OW Resistance Training Exercises

Search
Go

Discussion Topic

Return to Forum List
Post a Reply
Messages 1 - 44 of total 44 in this topic
PellucidWombat

Mountain climber
Berkeley, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Dec 12, 2011 - 07:25pm PT
As winter rolls around and I am confined to exercising more indoors, I've begun working out a gym training plan. I'd like to focus some training on strength, power, and endurance for OW climbing, and I was wondering what some of you do to get in shape. Most of the climbing training material I've seen emphasizes the pulling muscles, while chimney & OW climbing really seem to require training the pushing muscles more.

My best guess for main muscle groups to work on (and likely exercises), based on what is sore on me after a good wide thrashing are:

1. Pecks (pushups, bench press)
2. Biceps (various bicep curls w/ dumbells, butterfly?)
3. Abdominals (situps, situps w/ weight plate)
4. Obliques (side raise w/ weight plate, twisting situps w/ weight plate)
5. Adductor Muscles (adductor machine)
6. Abductor Muscles (abductor machine)
7. Hamstrings (hamstring curl machine)
8. Quadriceps (leg press machine)

Any suggestions for important muscle groups forgotten that are not normally worked during gym climbing? Or exercises not considered? Or what muscle groups/exercises should be emphasized or ignored?

I've also wondered about modifying the above exercises, or inventing new ones, to train for isometric contractions rather than concentric contractions. Just as a skier does wall sits for maintaining the squat position in skiing to complement leg presses & lunges for pressing through turns, it seems to me that much of OW climbing involves creating, maintaining & releasing a static contraction rather than pushing through a range of motion.

Have you OW gurus emphasized more isometric exercises? e.g. Many of these exercises could be made more isometric by locking off in different positions for a certain length of time.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Dec 12, 2011 - 07:42pm PT
Usually it doesn't take much training to resist climbing offwidths.

And anyway, resistance is futile.
Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Dec 12, 2011 - 07:46pm PT

Some tips:

Pushups are great especially for climbers.

Benchpress: Do your best to find a narrow slightly crowned bench so your scapula are free to move in a natural way. Also, don’t stick your arms straight out at 90 degrees, bring your elbows down so your upper arm is closer to 45 degrees to your torso and keep your shoulders down away from yer ears. These two adjustments will really help you get more into your pecs and protect your shoulders.

Abdominals: Don’t do sit ups, especially never do them with someone or something holding your feet down. Learn to do a proper roll down – roll up. Then start doing them on an unstable foam roller. If you’re curious drop me an email, I can send you the beta on this. Save your back!

Obliques: Twisting sit-ups with weight? Again watch your back. The combo of weight and rotation is risky unless you really have the support from the core dialed.

Now I am going to go out on a limb and suggest that too much isolation work on individual muscles using machines might not be really helpful for the kind of power and functionality one needs to climb well.

Take a look at what Brad Johnson has come up with for body weight training. Amazing!
PellucidWombat

Mountain climber
Berkeley, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 12, 2011 - 08:04pm PT
KSolem,

I'll send you an e-mail about the core exercises. I'm always curious to see new ways to do things.

Both of the weighted core exercises are ones I've done before, and I think I've been doing them carefully enough? One tough thing is I often find I can start out with too much weight too easily when resuming those exercises in a fresh cycle, so that I do the exercises feeling fine but then suffer from major DOMS.

For body-weight crunches I usually just do a twist-kick variation that leaves the feet free and really hurts after about 15-20 reps. I definitely like this one since it feels like it works more stabilizers in a more natural way.

