Maintaining fitness for ice climbing out of season can be hard, especially when life gets in the way but the more you maintain it the better your next season will be. Drastic changes to your lifestyle and diet are difficult to uphold but if you make the odd commitment or two to yourself in order to sustain fitness without changing your whole life, they’ll soon become the new normal.
We have put together a few ideas to help you get started.
Cycle To Work
Commuting to a place of work is something most of us do on a regular, if not daily, basis. If you are able, cycling or even running/walking to work a few times a week will help with your cardio fitness to ensure, amongst other things, that you aren’t completely drained from the approach walk.
If it’s a relatively reasonable distance this will likely become the new norm and you’ll wonder why you didn’t make the change sooner. An added bonus that it will save you money on petrol/transport fare.
Ice Axe Pull Ups
Pull ups are a great way to build up strength for the arms and doing it with your ice axes to hold on to allows you to get used to gripping your axes. Do them often but switch it up by trying at least one maximum strength session per week by adding extra weight to your pull ups so only a few reps can be achieved. This isolates vital muscles and focuses on exactly what is needed for ice climbing.
When using your ice axes for pull ups, remember that your axes are sharp and will likely bite into the surface you are pulling up on.
By increasing your endurance with things like planks, sit ups, side planks etc, you can strengthen your core muscles, these will help keep you going on long days and offer stability during tricky manoeuvres. Although they should be done regularly, they don’t need to be done every day, ideally you should have a minimum 2 days rest in between sessions.
Climbing sessions are a great way to maintain fitness for winter climbing in a more social environment. Try going at least once a week, whether it be indoors or outdoors, and focus more on high volume and low intensity. Consider climbing grades below what you are capable of in order to get more of a workout rather than a challenge.
It’s also worth checking to see if your local climbing wall has a dry tooling section. This will allow you to further practise with your tools and build up key muscle groups.
Nothing other than the experience of ice climbing in real conditions can properly prepare you for ice climbing in real conditions, but once you’ve got the bug, it will never leave you.
About the Author:
Charlotte Fish - Outdoor Expert
Charlotte discovered her passion for the outdoors in her early teens and has never looked back since. Her pursuit of outdoor activities has taken her all over the world but she truly believes there is no place like home.