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QSNelson


Oct 14, 2008, 3:07 PM
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Nedd some suggestions on training for my lady friend
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So the short version is that my girlfriend is having trouble with upperbody strength. Were as i know upper body strength isn't the biggest factor in climbing it is a sore spot with her that she can't even do a single pull-up. She's been climbing since about the end of April this year and is currently able to do most of the 5.8's and a 5.9 or two here and there. Any suggestions on ways to train to start working towards her goal of being able to do 5 pullups? How many can you lady's do on average? Thoughts, suggestions? We have a set of rock rings and a simulator in the house but the 10-min work out on metolius's website is very pull-up intensive.


granite_grrl


Oct 14, 2008, 4:47 PM
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I don't know if I can do any pull ups right now. I don't bother working on them 'cause they hurt my elbows.

I think you have to convince your lady friend that pull ups and pure "upper body strength" (as in the strength to do pull ups) isn't as important as she thinks. Good technique can easily take you into solid 5.10 with barely any strength. Endurance training might help her a lot too if she's having problems breaking out of 5.9s.


QSNelson


Oct 14, 2008, 6:43 PM
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Any suggestions on a workout cycle she could do on the hangboard thats not so focused on pull-ups?


blueshrimp


Oct 15, 2008, 4:47 AM
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I can do a grand total of....0 pullups! :D.

However, in the gym I can comfortably climb low 5.10s though, and I'm a shorty!

I think I did a pullup once in my life, back when I was 8 years old. Hasn't stopped me from having a great time climbing, though.

(shrug).


lena_chita
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Oct 15, 2008, 7:29 AM
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Get her a Self-Coached Climber book as a gift. (and read it yourself, too :) ) there are a lot of very helpful suggestions for training in that book.

If her goal is to train pull-ups, there are plenty of sites that give training info for that. basic idea is that you start with assisted pull-ups, do variations of going up to the bar with help, and then coming down slowly (negatives), etc.

If her goal is to improve her climbing, learning proper technique would be more helpful, considering that she has only been climbing for less than a year.

I couldn't do a single pull-up at the time I onsighted my first 5.10 outside.

I haven't bothered training pull-ups, but I did become stronger and able to do some pull-ups as I got better at climbing.

I am not quite sure how many pull-ups I can do now b/c I haven't really bothered doing it when I'm fresh and counting them. I do know that at the end of several-hour gym climbing session I can do 4 sets of 3 pull-ups ea in 4 minutes on hangboard jugs -- b/c I was talked into doing that just last week. I can also apparently do one and a half frenchie on jugs (barely) after campusing up 5 jug-strips on a systems board--also last-week experience. (feel free to laugh...)


erisspirit


Oct 15, 2008, 9:49 AM
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being able to do 5 pushups won't garuntee her the ability to climb harder. I know lots of people (including myself) who climb in the 10's and higher and can only do a couple pullups at best. The best thing to do is work on technique, flexibility, and core body strength. I found yoga helped me a lot with that


As for pullup training... I would look up some hangboard workouts. Some of them are pretty great


marebear


Oct 15, 2008, 9:55 AM
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I agree with others in saying that technique is far more important than upper body strength at the lower levels of climbing, however, I feel her pain in not being able to do pull ups.

I set a similar goal to be able to do 5 pull ups this spring and am pretty much there, but don't think I could do 5 straight after climbing. If you have the hang board at home, I recommend those metolius workouts from the website. They are pull up intensive, but doing the workout as outlined with assisted pull ups will rapidly increase her potential to do pull up on her own.

I do the beginner level Metolius hang board workout after I climb 2 or 3 days a week, always with at least 2 days rest in between. Have her grab a chair and put it below the hang board and rest her toes on the chair for the amount of assistance she needs to do the pull ups in the workout. Focus on lowering in a slow, controlled manner with the least amount of assistance possible. She can also use the chair or the floor for assistance for hanging on edges and pockets. She needs to start slow to avoid finger, elbow and shoulder injuries. The hang board workouts will not only provide increase in strengths for pull ups, it will increase her contact strength and lock off strength, which will make her a stronger climber all around.

Something that also helped me get stronger is bouldering, cross training and making sure to take appropriate rest days, and sometimes even a week off. Cross training is great because you are getting your lungs strong and reducing the weight you need to drag up the wall/pull up bar.

