• Coming Back From Injury
  • Get Trip-Fit Fast
  • Systems Wall and Symmetrical Training
  • Coaching Climbing - How To Train Juniors with Care and Caution
  • Grip Trainers - Gimmicks, or Worth the Money?
  • Hangboarding for Endurance: Not Just for Power
  • Simulation Training: How to Do a Move You Can't Do
  • Planning a Year's Climbing
  • Portable Training Rigs - How to Stay Fit on the Go
  • How to Keep Your Job and Family and Still Climb at Your Limit
  • Suspension Training for Rock Climbing
  • Eat Fat, Climb Harder - The Ketogenic Diet
  • Witness the Mental Fitness: Set Thought Aside to Improve Performance
  • Mental Training Made Simple
  • Counterintuitive Climbing Tips to Change Your Game - Part 2
  • Endurance Training Tips for Winter
  • Five Counterintuitive Climbing Tips to Change Your Game - Part 1
  • Staying Power - How to Last All Day at the Crag
  • Attack and Defend - Tips for Effective Resting
  • Change Up - Plug the Gaps In Your Strength Training This Winter
  • Training While Injured
  • The Hard Way, Easier: How to Cope with Redpoint Nerves
  • Climbing Literacy - Get Better Instantly by Reading Routes
  • The Numbers Game - How to Use Your Age to Your Advantage
  • Injury-Free Bouldering: 15 Tips to Keep You Healthy and Strong
  • Injury-Free Boarding: 14 Training Tips to Save Your Fingers
  • The Truth About Caffeine and Climbing
  • Pushing Past Your Training Plateau
  • Five Strategies to Sharpen Concentration and Climb Better
  • Five Ways to Get Better Without Training
  • Beat the Burnout: Only Ondra Should Train Like Ondra
  • Effective Gym Training Strategies (for Route Climbing)
  • Should You Add Weight or Use Smaller Holds on a Hangboard?
  • Map Out a Plan with the Radar System
  • Managing the Fear of Falling
  • Projecting 101 – 6 Tips For Sending
  • Slowing the Pump Clock - Three Strategies to Prevent the Pump
  • Training on the Go
  • How to Train for Compression
  • Nutrition: Eating Your Way to Better Climbing
  • How to Dyno
  • General Conditioning for Climbers
  • Transitioning from Gym to Crag
  • Staying Strong to Perform Your Best All Season
  • How to Lose Weight for Climbing
  • Building a Better Climber: Final Phase - Peaking
  • Building a Better Climber: Phase 7 - Power Endurance Training
  • Building a Better Climber: Phase 6 - Endurance II
  • Building a Better Climber: Phase 5 - Strength and Power II
  • The Training Effect - Steve House and Scott Johnston
  • Training for Climbing: Injured? Train Your Core!
  • Building a Better Climber: Phase 4 - Power Endurance
  • Building a Better Climber: Phase 3 - Strength Training
  • Building a Better Climber: Phase 2 - Low-Intensity Endurance
  • Building a Better Climber: Phase 1 - Conditioning Phase
  • Gain Confidence by Learning Not to Fear Falling
  • Get Better When You Are Scared and Pumped
  • Never Get Pumped Again
  • Gutbusters - Core Exercises for Rock Climbing
  • Rest ... or Else
  • The Intuitive Approach to Training
  • Free Climbing Tips: Why Get Stronger When You Can Get Better?
  • Crank Like a Russian - How to Power Train for Climbing
  • How to Mentally Train
  • Boost Power With Eccentric Training
  • Tips for Better Onsighting
  • Should You Lose Weight or Get Stronger?
  • Is Protein Important?
  • Getting Strong After a Layoff
  • Does Running or Biking Improve Your Climbing?
  • Training While Hungry
  • How To Use Microcycles
  • How to Improve Slab Technique
  • How to Unlock a Crux
  • How to Use a Hangboard
  • Using a Weight Belt For Training
  • Training During Pregnancy
  • Maximizing a Small Home Wall
  • How to Stay Psyched
  • How to Prevent Bonking
  • Best Ratio of Resting to Bouldering
  • The Importance of Finger Strength
  • Regaining Confidence After a Fall
  • Overcome Anxiety and Send!
  • Maximum Training in Minimum Time
  • Dynamic vs. Static Stretching
  • Do Forearm Trainers Work?
  • Ultimate Strength
  • The Secrets of Warming Up
  • Periodized Training For the Year-round Approach
  • Resting the Perfect Amount
  • How To Recover On Route
  • Does Creatine Work?
  • Recovery Supplement Truths
  • Euro Training Secrets
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  • Training With an Injury
  • How to Beat Fear
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    Gutbusters - Core Exercises for Rock Climbing

