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granite_grrl


Feb 10, 2012, 10:06 AM
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weight training for advanced climbing
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So it's winter and I have no climbing gym nearby. I am still getting out on the weekends ice climbing and drytooling, but haven't been climbing through the week.

One of my weakest link in my climbing has always been brute strength. Generally I've done pretty good despite this but especially now as I'm getting into 5.12 I'm finding more routes that just have stopper moves for me and these stopper moves are almost always because I'm not strong enough to pull them. So I decided to use my time after work going to the meathead gym and lifting weights in an attempt to get stronger.

I am doing a mix of power and endurnace (5-6 reps, long rest and 10+ reps, shorter rest) on things like one-arm lat pulldowns and rows, and then strictly higher reps (10+) on things like tricept and rotater cuff exercises. I would like to do some pullups as well, but I tend to max out at one or two and don't like such low reps when I'm already fatiguing my back muscles in the same workout. I'm looking to see where to buy some assistance bands to make this more reasonable, but until then I'm not doing these in my workouts.

So I was just hoping to get some feedback from anyone else that has done weight lifting to try to improve strength so they can climb harder. Suggestions on exercises, etc.

I'm not interested in the 5.10 climber telling me how awesome pullups have been for them and their climbing, or people telling me how amazing Crossfit is for this kind of thing. I'm hoping to hear from people who climb 5.12 and above on how they used specific weight training to help them climb harder, what they did and how it helped. Thanks.


jolery


Feb 10, 2012, 10:56 AM
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granite_grrl wrote:
So it's winter and I have no climbing gym nearby. I am still getting out on the weekends ice climbing and drytooling, but haven't been climbing through the week.

One of my weakest link in my climbing has always been brute strength. Generally I've done pretty good despite this but especially now as I'm getting into 5.12 I'm finding more routes that just have stopper moves for me and these stopper moves are almost always because I'm not strong enough to pull them. So I decided to use my time after work going to the meathead gym and lifting weights in an attempt to get stronger.

I am doing a mix of power and endurnace (5-6 reps, long rest and 10+ reps, shorter rest) on things like one-arm lat pulldowns and rows, and then strictly higher reps (10+) on things like tricept and rotater cuff exercises. I would like to do some pullups as well, but I tend to max out at one or two and don't like such low reps when I'm already fatiguing my back muscles in the same workout. I'm looking to see where to buy some assistance bands to make this more reasonable, but until then I'm not doing these in my workouts.

So I was just hoping to get some feedback from anyone else that has done weight lifting to try to improve strength so they can climb harder. Suggestions on exercises, etc.

I'm not interested in the 5.10 climber telling me how awesome pullups have been for them and their climbing, or people telling me how amazing Crossfit is for this kind of thing. I'm hoping to hear from people who climb 5.12 and above on how they used specific weight training to help them climb harder, what they did and how it helped. Thanks.

Well I've only redpointed one 12 and hungdog a couple of others, so I don't know if my opinion is elitist enough - but I've consistently done some sort of weight training for a couple of decades and the benefit I've found is keeping other muscle groups strong that are sometimes used in climbing - specifically I can mantle my way up a lot of shit that better climbers can't get through due to keeping my chest muscles in shape through bench pressing, dips, etc.


camhead


Feb 10, 2012, 11:28 AM
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Re: [jolery] weight training for advanced climbing [In reply to]
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Beccs, I've seen you climb, and rarely have you (or most other people) failed because of weak triceps or lats (though, I dunno, all that mixed tooling you guys do might be another story).

Work forearms and lockoff strength for maximum performance on the rock. For forearms and finger strength, try fnger rolls. Get a standard bench press bar, add enough weights so that it weighs the same as you. Hold it at about waist level, palms outward, then do reps of letting the bar roll down to your finger tips, and curl it back up again to a closed fist. It's the best forearm workout you can do, apart from hangboarding.