The Self Coached Climber is a good book and the Eric Horst books Training for Climbing and How to Climb 5.12 books are good too, though quite similar to each other.


Maddhatter


Oct 15, 2008, 7:49 PM
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QSNelson wrote:
So the short version is that my girlfriend is having trouble with upperbody strength. Were as i know upper body strength isn't the biggest factor in climbing it is a sore spot with her that she can't even do a single pull-up. She's been climbing since about the end of April this year and is currently able to do most of the 5.8's and a 5.9 or two here and there. Any suggestions on ways to train to start working towards her goal of being able to do 5 pullups? How many can you lady's do on average? Thoughts, suggestions? We have a set of rock rings and a simulator in the house but the 10-min work out on metolius's website is very pull-up intensive.


Climb , Climb , Climb. You can't make her climb harder no matter what you do. You can suggest the right books and maybe show her some 10.a and 10.b lines and hope she finds one she just has to do. If she gets to upset about not climbing hard she will shy away from climbing with you. You have to climb for the right reasons and pushing her to hard could get her hurt. On a side note, swimming is a great way to build up your whole body. If all she tries is hard stuff she will get disheartened But if you do great climbs at her level she will only get better and love to climb even more.


clausti


Oct 16, 2008, 7:14 PM
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my first thought is... why is this a problem? does SHE think it is a problem because she feels stupid because peeps at the gym show up in pullup land and she can't hang? or does she just want to climb harder and has focused on upper body strength as something she wants to train?

or do YOU think it's a problem because you want to be able to climb harder stuff on trips out, and you want her to be able to keep up with you?

if it's YOUR problem and not something she personally feels is a problem, my advice is to fuck off.

if it's that she wants to climb harder and has for whatever reason zerod in on pullups as something to train, i would tell her to spend her time doing core strength instead. the best thing i've found is to hang from a bar, or hangeboard, and do strait leg lifts. do sets. it will kill your lower abs. and you will climb much better for it.

pullups mean approximately crap for climbing strength. right now, i can do about 5 if i push it to the limit. i've sent like 25% of my total 5.12 count this fall. When I spent a lot of time at my college rec center, I could do like 12. I was climbing 5.11. I know LOTS of women who lead 5.11 who can do, at best, 1 or maybe 2 pullups. It's just not that big a factor.

go outside. climb stuff she thinks is beautiful.

you can get yourself to fight a lot harder for a climb if you feel inspired. to climb harder, just climb more.


this last one is just for me, but, when i say take, or dirt, i mean it. i want my belayer to respond to the first utterance of that command. no placating, no "aw, try i one more time." i find that to be condescending. when i'm done, i'm done, and when i'm ready to try again, i will try again. pleading with me while i dangle makes me feel disempowered, like a girlfriend along for the ride. take her seriously as a climber. she might find more motivation than she thought she had when you were trying to supply it.


petsfed


Oct 16, 2008, 7:49 PM
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clausti wrote:
if it's that she wants to climb harder and has for whatever reason zerod in on pullups as something to train, i would tell her to spend her time doing core strength instead. the best thing i've found is to hang from a bar, or hangeboard, and do strait leg lifts. do sets. it will kill your lower abs. and you will climb much better for it.

This is good advice no matter if you're ripped like Joyce Rossiter or more naturally shaped. The ability to get your feet up onto footholds when it gets steep is controlled entirely by the strength of your core. In general, if you must strengthen muscles for climbing, focus on your core and your fingers. Everything else should be strong enough to begin with. Your ability to complete difficult movements will improve much more with good core strength and good contact strength than with shear upper body strength.

And pickup the Self Coached Climber. This really can't be repeated enough. Even my students notice the difference from using the technique drills in that book, even if they haven't gotten any stronger.


clee03m


Oct 17, 2008, 9:46 AM
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While I agree that lack of strength does hold you back, in my experience, it does not at the level you are talking about. I also can't do a pull up. Ditto on Self Coached Climber. At this point in her climbing, I would say more climbing is probably the best training for her. I also agree with Clausti but will give you the benefit of a doubt and hope this is a concern that she brought up. I would be thoroughly annoyed if my partner was seeking how to improve my climbing and posting help online.


marebear


Oct 17, 2008, 1:58 PM
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Maddhatter wrote:
If she gets to upset about not climbing hard she will shy away from climbing with you. You have to climb for the right reasons and pushing her to hard could get her hurt. On a side note, swimming is a great way to build up your whole body. If all she tries is hard stuff she will get disheartened But if you do great climbs at her level she will only get better and love to climb even more.

