We have often noticed that when the climbers go out for ice climbing, they face calf exhaustion and the remedy to that is calf exercises. So today in this article we are going to discuss some calf exercises for ice climbing.
At first we are going to tell what are calf exercises for ice climbing and what are the best calf exercises. Well, calf exercises are some essential workouts or exercises that every ice climber should do to make sure you have the strength to support yourself. Here is the list of some of the best calf exercises for ice climbing.
When you go ice climbing, you have to mainly depend on your calves to keep your body upright and hold you in place and without this, you have a major risk of falling, which is something that you want to avoid at all costs. Therefore to do so, it is really very much important to build up strong calves. The exercises listed in this article have been chosen because they will make your calves stronger and these exercises will also increase your stamina, which is good for long climbs and on top of that many of them can be performed at home and do not require a lot of additional gear.
The Importance of Strong Calves
Before we get started with the calf exercises, it is important to know why strong calves are so important to ice climbing and the main reason behind this is because of the strain put on that specific part of the body, and the dangers of falling when you are leading.
Strain on Your Calves
As we know that ice climbing can be really strenuous because when you are on a route, the only thing that you have which is connecting you to the wall is an inch piece of metal attached to the front of your crampon and drive into the ice and by using this, you need to be able to not hold the climbers in place and also maneuver your body into a variety of different positions so that you can work your way up the route.
Ice climbing requires you to hold yourselves up with your calves to keep your crampons at the right angle. While this is not challenging to do so at first, later it can really be difficult for you to stay in this position for a long period of time, and additionally, if you are a beginner or you get scared on the route, you may have a tendency to squeeze your muscles harder than intended, which can lead you to early tiredness.
Danger of Falling
When your muscles get fatigued and you tired, you run the risk of missing a placement or fully just having your body give up on you and that can lead you to a fall. In ice climbing, fall is something that needs to be avoided at all costs.
Ice climbing falls are bad for a variety of reasons because if you fall, it is likely that one of your tools maybe even your crampons can remain stuck in the ice and this can contort your body out of shape, keeping some parts of you attached to the wall while others fall. Your bones and joints will be strained greatly, which can lead to long-term and sometimes life-altering injuries.
Best Calf Exercises
You should train enough so that your body can respond to commands and do what you ask of it, and below are some of the best calf exercises to ensure your footwork remains strong.
Calf raises are the simplest, oldest, and maybe best calf exercise out there. All you have to do is find a ledge, stand with your toes on the ledge drop your heels as far as flexibility will allow and then, using you calves, stand all the way up on your toes and go as high as you can. Repeat this exercise as many times as you can and even some people can do hundreds of calf raises in a row.
One of the most important thing about calf raises is that they require almost no equipment and can be performed almost anywhere an you can also pick the number that works for you and increase it as your fitness can do.
- Add some holds! Make sure you do enough leg raises to exhaust yourself, and then raise yourself up on your toes and hold yourself there for as long as you can. This more closely resembles ice climbing, which requires you to maintain a position.
- Look at something! Consider putting your raises in a place where you can watch television while you do them to alleviate boredom.
Farmers Walk on Toes
The farmer’s walk on toes is really a simple exercise where you hold something heavy in each hand and then walk in a straight line and this exercise works for almost every muscle in your body.
It is possible to target your calves with this exercise by doing a variation where you stand on your toes, however. You can use a dumbbell, kettlebell, or other weight to walk back and forth as long as you can on your toes.
The major benefit of this exercise is that you have to hold a position for an extended period of time. This helps boost your anaerobic strength, which is useful for long ice climbing routes.
Exercises such as jumping squats are more general fitness exercises that you can absolutely include in your workout routine or use as a cardio exercise that can benefit your calves.
All you have to do here is lower yourself into a squat and then thrust upwards with your legs and once your legs are straight, use your calves to push you up so that your feet leave the ground. So the cycle which goes on in this exercise island, drop back into a squat, and repeat.
We would not recommend using jumping squats as your only exercise for working calves, but they are really great to supplement one of the above exercises or to get a little bit of calf work in on a day when your schedule is a bit tight.
Weighted Raise is a variant of calf raises, as it is the same motion, except you are weighted down as you do it, which adds more strain to the muscle and may lead to greater growth.
Due to the added weight, you only need to perform fewer of them to effectively work your calves, which is ideal if you don’t have much time or simply want to get started. On the other hand, because you do fewer exercises, you build up less anaerobic muscle. This is not ideal for ice climbing.
Therefore, we would absolutely not recommend using a weighted raise as your main exercise. You can still build some calf muscles, however, by performing three sets of these exercises at the end of each workout; it’s quick and it works.
You can use this one to build cardio both in your calves and throughout your entire body. The jump rope does not require a lot of explanation, so I will not go into it in detail. This exercise is highly regarded for its benefits.
It doesn’t work your calves exceptionally well, especially if you have a fairly good level of fitness, but it does provide a nice burn on an off day.
In addition to the exercises to do, let’s discuss some factors that can affect how you approach ice climbing.
What gear you have on your feet can drastically depend on what gear you’re wearing, the pressure you’ll feel on your calves can change drastically. If you wear ski boots, for example, you will have a stiffer surface to stand on, so your calves will have to do less work to hold you in place. Although mountaineering boots are still better than ski boots, it’s important to take this into account when selecting gear. Even within mountaineering boots, stiffness levels vary.
A second factor is the crampons that you are wearing. As a general rule, dual-point crampons provide more secure footing, because they bite better into the ice. As with above, the more secure the foothold is, the less work your calves need to do to hold you there.
Finally, and most importantly, is your technique, and let us tell you something, that no amount of strength or equipment can compensate for bad technique, especially when ice climbing.
The most important thing is to not be too stiff when you climb as stiffness means you are clenching your muscles, which can lead to tightness and fatigue. So instead of that work on relaxing as you climb and letting everything move smoothly and doing this is one of the many tricky parts of ice climbing. However, you have to hold your muscles stiff enough to provide support, but not so stiff that they tire early.
You should also pay attention to your foot placement and choosing a piece of ice you can rely on, and better adhesion of your points will help you stay put with less strain on your leg.
Lastly, rest plays a key role. If this means putting extra weight on three limbs to let out some tension on a leg (as climbers frequently do with a hand) or hanging off an ice screw for a few minutes, rest is something which you should never be ashamed of doing some tension (as you often see climbers do with a hand) or putting in an ice screw to hang off of for a few minutes and some more time, rest is an important thing that you should never be too proud to do.
Frequently Asked Questions ( FAQs):
What is Calf exercises?
Well, calf exercises are some essential workout or exercises that every ice climber should do to make sure you have the strength to support yourself. Here is the list of some of the best calf exercises for ice climbing.
What are the benefits of Calf exercises?
The benefits of calf exercises are listed below:
Calves raises stabilize your feet and ankle.
The strength of your calf muscles affects your entire lower body performance
Runners, if you want to increase your speed then do calf raises.
Yes to calf raises means no to injuries.
Why do we need calf raises for ice climbing?
When you go ice climbing, you have to mainly depend on your calves to keep your body upright and hold you in place and without this, you have a major risk of falling, which is something that you want to avoid at all costs. Therefore to do so, it is really very much important to build up strong calves.
What are the exercises we need to do for ice climbing?
The climbing which we need to do before going for ice climbing are as follows:
Farmers walk (on your toes)
Which mountains are best for ice climbing?
Mountains which are best for ice climbing are: