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Snowbat


Nov 29, 2012, 4:56 AM
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Forearms fail too early
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Whenever I go indoor climbing, my inner forearms are the first muscle group to fail on me. And it happens pretty early on.
Needless to say, when your forearms fail, your climb fails.

I'm still a beginner (I've only been climbing for about 2-3 months) but I never thought my forearms would be my weak spot. Back when i did martial arts, my forearms could take a crazy amount of hits and I could punch pretty hard. I don't really understand but whatever...
Anyway is there a way for me to do something about this? Are there any simple workout excercices I could do? Like, I dunno, just holding a very heavy weight to train endurance or something?
I currently climb 5a routes, but I'm not sure that 100% accurate. There are two indoor facilities I go climbing: one is known to be pretty difficult and that's the one where I can do a 5a.
On the other facility is noticably easier and I can do a 5b with relative ease on that one.

Climbing is very fun and I love everything about it, but I find it to have strange effects on one's body. Of all people I see climbing regularly, not one of them looks skinny. Even kids. They actually look somewhat muscular without looking like hulks, but still defenitely more than the average person of that age.
I thought climbing would really not increase muscle mass to be honest. Not that it bothers me, but it's funny to see, even if it's somewhat intimidating to see a 12 year old do a 6+ route with ease while I struggle to finish that 5a :-)


(This post was edited by Snowbat on Nov 29, 2012, 5:09 AM)


granite_grrl


Nov 29, 2012, 6:10 AM
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Re: [Snowbat] Forearms fail too early [In reply to]
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Snowbat wrote:
Whenever I go indoor climbing, my inner forearms are the first muscle group to fail on me. And it happens pretty early on.
Needless to say, when your forearms fail, your climb fails.

I'm still a beginner (I've only been climbing for about 2-3 months) but I never thought my forearms would be my weak spot. Back when i did martial arts, my forearms could take a crazy amount of hits and I could punch pretty hard. I don't really understand but whatever...
Anyway is there a way for me to do something about this? Are there any simple workout excercices I could do? Like, I dunno, just holding a very heavy weight to train endurance or something?
I currently climb 5a routes, but I'm not sure that 100% accurate. There are two indoor facilities I go climbing: one is known to be pretty difficult and that's the one where I can do a 5a.
On the other facility is noticably easier and I can do a 5b with relative ease on that one.

Climbing is very fun and I love everything about it, but I find it to have strange effects on one's body. Of all people I see climbing regularly, not one of them looks skinny. Even kids. They actually look somewhat muscular without looking like hulks, but still defenitely more than the average person of that age.
I thought climbing would really not increase muscle mass to be honest. Not that it bothers me, but it's funny to see, even if it's somewhat intimidating to see a 12 year old do a 6+ route with ease while I struggle to finish that 5a :-)

Your forearms are failing because of lack of endurence. It doesn't matter how strong these muscles are, you can't expect someone you excels at squats to go run a marathon.

At this point you need to increase your endurnce, and that takes time. If you want to concentrait on it work on staying on the all longer doing things like traversing the gym (if really interested in this kind of training look up ARCing).


louBlissab


Nov 29, 2012, 7:00 AM
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Re: [Snowbat] Forearms fail too early [In reply to]
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The best exercise for climbing is climbing.

Don't be fooled into thinking that your difficultly in moving up through the grades directly relates to muscular failure. The fact that you have been climbing for a very short period of time, probably points to your footwork, movement skills and your climbing efficiency has not been developed. Your are probably burning yourself-out.

The more you climb and watch other better climbers climb, you will also develop the footwork and movement skills necessary to move up through the grades and enjoy the sport.

You past athletic experiences may or maynot be of any advantage to climbing. The skill set in climbing vary greatly with other sports. However, I personnally feel that yoga translates perfectly to climbing from the standpoint of movement skill, core-strength, flexibillity, mental strenght, etc.

Climbing is a power to weight ratio sport. This is why you see the 12-year old girls cranking 5.12's in the gym. Thusly, any weight you can reduce will help you in the power to weight ratio aspect. Try adjusting your diet.

Ultimately, the best advice is just to climb and enjoy the sport and lifestyle and let it all come to you in time.

Climb safe.


rsd212


Nov 29, 2012, 9:55 AM
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Re: [Snowbat] Forearms fail too early [In reply to]
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Never forget technique. If you're overgripping, not finding stable positions while assessing the next move, not finding rests, etc, then you're going to simply use more forearm than is necessary. Climbing a route with good technique is like getting a free boost in endurance.


markc


Nov 29, 2012, 10:36 AM
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Re: [Snowbat] Forearms fail too early [In reply to]
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You don't mention your gender. Early on, some men primarily rely on strength to muscle through routes. As others have said, just climbing and focusing on things like balance, footwork, and general technique may yield better results than worrying about strengthening your forearms.

If you get nervous, remind yourself to climb with straight arms as much as possible and to not overgrip holds. Rely upon your legs and your frame as much as possible. You might consider bumping down the difficulty and focusing on technique and climbing efficiently.


lena_chita
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Nov 29, 2012, 11:11 AM
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Re: [Snowbat] Forearms fail too early [In reply to]
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Snowbat wrote:
Whenever I go indoor climbing, my inner forearms are the first muscle group to fail on me. And it happens pretty early on.
Needless to say, when your forearms fail, your climb fails.

I'm still a beginner (I've only been climbing for about 2-3 months) but I never thought my forearms would be my weak spot. Back when i did martial arts, my forearms could take a crazy amount of hits and I could punch pretty hard. I don't really understand but whatever...
Anyway is there a way for me to do something about this? Are there any simple workout excercices I could do? Like, I dunno, just holding a very heavy weight to train endurance or something?
I currently climb 5a routes, but I'm not sure that 100% accurate. There are two indoor facilities I go climbing: one is known to be pretty difficult and that's the one where I can do a 5a.
On the other facility is noticably easier and I can do a 5b with relative ease on that one.

Climbing is very fun and I love everything about it, but I find it to have strange effects on one's body. Of all people I see climbing regularly, not one of them looks skinny. Even kids. They actually look somewhat muscular without looking like hulks, but still defenitely more than the average person of that age.
I thought climbing would really not increase muscle mass to be honest. Not that it bothers me, but it's funny to see, even if it's somewhat intimidating to see a 12 year old do a 6+ route with ease while I struggle to finish that 5a :-)

Your forearms are getting pumped. You are a new climber, you have no endurance, it is normal.

Pumping happens to everybody, it just happens on harder climbs for more experienced climbers.

As a beginner, you need to focus on your technique, focus on not overgriping holds, on moving efficiently, etc. etc. If you climb a lot, your forearms, as well as the rest of your body, will adjust to a new physical activity. Eventually you will learn how to manage the pump by managing the pace at which you climb, by taking time to recover whenever you have a good hold to rest on, and so on.

And as far as 12yo climbing 6a... puhleese! I watched a 12yo flash 8a this past weekend! Why would you be intimidated by it though? it is pretty cool to watch, and who climbs what and how hard does not, in any way, preclude your enjoyment of the climbs that you are doing. Unless, of course, you choose to.


Wade308


Nov 29, 2012, 11:45 AM
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Re: [Snowbat] Forearms fail too early [In reply to]
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I have the same problem. I think it's more of a tendon issue than muscle (at least for me).

When I work out, I try to throw in some farmer carries and/or pull-ups off of my fingertips to get that deep forearm soreness, since I can only get out and climb once a week.

My trainer gets it too, when we do litter carries with barbells or things like that, and he's a pretty built dude. It's that working of the fingers that "pulls" up through the forearms I think. Not something you typically work, other than climbing... or carrying buckets all day.


(This post was edited by Wade308 on Nov 29, 2012, 11:51 AM)


louBlissab


Nov 29, 2012, 12:03 PM
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Re: [Wade308] Forearms fail too early [In reply to]
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Wade308 wrote:
I have the same problem. I think it's more of a tendon issue than muscle (at least for me).

When I work out, I try to throw in some farmer carries and/or pull-ups off of my fingertips to get that deep forearm soreness, since I can only get out and climb once a week.

My trainer gets it too, when we do litter carries with barbells or things like that, and he's a pretty built dude. It's that working of the fingers that "pulls" up through the forearms I think. Not something you typically work, other than climbing... or carrying buckets all day.

The key to climbing better and moving up through the grades, in my opinion, training efficiently and properly.

The weight lifting, pull-ups, forearms workouts, etc. only go so far until they become inefficient training with diminishing results. A person can train the wrong muscle groups, which can be counterproductive to climbing, i.e. the power to weight ratio issue.

Climbing is a full body and mind exercise and nothing mimics a climbing workout other than actually climbing. Along with the mental aspect, the footwork/movement skill aspect, a strong core may be the most important part of a good climber's body. The harder grades require a very strong core to maintain the required movement and not burn-out.


sycamore


Nov 29, 2012, 12:48 PM
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Re: [louBlissab] Forearms fail too early [In reply to]
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I cannot believe anyone responded to this. T1000.


louBlissab


Nov 29, 2012, 1:59 PM
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Re: [sycamore] Forearms fail too early [In reply to]
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sycamore wrote:
I cannot believe anyone responded to this. T1000.

Why is it so hard to believe that someone responded to this post...you did.

The original question seems reasonable and honest from someone who is new.


Snowbat


Nov 29, 2012, 2:24 PM
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sycamore wrote:
I cannot believe anyone responded to this. T1000.
What's so bizarre about my question? I really did notice that most of the time, my grip will fail far before other body parts fail.

