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View Full Version : Rock Climbing... strictly forearm strength?



ancom41
03-16-2006, 03:25 PM
Recently i've gotten into a rock climbing craze (whether it be bouldering or a mountain). So i recenetly purchased all of my harnesses and cabiners and such.. and i got to thinking.. how else can i prepare for this? Obviously i need an outragious amount of forearm strentgh and upper body stregth. What about hands? There are thousands of grips that require hand stregth more than anything. Do forearm excercises target hand muscles as well? Can anyone think of anything productive to gain strength in the hands? ( remember, this isnt strictly grip stregth, this is literally power from the fingers) Typically id say just practice until you gain the stregth.. but in this case... that could mean falling, and i dont want to fall :D Not only this, obviously, if i do get on a full body routine focused on rock climbing, it will have to be a clean bulk designed soley to gain stretgh right? What kind of routine would you guys suggest? I was gonna look at this logically and try and incorporate body weight excercises, dips, pullups, etc. Not only this, most of the movments for rock climbing are pull movments (except for legs) and so that kind of limits the need for pushes like bench? What else would you guys suggest? Remember, i want to try and keep my total body weight and body fat down to a minimum but at the same time increase my strength. (That request sounds familiar... i sound like every first time poster in this forum :D )
Thanks for the suggestions.

Ironminded
03-16-2006, 03:39 PM
MMN will have a better response then I but here is my two cents; Climbing or bouldering take much more then just forearm and upper body strength. At the elite lvl's it is more about core strength, body tension and balence then pure upper body power. All the really good climbers are well rounded, and use thier whole bodies rather then just their arms and backs to pull them up the wall.

That being said for beginers practice is the best way to improve, it was and is for me. I would recomend bouldering sessions at a local gym if you can. Try to make friends and get into friendly compitions with them, play games like 'add-two' and doing laps in the bouldering area. Other then that I would focus on flexibility, balence. Balence is really important, as for long routes/problems and just for technique in general you should be climbing with your feet more then your arms. Your arms are there mostly for balence and to hold you into the wall more then pull you up it.

Working on your pinching-grip strength and tactile strength more then anything will help climbing, like pinch-griping two plates together rather than static holds and what not. Pull-ups are always a good idea, also, but not the end-all-be-all. If you are doing PU's vary the grips and style you do them as, try doing pull-ups on a rope, and rope climbing too.

Also you might look at some GPP programs as just general fitness can't hurt your climbing ability.

MixmasterNash
03-16-2006, 06:13 PM
The best training for climbing is climbing. And don't worry about specific climbing training until you're a solid 5.10+ climber. Grip training is fun, but there is very little carryover between grippers, static bar grip strength, and climbing finger strength.

You should actually focus on other movements in the weight lifty gym. Keep bench pressing and doing other push and leg work, and still do some heavy pulling work like weighted chins.

For maximum performance on the rock, you will almost certainly want to lose weight, including muscle mass. You have to decide whether or not this is worth it. The limiting factor will almost always be tendon strength, which is much slower to develop than muscles are. That said, I made my greatest gains in climbing and lifting in a single summer, with 3-4 days a week of climbing and 2 of lifting, and I gained 10lbs.

kingkrs
03-16-2006, 08:49 PM
go to this website: http://www.ironmind.com/ironcms/export/IronMind/Main/crushedtodust1.html
it has all kinds of grip training tools and books to help educate you on the subject. Spend some time looking through there and you will see a chart describing all kinds of sports and what kind of grip strength is required. Rock climbing is on there.

Good luck!

ancom41
03-17-2006, 07:55 AM
sounds like some good stuff.. it suprises me that you guys recommend practice over training, but sounds very logical... oh, and i never meant to come off as believing that i needed to focus only on upper body.. i know you need an incredible strong core to climb. Would bouldering really be my best bet? since the duration is limited (because of the height), do you really think that will give me the best results? I geuss i should be doing climbs in sets lol :D I never really thought about the balance aspect.. I know there has to be 1000's of balance excercises.. you guys know any that seem to really carry over to bouldering/climbing?

ancom41
03-17-2006, 07:57 AM
oh, and speaking of the 'pinching' movments, is there a way to train that other than climbing? perhaps something i could do at work? Not only this, how exactly would you add resistance to that? or do you not use resistance training?


