Climb Up & Variations

This post will include - How to train for the first Climb Up, how to progress and different variations you can do.

To have a fast climb up you will need to be strong in the pulling and the pushing part, but also you will need to develop a solid technique overall.

Having a good grip strength and a fast pull in the beginning of the climb up can be a game changer in terms of speed and technique. Working on the pulling separately can help you develop a good overall pulling strength that can later be transferred to a good and fast climb up.

To increase the intensity of the exercise, you can use tempo or a weighted west. Working on a 5 repetition range for strength and a 2-3 repetition range when it comes to explosive movement. Working on your foot placement is also important when it comes to the technique.

Placing the bottom leg on the top and not letting it slide down, but instead pushing from that leg and using the swing of the of other leg to kick up and land on your feet. If the leg kick is a problem, you focus more attention to this part by kicking up from the support hold position while having slightly bent arms.

If you are a beginner and you are just starting to work towards your climb up, you can focus your attention on developing strength in the pulling, dipping and in the transition. Working on your grip strength while hanging can also benefit you in the future. Working on these movements you will also have a transfer to your muscle ups, pull ups, dips and other movements.

Focus your attention on these exercises for 4 – 8 weeks and I can guarantee you will feel the increase of strength and you might even land your first climb up. Later when you have gotten stronger in these parts you can focus your attention to more explosive movements show in the first half of the video.

Since the climb up has a grip transfer in the movement this might be a problem in the beginning because you will lack the necessary explosive strength to pull yourself high enough to come to the top position, that’s why I suggest the use of the overgrip in the beginning until you have gathered enough explosive pulling strength to pull yourself high enough.

Climb Up Variations

Climb ups are often, either adored or hated, but one thing is for certain, the technique is super useful. It is used often in OUR training sessions since it requires both power and technique. Adding variety in terms of technique and obstacle type can yield more benefits than working on the climb up the same way for a long period of time. A lot can change when the gripping surface is slippery or wet, or when the grip is just right that it brings a good amount of friction in the game. Each has its own benefits, and teaches you something different.

Having good friction on the wall for the feet and a good hand grip can help you work on your speed and technique, where not having either of those things will put you to the test where more of the pulling will be done by your hands, and the legs will almost feel like dead weight.

Here you can see me struggling with a climb up on a slippery wall where an overgrip can’t be used and where the wall is just under an angle. Kosta used his legs way better than

me which resulted in better pulling.

Having a wall in front for example can teach you to propel yourself more vertically rather than going into the wall head first which is on of the mistakes people often make. Another variation we like to use that can also put a big load on the upper body is when we place our feet as low as we can on the wall. This is super useful because it teaches you the knee drive with your hanging leg, and it has many practical uses as well, for example in this climb up scenario.

When you are working on increasing the speed and power of your climb up, limit the repetitions to just a couple and then take a small break. By doing so you can have maximum output in almost each rep which is mandatory for this type of development. Training in this way can be fun because it increases the concentration and awareness that put you right into the zone. (watch out for your knees, being as fast as possible increases the risk levels a bit when you doze off). On the other hand, doing lots of climbs up consecutively has its benefits as well, since it further strengthens everything you learned so far, so make sure you practice the one that suits your goals.

You can also play with these climb ups by mixing them up, depending on the spot and weather conditions. You can switch up the grip, mark the spot on the wall where your feet must be before you start pulling, crossing the hands and doing a “Serbian climb up”, doing it blindfolded or with one arm.

While these climb ups bring variety into your training don’t forget to include strength work next to it if you want to up your climb up game. Work on increasing the overall strength and power of your pulling and pushing by splitting up the climb up into separate parts or working on these types of movements using different exercises. The combination of gymnastics rings and weights is always a good place to start.

All of these things are what makes the Climb Up a fun technique to play with, and I would propose that you show this exercise to people who aren’t involved in parkour at all and see how they tackle it.