• 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
  • Can Old Guys Get Stronger?
  • Training With an Injury
  • How to Beat Fear
  • How Often Should You Rest?
  • Warming Up Without Warm-Ups
  • How to Develop Sloper Strength
  • Beating the Lactic Acid Pump
  • Video Spotlight
    Babsi Zangerl and Jacopo Larcher Send Zodiac (VI 5.13d) on El Cap
    Babsi Zangerl and Jacopo Larcher Send Zodiac (VI 5.13d) on El Cap
    Whipper of the Month
    Weekend Whipper: Alastair McDowell's Los Indignados (M7) Screamer
    Weekend Whipper: Alastair McDowell's Los Indignados (M7) Screamer
     



    Strengthen Your Other Links: Training for Weird Moves

    05-Sep-2017
    By Neil Gresham

    This article appeared in Rock and Ice issue 245 (October 2017).


    Despair! You powered your way through the steep, crimpy crux, only to get shut down by a high-step, straightforward standup move on the upper slab. Almost as bad as the time you had your hands on top of the boulder but couldn’t mantel out. Or what about when you couldn’t do the heel hook that worked so well for everyone else?

    Alyse Dietel works the heel hook—and hamstring—on <em>Community Service</em> (5.11d), Rifle, Colorado. Hamstring and knee injuries caused by heel hooks are surprisingly common—and avoidable. Photo: Randall Levensaler.Training time is precious, and we tend to focus on the main event in climbing: pulling down. These days most training literature centers around hangboards, campus boards or anything involving hard pulling, with a bit of supportive conditioning thrown in. It’s easy to neglect training for other moves, the ones that pop up infrequently. But the best climbers can do any move the rock throws at them. It’s not just about trying problems in a wide variety of styles: to be a truly versatile climber, take the time for a minimum amount of applied training for any technique. Many exercises for “alternative moves” will work the antagonist (opposition) muscles, so the training has a huge benefit of helping prevent the common climbing injuries associated with muscular imbalance. Additionally you’ll be more susceptible to tweaks if you try to crank these moves without doing the supportive conditioning.

    The ideal time to train for alternative moves is at the end of a climbing session, so reserve the time and energy. Yet it may be more convenient to do the exercises on rest days, say, at the gym during your lunch break or at home in the evenings. Aim for a minimum of one session and a maximum of three per week. While the routine only takes 15 to 30 minutes, it’s unrealistic to expect to keep it up indefinitely, so shoot for two or three times a week for a couple of months, reduce to once a week for a similar period, then step it back up again and so on.

    Start a training campaign by doing three sets of 10 of the below exercises for two to three weeks to build essential base strength. Then drop the reps to between four and six, and do four or five sets per exercise, all except the warm-up set, to failure. Meanwhile, keep trying the target moves on rock as well to promote technique.

    Ancillary training shouldn’t take center stage, but when you come across any of these moves, you’ll thank yourself for making the effort. Not much in climbing is given to you, and this type of training could tip the scales and turn a weakness into a strength or a dream into reality.

     

    EXERCISES

    FOR STANDUP MOVES

    It goes against the grain for climbers to train their legs, since gaining muscle bulk in the glutes and quads makes us more bottom heavy. The best exercise, however,  which works balance and coordination as well as strength, is the one-legged pistol squat. Simply crouch down and sit on one heel, with the other leg hovering straight out in front of you, heel off the floor. Now simply try to stand up using your arms for balance only. If you can’t, get partial assistance from a finger or thumb on a chair.

    You probably won’t build much leg bulk because you’re unlikely to manage more than four or five reps! If you can do more than two or three, you are probably strong enough without the training.

    MANTELS AND GASTONS

    Full-blown mantels rarely crop up on sport routes but gaston-press moves are ubiquitous and may catch you out if unprepared. You can build the strength you need with exercises that emphasize the pecs, front deltoids and triceps. The best for mantels are dips, performed either on parallel bars or while seated and using suspension straps. To isolate the shoulder component of a Gaston move, dumbbell raises work well, done both to the side and to the front. If you have no weights, use a high-resistance exercise band (Theraband).

    To isolate the tricep component for press moves, do overhead triceps extensions using suspension straps. Start standing or kneeling behind the straps. Hold them with palms down, lean forward and pull the straps out in front of you, then curl your arms back so that your hands touch the top of your head. Return to the starting position and repeat. Alternatively, use dumbbells or narrow-grip press-ups with your elbows held close to your sides.

    CALVES FOR SLABS

    If you’re heading out on a slab crusade, it’s always advisable to do some calf raises first. If you’re training for boulder slabs, then add some weight and keep the reps between four and six to train strength. If you intend to climb trad or multi-pitch routes, then do endurance sets of 30-plus reps and hold each rep for at least 10 seconds to receive the maximum burn. This will work well to help you avoid the dreaded calf cramps and leg shakes.

    TOE HOOKS

    Some climbers naturally toe hook effortlessly, whereas others have hardly any such shin strength. If you fall into the second category, you may have shied away from toe hooking.

    You can build shin strength easily, however. The best exercise is to hang from a bar from your feet using a hand for balance and assistance if necessary. If your pull-up bar is high up then use suspension straps for safety, with a hand on the ground for help. Simply hold the hanging position for eight to 15 seconds (or failure). This exercise can also be done for longer durations—say, 45 seconds to one minute—using greater assistance from your arm. Climbers who can use bat-hangs for sport climbing are able to take their hands off and gain incredible rests.

    HEEL HOOKS

    There’s a world of difference between dangling passively from a heel hook on a large, positive hold and cranking one on a marginal, sloping feature for a compression- style move. Again, many climbers struggle in such a case, and the way to go, other than practicing these moves frequently, is to strengthen up your hamstrings.

    The best exercise is the lying hamstring curl, either on a standard leg-curl machine in a multi-gym, or—better yet—using suspension straps. For that method, lie on your back with your arms by your sides and your feet in the straps approximately 12 inches off the floor (Fig. A). Push your legs up out in front of you so your body is straight and then (Fig. B) curl your legs back, bringing your heels as close to your backside as possible and your torso to an angle of approximately 45 degrees to the floor. Tense your hamstrings and glutes, maintaining stable posture, hold for two or three seconds, and return to the starting position. Repeat.


    <strong>(Fig. A)</strong><strong>(Fig. B)</strong>

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    COMPRESSION MOVES

    When you are trying to hug a narrow arete or prow, you may lack the strength to crush. Die- hard boulderers tend to shine on these moves, but they practice constantly, and many perform supportive training, too. The best M exercise is a pec-fly, holding weights out to your sides and pulling them together in front of CM your chest, as performed on a weight bench, an exercise ball with dumbbells, or suspension CY (TRX) straps. Push-ups, in both a wide and narrow position, are CMY the next-best thing. You will also benefit from good pinch strength for narrow compression moves and open-handed strength for wide moves, so work these grips regularly on a hangboard, as well as doing plenty of work for your core such as front-levers, straight- leg raises and dorsal raises.

    KNEE BARS

    If you’ve ever tried to hang from a knee-bar rest on steep terrain for more than a minute, you’ll have felt your abs and calves slowly start to cook. Crunch sit-ups work wonders here, especially if you lock your feet down and hold a weight on your chest. Do these in combination with the calf raises. No need for rocket science with reps and sets here: as my former coach, the knee-bar master Stevie Haston once said, “Just do ’em!”

     

    Neil Gresham, an all-arounder, has coached climbing for over 20 years.




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