This couldn't be more true. My ex pushed me way to hard at the beginning of my climbing career because he could climb 5.12 and couldn't understand why a 5.10 or a V5 was challenging for me. It pissed me off when he repeatedly threw me on stuff that was really hard and I knew I was incapable. Sending is so much more fun than falling, and the more she sends, even if it's 5.8, the more she will want to climb and the stronger she will get.

I'm not saying you are pushing her to hard, particularly if she is the one wanting the advice you asked for, I just think this is important stuff to know.


titaniumbutt


Oct 19, 2008, 10:00 AM
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Hi There!
I see you have written in there that it is her goal to do 5 pull-ups and you are seeking suggestions to help her reach that goal. That is great that you want to help her!
I, along with another friend of mine, had a similar goal a wile back and we did reach it which gave us a good sense of accomplishment to reach said goal. I can't really pin-point exactly what I did to be able to get there though. I do recall doing allot of slightly overhanging 11a routes with lots of crimps....man it was fun! And I noticed that my core strength had become insane. That was definitely more important than doing the pull-ups but I did have a goal to meet as well. We could do our 5 pull ups with no problem....the sixth was a bit of a struggle though and required some flailing. Tongue Not once did we train on a hang board because to us that is just plain boring for us..haaha...
If your friend has the attention span to train on a hang board than that's a start. But....I think if you could find overhanging routes for her with big holds that she can do and not get frustrated about...she will build up those muscles pretty fast (as well as her core muscles which are much more important for her) so that she can reach her goal. Let her rest on her climbs if she needs to..be patient on belay. After all she is learning/progressing and probably doesn't have the strength YET to send them. Wink But, if she wants it, she will eventually.
Tell her good luck for me and I hope to read that she can do her 5 pull ups and then some someday soon!
Take care,
BB


rachel.sky


Oct 19, 2008, 10:44 AM
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I have a different suggestion-- If you guys have a gym you go to, there should be a piece of equipment that essentially assists with chin-ups and pull-ups. I can't find a picture online right now, but you kneel on a pad that is counterbalanced by weights. For example, I usually use about 40 lbs when I do it, because regular pull-ups hurt my elbows too much. She may want to start with a weight closer to her own body weight and play with it until she finds a weight that's challenging but feasible. Then build from there.
As others have said, though, the way to get better at climbing is really just to climb.


karlie


Oct 21, 2008, 10:04 AM
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Obviously CLIMB MORE to get better at climbing, but I agree there are times I'm on really overhanging routes and want to have more time and strength to get up the route. I can only do about 4 pullups in a row (in contrast to my male-friends who are probably doing about 20) but we climb at the same level. You just can't underestimate the power of good footwork!

For pullup strength: I have a pullup bar in my doorway so it's a little different, but you can use the easy holds on your hangboard. I would suggest putting a chair about a foot or two in FRONT of the hangboard, set your feet on it and do pullups this way. The chair takes some weight off the pullup, and is also similar to actually climbing in that you can use your legs for assistance. Another variation is to JUMP up to the chin-up position and try to lower in control. (this one is great!). Don't forget bouldering! It's great for power AND footwork.

One exercise (besides actually climbing) that probably helped me the most is just hanging. It sounds simple but it is incredibly helpful to have the endurance to hang and relax, stay composed, place gear or clip a bolt, though I realize this doesn't work all the same muscles as pullups. If I'm climbing and find myself PULLING-up hard I'm not doing the move the most efficient way anyways. See how long you can hang, do sets of hangs during commercials, while cooking, whenever. Pretty soon you'll be able to hang for minutes.

Good luck!


acacongua


Oct 21, 2008, 1:02 PM
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Does she want to climb harder or do 5 pull-ups? I'd have her work on lock off strength - it's more functional to climbing.

Get her on some jugs and have her reach of the next hold, but not grab it. Hold it for five secs and switch (either on the same hold or climb a route like that). You really have to pull in the arm you're locking off.

If she's bent on doing pull-ups, have her do the assisted pull-up machine at the gym to help her gain strength to fly solo.


(This post was edited by acacongua on Oct 22, 2008, 12:03 PM)


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