The leg workout every climber should be doing Blog Feature

By: Francy Schuldies

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The leg workout every climber should be doing

Training for Climbing | Fitness and Yoga

From weight shifting on a slabby route, to long approaches or summer hikes, to everything in between, the legs are the powerhouse of climbing.

We talked to Francy at our Englewood gym in Colorado. She is one of the personal trainers there and teaches a weekly Ski Fit class, so we figured that if anyone could recommend a thorough workout to strengthen their bottom half, it would be her 😆. Enjoy! 

Hey there, Francy here! 

This workout is designed to stretch and strengthen your hips, knees, and ankles, but also keeping them as mobile as possible for unexpected and uneven footing--conditions you'll likely find on a long hike or approach. Let's get started!


Extended Warm-up: 

Twist Jacks: From a standing position, while hopping, twist your shoulders right and your hips left. Repeat other side. Do 3 sets of 10 reps. 

Lateral hops: From a standing position, hop both legs to the right and then to the left. Do 3 sets of 10 reps.

Foot Exchange: From a standing position, move your right foot a foot or two forward so you're in a small split-leg stance. Hop your legs back and forth. Do 3 sets of 10 reps.

High Knees: From a standing position, raise your right knee as high as it will go. Then switch quickly so that the left knee is raised as high as it will go. Do 10 reps.


Cossack Squat: Stand with your feet wider than shoulder width apart. Shift your weight to your right leg and squat down into a full squat on your right side. Your left leg should be straight and make sure to keep both heels on the ground. Repeat on the left side. Do 2 sets of 10 reps.

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Alternating Forward Lunge to Torso rotation: Stand with your feet shoulder distance apart. Lift your right leg and step forward into a lunge. Twist your torso to the right 90 degrees and then return to a lunge. Step back and repeat on the left side. Do 2 sets of 10 reps.  

Speed Squat: Stand with your feet shoulder distance apart. Bend your knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Make sure your weight is in your heels. Quickly rise back up to standing like you're going to jump (but don't allow your heels to leave the ground). Continue without stopping for 10 reps. Complete 2 sets.


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Mountain Climbers: Begin in high plank position. Jump your right foot forwards towards your hands. Quickly switch your right foot for your left foot. Continue without stopping for 30 reps. 

Hip Glute Bridge: Lay down with your back on the ground and your feet flat on the ground. Lift your hips off the ground until your knees, hips and shoulders form a straight line. Squeeze your glutes hard and keep your abs drawn in. Hold for 5 seconds. Do 5 reps. 

Supine knee tuck crossover stretch: Lay down on your back and bring your right knee to your chest and cross it over to your right side, keeping your shoulders flat. Hold for 20-30 seconds. Repeat with your other leg. 



Using a bench or box for the next two exercises:

Dumb bell Lateral step up: Grab a dumb bell or a kettlebell at 12.5 lbs or greater. Stand on one side of the box. Lift your right foot and place it on the box and leave your left foot on the ground. Shift weight into your right foot and leg and lift your left foot up to meet your right foot. Then lower your left foot to the ground. Do 10 reps on each side. Complete 3 sets.

Lateral hop over: Start with your right leg on a bench, drive through the balls of your feet and jump towards the ceiling to the other side of the bench. Land with your left foot on the bench and your right foot on the ground. Do 3 sets of 20 reps.


Use Minibands for the next 3 exercises and place it right below your knees:

ISO squat lateral walk: Stand in a squat position with feet shoulder width apart. Step your right foot out and then step your left foot to meet your right. Do 3 steps to the right and then 3 steps to the left. Repeat 5 times. Complete 2 sets.

Monster walk : Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Bend your knees a bit, pick up your right foot, swoop it in and by your left foot and then step out and forward. Repeat with other foot. Walk forward 3 steps and then back 3 steps. Repeat 5 times. Complete 2 sets.

Squat jack: Stand with legs shoulder width apart and drop into squat. Then, as if you were doing jumping jacks, jump both legs together, but in a squat position. Then jump your legs back out into the squat position you started in. Repeat 10 times. Complete 2 sets.


If you want more information on any of the equipment in the training areas at any of our gyms, head to your gym's website. From the menu, click on the calendar to see all of our upcoming fitness classes.