Partner cracklover


Feb 10, 2012, 12:04 PM
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Good question!

I'm very far from being an expert, but I can tell you what I've seen/experienced.

Two things:

1 - Work your chest. Most climbing uses very little, so your pecs are probably underdeveloped. But for a variety of moves (mantles, hard flag moves, and some rest positions come to mind) having power in the chest means you can do the move far more efficiently. And for some mantles, it makes the difference between whether you can do the move at all or not. Also, I don't know you personally, but many girls naturally don't have very strong pecs, so you should see good gains if you work on it.

2 - I know this sounds really cliche, but IME more core strength is always helpful.

Cheers,

GO


shockabuku


Feb 10, 2012, 12:12 PM
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granite_grrl wrote:
I'm hoping to hear from people who climb 5.12 and above on how they used specific weight training to help them climb harder, what they did and how it helped. Thanks.

Well that really narrowed the field of desired input, at least from this audience.


Partner cracklover


Feb 10, 2012, 12:14 PM
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In addition to my recommendation above, I think this...

granite_grrl wrote:
I would like to do some pullups as well, but I tend to max out at one or two and don't like such low reps when I'm already fatiguing my back muscles in the same workout. I'm looking to see where to buy some assistance bands to make this more reasonable, but until then I'm not doing these in my workouts.

... means you definitely have a strength deficit that is worth focusing on. Camhead's suggestion to work on lock-offs sounds like one excellent point.

And for those climbs where you really need some power initiation in the upper body, I don't think lock-off strength is enough. For that, yeah, working towards being able to do around a half a dozen pullups seems a really good goal.

GO


Partner cracklover


Feb 10, 2012, 12:20 PM
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Re: [shockabuku] weight training for advanced climbing [In reply to]
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shockabuku wrote:
granite_grrl wrote:
I'm hoping to hear from people who climb 5.12 and above on how they used specific weight training to help them climb harder, what they did and how it helped. Thanks.

Well that really narrowed the field of desired input, at least from this audience.

I guess I should clarify that:

- I have never used specific weight training to help me climb harder, but I *have* seen how certain strengths and deficits have impacted both my climbing and other people's climbing, and seen them change over time.

- I do climb 5.12

- I have done extensive weight training for other purposes, and have seen impact on my climbing.

GO


jt512


Feb 10, 2012, 12:32 PM
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granite_grrl wrote:
So I was just hoping to get some feedback from anyone else that has done weight lifting to try to improve strength so they can climb harder. Suggestions on exercises, etc.

I'm not interested in the 5.10 climber telling me how awesome pullups have been for them and their climbing, or people telling me how amazing Crossfit is for this kind of thing. I'm hoping to hear from people who climb 5.12 and above on how they used specific weight training to help them climb harder, what they did and how it helped. Thanks.

The answer isn't "brute strength." When I'm in top shape I can probably do about 10 pull-ups, so I'm not strong by any means. Nonetheless, having climbed up to low 5.13, I cannot recall ever having encountered a move that I wasn't "strong" enough to do. I've been stopped by lack of forearm endurance, lack of power-endurance, poor body tension, poor timing, misuse of balance, poor movement initiation, poor pacing, etc. The solution to such problems is not weightlifting; it's sport-specific training. And guess which book you should be turning to for that? No climbing gym in the off-season? Then training on a wall at home will be infinitely more beneficial to your climbing than anything you can do in a weight gym.

That doesn't answer the question you asked, but I strongly suspect that you're asking the wrong question.

Jay


olderic


Feb 10, 2012, 12:48 PM
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I climbed my first climb rated 5.12 in 1991 (I climbed things that hard 10-12 years before that but that was before grade inflation and they weren't rated 5.12), I climbed my last (well hopefully not my last but I'm having major rotator cuff surgery next week - so who knows) one last year. In all that time span I never followed any formalized weight training program for very long. I did knock out a lot of oullups - variety of grips and dabbled with Long's "workout from hell" occasionally but I never noticed any particular correlation. I have a extremely high slow twitch/fast twitch ratio so I am never going to be able to get very strong - but could easily hurt myself trying. I'm sure you can point to many routes with a well defined power crux, even more common in bouldering, but I think at the 5.12 level you are still going to find the majority of routes will succumb to technique and endurance.

