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8 ways to get pumped at home

You may find it hard to imagine, but not everyone who climbs is interested in living the dirtbag life… Obviously, living a more conventional lifestyle has it’s downside which means a little more planning is usually necessary to get the hours in down at the gym or the crag.

Sometimes, this just isn’t gonna fit and life will inevitably take over. One of the most common questions amongst climbers is something like “I just moved to college, I don’t have access to a gym and the crag is 2+ hours drive away, how can I stay in shape for climbing?” or something similar.

A lot of the strength building for the body is simple to supplement and building strength for some areas simply require nothing more than a pair of dumbbells or some body-weight exercises.

Some areas such as finger strength are harder to build and require climbing specific exercises and equipment.

Please note: The equipment and/or exercises shown in this article are not meant as a replacement for climbing, simply to help you stay in shape if you are struggling to get time on the rock or in the gym.

We have compiled a list of 8 ways to get your pump on from the comfort of your own home!


Obviously, they won’t all be suitable for your home/accomodation but hopefully you can find at least one that will help you stay in shape.


Pull up bars

One of the most common products for home workouts is the good ole’ fashion pull up bar.


Pull ups are good for developing back strength and whilst they aren’t the best exercise for climbing they are definitely better than nothing. However, they can be versatile and it is well worth getting one if you can.


There are many solutions to installing a pull up bar in your home. You can go from the standard products that you can mount on your door frame to a DIY bar that you install yourself.

Here are 3 options:

– The easiest is to go for a store-bought bar. They are easy to mount and are cheap but come in a few different styles. 

door frame bar iron man Iron Gym Door Frame Pull Up Bar – Click to view on Amazon.com This style is the most popular if your door frame can handle it. “The Iron Gym is a great chin-up bar; it works exactly as advertised. It is very easy to assemble, use, and attach and remove from a doorway.” – Read Reviews



Jfit pull up bar adjustable

JFit Doorway Pull Up Bar – Click to view on Amazon.com If your door frames do not support the above style of bar, opt for the door frame bar which may require brackets fixing to the doorframe.

“This kind of doorway bar unscrews to get wider and wider until it fits between the doorway. The ends are rubber so the bar fits really tight.” – Read Reviews


Freestanding pull up bar Stamina 1690 Power Tower Freestanding Pull up Bar – Click to view on Amazon.com

This product is an excellent option for those that do not have anywhere suitable to mount a bar or frame in their home.

“Dips and pullups are what I wanted to be able to do and this is a great piece of equipment to do just that. It’s sturdy, easy to assemble, and doesn’t take up too much room. I am 6’3″ and 220 lbs and it works for me no problem.” – Read Reviews


 – The other option is to go for a DIY version

This video shows you how to construct a DIY pull up bar for $30 in 30 minutes.

Roof space attic pull up bar




Or you could opt for something much more simple such as your attic/roofspace with a bar across.





Rock Rings

Metolius Rock Rings Metolius Rock Rings 3D – Click here to view on Amazon.com


Rock Rings are an excellent, simple choice for the climber looking to boost their upper body, arm and finger strength. They are one of the most versatile training tools for climbers as they can be used in a variety of positions for a huge range of exercises.

Also, as they hang seperate from each other, they force the user’s muscles to work independently which helps to build balance in the muscles.


In this video, you can see how the rock rings quickly become useful for more than just dead hangs and finger strength.

“This is a perfect tool for training fingers if you are renting or in a tight space where you can’t mount a full finger board. This also has the advantage of having two separate pieces for your hands, letting you hang them at different heights to train lock-offs and offset pull-ups.” – Read Reviews


You can also find an extensive list of workouts for the rock rings from Metolius here.


Hangboards/Training Boards


Hangboards are very popular amongst and are used by professionals across the climbing spectrum. They focus primarily on improving finger strength but can be used just as effecively for upper body and arm strength by using the bigger holds in conjunction with a variety of exercises. The downside to hangboards is that are they are less versatile than the rock rings as they aren’t portable and they are more specific. Boards come in a range of prices, shapes and sizes, but it is often better to go for a more simple model with fewer holds to prevent ‘overkill’ as you really only need to focus on 3 grip styles for finger strengthening (open/half crimp/full crimp).


