Moja Gear Published a Climbing Doctor Article on How To Strengthen The Shoulder For Climbing

Most climbers don’t have a clue how to properly train.  The lack of knowledge can lead to plateaus in performance and can cause injury.  This submission is part of an effort to apply hard science to climbing.  It teaches you how to strengthen your shoulder in functional positions that are encountered while climbing. -Dr. Jared Vagy

Click the link to learn about how to strengthen the shoulder for climbing



By |2016-11-01T18:08:55+00:00May 15th, 2014|News and Updates, Questions About Performance|9 Comments


  1. Chris May 25, 2014 at 6:27 am - Reply

    So when is says “perform reaches for 20-60 seconds”, is a reach classified as reaching out towards 3 o’clock or whatever “time”? As in when I reach out to 3 I should hold that for 20-60 seconds Then return and move to 1 hold for another 20-60 seconds, and so forth? And I’m assuming 1 set is reaching towards 3, 1, 5, and 6. Am I getting this right?

  2. theclimbingdoctor May 25, 2014 at 7:38 am - Reply


    Good question. To clarify. The entire exercise should be performed lasting 20-60 seconds, meaning alternating through the entire clock. This trains the overall endurance of your muscles. The duration that you spend at each position (3,1,5 and 6) can vary and I encourage you to mix it up. Just like climbing, you may spend longer and shorter durations holding a reach position. It all depends on the nature of the route and how you choose to climb it. For basic reference though, I most typically I recommend 1-2 seconds performing a single reach to a number on a clock.

    • Chris May 26, 2014 at 4:21 am - Reply

      Good to know! I’m glad I asked cause I never thought of it that way. Haha. Thanks!!

  3. Adam February 12, 2015 at 3:50 pm - Reply

    When going between positions A, B, C and D, do you keep tension on the band the whole time so that your active arm is moving in arcs, or are you stretching the band out in the direction of each clock position and returning your active hand to the center of the clock each time? Thanks!

    • theclimbingdoctor July 16, 2016 at 7:59 pm - Reply

      You can do either. Keeping tension on the band is often used with a light band as a warm-up to stimulate a greater number of muscles fibers and “activate” the muscle. Moving back and forth to the clock number and then to center simulates reaching during climbing and is recommended with a heavier band for training. Make sure to bend your knees and weight your toes to simulate climbing even further.

  4. Devin July 13, 2015 at 6:12 pm - Reply

    Is there a specific reason why one doesn’t reach towards 12 o clock? I understand that the 3,1,5, and 6 o clock reaches (as well as their inverses on the left arm) are supposed to strengthen the rotator cuff in a way most applicable to climbing, would a reach to 12 o clock not also do this?
    Would it be a bad thing to incorporate a reach towards 12 o clock during this exercise as well, or simply unnecessary?

    • theclimbingdoctor July 16, 2016 at 8:01 pm - Reply

      It is okay to reach the band up towards 12 o’clock although it may be a bit stressful for the shoulder since it puts it closer to an impingement position where the rotator cuff tendons are stressed. It is for this reason it is not recommended for injury prevention, but can be used for training.

  5. Paul May 12, 2016 at 6:39 am - Reply

    I was curious if you would recommend this routine in addition to standard rotator cuff exercises? Or in lieu of the basic internal, external rotation, etc?

    Also, is it important to do this exercise against a wall? It seems more like a reference plane in this situation and not necessarily integral to doing the movement.


    • theclimbingdoctor July 16, 2016 at 7:50 pm - Reply

      If you have the strength and motor control to perform these exercises correctly, I would recommend them instead of basic internal and external rotation exercises.They are more effective.

      The wall is more of a reference plane, not needed for the exercise. But to spice it up, you can perform them on the rock wall!

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