If your genetic makeup allows you to gain strength easily (fast twitch) then go for it - follow any of the pyramid/periodization schemes. Focus on the muscles that are not your primamry climbing ones as they need it more.


lena_chita
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Feb 10, 2012, 1:05 PM
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olderic wrote:
I climbed my first climb rated 5.12 in 1991 (I climbed things that hard 10-12 years before that but that was before grade inflation and they weren't rated 5.12), I climbed my last (well hopefully not my last but I'm having major rotator cuff surgery next week - so who knows) one last year. In all that time span I never followed any formalized weight training program for very long. I did knock out a lot of oullups - variety of grips and dabbled with Long's "workout from hell" occasionally but I never noticed any particular correlation. I have a extremely high slow twitch/fast twitch ratio so I am never going to be able to get very strong - but could easily hurt myself trying. I'm sure you can point to many routes with a well defined power crux, even more common in bouldering, but I think at the 5.12 level you are still going to find the majority of routes will succumb to technique and endurance.

If your genetic makeup allows you to gain strength easily (fast twitch) then go for it - follow any of the pyramid/periodization schemes. Focus on the muscles that are not your primamry climbing ones as they need it more.

I am curious-- how do you know this (the bolded part)? Is this an inference from the kind of response you see to training, or did you actually have some kind of testing done?


olderic


Feb 10, 2012, 1:39 PM
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lena_chita wrote:

I am curious-- how do you know this (the bolded part)? Is this an inference from the kind of response you see to training, or did you actually have some kind of testing done?

Fair question but my answer may be flawed. I have not been tested. So I am inferring it based on my performance doing a number of things.

Running - my times for shorter distances are way worse proportionally then longer ones. According to my 1/2 or full marathon PR's my PR for a mile should have been 45 seconds faster (that was long ago). Still long ago - but more recently in my bicycle racing days - if I could get out on a small break I could usually hold it, hills were easy, but I would get dusted badly if it came to a pack sprint (which it usually did). Weight lifting - if I took just a little off my 1 rep max I could do a lot more reps then the charts would indicate. Pullups - in my prime I could just about always squeeze out one more - just hang dead arm for a minute and I'd recover enough to do one. But weigh me down or make me do 1 arms (I did one once after I had been sick and lost weight) and I was hopeless. And finally take boudering - I know old people usually suck at it so there is that factor but I am even worse - just can not go big. Or medium. Or teeny weenie. But if you are having troubles with a 200' V2 traverse I'll think it's dead easy.

So I don't actually know about slow v. fast twitch but I am definitely not at the power end of the spectrum and I have typically developed tendon problems when I have tried to change that.


granite_grrl


Feb 10, 2012, 5:17 PM
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Re: [camhead] weight training for advanced climbing [In reply to]
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camhead wrote:
Beccs, I've seen you climb, and rarely have you (or most other people) failed because of weak triceps or lats (though, I dunno, all that mixed tooling you guys do might be another story).

Work forearms and lockoff strength for maximum performance on the rock. For forearms and finger strength, try fnger rolls. Get a standard bench press bar, add enough weights so that it weighs the same as you. Hold it at about waist level, palms outward, then do reps of letting the bar roll down to your finger tips, and curl it back up again to a closed fist. It's the best forearm workout you can do, apart from hangboarding.

You're right, I'm not failing because of lats or traps, but the one-arm lat pull downs are the best exercise I can find that mimics lock off. I also seems the my lats are better developed than my biceps and my arms get worked more than my lats do with this exercise (I also feel the rows maybe more in my arms than a regular weight lifter would too).

