If you are new to kettle bells, I recommend working through each exercise without weights to fully understand the intention of each movement. This workout focuses specifically on building strength, stability, and endurance for climbing and descending while riding.
Please remember to go at your own pace, listen to your body, and drink plenty of water after you are finished. By focusing on building stability and strength around our shoulder girdle, we can work toward climbing on steep or uneven terrain faster and with more ease.
Right side: Begin in a low lunge position with right foot forward, holding the kettle bell upside down with both hands. Lean forward and lengthen your left hip flexor, pausing to enjoy the stretch.
Push into the mat with your right foot to lift your body up into a high straight leg lunge. Around the World is a full body exercise, targeting the legs, core, and arms.
This exercise also takes a fair bit of metal focus as I’m sure you’ll find out if you try! Be sure to keep the naval drawn toward the midline to protect your low back, and do not let momentum do all the work for you.
Squat down, keeping the should have drawn back as you go, and pick up the kettle bell with two hands. When riding downhill, we are performing pushing, pulling, rotating, squatting, and hip flexing/extending movements- pushing and pulling the bars up and over rock gardens, rolls, or jumps, rotating while cornering, squatting over the saddle, and perhaps most important to downhill riding, we’re flexing and extending out hips to compensate for steep terrain, rock gardens, big drops, and jumps.
Begin in a low squat, shoulders drawn back and belly engaged, holding the kettle bell with two hands as it rests on the ground. If your low back starts to hurt (at all), stand up taller, stacking your shoulders more in line with your hips.
With the kettle bell resting back on the ground but your hands still gripping the handle, hop or step back into a plank position (can be on your knees or in full plank position) and perform a chest press push up. Hop or step back into starting position, and perform exercise 4 more times.
This exercise strengthens the core and legs to protect the low back while holding a constant squat like we do while riding downhill. The kettle bell row mimics the pulling of the bars up and over rocks or around tech downhill sections.
Right Side: Begin in a staggered squat position, with the right foot in front of the left. With the core engaged and arm extended, lift the weight and torso upright to perform a full hip hinge.
(You will likely feel the right hamstring engage) Lower the weight back down, and repeat for a total of 3 times. This exercise is designed to strengthen the hamstrings as we isolate left and right sides to mimic squatting over the saddle.
The row engages the core and targets our lats, or side back muscles, to aid in stability while riding over uneven surfaces downhill. Holding the kettle bell with two hands right side up, twist the torso to the left, keeping the kettle bell tucked into the chest all the while keeping both sits bones rooted into the ground and both hip points facing forward.
This exercise targets the core as we move the body left and right in unstable positions. This movement will help build strength and stability for cornering, moving through uneven terrain, and jumping while descending.
The perfect tool for those with limited space and resources, kettle bells emphasize strength, power, and efficiency through movement. This plan will serve as a great introduction to the versatility and power of this simple and extremely effective training tool.
Written with experienced climber, NASM-Certified Personal Trainer, and SFG Level 1 Kettle bell Instructor, Paul Corsairs, the plan consists of 3 distinct blocks to improve your overall core and body strength, power, and work capacity. This series was written for 2 main audiences: rock climbers as cross-training, and ACL surgery patients in rehab.
Unlike barbell training or hanging from a pull-up bar, kettle bells are used mostly single-handed, making them a ballistic weight you need to stabilize using fast-twitch muscles. There’s very, very few exercises that weight a single arm above your head in all shoulder positions.
The snatch (taking the bell from the ground to above your head) is a pulling motion, like climbing. They train the posterior chain to absorb impact (like slowing the kettle bell at the bottom of the swing and reversing it).
They’re perfect for those needing rehab (e.g. ACL surgery) without actual impact to get back-to-sport. Eccentric exercises are lengthening a muscle under load, like camp using downward, or the down portion of a squat and dead lift.
The eccentric motion promotes healing of tendons and ligaments by inducing collagen synthesis, which you’ll desperately need for many types of injury rehab. Exercises like the Turkish Getup require you to shift strength between major muscle groups while stabilizing a kettle bell above your head.
