Purpose: Ankles and calf muscles
Targets: Extra reach and footwork
It’s an often-overlooked part of a rock climber’s body but your lower leg strength can make a big difference to your climbing.
Footwork accounts for half your points of contact on a climbing wall, forming a solid frame for your arms to grab the holds above. Strong legs are needed for taking your weight on tiptoes, pushing into pockets and giving you those vital extra inches of reach for tough problems. Your calves will be burning almost as much as your arms after a good climb so to help you build strength and endurance heel raises are a great idea.
Heel raises are easy. Stand next to a wall with your feet a comfortable distance apart. Place your hands on the wall to steady yourself and then, keeping your legs straight, raise your heels off the ground. Hold this position for 5 seconds before slowly returning your heels to the ground, aiming to do about 10 reps.
When you feel confident with your balance, move away from the wall and just use your core muscles and feet to balance you. This gives you an extra core workout, improves your balance and develops your leg strength more fully.