    By Michelle Hurni

    Kim Posati reaches with her toe and sets the tip of her climbing shoe on an edge. She pulls right, shifting her weight through the hips and locking off on a crimper. Her technique is good. She's fit. This problem is going down.

    The rock juts out above and behind her. Hips up. She pushes, trying to keep her toe on the hold while extending full length to a sloper. Then her feet cut loose, and her entire lower body swings away from the rock. She struggles to kick back on, but falls.

    She has been training for months for this boulder problem. The missing link is body tension.

    The body tension she needs can be supplied by Pilates. Nearly every move a climber makes is based around the center of the body, the core. The stronger the core, the easier climbing becomes. The exercises in Pilates can strengthen the abs, back and glutes, compensating for weaknesses in other parts of your climbing, or taking your climbing to the next level by rounding out your strengths. Pilates helps you develop strength, and teaches control and breathing, key elements of climbing.

    Once you learn how to use the principles in a Pilates workout, you can incorporate those basics while you climb.

    To get the most out of training your core using Pilates, focus on quality, not quantity. It's not necessary to do hundreds of sit-ups, or spend half an hour doing ab work. With Pilates, core strength is built through slow, controlled movement, so fewer exercises are needed for results.

    A good way to improve in Pilates and climbing is to attend a Pilates ball or mat class, where the instructor can offer feedback on your technique. A class environment offers a variety of exercises and levels so you can advance as your core strength increases.

    When Kim gets back on her problem a month later, she inhales, pushes for the sloper, moves with control while exhaling. Her feet cut loose, but she's ready. Belly button to the spine, she curves through the lower back and lifts her feet easily to the holds. Kim reaches out with her right foot, using her obliques to pull her hip up and reach the crimp. Kim doesn't usually celebrate, but this time she lets out a scream that makes everyone in the gym turn and watch her finish.

    Pilates Tips

    • In Pilates, exercises are based around breathing. Exhale when the body is moving, inhale and elongate the spine when not.
    • Move at the rate of your exhalation. It's better to exhale slowly and move at the same pace than jerk through a move.
    • Inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth.
    • Scoop your abs in when exhaling. Most people tend to push their abs out when doing crunches, but in Pilates, the goal is to pull the belly button and lower abs in, as if hollowing the area out with an ice cream scoop.



    Double Straight Leg Lifts

    1. Start from the dead-hang position on any rung (the lower rungs are more challenging).
    2. Exhale and lift both legs straight in front of you from the hips while scooping the abs so the back doesn't arch.
    3. Hold the legs straight out and inhale.
    4. Exhale, scoop the abs, and slowly lower the legs back to the start position.

    Tip: If your back arches when you lower your legs, focus on scooping the lower abs and don't lift the legs as high.

    Reps: Up to 12.





    Straight Leg Lifts. Straight Leg Lifts

    1. Hang from the Rock Rings with the arms straight.
    2. Exhale and extend the left leg straight out from the hips, but angled to the right.
    3. Inhale and hold. The right leg is straight toward the floor. The left leg stretches forward across the body.
    4. Exhale, scoop the abs, and return the left leg to center.
    5. Inhale and relax through the shoulders.
    6. Exhale, scoop the abs and lift the right leg level with the hips, aiming left.
    7. Inhale and hold.
    8. Exhale, scoop the abs, and return the right leg to center.