Any brief “glitches” in bracing yourself through your trunk, core, and shoulders will cause the kettle bell to veer off its center of gravity, and you’ll immediately know it. As your technique improves, you can set them aside, but don’t let the initial pain slow you down.
Small enough to tuck away, thick enough to save your floor from wayward bells, right price. Preparing your body well before you embark on this activity is the key to success, and no matter how many years you’ve spent practicing this sport, you need to train for it always.
Kettle bells improve two important systems and body parts used when rock climbing which are connective tissues and the hips. When it comes to connective tissues such as ligaments and tendons, kettle bell training strengthens them for more muscle power to use when climbing.
A better core contributes a lot to having enough strength, better endurance, a stable body, and proper balance, qualities that make an excellent climber. Kettle bells for climbing improve the strength and flexibility in these parts of your body for optimal function and better performance.
As you swing a kettle bell up, down, and sideways, you improve the condition of your tendons and ligaments so that they can withstand elongation and stretch and resume well. When training in rock climbing gyms, many beginner and intermediate climbers focus on grip strength and forget the core.
Also, the muscles around your core are the ones that provide the tension needed to make long reaches and access difficult-to-reach spots. Therefore, if it’s always a challenge for you to climb through overhanging routes or steep terrains, the problem may be lying in your core.
Improve core fitness by incorporating kettle bells into your rock climbing training program. Several scientific studies have been conducted on kettle bell training, and the results support it for rock climbing.
A study conducted and published on shows that kettle bell training has significant effects on core strength improvement. However, core strength had a whopping 70% increase, an important element to rock climbing.
The improvement in core strength, dynamic balance, and endurance show that kettle bell training is an excellent choice for rock climbing because this activity requires these elements. An article published on Gale Academic Onetime shows the effectiveness of kettle bells as rehabilitation and exercise tools.
The article indicates that these tools challenge both the musculoskeletal and cardiovascular systems to improve balance, strength, agility, and endurance. With grip being another critical element in climbing, this kind of training makes a lot of sense.
This study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research sought to determine whether kettle bell training has any effects on aerobic capacity. At the end of the study, the 9 individuals who adopted kettle bell training were heavier and taller than the control.
Since rock climbing is an intense activity that requires better-performing muscles, climbers can use kettle bells to increase their aerobic capacity — better aerobic capacity means more oxygen can reach the muscles from the lungs and heart. The objective this study published on JSTOR was to determine the effectiveness of using kettle bells to improve musculoskeletal and cardiovascular systems.
The study involved 40 participants from jobs with higher chances of causing musculoskeletal pain. At the end of the study, individuals who participated in the training showed a significant decrease in pain intensity in the neck, shoulders, and lower back.
Especially if you’ll be doing techniques like flagging, overhanging climbs, and heel-hooks, these are challenging and require enhanced core strength. The core consists of muscles that connect the lower and upper bodies, which means it enhances energy transfer between these two areas.
With these qualities, a climber can navigate difficult routes and terrains effectively without feeling overly strained. Kettle bells also contribute to better posture and balance, which are vital to helping control your body as you climb.
Kettle bells can help; they work the tendons and ligaments in your forearms to make them strong and more flexible. If you want to incorporate kettle bells into your rock climbing training routine, you need to know how to do it suitably.
A suitable weight is meant to offer you the benefits of kettle bell training without causing any injuries. A great kettle bell workout routine is doing swings, cleans, and high-pulls for one minute each while switching hands after every 30 seconds.
To get maximum gains, remember to engage your core every time you train — this is great for climbing. A strong body can complete tasks effectively, while improved balance means better movement control.
Rock climbing isn’t all about physical fitness, even mental health plays a crucial role. If you use a heavier weight than your body can handle, then expect strains in your arms, neck, and shoulders.
However, note that no matter the passion you have for this fantastic sport, don’t push yourself beyond your own strength and endurance levels.