The finger strength component it a huge part of what I'm missing through the winter. I need to figure out how to convince Nathan I should have the hang board in my possession instead of him, but until then I'll see about starting the finger rolls in the gym too.


granite_grrl


Feb 10, 2012, 5:23 PM
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Re: [jt512] weight training for advanced climbing [In reply to]
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jt512 wrote:
granite_grrl wrote:
So I was just hoping to get some feedback from anyone else that has done weight lifting to try to improve strength so they can climb harder. Suggestions on exercises, etc.

I'm not interested in the 5.10 climber telling me how awesome pullups have been for them and their climbing, or people telling me how amazing Crossfit is for this kind of thing. I'm hoping to hear from people who climb 5.12 and above on how they used specific weight training to help them climb harder, what they did and how it helped. Thanks.

The answer isn't "brute strength." When I'm in top shape I can probably do about 10 pull-ups, so I'm not strong by any means. Nonetheless, having climbed up to low 5.13, I cannot recall ever having encountered a move that I wasn't "strong" enough to do. I've been stopped by lack of forearm endurance, lack of power-endurance, poor body tension, poor timing, misuse of balance, poor movement initiation, poor pacing, etc. The solution to such problems is not weightlifting; it's sport-specific training. And guess which book you should be turning to for that? No climbing gym in the off-season? Then training on a wall at home will be infinitely more beneficial to your climbing than anything you can do in a weight gym.

That doesn't answer the question you asked, but I strongly suspect that you're asking the wrong question.

Jay

Do you even bother to read a person's entire post before giving your generic replies?

Obviously, if I had a choice I would be bouldering on a home wall instead of going to the meathead gym if it were possible to have one in my current situation, but sometimes you just have to work with what you've got.


jt512


Feb 10, 2012, 5:26 PM
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granite_grrl wrote:
jt512 wrote:
granite_grrl wrote:
So I was just hoping to get some feedback from anyone else that has done weight lifting to try to improve strength so they can climb harder. Suggestions on exercises, etc.

I'm not interested in the 5.10 climber telling me how awesome pullups have been for them and their climbing, or people telling me how amazing Crossfit is for this kind of thing. I'm hoping to hear from people who climb 5.12 and above on how they used specific weight training to help them climb harder, what they did and how it helped. Thanks.

The answer isn't "brute strength." When I'm in top shape I can probably do about 10 pull-ups, so I'm not strong by any means. Nonetheless, having climbed up to low 5.13, I cannot recall ever having encountered a move that I wasn't "strong" enough to do. I've been stopped by lack of forearm endurance, lack of power-endurance, poor body tension, poor timing, misuse of balance, poor movement initiation, poor pacing, etc. The solution to such problems is not weightlifting; it's sport-specific training. And guess which book you should be turning to for that? No climbing gym in the off-season? Then training on a wall at home will be infinitely more beneficial to your climbing than anything you can do in a weight gym.

That doesn't answer the question you asked, but I strongly suspect that you're asking the wrong question.

Jay

Do you even bother to read a person's entire post before giving your generic replies?

Obviously, if I had a choice I would be bouldering on a home wall instead of going to the meathead gym if it were possible to have one in my current situation, but sometimes you just have to work with what you've got.

You're welcome.

Jay


granite_grrl


Feb 10, 2012, 5:31 PM
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Re: [olderic] weight training for advanced climbing [In reply to]
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olderic wrote:
I climbed my first climb rated 5.12 in 1991 (I climbed things that hard 10-12 years before that but that was before grade inflation and they weren't rated 5.12), I climbed my last (well hopefully not my last but I'm having major rotator cuff surgery next week - so who knows) one last year. In all that time span I never followed any formalized weight training program for very long. I did knock out a lot of oullups - variety of grips and dabbled with Long's "workout from hell" occasionally but I never noticed any particular correlation. I have a extremely high slow twitch/fast twitch ratio so I am never going to be able to get very strong - but could easily hurt myself trying. I'm sure you can point to many routes with a well defined power crux, even more common in bouldering, but I think at the 5.12 level you are still going to find the majority of routes will succumb to technique and endurance.

