Luckily there already are plenty of articles about climbing and parenting (blogs and magazine articles, and more), and the task seems to be within reach. It takes a bit of adaptability, careful choice of the crag or bouldering area and, possibly, with a third adult climbing with you and looking after the baby.

But what about training?

Let’s suppose that both the parents can now get back into training and that the baby has gained fairly moderate autonomy and can sit unsupported or is even walking. Now, how do you get back to a proper training routine? Some help and some stoke is involved. And we got you. Here’s our hand out to you and even a pumped forearm just to tell you that: You Can Do It.

By far, the easiest way to train is with a “babysitter.” Although it’s unlikely you’ll be able to count on another adult at the gym unless you bring along your own mum or dad, or if you go with both parents.

We wrote this article to help you with those times where you don’t have another adult around.

Training with kids will be part of those special moments you will look back at with a lot of tenderness one day (maybe when the climbing kiddo will ask you to come to a bouldering comp 150kms far away on a bright, chilly, exciting spring day), and you can enjoy it as a special family time.

Ok, sounds good, but how to get through a full series of pull-ups by avoiding your baby from rolling over gym weights and climbing a bench press?

Forget schedules

Do you know the three golden rules of training: consistency, planning, and goals? Well, forget them all for now. Consistency can still be nice in terms of scheduling, but, it’s time to switch to the new parenting training rules: determination, patience and “keep doing your best no matter what.”

Trying to follow a schedule with precise rest time and a long series of exercises will bring you right to exhaustion, so start just focusing on getting back your strength in any possible way. An inconsistent or casual training schedule is not optimal but it can work if it is the only realistic option. Don’t loose hope just because you never even put on your climbing shoes in the last session. Every little bit counts and is far better than nothing.

tricky climbing and training with kids
Bouldering outdoors is possible!

Work on pure strength

If you read every climbing article that says during training sessions technique is more important than pure strength, well, it isn’t the case for a parent with a newborn. It’s just another sacred rule of climbing is not useful for new parents.

Let’s suppose you already have good [enough] technique and that taking a few months off won’t loose it. But your arms, shoulders, back and most of all the core muscles (if you are a mom) are clearly stating that they are not what they used to be: so push, pull, lock, campus on big holds as hard as you can.

You can bring your muscles back to their previous shape with no hurry but a lot of dedication (and a good osteopath telling you the best way to do it).

  • Train pull-ups when your kids want to play with the stability balls in the training area.
  • Do campus bouldering when the kid is staring at some bigger kid hanging at the boulder wall
  • Try one-arm deadhangs when they are playing on the swings. Improvise, create.

Note: We’re not suggesting that you through all technique out the window. Technique prevents injuries. We’re just saying perfection is an unreasonable goal (in general, and especially with a newborn/toddler).

Do short and intense sessions

Even the most joyful kids will get bored after two and a half hours of staring at climbing adults, so try to get the best of your training by doing a good warm up and then focusing on short, intense, powerful exercises.

Don’t even think about long circuit training. Instead, try dynos, maximal pull-ups, or maximal deadhangs. Depending on your level, it could be easier to train them on bad holds instead of taking gym weights on and off. Try some TRX (total resistance exercises) and rings, make short and extreme campus bouldering. You can get back stronger than before quite rapidly. Endurance will come consequently.

Pro-tip: You can also take advantage of playground equipment for pull-ups and deadhangs.

One arm deadhangs training for climbing

Be focused when you climb

In those rare ten seconds of climbing you will have, try to be the most focused you can. Be sure your kids are far from your landing zone, and ideally, when they’re feeling still and quiet and happy where they are.

You know you won’t have a lot of attempts to be wasted in that specific boulder, because your kid will be at the opposite corner of the bouldering gym in the next 32 seconds, so give your 100% every time you will make a try.

Set short term goals

If you climbed at your maximum a V8 before the stop, don’t set your goal in climbing a V9 right now. Try to score little achievements that can give you more and more motivation during the first months. Some example goals could be:

  • training twice a week
  • completing three pull-ups in a row
  • survive a bouldering session without shooting pain in your back for the rest of the week

Little progress and new challenges will give you enough fuel to overcome a few snags.

Play with them

Bring an blue Ikea bag full of their favorite toys and make them feel comfortable in the gym. The most efficient toys are the ones which require all their attention like the puzzle mat, cutting vegetables, stackable ice creams. Though there is a balance of the number of pieces that could be scattered around that you’ll have to find when you come back down. If you do bring toys, it helps to go at a time of day when the gym is quieter.

Of course the kiddo(s) will also try to climb. Kids like to change their activity very often, so bring a lot of options to play with.

bringing plenty of toys in gym
Toys often accompany us at the gym.

Train at home

Ok, maybe this one should have been the first, top-list advice since it’s the easiest to implement. Yet since it’s so common we saved it for last. You don’t even need a proper boulder wall to train. You can screw two crimp holds on a wooden panel, or buy a portable hangboard, or fix a suspension training device. Or for the most dedicated, sleep in the van and turn your master bedroom into a five star- top level- first class bouldering wall.

train and climb with kids
Hanging from an Owl Climb Strong Fingers hangboard.

If you’re looking for more training gear specifics, I really like Owl Climb, who produces wooden hangboards and Strong Fingers crimps. Metolius is another great brand for hangboards and other training gear. I also have TRX (total resistance exercise) and rings on my home wall, though I haven’t found any brand that is best to recommend.

Editors Note: If you’d like to see all the training gear that is currently on sale in the US, go to the training gear deals page on this blog.

Training at home can be a huge plus because you can do it during naptime or when the kids are asleep for the night. Depending on where your setup is and how old your kids are, they could be in their crib or a baby swing as you train by the doorway, singing out reps to them.


If you have any more tips, please write them in the comments!

Climbing, and training, with kids is a big, wonderful, daunting task and sharing along the way will help us all!


Disclaimer – All the advice above is well-intentioned but is not a prescription

Be careful: climbing training could be dangerous, most of all if done unsupervised. We highly recommend supervision by a trainer. WeighyMyRack nor the author shall be liable for any direct, indirect or consequential damage or injury in connection with the information given in our Tech Talk. This post is intended for general information purposes only. Kids must be supervised all the time, they are always under your responsibility.