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 How to Lengthen Your Rock Climbing Reach

Your height can play a significant role

Your height can play a significant role in your reaching ability when rock climbing. If you’re shorter than the average climber, you may feel as if you’re limited in how far you can reach.

But there are ways to improve your reach with persistent training.


In any sport, stretching is a huge part of a well-rounded warmup. Stretching allows the body to gear up for the strenuous activity you’re about to put your body through. It also improves your flexibility.

With rock climbing, you’ll want to focus on your shoulders first.

Opening up and loosening your pecs and rhomboids will allow your shoulders to feel more at ease before hitting the rocks.

Your hips also take quite the beating when rock climbing. You’ll want to stretch them by doing some squats and hip flexor exercises. If you feel tightness when stretching here, you’ll want to hold those positions to release muscle tension.

Strong and healthy hip flexors help carry much of the weight when climbing. This also helps strengthen your core and allows you to keep stress off your back.

Don’t forget to stretch your glutes, quads, and hamstrings. These areas of the body ultimately allow you to reach further. Neglecting this area could result in serious injuries that can keep you off the rocks for weeks.

Start With Your Hands

A simple training technique that can go a long way in extending your reach can be done almost anywhere. Try using your three middle fingers (ring, middle, and index) to grab a hold and adjust as needed.

Take note of how your body adjusts and adds the two other fingers. In this process, you are subtly lengthening your reach.

You can also practice this at an easy rock climbing route, forcing yourself not to use your thumbs or pinkies. Simply reach with an open palm and grasp with your three middle fingers.

It can take a long time to get used to this as it is an uncomfortable position. If you’re just starting out, there are other beginner’s tips and terms you can learn.

Adjust Your Body

Shorter than usual climbers know that they must adjust their bodies in different positions to trail the same paths as taller people.

This usually means crunching your body in different creative ways to find where to hold onto.

You can train your body to get faster at finding intermediate holding spots where you push off of. This can cut your holding time in half and get you moving as fast as your taller counterparts.

It can be scary when a long reach is ahead. Your height can sometimes keep you from going the extra mile on those hard to reach areas.

But rock climbing is a mental game that you can conquer, and staying focused and positive can help you reach your goals.

Lengthen Your Rock Climbing Reach

Knowing how your body works and reacts to stretches and exercises can help you gain a further reach when rock climbing.

For other ways to improve your rock climbing experience, check out our blog.