If your genetic makeup allows you to gain strength easily (fast twitch) then go for it - follow any of the pyramid/periodization schemes. Focus on the muscles that are not your primamry climbing ones as they need it more.

I have fully considered that weight training might not make a difference in my climbing. I figure worse case is that I might be able to meet some people by going to workout on a regular basis when I'm new in town.

I am struggling with a workout what I feel might give me the best chance of seeing some gains though. I really haven't done much weight training in the past and figure I should myself the best shot I can at getting some benefits from this (hopefully the triceps and rotator cuff stuff will prevent some injury in the future).


JoeNYC


Feb 11, 2012, 12:05 AM
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I kinda know the feeling. I was a gym regular for a few months once, though I cant say i got better at climbing, I definitely felt stronger. Personally, putting time in on the fingerboard is what really helped me get over some plateaus. That said, There are a bunch of exercises that I did, and though you've probably heard of these already, here they are:

Frenchies: a few cycles of these in a row is tough, and a fun marker of progress.

Staggered Pull-ups: the things where you sling a towel or a bungee or whatever over the bar and focus on the higher hand to get you up, and remember to stay square to the bar, a lot of (weak) people curl up on these. You can build up all the way to one-armers doing these!

Also, folks I know have done "reverse bicep curls," saying that it targets some muscles used in locking off, I'm not super experienced with these, but I believe having a good lock-off makes life easier on lots of routes. (However, putting time in on the fingerboard is what really helped me in the strength department.)

Rowing seems like a good way to get the back strong for overhanging stuff, just speculating though. I agree with doing some shoulder and chest stuff too, there is little worse than feeling strong after doing all your training and hurting a rotator cuff or whatever. Also don't neglect the sit-ups, leg-lifts and all that jazz.


Diddii


Feb 11, 2012, 6:45 AM
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master your core muscles. For advanced core work look up front lever and back lever. If you can't do them you can always get a stronger core. This will help you use your legs better and transfer energy through the body while moving


Partner rgold


Feb 11, 2012, 10:15 AM
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I got up to 5.12 trad and v7 or so BITD with a combination of weekend climbing and gym work before there were climbing gyms and hangboards. No doubt what we were doing was inefficient and in some cases irrelevant, and perhaps, had we had the benefit of modern knowledge and technique, we could have done much better, but I find it pretty hard to believe the training we did was useless. If you don't have access to the modern training aids, I think what we did suggests you can make a hell of a lot of progress.

We did, however, do what I'd call playground gymnastics exercises rather than pumping iron. And those exercises had, as their basic ingredients (which we often combined when we got stronger) pullups (ultimately on just a single arm), front levers, and muscle-ups.

The only thing needed for these exercises is a pullup bar (with enough clearance above if you want to do muscle-ups).

The secret to doing and progressing at all these things is to have a good system for taking off body weight. Probably the most adjustable system for this is to use counterweights, something many hangboarders do nowadays as well. You will have to set things up so that the counterweight is not immediately in front of you when you are doing the exercise; the simplest way to do this is to have two pulleys on either side outside your hand grips and a counterweight on each pulley. (But if you want to train muscle-ups, you might need to find a way to mount the pulleys heigher than the bar.) The rope from the pulleys is clipped to a harness belay loop.

A much less involved and still very effective approach is to use latex surgical tubing as a giant adjustable rubber band. This is what we did BITD. You clove-hitch the tubing to the bar with the knots outside your hand positions, pull it down and stand on it with the aid of a short webbing foot sling. (Don't just stand on the tubing. Sooner or later, it will snap off your feet and deliver a nasty welt when it hits you.)

