While doing set after set of pull-ups is definitely not the most effective way to get strong for climbing, the pull-up is a valuable exercise that when done correctly and incorporated into a complete training program is a great way to train strength, pulling power, and the ability to lock-off.

To help you better understand the pull-up and how it can be used for training climbing specific strength, here’s an article from Climbing Magazine by Adam Scheer and Julie Ellison that outlines exactly how to correctly perform pull-ups as well as describing a variety of exercise variations to make the pull-up an even more effective training tool.

“Like most strength and weight training, the first rule for pull-ups is to forget quantity and focus on quality. The goal is to gain strength and control throughout the movement, which forces the smaller stabilizing muscles to do some work and get stronger.  These smaller muscles are crucial for all climbing, whether you’re dance up a slab or trying to control a wild foot cut in the middle of a roof.” – Adam Scheer

To make sure that you are performing the exercise correctly and maximizing your potential gains, Scheer and Ellison lay out some basic principles for pull-up training which apply to any of the variations they describe.  The principles are:

  1. Never blast off
  2. Move slowly
  3. Focus on climbing first, and then add pull-ups
  4. Go as high as you can
  5. Down is just as important as up – if not more
  6. Consider your equipment

Once you have master these basics, Scheer and Ellison go on to describe some more advanced pull-up variations including inverted row pull-ups, L-sit pull-ups, and frenchies.

Click through below and check out the whole article for yourself.  Working some of these exercises into the end of your training sessions may just make a huge difference.  However, just remember that, like Scheer and Ellison point out, pull-ups are an effective climbing training exercise, but they are not a substitute for actually climbing wether in the gym or outside.

training programs for climbers

Click Here: Training Climbing Strength with Pull-Ups

(photo by Ben Fullerton; courtesy of climbing.com)

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