"That said, I made my greatest gains in climbing and lifting in a single summer, with 3-4 days a week of climbing and 2 of lifting, and I gained 10lbs."

mixmasternash, was the tradeoff worth it? i mean, did the added weight hinder your climbing? or did the added muscle & strength outweigh that? (no pub intended)

Sensei
03-17-2006, 08:15 AM
oh, and speaking of the 'pinching' movments, is there a way to train that other than climbing? perhaps something i could do at work? Not only this, how exactly would you add resistance to that? or do you not use resistance training?
Pinch gripping plates. You can make a loadable pinch gripping apparatus pretty easily w. 2x4s, a drill, and rope.

ancom41
03-17-2006, 08:27 AM
I think i saw those on rei.com .. i wasnt quite sure how they worked. Think you could find a picture?

MixmasterNash
03-17-2006, 09:05 AM
"That said, I made my greatest gains in climbing and lifting in a single summer, with 3-4 days a week of climbing and 2 of lifting, and I gained 10lbs."

mixmasternash, was the tradeoff worth it? i mean, did the added weight hinder your climbing? or did the added muscle & strength outweigh that? (no pub intended)

Those 10lbs were, but the next 20 weren't, at least from a climbing perspective.

I've only been climbing sporadically redently, but I should be getting back into it some more.

The main difference in training that I would make would be to add more gymnastics style training, and less weight lifting. Check out Crossfit and Gym Jones for some balanced training.

ancom41
03-17-2006, 09:08 AM
Yea, i've seen some of those gynamistic routines.. they are insane.. some of the balance and strength required is insane.

kingkrs
03-17-2006, 10:30 AM
I think i saw those on rei.com .. i wasnt quite sure how they worked. Think you could find a picture?
http://www6.mailordercentral.com/ironmind/products.asp?dept=40
here is another link. It is to the same site, they sell all kinds of grip tools from pinch, supporting, crushing, and wrist strength. You can also get creative like Sensei said. Hear are some of my grip training tools. Notice the pice of 1 1/2 in dowel I use for a wrist roller.
http://img52.imageshack.us/img52/4499/dscn11566pd.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
http://img456.imageshack.us/img456/5368/dscn11578ob.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
here you can do some pinch gripping with plates.
Now go and challenge yourself!

ancom41
03-17-2006, 10:56 AM
awesome. I never even thought about doing it like that.. looks like itd be tuff to hold, any clue on a time range? and # of sets? or does it matter.. i have no clue if training your hands is anything like training the rest of your body :D

ancom41
03-17-2006, 10:58 AM
BTW... Your carpet looks absolutely amazing considering the weights on it.. my weights have ruined my carpet.. i've been telling myself for years that i need to buy some of that black rubber matting.. but i've never gotten around to it.

Anyways, does anyone have any ideas about balance excercises related to rock climbing/bouldering?

Sensei
03-17-2006, 11:09 AM
http://www.powerathletesmag.com/archives/seven/gripequipment.htm

MixmasterNash
03-17-2006, 11:12 AM
Anyways, does anyone have any ideas about balance excercises related to rock climbing/bouldering?

Yes: CLIMB.

ancom41
03-17-2006, 02:00 PM
hah, alright alright, i get your point :D

kingkrs
03-17-2006, 03:02 PM
awesome. I never even thought about doing it like that.. looks like itd be tuff to hold, any clue on a time range? and # of sets? or does it matter.. i have no clue if training your hands is anything like training the rest of your body :D
here is another exercise you can do to enhance your pinch gripping.
http://www.ironmind.com/ironcms/export/IronMind/GripTips/griptip26.html

As far as sets etc. I would start off by going for time. Just write down your times so you can beat them as you get stronger. Start off with about 5 or 6 sets of holds for as long as you can hold the weight. Remember to work each arm equally and watch out for your toes!
good luck!

Hazerboy
03-30-2006, 08:32 PM
You could try sandbag training for grip strength.

noahfor123
03-30-2006, 11:47 PM
If getting better at climbing is secondary to size and strength gains, then where does climbing fit in? Would climbing ever mean the difference between overtraining and not overtraining. I just started climbing, and I'm going pretty much every day I don't lift and sometimes on days I do. I lift four times a week. Is this too much? I know I'm the one that should know, but I'm kinda new to lifting and really new to climbing, so it's hard to tell.