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Upper body and core strength


Original Post
Kees van der Heiden · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 40

Hi all,

I am looking for some upper body and core strength exercises I can do at home. I have rings and a pull up bar, not much else.

This area is my weakest point at the moment in climbing. I am weak. I can't do a pushup (noidea how relevant that is for climbing, 4 pull ups with two hands are my max. Climbing technique, flexibility and crimp strength are pretty good. I really must work on my fear of falling too, but I have an action plan for that and started working on it. 

Some background, climbing for almost 30 years now, never much better then 6b outside, quite a bit of easier mountaineering mixed in. I live in the flatlands, so the gym is my main stumping ground with the occasional weekend in the rocks. I go 2-3 times a week to the climbing gym for bouldering or toprope climbing. I really hate "training", so I plan to do more bouldering and searching out overhanging problems instead of the usual crimpy vertical stuff I am seeking out now. But I can't go all the time to the gym, so it would be nice to have something at home too.

Thanks allready for ideas to expand my repertoire of climbing specific exercises, apart from pull ups and pushups.


IcePick · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2017 · Points: 100

Look into Isometric training, No special equipment needed, Isometrics are a strength building technique that basically is pushing or pulling against an immovable object, doorway, etc.  I often do many Isometrics to work through sticky points in weight training, Google it, your strength will increase rapidly but take note it is exhausting and requires proper recovery to be of any benefit (clean food, protein, rest) also start doing pushups on your knees at first then work up to your toes as that specific exercise works pecs, shoulders, lats, arms,  it is a compound exercise, Don’t neglect the legs either, pseudo squats is a great exercise that does not require any weight, after a long time of doing strenuous exercise your body will adapt to this routine so you need to mix it up to see any gains, buy some dumbbells or join a gym for weight training, you can do cardio and abs on the off days.  

You will get ripped but it will take time.

aikibujin · · Castle Rock, CO · Joined Oct 2014 · Points: 294

Gymnastic rings are fantastic for strength training. That’s all I have at home and that’s all I train with, you don’t really need any weights or join the gym. Mark Anderson has some great core exercises with gymnastic rings on his blog. I do three out of the four exercises listed on Mark’s blog on gymnastic rings: ring row (I do the two-arm variation), ab roll out, and wings. I don’t do front lever because I’m already pretty strong in that area, my back is much weaker than my abs.

In addition to those exercises, I also do pullups, pushups, and back lever progression (to make my back stronger). I do a total of six or seven exercises, and I vary the exercises slightly (but still hitting the same muscle groups) every four to six weeks.


Kees van der Heiden · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 40

Those exercises from Anderson look promissing. At least i understand what he means ;-)

Pushups I allready started on my knees, but that is a bit too easy. I don't quite know how to make the switch to pushups on the toes now, the differences seems very large between the two exercises.

Likewise for frontlevers on the rings. That's really difficult! How to get going and end up in a real frontlever a few months(years) from now?

DynoDave · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 0

Try pushups with your hands on a chair or other stable support, and your feet on the floor. Switch to a lower support if 10 reps are easy. Pretty soon you'll be ab;le tp do regular pushups. (And then on to pushups with hands on the floor and feet raised.)

kenr · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 14,522

A dumb-bell with quick-adjustable weights is very useful, say up to around 10-15 kg total.

Elastic tubing with handles is light and useful. To do injury-prevention scapula-retraction exercises, get the attachment that allows you to attach it to the hinge-side a close-able door.

If have a pull-up bar in a doorway, consider adding a second pull-up bar above it, to do offset pull-ups (more climbing-specific).

Or the the Metolius hanging rock ring things to offer even wider range of vertical offset.

Ken

aikibujin · · Castle Rock, CO · Joined Oct 2014 · Points: 294
Kees van der Heiden wrote:

Pushups I allready started on my knees, but that is a bit too easy. I don't quite know how to make the switch to pushups on the toes now, the differences seems very large between the two exercises.

Likewise for frontlevers on the rings. That's really difficult! How to get going and end up in a real frontlever a few months(years) from now?

Can you adjust the height of your gymnastic rings? I'd recommend making the rings adjustable so they can almost touch the ground, then you can do pushup progression by adjusting the height of the rings. The higher the rings the easier it is to do pushups on them. Gradually make it harder by lowering the rings until they almost touch the ground.