You can get latex surgical tubing from diving supply places as well as medical and chemical supply houses. Make sure you are getting latex and not some other rubber; nothing else stretches like the latex tubing. Do not try to use any of the bungie-style cords sold for outdoor and automotive purposes; they do not have remotely enough stretch range.

Try to get tubing with the most rubber, i.e. the biggest outside diameter and smallest inside diameter. You may have to experiment with, say, two strands of thinner tubing.

The tubing is used for progression by tying it up longer so that it gives less help. My experience and that of my friends is that is is just guaranteed to work. I'm always surprised that people can't get past the really minor hassles of obtaining the stuff and working out how to set it up, considering how effective it is.

Counterweighted exercises (I'm now using the term to either actual counterweights or latex surgical tubing) are far more effective than, say lat pulldowns. I had friends doing those when we started with the counterweight stuff, and we pulled far ahead of them in strength, even though they seemed to be pulling big weights on the machines. When they saw what was happening, they gave up on the machines and went to the tubing methods. The counterweighted exercises seem to allow you to engage your body muscles in a way that is far more realistic for climbing, at least that is the only reason I can think of for why they were so much more successful than weight machines.

Some comments on specific exercises.

Pullups. I see high-end sport-climbers making catches that cause their feet to blow. You need solid pull-up strength to control you body in those positions. What you don't need is to be able to do 20 pullups, but you do need, and they certainly have, the ability to do a few pullups with more, probably considerably more, than body weight. Pullup training, if you are going to do it, should aim for high strength, not high reps.

After years of experimentation, here is what I think works best: 4--5 sets, cycling through the following rep patterns: 10 reps, 5 reps, and 3 reps. So you start out adjusting your tubing so you can do 4 sets of ten reps (I take a three-minute rest). When you can do 5 sets of ten reps, you lengthen the tubing and shoot for 4 sets of 5 reps. When you can do 5 sets of 5 reps, you lengthen the tubing again and shoot for 4 sets of 3 reps. When you can do 5 sets of 3 reps, go back to the ten-rep stage, but with the tubing longer so you are using more of your body weight.

Lockoffs. Dynamic sport-climbing technique has diminished the importance of lock-off strength, perhaps to the point of irrelevancy if your timing is good enough. But you still need it in a serious way for trad climbing, since gear at full extension cannot be placed dynamically.

The low-rep high-intensity phases of the pullups will increase lock-off ability considerably. You can also throw in a "frenchies" phase in the pullup sequence described above. Most people I've seen do an "easy" version of frenchies that is not the most effective. The several-second holds should be performed on the way up, not on the way down, forcing you to pull out of the hold for the two lower positions. So: you pull up to elbows at 120 degrees, hold for several seconds, then pull to elbows at 90 degrees, hold for several seconds, then pull to elbows at 0 degrees, hold for several seconds, lower, and repeat.

Front levers. I think these are a very useful climbing exercise, and here is my indirect reasoning for it: after years spent in gyms with all kinds of different athletes, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that climbers, as a group, can come closer to performing a front lever than any other type of athlete besides, of course, gymnasts. Whatever it is that climbers do, it is training front-lever strength. It follows that training front-lever strength should be useful for climbing.

How front-levers actually apply to climbing is probably far more subtle than people realize. In particular, I doubt that they provide any advantages for severely overhanging climbing. It is in the near-vertical to just slightly beyond vertical realm, when confronted with moves that demand that your hands get low but you body still needs to be close to the wall, that front levers probably really come into play.

Front levers with tubing are trained the same way as pullups. Adjust the tubing until you can pull into and hold a lever for three seconds. Do single sets of these, adding to the time you hold the lever. When you are holding them for ten seconds, it is time to lengthen the tubing.

Many people never get the lever position right because they are always piked. In order to avoid this, lie down on the ground on you back so that your body is straight, bend your head up, and see what your body should look like when it is straight. (You probably won't see your thighs at all, just your toes). Remember this when you are trying to achieve the lever position. it helps a lot to have a spotter put you in the right position so you get a kinesthetic sense of what to shoot for.

