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  1. #1
    wv2de is offline Senior Member
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    Default What!?! (Guy sez high reps w low weight for rock climibing training...)

    Piqued on the topic of rock climbing and bouldering, I did some brief searching on strength training specifically for the sport. There was very little information available, and the only source I came upon was a video where a guy says they do ‘high reps with low weight’ to ‘keep from bulking up’. This seems like hogwash, and they offer ‘custom strength training’ where you can be evaluated – presumable to see what light weights you can’t do 30 reps with and tell you to do more of those… The only strength training those guys are getting is the actual climbing practice itself. No light weights at high reps will prepare them for hanging by one arm and one foot supporting their full bodyweight at an odd angle…

    On the other hand, I’d guess some low rep high weight training (3x3 or GTG) would be the best thing, and weighted or one-arm pull-ups would be great as well. Another option would be just to hit a practice wall with a weight vest on – I wonder if that’s allowed at typical climbing gyms?

    Thoughts?

    wv

  2. #2
    Chiggers Guest

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    Climbing is like so many other sports where there is poor training advice and a focus on the high rep, light weight, train to failure rubbish.

    As you have already gathered a common comment to what do you need to do to get good at climbing is....climb.

    You get it on the nose a pure strength program that keeps you lean with lots of pullups of all varieties and campus board or training board work for the grip is what you need.

    My opinion is forget the weight vest @ the wall. Just climb harder bouldering routes / problems.

  3. #3
    comanighttrain is offline Senior Member
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    Unless your bouldering you shouldnt usually be using gargantuan amounts of strength?

    That said you do need to be able to use your bodyweight on most parts of your body.

    Id say the weight vest idea is best. GTG would certainly help.

    Just dont end up one of those climbers with messed up feet!

  4. #4
    DrJAG2 is offline Senior Member
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    I'm no genius, but aren't you pulling your bodyweight up in rock climbing? Isn't that a high weight, low rep pursuit? Wouldn't it be smarter to train for what you are going to do?

    My neighbor was at one time a rock climber. He and his son would do hours and hours of reps with these plastic grip trainers you get at the sporting goods store. They never really got any stronger. I tried to convince him to try my CoC #1, but he was not going to listen to the high resistance, low rep approach.

  5. #5
    wv2de is offline Senior Member
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    Heh, the skinny guys who climb are in the same boat as the skinny women who are afraid to lift any weights - I'd think having a good bit of extra power for a few extra lbs (if there was gain at all) would be more than worth it!

  6. #6
    Chiggers Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by wv2de View Post
    Heh, the skinny guys who climb are in the same boat as the skinny women who are afraid to lift any weights - I'd think having a good bit of extra power for a few extra lbs (if there was gain at all) would be more than worth it!
    This isn't true of all climbers. There are many who are very smart with their training and can lift good weights. Back in the Himalayas i met with climbers who lifted heavy for low reps and that was back in '95. The key is to keep lean, work strength and practice the specific movements that climbing requires. (as for the vest idea don't bother). Also remember that many excellent athletes perform in this realm much like gymnasts with only working with their bodyweight. Much like gymnasts if you put them to the test in a weight room they normally pull off some surprises in how much they can lift.

  7. #7
    xafier is offline Senior Member
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    The best things to train for climbing are your mobility / flexability, your endurance and grip.

    I can almost guarantee that the first things to fail you whilst climbing wont be your legs, nor your shoulders, it will be your forearms and grip... and it'll stay that way for a long while...

    To improve that you need to climb more, and you can practise dead hangs

    Also, if you are climbing normal routes, you don't need lots of strength in your upper body, in most cases your problem is technique, as your legs generally get ignored when you start out, once your technique improves you use your legs a lot more!

    Bouldering is a different mind set, you need some explosive power for some moves, but kettlebells prepare you for that with swings and snatches!

  8. #8
    wv2de is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chiggers View Post
    This isn't true of all climbers. There are many who are very smart with their training and can lift good weights. Back in the Himalayas i met with climbers who lifted heavy for low reps and that was back in '95. The key is to keep lean, work strength and practice the specific movements that climbing requires. (as for the vest idea don't bother). Also remember that many excellent athletes perform in this realm much like gymnasts with only working with their bodyweight. Much like gymnasts if you put them to the test in a weight room they normally pull off some surprises in how much they can lift.
    You're right - I should have said 'That dork in the video suggesting high reps with low weights' rather than generalizing. I know there are many strong and amazing climbers out there who train smart and know much more than I do. I'm sure even the dork in the video could pull some impressive numbers (even if he couldn't explain why).

  9. #9
    comanighttrain is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrJAG2 View Post
    I'm no genius, but aren't you pulling your bodyweight up in rock climbing? Isn't that a high weight, low rep pursuit? Wouldn't it be smarter to train for what you are going to do?

    My neighbor was at one time a rock climber. He and his son would do hours and hours of reps with these plastic grip trainers you get at the sporting goods store. They never really got any stronger. I tried to convince him to try my CoC #1, but he was not going to listen to the high resistance, low rep approach.
    Nah man...its kinda like judo or wrestling, although its good to be really ripped and really strong, its a lot more in technique. You dont just brute force pull yourself up the wall, its a lot of technique, finding the best angle, climbing efficiently.

    Kinda like Pavel also described in naked warrior when he talks about that Russian lighter weight bench press champ. Its not just about having huge amounts of muscle and strength, but also about technique and tension.
    Last edited by comanighttrain; 07-09-2009 at 06:25 AM. Reason: typo

  10. #10
    mettleman is offline Banned
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    Climbing is an incredibly specific skill set. Technique is king and staying light and strong are important too.

    If you really want to train for climbing you can periodize it like anything else and there was a great article about this some years ago in Climbing magazine. If you really want to train for the sport just get on the rock - a lot. Build your base of strength and endurance by climbing long run-out moderate routes to start (we're talking muti pitch stuff here). High volume and low intensity - but there are always places on routes that you will have to work up your muster. Do a little bouldering from time to time to to build up your contact strength and technique. You can do this for many months.

    If you haven't climbed much before the above will be about all you will be able to do for a good long while - and challenging yourself with ever increasing dificulty on crux pitches of longer routes.

    At this point, if you are experienced you still do some all-day moderate runouts form time to time and work in more difficult shorter routes, bouldering, and campus board training, assisted and unassisted. Here you are building the intensity for a few weeks.

    Take a week or two of active recovery - "dinking around" with a few easy climbs and some time exploring your favorite bouldering problems. Take it easy.

    From here we used to go into "One day on, one day off, two days on, two days off" mode, climbing pretty near, and sometimes at, your edge of performance. Do this for a few weeks to a month - listening to your body for extra time off.

    Take time off now with a little active recovery and either come back and hit your "redline" or make a new first ascent, or start back from the beginning. Periodize it's good for your connective tissue to get some "rest" on easy stuff for a while.

    Now it kind of depends on your goals where to go depending on which avenue you want to focus on, multi pitch routes? single pitch sport or trad? Bouldering projects?

    The line up to here that I've described is really more focused toward shorter harder trad routes or sport climbing. A good base of strength and endurance mixed with a fair amount of technical stuff.

    And forget the vest - climbing is hard enough. Get on something more difficult if you want to up the intensity.

    Anyone seen my kettlebells laying around? I might need them this winter.
    Last edited by mettleman; 07-09-2009 at 08:09 AM.

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