How to Train for Caving: 4 Cave Training Exercises

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Beware: You should never explore wild caves alone or without proper gear. Consider getting in touch with a Grotto of the National Speleological Society at or a qualified cave club. These groups are skilled and will train you. Without sufficient knowledge, preparation, and equipment, cave exploring can lead to serious injury or death.

Thoroughly preparing for your caving trip is necessary, as caves can have an extreme environment for humans that they generally don’t face on the surface of the earth. Besides the environment, the exploration can last many hours or even days. If you aren’t trained for them, you won’t enjoy your trip or even be able to reach the furthest corners of the large cave systems.

To be more prepared, you should have a cave training regimen that covers several factors. Caving efficiently and enjoyably requires several techniques or traits like Traversing, Agility, Flexibility, Stamina, Balance Keeping, Efficient Movement, Prussiking, etc. All these techniques require shoulder muscles, upper body strength, and a strong core.

All in all, a good general fitness level is both recommended and required. Here are some daily cave training tips that will prepare you for what you might encounter underground and maintain your motivation levels as well.

1 – Climbing

A woman climbs a high cave wall

In a cave, if you want to climb smarter, you have to train harder.

The climbing training is immensely focused, well-planned, and designed to meet your specific caving goals. Determination and extreme concentration are required as these two things can take you further and build high-level strength.

There are a lot of coaches that give training for climbing; their strategies are based on science. They teach you how much force your muscle can generate and hold it. In training, you build climbing-specific muscles and connective tissues to deal with the tremendous force.

Some basic strength training exercises for climbing are good old pull-ups, pushups, and dips. These exercises are great for climbing-specific muscles.

For climbing, it is better to train maximum finger strength too.

Grab the edge of the wall or board for three to five seconds with your fingers and let your body hang. Don’t try to pull your body up from the ground as it is more difficult. When you pull your body up from the ground, your arms don’t completely extend during the pull.

Stronger fingers mean you can easily hang on the smaller holds and manage your body well. They are the foundation of harder climbing.

Try some of these grip and finger strengthening tools that we’d recommend for anyone who wants more general strength.

2 – Balancing

Do you know falls are one of the leading causes of injury in caves? It makes sense doesn’t it? Some caves are long vertical climbs, and carelessness or an unfortunate rock falling from above can cause someone to lose their balance or grip and fall a great distance. The rocks or cave surface below do not make for great cushions.

This is something we take for granted and assume that we are naturally good at. But the reality is different. Balance training can indeed help anyone at any age. It doesn’t let you fall prey to slips and falls that can harm you and even cause death.

Before we reveal some tips about cave training for balance, you need to know there are two types of balance: Static Balance & Dynamic Balance.

The static balance keeps your body’s center mass within its base support, whereas the dynamic balance is about maintaining your body’s posture while you are moving.

A man trains his single-leg balance using a chair as a support.

Start with One-Legged Balance.

Keep a chair or a wall within arm’s reach and try to balance your body on one leg. Hold the position for a few seconds with open eyes. Repeat it 5-10 times a day. Other than that, you can try the ‘Leg Raise’ exercise; it is great for balance training.

In leg raise exercise, you lift your one leg to the side but try to keep your body’s posture straight; your toes should be facing forward as well. Repeat it 10-15 times per leg.

3 – Agility

Agility training has a million benefits.

It increases mind-body connection, aids in injury prevention, positions the body effectively, builds resilience, and improves your focus. Apart from this, it also provides a healthy balance to your weight training and burns your calories.

Another perk of agility training is that it’s also quite fun. Its exercises are packed with fun and suit the challenging demands of the cave. You won’t be running inside the cave, but having done some of this training can do wonders for your confidence and mobility.

You can use an agility ladder for building agility.

The agility ladder allows you to pick any method of moving you want and move through it. For instance, you can try a high-knee march which is very popular for agility building. It specifically targets your upper body and gives firmness to your steps.

In addition, try hurdle drills. It is possible to do these on the agility ladder too. Start by going to the first hurdle and move back to the starting position. Once you are comfortable with it, try 2-3 hurdles, pause, and go back. It is good to count the hurdles too as it motivates you and makes progress easy to measure over time.

A man doing a drill on an agility ladder, black with yellow rungs.
Agility ladders are cheap, easy to carry and use, and great for all sorts of speed and balance training.

4 – Caveman Diet

The caveman diet is also known as the Paleo Diet.

It resembles what people believe our ancestors ate thousands of years ago and what resulted in fewer health problems than what we face today. The caveman diet’s main aim is to prevent us from modern food intake packed with processed food, often causing chronic illnesses and poor general health.

An assortment of vegetables, fruits, and more resembling a typical paleo diet.

So, what is a caveman’s diet?

In this diet, you simply avoid all those foods that weren’t available or common in the past. You eat vegetables, fruits, eggs, spices, herbs, lean meat, and seeds, while skipping sugar, processed food, dairy products, sweeteners, and vegetable oils.

A drink with electrolytes is better than plain water after a hard workout, but watch your sugar intake too!

Avoid anything that looks like it came from a factory. This includes processed food sporting a “Healthy Food” label.

We understand this isn’t exactly an aspect of cave training, but it supports your exercise routine and benefits in many ways. A proper diet improves your mood, increases energy levels, gives mental clarity, banishes extra weight, promotes fitness, and strengthens muscles.

But what can you drink when you are thirsty? Well, some people swear by water with a caveman diet for better results, but any type of natural water is good. You can enjoy tea and coffee (with low or no sugar) since they can be healthy and loaded with antioxidants. After working out, consider something like a Gatorade or one of many sports drinks packed with electrolytes, designed for better hydration.

If you are uneasy about a sudden change, create a caveman diet menu for a week. Make small changes, rather than replacing your entire routine. See how it affects you and whether the improvements convince you to implement this diet to support your health in general. If you make the right changes, your body will thank you.


When it comes to caving, simply going to the gym doesn’t work.

The gym is a very disciplined place and has its advantages, but it doesn’t train you for caving. It is very stuffy and enclosed and focused on specific exercises, whereas cave training requires creative kinds of exercises to mimic its conditions. All these above training teach you why carrying extra weight isn’t good for your body and energy levels, and what you should do to stay strong. Staying balanced physically and psychologically on the rough passages of the cave will go a long way in ensuring your caving expedition goes without hiccups.

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