that fatigue. 

    Door Hangs: Making sure the door is solid, bring your feet within a foot of the door. The closer your feet, the more the challenge! Grab the door with one hand at your waist and bend at the knees so your thighs are parallel to the ground. Hold for 8-10 seconds and repeat with the other hand. This is really good for your pinch grip.

    Finger Hangs: Using a sturdy door frame, use the tips of your fingers to grasp and hold on for 5-10 seconds, resting a full minute before another rep. This should be done in the open-crimp position without the thumb wrap.

    Finger Pull Ups: Once you are warmed up, use the same door frame to do pull ups in the open-crimp or full-crimp position. Open doors will work better than closed doors as it is more like a traditional pull up.

    Lateral Pull Ups: Lie down under a sturdy table and grab opposing edges. Straighten your body (not your arms) by lifting your butt off the ground. Now use your arms and back muscles to pull your chest to the table.

    Hanging Leg Raises: This is a bit more challenging. Once you are warmed up, grip the door frame with an open-crimp grip. Raise your legs in front of you so your body is in the shape of an "L". Hold for as long as possible; bend your legs to make it more easy.

2. Imagine. 

A difficult part of climbing is finding the right route up the wall. Rousesetters purposely create some routes to be done a certain way and if, for example, you start on the wrong foot, you will get stuck halfway up the root. No good.

Solution? Find things around your house that you can climb. This means that you are actively looking at your house as an obstacle. Common things I climb in my house include door frames (moving from one to another in a hallway or scooting my fingers from one end to the other on a single door frame), rafters in the attic (don't let your feet touch the floor!), and tool shed (climb up and over). Trees also work as a great exercise for pulling yourself up and strengthening core muscles.

The goal here should be to find HOW to climb something even if it doesn't look like a rock wall. Use your imagination to redefine how to use something, and your gym climbing and rock climbing will see big gains. Too often we can forget how fun climbing can be and loose the FUN factor. Let your climbing spark your imagination and have fun!

Drew Arnold