Balancing Your Gym and Sport Training

How do you go about balancing your training with your sport? In college it was easy. The coaches forced you to lift weights and work on sprint mechanics. Plus, if you had any dreams of getting on the field, you needed to do those things to beat out your competition. In powerlifting, bodybuilding, weight lifting, figure, strongman, bikini, etc. etc. it’s easy because your training is your sport. But what if it’s just a recreational sport? A sport that doesn’t require you to compete for the starting job? What if it’s something simple like running 5k’s and 10k’s, mountain biking, swimming? Then what? You don’t have a coach breathing down your neck; so how do you force yourself to supplement your sport training with your gym training?

This is something I’m struggling with right now. When I have the choice of going to the gym because I have to or going to the climbing gym because I want to, I will almost always choose climbing.

However, I’ve gotten to the point where my body is telling me, through aches, pains, inflexibility, and other sensations, that I’m becoming muscularly imbalanced. (Is “muscularly” a word? It is today.)

The mirror is telling me that it’s time to get back in the gym too. I’m more lean now than any other time that I was a gym rat, so that’s not the issue. The issue is that my non-climbing muscles are noticeably atrophied. I remember writing about that here about a year ago. But now it’s to the point that I actually care about my appearance.

My once noticeable upper traps are nearly gone, making my neck and shoulders form a 90 degree angle. My never impressive chest is now even more less impressive. Biceps – shrinking. Shoulders – no more. Horseshoe-shaped triceps? Still there…but smaller. I used to have 23.5″ thighs. I’m afraid to measure them right now. Though, smaller thighs makes it easier to buy jeans, and I don’t really need them too much for climbing, but I would like a little bit of them back, pls. I think my gf would secretly want some of these features back too.

Despite all of those things, or maybe because of all of those things, my climbing has gotten better. And since climbing is the sport I want to get better at, I still choose climbing.


So, tell me, friends of the internets, how do you balance your gym training with your sport training when gym training doesn’t really interest you? I mean, I’d love to be as skilled of a climber as Adam Ondra, but I most certainly do NOT want to look like him. Pass.


Don’t Miss Your Chance

I was stuck in Corporate America for 9 years. I was miserable.

Then I took control.

You can too, and it starts right here.

4 responses to “Balancing Your Gym and Sport Training

  1. Sounds to me like you are a climber, as it is your passion. Climbers have different physiques, than weight lifters (as a sport). So you need a strength component a balance component and a flexibility component. If your goal is flashing 5.12, you already have the upper body strength component down. I would focus on balance, flexibilty and leg strength. Climbing is not about campusing up a wall, it’s a total body experience, and strong legs are a must. A climber with big traps would look like a freak of nature and probably wouldn’t climb as well, because they would be in the way. My strength component would be legs primarily, like pistols. A high step onto a foot hold with balance and easily stepping up at a crux would be priceless. Long multi-pitch climbs are all about leg strength and endurance use those big a$$ muscles.


    1. Absolutely agree, Joe. In fact my legs and hips are still stronger than my upper body due to years and years of focus on Olympic lifts, squatting, and deadlifting. However, the premise of this post is more along the lines of, “how do I convince myself to spend more time in the gym than on a wall?” :-p

      Thanks for the comment!

  2. Hey Dude –

    I so badly want to take the test. But I’m afraid I’ll spend a ton of time studying and will not pass. Did you really read one book?


  3. You probably go to climbing at least 3 days/week, right? I would suggest you go to the gym and work you tris, pecs, anterior and middle delts, traps, teres minor, etc. at least once a week or simply after climbing. The only thing you need to work all the muscles i mentioned is a set of dumbells. As for you legs — fuck ’em. Have you ever failed to do a route because of inadequate leg strength? I doubt it. If you can take stairs two at a time then you have all the leg strength you need for climbing.

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