There are a lot of different training boards available too but Metolius boards tend to be the favourites, so here are 3 of the most popular:

Metolius CNC BoardMetolius Project Training Board CNC – Click to view on Amazon.com This is the cheapest of the 3 boards at $55. This is a nice, simple board with a nice variety of holds without overdoing it. Perfect for beginners. “Great board with a good variety of grips. Sturdy, easy mounting and the board looks great.” – Read Reviews

Metolius Wood Grips Compact Training Board – Click to view on Amazon.com

This training board is particularly popular due to the comfortable texture of the holds, the simplicity and the stylish design. Perfect for those looking to get some workouts in at home, but don’t have a dedicated space. “This is not only a piece of fitness equipment it’s beautiful too!” – Read Reviews

Metolius Simulator 3D Training BoardMetolius Simulator 3D Training Board – Click to view on Amazon.com

The Simulator 3D is an advanced board with a lot of holds and a lot of different combinations for exercises. Perhaps not the best for beginners due to complexity, but definitely incredibly useful. “Lot’s of holds, lot’s of exercises. Using this training board has had an obviously positive effect on my climbing at the gym.” – Read Reviews

Although mounting a board in your home may not seem practical, Blank slate climbing have some pretty inovative and portable solutions to using a hangboard in your home.

Blank slate climbing trainer Blank slate climbing trainer – Click to view on Amazon.com ***Holds/Board Not included*** This may be the perfect solution for those looking for the perfect workout with excellent portability. This product eliminates the need to permanently mount your training board and allows you to hang it from a door frame much the same as the pull up bar frame.


Indoor/Outdoor wall


Obviously, the best way to improve and maintain your climbing strength (& technique) at home is to, well, climb at home! Building a climbing wall at your home is the best way to do this. Expect to pay around $300 – $500 for a decent climbing wall setup depending on what you want to install including materials and accessories.


For more information, Click this link to see our article on how to build a home climbing wall. 

Or check out some other articles on Buildig a rock climbing wall indoors:

This article shows you how to build a free standing wall for your home for $150!

This article shows you how to build a bouldering cave for the outdoors of your home

This article shows you how to build a permanent wall inside your home


Gymnast rings


Similarly to Rock rings, Gymnast rings help to build strength for imbalanced muscles and can help to keep the body balanced correctly that is important to rock climbing and is an excellent way to build upper body strength.

Gymnast rings are perfect for doing exercises such as push-ups, iron cross, dips, pull-ups which are important for climbers whilst working the balance of the muscles.


Gymnast RingsProSource Exercise Fitness Gymnastic Rings

These Gymnastic rings come with extra-long 17ft straps which allows them to be easily adjusted to any height that you require for each particular exercise.

“I was a gymnast and coached gymnastics for 20 years. The rings make you use muscles that no other activity or exercises make you use.” – Read Reviews

You can easily mount gymnast rings from a pull up bar.


Grip Trainers


Grip trainers are useful for specific exercises and are the ultimate portable climb trainer. You can use a grip trainer anywhere. This is the single most important value for these products. Every climber should consider a grip trainer as an easy way to get a pump regardless of the location. Imagine being able to work your grip strength whilst driving to and from work every day.


Captains of crush grip trainers

Captains of crush grip trainers – Click to view on Amazon.com

The captain of crush is a very popular grip trainer available in a wide range of tensions for building strength at different levels. The handles are also a rough surface to help develop and condition the skin on your hands for climbing.

“Captain of Crush is the gold standard of hand grippers.” – Read Reviews


Campus Board


Campus boards are designed to improve rock climbing performance in the upper body and arms/hands/fingers. They are typically a selection of wooden rungs of varying difficulty that the user must ascend and/or descend using only the hands. They are similar to training boards except that they usually are focussed on vertical strength.


Metolius wood campusMetolius Campus Rung- Click the link to view on Amazon.com

You have probably seen a set of these rungs if you frequent a gym near to you. They are perfect if you want to set up a campus board to slot into your workout session. Each Set has 5 rungs and each rung has a flat edge and an incut edge so that you can vary your workout for different grip styles.


They are pre-drilled and come in 3 sizes –

Small: 3/4″ (19 mm) thick.

Medium: 1″ (25 mm) thick.

Large: 1-1/4″ (32 mm) thick

“I’ve found that it is not worth making your own rungs – these are just great. Texture is great, material is great, shape is great, and they last forever.” – Read reviews

Similarly to the training boards, mounting a campus board in the home could be troublesome mainly due to the tall size of the boards required to make the exercises challenging.

One solution may to use the Blank slate climbing frames to mount the rungs similarly to the training boards.


Weights/Resistance Training

A lot of exercises for climbing can be done using a pair of dumbbells. For example, forearm strength can be built by doing forearm curls. It is always a good idea to work resistance training into a rock climbing workout plan if possible as this is a good way to boost strength without having to focus on technique.

For exercises on different parts of the body Click this link to visit our articles about building strength for climbing.



If you can’t make it to the gym or the crag regularly, then you should definitely consider one of the options above. Your situation will depend on which suits you best, so have a play around and try a couple of ideas out.

As always, remember to stay safe!
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