20-Minute At-Home Workouts for When You’re Rushed or Just Feeling Lazy

Train finger strength and power endurance simultaneously with 20 minutes of “Interesting Pull-Up Time” (below)

Some days are busy, other days you’re lazy, and sometimes you need a short workout to round out your climbing day. So whether you’re desperate to get in a little training during your lunch break or want to wring the last bit of strength from your arms at the end of the day, here are a few 20-minute workouts that require little to no equipment and only a few minutes of motivation. Think about all the things you do each day that take 20 minutes; you have time to fit one of these workouts in.*

Abs, arms, chest

Start in a traditional plank pose (elbows and forearms on the ground), and hold for 50 seconds.
Rest for 10 seconds.
Then continue “around the world” by doing 50 seconds each of side plank, back plank, and other side plank with a 10-second rest in between.
Next do 50 seconds of your favorite style of push-up.
Repeat three more times for a full 20-minute workout.
Note: Feel free to play around with rest times so that you are able to complete all sets but feel accomplished afterward.

Endurance arms

Using a pull-up bar, hangboard, door, or other object that one can safely do a pull up on, do five pull ups each minute for 20 minutes—by the end you will have completed 100 pull ups. It will seem easy at first, but after 10 minutes you should start to have difficulty completing each set, and by rounds 18-20 you should be struggling to complete five in a row.
Note 1: If you have difficulty making it past 10 sets, reduce the number of pull ups in each set (try three), and if 100 pull ups is too easy, either try one of the variations below or increase your pull ups per set.
Note 2: If you’re using a hangboard—highly recommended for a more interesting workout—try switching grips each set to work on different holds.

Variation 1: After completing the pull ups in each set above, continue hanging and do five knee/leg raises.
Variation 2: Add 20 seconds of your favorite core or cardio exercise to each minute. For example, adding either 20 seconds of crunches or jumping jacks to each set or alternating between the two every other minute.

FRENCH-STYLE (Experts only):
Instead of doing five pull ups each minute, do one “Frenchy”: Pull up and lock off at chest height for five seconds. Lower down and pull up again, this time lowering to 90 degrees and holding for five seconds. Lower down and pull up a third time, lowering to 120 degrees for your third five-second lock-off. Lower down to finish.

With no rest between, do one minute each of:
Mountain Climbers
Jumping front plank†
Side Plank Dips (one minute each side)††
Push-ups, elbows in
Repeat three more times.

†Begin in normal plank with forearms resting on the floor and feet a few inches apart. Next, with forearms remaining on the ground, hop feet out to each side to form a “Y,” and then hop back to your starting position. Continue as fast as you can while retaining good plank form for the full minute.

†† From normal side-plank position (see photo above), lower hip to just above the floor and then raise it up past your starting plank pose to as high as you can before lowering again to just above the floor. Repeat.

*Disclaimer: Injury is possible with any physical activity including the exercises listed in these workouts (and lots of other activities like driving a car). Therefore, I take no responsibility for any injuries or other calamities that may occur while you perform these routines. Make good decisions; if you’re in true pain PLEASE stop. Additionally, I cannot guarantee that any combination of these workouts will make you climb a grade harder or make you insta-ripped, but they will get you moving and help build strength, which tends to aid climbing.

**No equipment required

Originally published December 14, 2015, on coffeetapeibuprofenclimb.blogspot.com. 

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