There is a whole progression of pseudo front-lever positions one can work through without the tubing, but I think the tubing is as effective or more so.

Muscle-ups. These are arguably the least important of the three exercises. BITD when hard mantles were a bouldering subspecialty, muscle-ups has more of a place. Whether there is any real use in today's climbing world, other than finishing certain boulder problems with style rather than flopping over the top like a beached whale, is seriously open to question. I used to be fond of the muscle up-front lever combination---perform a front-lever, go from there to a muscle-up, lower back to a front lever, etc. As wth all the other exercises, it is easy to set up the tubing to assist these.

The only thing I'll add here about muscle-ups is that you will find them totally impossible if you do not start with what is called a ``false grip.'' After grasping the bar normally, a false grip is achieved by rotating the hand over the bar until you weight is essentially on the heel of your hand. This puts your hand in the position it has to be into support you when you are straight-armed above the bsr.

Well, this has been a long account of techniques now pretty well discredited, and I am sure that there is little point in trying all this stuff if you have access to anything of a modern nature. I am equally sure that these exercises are going to be far more effective for climbing than traditional weight-room work, even when such work is done with pulleys to mimic body-weight exercises. If anyone wants to PM me for even more esoteric and out-of-date information about the fine points of latex tube-ology, keeping in mind its questionable utility for the modern climber, feel free...

Having heaped scorn on the weight room---and after this I promise to shut up---I think it is important to do some basic dumbell shoulder work, as well as some resistance-band rotator-cuff exercises (your latex tubing can be substituted for the resistance bands), in order to keep your shoulders healthy.


johnwesely


Feb 11, 2012, 10:27 AM
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rgold wrote:
Well, this has been a long account of techniques now pretty well discredited, and I am sure that there is little point in trying all this stuff if you have access to anything of a modern nature. I am equally sure that these exercises are going to be far more effective for climbing than traditional weight-room work, even when such work is done with pulleys to mimic body-weight exercises. If anyone wants to PM me for even more esoteric and out-of-date information about the fine points of latex tube-ology, keeping in mind its questionable utility for the modern climber, feel free...

That was an interesting read. Climbers really had to be strong back in the day.


ceebo


Feb 11, 2012, 2:16 PM
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Just focus on dead hangs, lock offs and core. You need nothing more than at your level rung screwed above a door frame.

Or splash out.. get a hang board or even a small home wall.


Partner rgold


Feb 11, 2012, 2:52 PM
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johnwesely wrote:
Climbers really had to be strong back in the day.

Elite climbers today are far stonger. Have a look at http://vimeo.com/36429174 and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=54VtaVbJdLo for example.


johnwesely


Feb 11, 2012, 8:09 PM
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rgold wrote:
johnwesely wrote:
Climbers really had to be strong back in the day.

Elite climbers today are far stonger. Have a look at http://vimeo.com/36429174 and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=54VtaVbJdLo for example.

That may be true, but how on earth did you guys manage to pull off those Gunks routes without sticky rubber or cams. It blows my mind.


flesh


Feb 11, 2012, 10:27 PM
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Personally, after trying many things, nothing helps with climbing except strengthening the opposing muscle groups. i have tried dozens of things.

Considering you said you can only do 1-2 pull ups, I would suggest pull ups and opposing muscle workouts. Shoulder presses with low weigth, push ups, reverse wrist curls, negatives with the finger muscles.

If you really want to improve and you can't climb or get to the climbing gym, get a hangboard and workout every other day on it. There's abolutely no workout that will come close to the improvements you'll see from a hangboard. You can do pull ups on it of course.


granite_grrl


Feb 13, 2012, 4:34 AM
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Great post, thanks for spending the time on that, rgold.

