Jessa Goebel Jessa Goebel is a pro climber living in Banner Elk, N.C. with a number of first female ascents to her name in the 5.13 range. She owns Climb-Fit, a company offering clinics and training sessions specifically designed to make climbers stronger on the rock.

I have the upper body strength of an egg noodle. Am I doomed to be a poor climber?

JG: You’re not doomed. Upper body strength definitely factors into climbing, but a lot of climbing success is based on technique and movement on the rock. There are things you can do to distribute your weight or balance yourself that will take some of the emphasis off your upper body.

I don’t live near any rock, and gyms are expensive. What’s the best way to train for climbing, without actually climbing?
JG: There’s plenty you can do outside the climbing gym. Push-ups and pull-ups are excellent, and working your core is the number one thing you can do to train for climbing. Try this: Suspend yourself from a pull-up bar and do a series of leg lifts. Too easy? Do a full pull-up, and do the leg lifts while your chin is at the bar.