As far as front levers go, you can find front lever progressions on youtube and such. But if you will be doing the ab roll out listed in Mark's blog, then I say don't worry about front levers too much. They work the same muscles as the ab roll out. I never trained for the front lever, but I was doing standing ab roll out with an ab wheel, then one day I decided to try a front lever and was able to do it easily. Most of us are too focused on the anterior side of the core anyway (for that six pack!), if you do ab roll out then do something for your posterior side too, I think that's more important to climbing. Deadlifts seem to be really fashionable right now, but I personally like back lever progressions more.

Pnelson · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 380
Kees van der Heiden wrote:

How to get going and end up in a real frontlever a few months(years) from now?

I began working on front levers by beginning them with one leg tucked as high as I could go (google one-legged front lever), and as I got more comfortable and stronger, gradually extended the leg until it was stretched right next to my other leg.  Front levers are quite a bit easier on pullup bars or hangboards than on rings, btw.

Kees van der Heiden · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 40

Leaning on a chair certainly helps to make the pushups easier! 

Btw, I was looking for some usefull warmup exersises and found a couple of yoga drills on the trainingbeta website. That feels like a fun and at the same time usefull way to get warm. 

Mark E Dixon · · Sprezzatura, Someday · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 569

Progressions for lots of bodyweight exercises on this page, including front and back levers.

http://www.beastskills.com/tutorials/

wayne willoughby · · SEATTLE · Joined Jul 2008 · Points: 95

Keep at the pull-ups.  Do more sets, and as you get stronger vary where you place your hands on the bar, i.e. hands closer together or farther apart.  The Ab Carver Pro is available online for under 25 bucks, and is a solid tool for both core and upper body strength.  Pull ups 3 days a week, ab carver Pro on the days in between, and get out hiking with poles for general conditioning and an upper body workout, especially on hills.

David Kerkeslager · · New Paltz, NY · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 124
Kees van der Heiden wrote:

I am looking for some upper body and core strength exercises I can do at home. I have rings and a pull up bar, not much else.

My guess is that the rings alone can get you pretty far--a few old-school hardmen came from the gymnastics world, and I climb with a gymnast whose strength is ridiculous (they casually climb 5.12 and if they ever actually put in any climbing-specific training they'd probably climb 5.13). Gymnastics is a pretty old and developed sport, so there's a lot of training material out there: you can search " progression" to get information on how to work up to the really difficult exercises. Some targets (you might never get there, but progressing toward it will build a lot of strength):

  • Iron cross
  • Planche
  • Front lever

To be clear: I've never tried these progressions myself. This is just what I would try if I only had the rings and the bar as you said.

B Owens · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2011 · Points: 60
Kees van der Heiden wrote:

Hi all,

I am looking for some upper body and core strength exercises I can do at home. I have rings and a pull up bar, not much else.

This area is my weakest point at the moment in climbing. I am weak. I can't do a pushup (noidea how relevant that is for climbing, 4 pull ups with two hands are my max. Climbing technique, flexibility and crimp strength are pretty good. I really must work on my fear of falling too, but I have an action plan for that and started working on it. 

Some background, climbing for almost 30 years now, never much better then 6b outside, quite a bit of easier mountaineering mixed in. I live in the flatlands, so the gym is my main stumping ground with the occasional weekend in the rocks. I go 2-3 times a week to the climbing gym for bouldering or toprope climbing. I really hate "training", so I plan to do more bouldering and searching out overhanging problems instead of the usual crimpy vertical stuff I am seeking out now. But I can't go all the time to the gym, so it would be nice to have something at home too.

Thanks allready for ideas to expand my repertoire of climbing specific exercises, apart from pull ups and pushups.


You literally can't do a single pushup?  If that's the case, I'd start with pushups (do them from your knees first until you can do them normally).  

Kees van der Heiden · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 40
B Owens wrote:

You literally can't do a single pushup?  If that's the case, I'd start with pushups (do them from your knees first until you can do them normally).  

Indeed, not a single one   I have always been the long and skinny type with hardly any strength. The last few years, bouldering a lot has increased my strength quite some, so I am quietly looking at those few gents who managed to score an 8a around the age of 60. I still have a few years to go, maybe a somewhat more formal training regime would be helpfull.   


Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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