I think my main problem is indeed endurance (which martial arts never really trained) and technique.
And like most of you say: the best thing to do, is to climb more and get better.

I'm male by the way for the poster who was wondering. And I'm 30 years old.
Fortunately, I have a reasonable weight: I'm about 180lbs and 6.3" tall so I'm not overweight. I just don't want to be too skinny like I was a couple of years ago before taking up sports (I was 151lbs for the same height)

Bottom line: climb more :)
And perhaps do some cardio to get rid of that thin layer of belly fat. It's just a thin layer, but it's unneeded weight I have to carry around when climbing. Though that might not be needed since I heard climbing is actually a good fat-burner. Dunno if it's true though.

Thanks guys!


Syd


Nov 30, 2012, 12:04 PM
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All beginners get forearm pump because fear causes them to contract in, giving bend arms. Fear also takes power from legs, putting even more load on those bent arms.
Learn some technique.


theextremist04


Dec 2, 2012, 7:37 PM
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Re: [Syd] Forearms fail too early [In reply to]
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Syd wrote:
All beginners get forearm pump because fear causes them to contract in, giving bend arms. Fear also takes power from legs, putting even more load on those bent arms.
Learn some technique.
I don't think that's true.


Syd


Dec 2, 2012, 7:58 PM
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theextremist04 wrote:
I don't think that's true.

Watch some videos of beginners, then top climbers. Ever seen a beginner keep his arms straight by flagging ?


Snowbat


Dec 3, 2012, 3:28 AM
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Actually, I often do stretch my arms when holding on a grip. It puts less stress on my upper arms and it feels less exhausting. I seem to do this instinctively. Perhaps that's a remain of when I used to wallclimb when I was a 12 year old kid.
But it doesn't take away the stress on my inner forearms.

I guess I'll just have to get better by climbing more. Which is good because I love climbing :-)

Still confused on one thing though: being bulky will make you heavier and make it harder to climb, but I don't really see a frail and too skinny person do this sport neither.


(This post was edited by Snowbat on Dec 3, 2012, 3:32 AM)


louBlissab


Dec 3, 2012, 6:24 AM
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Re: [Snowbat] Forearms fail too early [In reply to]
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Snowbat wrote:

Still confused on one thing though: being bulky will make you heavier and make it harder to climb, but I don't really see a frail and too skinny person do this sport neither.

It all has to do with power-to-weight ratio and the correct muscle groups efficiently contributing to the specific endevour, whether it it be climbing or something else.

Seldom if ever, do you see top climbers, olyimpic gymnasts or martial artist having a bulked-up body types. They have lean body types and do not have non-specific overly developed muscle groups.


(This post was edited by louBlissab on Dec 3, 2012, 6:25 AM)


Ozerom


Dec 4, 2012, 3:46 AM
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Each sport uses a different part of a group of muscles. No matter how much sport you've done before, matter what activity you've made. The best way to adapt your muscles to climbing is climbing. Make a good progression and see the results.


climber511


Dec 4, 2012, 6:06 AM
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The book "Performance Rock Climbing" has some good info on this subject. I think it should be a "must read" for most new climbers. Of course lots more climbing will help the most - but there are things one can do in the gym (weight room gym) to help with the situation.


JAB


Dec 7, 2012, 7:51 AM
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Snowbat wrote:
Whenever I go indoor climbing, my inner forearms are the first muscle group to fail on me. And it happens pretty early on.
Needless to say, when your forearms fail, your climb fails.

I'm still a beginner (I've only been climbing for about 2-3 months) but I never thought my forearms would be my weak spot. Back when i did martial arts, my forearms could take a crazy amount of hits and I could punch pretty hard. I don't really understand but whatever...
Anyway is there a way for me to do something about this? Are there any simple workout excercices I could do? Like, I dunno, just holding a very heavy weight to train endurance or something?

First of all, martial arts uses totally different muscles than climbing. When your forearms fail, it really means that your finger strength is running out. And finger strength is best trained by climbing. Finger boards and similar give good results, but are very stressful and will almost certainly lead to tendon injury if you do it much early on in your career. Holding weights, doing pullups etc will have little effect on finger strenght, unless you keep your fingers in a crimp position (which again will lead to injury).

So take it easy, focus on technique, and try to instead move quickly, efficiently, and take maximum benefit of rests in the route to overcome the strength issue.


DemolitionRed


Dec 7, 2012, 9:02 AM
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Re: [JAB] Forearms fail too early [In reply to]
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The simple action of gripping something squeezes the capillaries in the muscles sufficiently to restrict the blood flow in the forearm and so very quickly fatigue sets in.
By constantly exercising those same set of muscles you not only build the muscles but improve the blood flow to them.

Keep in mind that 5's are very grabby climbs that focus on upper body strength. It gets easier Wink


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