    Tip: Keep the abs scooped through the entire exercise so the back doesn't arch.

    Reps: Alternate legs and repeat up to 12 with each leg.






    Oblique Curls. Oblique Curls

    1. Start from the dead-hang position.
    2. Exhale and draw the knees to hip level, scooping out your abs and letting your lower back curve outward.
    3. Inhale deeply through the nose.
    4. Exhale and continue to scoop the belly in, raising the right hip up and drawing your feet as close to waist level as you can.
    5. Hold with an inhalation and relax the shoulders.
    6. Exhale and bring the left hip up, lifting your feet to the left. Hold with an inhale.

    Tip: Keep the abs scooped to protect your lower back. As you get stronger, strap weights to your ankles for more core work.

    Reps: Alternate up to 12 each side.
    Exhale each time you switch sides.




    The Plank.The Plank

    1. Start face down on the mat. Place the elbows under the shoulders and curl the toes under.
    2. Scoop the abs and lift the entire body up, raising the torso and hips off the floor without arching the back.
    3. The body forms a straight line, from the shoulders to the hips, knees and heels.
    4. Focus on inhaling and stretching the body long. Pull the shoulders away from the neck and squeeze the shoulder blades together.
    5. With every exhalation, pull the belly button to the spine and maintain a straight line with the body.

    Tip: For more of a challenge, while holding the plank, extend one leg straight, hovering just off the floor, stretching the leg long. Inhale and hold, then exhale and return the foot to the floor. Alternate leg lifts.

    Tip: Another step up is to place the hands under the shoulders, arms nearly straight, with only a slight bend in the elbows.

    Reps: Most climbers can hold the plank for up to three minutes. Take a 30-second break, and then hold the plank again for up to three minutes.




    1. Start flat on your back, legs extended straight to the ceiling. Rest the arms beside the hips, palms down.
    2. Inhale and stretch the spine long.
    3. Exhale and press the lower back to the floor. Circle the legs away from the body to the right, extending them as long as possible. Continue to circle the legs to the left until they are back in the start position, directly above the hips.
    4. Inhale and relax the shoulders.
    5. Stretch the legs out, making them as long as you can, then exhale and circle in the opposite direction.

    Tip: Think of a clock face on the ceiling and stretch the legs up to reach each number on the clock with your toes.

    Corkscrew. Tip: Make the circle as big as you can with your lower back pressed into the mat. Hips remain level to work the obliques.

    Tip: For more of a challenge, raise the arms straight to the ceiling, directly above the shoulders. Keep the shoulders pressed against the floor and continue the exercise.

    Reps: Continue to make up to 12 circles in each direction.




    Leg Sway. Leg Sway

    1. Start flat on your back, legs extended straight to the ceiling. Extend arms out to the side, palms down.
    2. Exhale, scoop the abs and keep the legs zippered together. Lower them toward the floor to the right side.
      Tip: The left hip will rise off the floor as the legs lower toward the floor to the right, in line with the hips. The shoulders stay pressed against the floor.
    3. Inhale and hold the legs as close to the floor as possible without the lower back arching.
    4. Exhale and move the legs to the opposite side of the body, directly above the hips at the center point.
    5. Inhale, and hold the legs to the left.
    6. Exhale and repeat the exercise.

    Leg Sway. Tip: The back tends to arch when you move the legs, so keep the belly scooped. Only lower the legs as close to the floor as you can without the back arching.

    Tip: For more of a challenge, raise the arms straight to the ceiling, directly above the shoulders. Keep the shoulders pressed against the floor and continue the exercise.

    Reps: Repeat up to 12 times on each side.




    Michelle Hurni is a certified Pilates instructor and has taught for over 10 years. Her book Core Climbing is available at sharpendbooks.com.

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