I think one of the things I need to make a priority to get is some sort of tubbing for pullup and other exercise assistance. I have gone through cycles of trying to increase the number of pullups I can do, but the rep of 1 or 2 has always put too much stress on my body and I usually stop before I realy make any progress because me elbos start feeling tweaky.

These are the sorts of bands that I'm thinking of, but I'm having problems finding places that carry them or online places based in Canada. I've used them in the past and they're pretty handy:

http://rubberbanditz.com/pull-up-bands/

I have never thought of using them to help toward levers though, which is a great idea.


Partner rgold


Feb 13, 2012, 8:51 AM
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G-Girl, the rubber bands are an interesting but seriously flawed idea. (And it is amusing to see Crossfit bursting through assisted pullup doors that have been open for fifty years or more.) The problem with the rubber bands is that they aren't adjustable. In order to get a range of resistances, you have to buy a range of bands, and there will inevitably be jumps in the amount of effort you have to supply when you go from one level of band to the next.

Of course, this makes good commercial sense---the consumer will need lot's of products, but even so it will be significantly less effective than tubing.

By contrast, latex surgical tubing (same material as the bands) clove-hitched to the bar is continually adjustable, and so allows you to make arbitrarily small fine-tuned adjustments to the amount of help you are getting. You can do the entire 10-rep, 5-rep, 3-rep cycle I described with the same piece of tubing tied up differently, whereas you'd need at least three different rubber bands to do the same thing and the gaps in resistance might never be right.

Edit: The bands are girth-hitched to the bar. You could get some adjustment by wrapping them around more than once, i.e. tying Prusik knots with more and more turns. I still think the tubing will work better, but maybe I'm just biased towards what I know.

A trick for keeping track of tubing lengths: install some pony-tail rubber bands on the tubing at the place where you are tying the clove-hitches. This gives you a consistent resistance level each time and helps you to fine-tune how much extra length to provide as you get stronger.

There is also a very minor body position trick to learn. You may find the tubing wants to pull your leg out in front of you, and if this happens you lose a lot of lifting effect. As you weight the sling you have to bring your leg back slightly behind the plane of your body to keep the tubing pulling up vertically.

I think the reason you are struggling with pullups is that, at your current level of strength, they are too hard. One to two reps is at or near your maximum strength, and trying to train at that level is going to injure you and probably won't get you very far.

You need a level of resistance that will enable you to do far more reps. My suggestion in the previous post is you want a base of five sets of ten reps (3 minute rest between sets) before moving on to higher intensities. Also, remember to train at a resistance level that doesn't hurt anything. If your elbows start to ache, rest, rehab, and then reset the tubing to give more help.

In order to start off at or near the ten-rep level, you may want to tie the tubing up so that it barely hangs any distance below the bar. The tubing can handle this; it will stretch way more than the two and a half times the Crossfit site claims. But it can be hard to get your foot in the sling when you are pulling against a lot of resistance. The solution is to stand on something, a chair, a box, a stool, step into the sling from a high position, and then lower down to a full hang.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say anyone who thinks that adding some strength in your case will be irrelevant to your climbing is oversold on the movement approach. Of course technique is far more important than strength, and of course people continually mistake the effects of bad technique for a lack of strength, but strength plays a role in difficult climbing and you are at a level where more strength is going to make a difference.

That said, if your hand endurance and finger strength decline as you build pullup strength, you will not notice climbing gains, and may very well feel you have lost something. Upper-body strength is useless if you can't hang on to apply it.

I used the same piece of tubing for more than 30 years. Over time, it got pretty chewed up. It abrades at the knots and where the sling is installed. I started to worry it might break, so finally bought another piece from http://www.reefscuba.com/surgical_tubing.htm
You might have to experiment with different sizes. I'd go with the biggest thing you can get in a 10 foot continuous length, which appears to be 1/2" OD 1/4" ID, catalog reference RS500-RA10, for $16 US.


(This post was edited by rgold on Feb 13, 2012, 8:56 AM)

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