Doing cardio outdoors during the summer doesn’t have to entail the tedium of running alone. Look to your local park or nature preserve for a rock to climb—or find a gym with a rock wall. Depending on your size, you could set fire to nearly 1,000 calories in an hour. Ben Hendrickson, a rock-climbing instructor and elite trainer at the Sports Center at Chelsea Piers in New York City, gave us some insight to help you get to the top of the mountain, or wall, breaking it down to three essential points you should keep in mind:

Train For the Hike

If you climb outdoors or plan to, your rock probably isn’t close. you’ll need to hike some distance to get to the foot of it, and most newbies don’t anticipate that drain on their energy. Include some old-fashioned aerobics in your regimen—stair climbing, hill running, or walking on an inclined treadmill for 20–60 minutes at least three times per week to build stamina.

Stay on the Wall

Climbing-specific cardio relies mainly on the ability of your forearm muscles to process oxygen. Do multiple laps up and down or across the rock wall. The key is not to come down—the muscles must always be working—so go at a pace you can sustain. Start with 10 minutes (or whatever you can handle) and increase your duration over time. Repeat three to five times per week.

Shake It Out

While doing your laps, practice clinging to a hold with only one hand. As you’re doing it, shake out the burn from the other hand. This will teach your body to recover quickly (and your mind to endure the pain of being on the wall when it’s not fun). Mastering this skill will take practice. Periodically hang out on a hold with one hand for 30 seconds and build up to two minutes over time.

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In The Gym - Muscle Up for Climbing with These Moves

Hip Stretches
Tight hips won’t allow your legs to reach holds on the rock. Stretch your hip flexors, abductors, and adductors to keep your lower body limber.

Rows
Make sure you’re doing some horizontal pulling in every upperbody workout. Barbell rows, inverted rows, and suspended rows using a TRX are all helpful for developing upperback strength.

Finger Rolls
Hold a barbell in front of your thighs with your palms facing away from you. Let the bar roll down to your fingertips, then curl it back up with your fingers. Don’t move your wrists. Do three to four sets of 8–12 reps.