I would prefer to stay away from machines as much as possible, except for cases where I don't see many other options (e.g. adductor, abductor, unless doing a cable exercise, though the shear in the standing leg limits the load and feels like a bad idea on my damaged knee) or a few exercises where I do have stability issues to work around (leg press machine feels safer for my rebuilt knee than doing a squat, and some upper body exercises have a tendency to dislocate my shoulders, so it seems easier to back off if I feel that instability coming on.)
scuffy b

climber
dissected alluvial deposits, late Pleistocene
Dec 12, 2011 - 08:11pm PT
I do OW-specific exercises, but only in OW cracks.
For example, I get a move off the floor in the gym crack where I live
(that phrasing might not be quite right) and fiddle around with different
stances, trying to find good rests, most especially trying to find that
elusive no-foot rest.
Using crap footwear seems to help, as well.
Russ Walling

Gym climber
Poofter's Froth, Wyoming
Dec 12, 2011 - 08:14pm PT
Punish the Groove Tube for righteous OW fitness
scuffy b

climber
dissected alluvial deposits, late Pleistocene
Dec 12, 2011 - 08:20pm PT
Just be sure that Groove Tube doesn't punish you too badly.
bergbryce

Mountain climber
South Lake Tahoe, CA
Dec 12, 2011 - 08:31pm PT
CrossFit
Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Dec 12, 2011 - 08:41pm PT
It's one thing to strengthen muscle groups like the adductors of the leg, hamstrings, quads, etc. It's quite another to teach them to work in concert when you are under stress.

This kind of coordination is something lots of people lose as they age, but there are plenty of good ways to incorporate certain execises into your strength training which will help.

One example, which might be very nice for your knee, can be done on the leg press machine:

Set the weight light enough that you can do reps on your toes, heels high. Do some sets with your feet parallel, hip width apart while squeezing a ball between your ankles. The right size ball matters, as does how you set your feet on the platform. You want to see no rotation at your knees or ankles, just engagement of the vmo (google it) and inner thighs.

You probably did this or something similar when you hurt your knee if you did P/T?

I have built this up now to where I use pretty heavy weight and my knees are great. What you are looking for is the muscular connection from between the knees, through the inner abs to the bottom of the rib cage. Pilates people call this your powerhouse.
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Dec 12, 2011 - 08:53pm PT
Lots and lots and lots of back exercises. With the caveat, of course, that anything I, or anyone, tells you on an internet forum will probably cause you serious harm, and possibly death.

That said, squats are the king of the exercise kingdom. And what we used to call hyperextensions but which probably have some cool new name. And deadlifts.

And Kris, instead of explaining all that ab work in a private email, why not share it here?
Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Dec 12, 2011 - 08:57pm PT
And Kris, instead of explaining all that ab work in a private email, why not share it here?

I wish it was that simple. Just the basic concepts require pages of reading and comprehension. Video would be good too.

I'm working on a website right now which will have it all there, when it's up (maybe next month) I'll share. Waaaay to much specific stuff to post.
PellucidWombat

Mountain climber
Berkeley, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 12, 2011 - 09:01pm PT
LOL, great graphic, Bryce. Unfortunately I'm afraid of Crossfit. So many of the exercises they do look like they'd damage my left knee or dislocate my left shoulder . . .

A lot of the strength & endurance needed in general for climbing seems like something I can work out with thoughtful sessions on the climbing wall, but I'm lumping chimneys & OWs in a separate category of 'weak links' to resistance train since I've found they work me so differently. It's pretty rare to get my hamstrings or inner thighs aching like crazy after a gym session. And I rarely to prolonged static abdominal contractions at all on face climbs like I do on an OW.

Usually when I can't rest on an OW and I need to hang, I feel like it is me burning out my pecks & biceps arm-barring, or burning out my abs and inner thigh as I try to hold my torso into the wall. These have been my weak links in climbing Ahab clean or getting Generator clean (I still have to take & rest right at the transition between the lower third and middle third of that route, but the rest goes pretty well)
StahlBro

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Dec 12, 2011 - 09:01pm PT
Wrestle a gorilla. Don't stop when you get tired, stop when the gorilla gets tired.
PellucidWombat

Mountain climber
Berkeley, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 12, 2011 - 09:28pm PT
I am working the cracks as much as I can, but one can only do so much with weather for getting outside on weekends, and for the weekends dealing with the availability of gym cracks (no OWs that I can get to regularly) and needing a belayer. e.g. I'm pretty well set for hand crack technique, strength & endurance, as I can do half-hour continuous climbing sets or one-legged ascents/descents on a good one at BIW (with patient partners). Finger cracks are tougher but I can at least do up & down sets up to a bouldering height on the finger crack at the same gym.

