Rest day activities for goal-oriented climbers Blog Feature

By: Movement

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Rest day activities for goal-oriented climbers

You may think that it's an odd thing for a climbing gym to urge people to rest, but we stand by it! 

Although we should clarify that when we say 'rest day' activities, we don't mean binging netflix for hours on end (although a little indulgence never hurt anyone 😊). As humans, we are made to move and move a lot in the context of walking. It is primarily what we were made to do and has profound effects on our well being. Movement is medicine, literally. 

Rest days should be low in intensity and not very taxing to allow the body to heal and recover. Not to mention, our psyche as well to avoid burnout. Think of rest days more as active recovery. 

In other words, exploring the many ways to periodically give your body and mind a break may be just what you need to tackle a climbing goal in the future. Plus, taking a break from your regular routine also gives you room to try new things! Try out the weight area if you usually are on the wall or join a class if you usually lift by yourself.

Still not sure what a rest day routine could look like for you? We asked our staff members what they do on a rest day. They had some awesome ideas--check out what they said!


"'Rest' days. I put that in quotes because some people may have the misconception of doing absolutely nothing on rest days. I reserve those days for being sick or recovering from a competition that pushes yourself physically to your limits (i.e. running a marathon).

As climbers, we all know how demanding our sport is. There is ALWAYS something to work on. It could be mobility work (something we could all use), yoga, light accessory exercises, hiking/walking/biking, or any kind of activity that you like that is not too strenuous.

I always tell my clients and students 'Your training is only as good as you can recover from it.' Which can be hard to decipher if you're not listening to your body and think you can will and push yourself through a hard workout day in and day out. Nagging pains, fatigue physically and mentally, or poor sleep, just to name a 'few' are signs you are overtraining and need to take a step back and reevaluate. "

Aaron Gavino, Sunnyvale Fitness Instructor


"I would say that my favorite rest day activities would be starting my day off with a light 30-minute HIIT session or low intensity run for two or three miles, followed up with a good sauna session.

I also really like using rest days to recenter and focus on other things I love outside of climbing. So typically playing guitar or cooking a dish that requires more prep time than I usually have is a must for my rest days. Having these things incorporated into my week helps me stay psyched and physically ready to push hard through my training programs."

EL CAP_RestDayActivitiesforGoalOrientedClimbers_QuentinC_Jeremy Kinney 30 112921
Quentin Cornelius, East Coast Fitness Program Manager
(Check out the HIIT classes at your local gym)


"It’s always so difficult for me to rest on trips. My psych just pushes me to climb 7 days straight and it leaves my skin thrashed and my fingers wrecked.

However, on my recent trip to the New River Gorge, I forced myself to rest by taking photos of the smaller wildlife like fungi and random critters. It helps me get outside near boulders and support my friends, but also keeps me occupied with something that isn’t climbing." 

EL CAP_Rest Day Activities_Chris Canela_112921
Chris Canela, Routesetter


"A couple good cups of coffee (always), a long walk or run, I like to read the Sunday Times (even if it's a few weeks old), phone calls with friends that live far away, I tend to spend time looking up recipes thinking I’ll have time to cook, but then end up ordering take out, and yoga (of course)."

EL CAP_RestDayActivitiesforGoalOrientedClimbers_Janet Carter_112921
Janet Carter, Bay Area Yoga Program Manager 
(Check out the yoga classes at your local gym)


"I love waking up with no alarm; making a big breakfast with homemade hashbrowns, runny eggs, and avocado toast; throwing the ball outside with our pup Ace (pretty soon passing the puck on the pond behind us when it freezes!); hitting up ReStore and our local music shop for some new records; and playing strategy-based video games with my east and west coast friends!"

Jack Kleman, Membership Specialist