Of course the ideal situation is to get regular access to an OW crack machine :-)
213

climber
Where the Froude number often >> 1
Dec 12, 2011 - 09:35pm PT
but one can only do so much with weather for getting outside

Weathaz been purty good as of late! :)

Brah, let's crossfit. It's too wet to climb.
Brah, let's crossfit. It's too wet to climb.
Credit: 213

NO EXCUSES! Go climbing.

QED
PellucidWombat

Mountain climber
Berkeley, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 12, 2011 - 09:39pm PT
I'm planning on getting a car this coming year, but for now I don't have one so the PG Presidio gym is not feasible for regular visits as it takes me almost 3 hrs RT just to go there (closer to 2 hrs if I get a ride instead of bicycle), plus it's a separate gym membership, so $20/visit is a lot without spending all day there! So PG Presidio is limited to special weekday trips or rainy weekends. I have finally figured out the harder OW though, so I have been making progress on my visits, as irregular as they are.

It's also hard to find a belayer that doesn't mind the time spent or who also wants to hop on these things (e.g. I would have hopped on Doggie Do this weekend but my partner wanted to go somewhere else after we climbed Doggie Diversions).

I do have plans to get to the Lower Merced on a lot of weekends this winter so long as I can find partners for that stuff. So it would be nice to be as fit as possible for when I can get up there!

I've gotten out climbing or mountaineering nearly every weekend since mid-June, which has helped a lot to get in shape & develop technique, but it is nice to use the weekdays as well.

Once I get a car I could at least go to a crack like Generator and solo TR the thing on weekends, but that probably wouldn't be an option until next Fall.
213

climber
Where the Froude number often >> 1
Dec 12, 2011 - 09:54pm PT
In case anyone missed the HORRIBLE WEATHER experienced this past month by those Killafornianz:

Brah, let's crossfit. It's too wet to climb.
Brah, let's crossfit. It's too wet to climb.
Credit: 213

Man, what a soaker!

harrroooo
harrroooo
Credit: 213

Sometimes, you just gotta expose the weather!

Oh, so solar!

ooooo la la
ooooo la la
Credit: 213

Four thumbs up.
PellucidWombat

Mountain climber
Berkeley, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 12, 2011 - 09:56pm PT
Yep, it's been a pretty good winter cragging season so far.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Dec 12, 2011 - 11:17pm PT
Two additional things I'd be careful to do:

1) work on hip flexibility, and flexibility in general

2) work on endurance rather than strength, you probably have plenty of strength you just need to be able to apply it over a long period, OW is usually something that takes place over a longish period of time compared to other climbing

Oxymoron

Big Wall climber
total Disarray
Dec 13, 2011 - 01:07am PT
Just climb. Suck it up, or Can you handle it?
Maybe you should just go to the Mall, instead.
PellucidWombat

Mountain climber
Berkeley, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 13, 2011 - 01:14am PT
You just need to find a like-minded partner who has a car.

That would make everything so much easier. Same with like-minded partners for alpinism. Until then I might as well keep trying to getting better and continue asking around. I've been meeting a lot of great friends along the way!

2) work on endurance rather than strength, you probably have plenty of strength you just need to be able to apply it over a long period, OW is usually something that takes place over a longish period of time compared to other climbing

One reason I've come to love offwidths! Climbing one leaves me feeling tired from head to toe more like I am after a good long run, swim, or bike ride. That is also one reason I'm unsure about how to approach a weight training program for it since it is more about endurance and there isn't anything I can think of that works the body in a similar way over a long period (except the coarse sandpaper idea). At the very least maybe just some regular stimulation via some reps or static lockoffs would leave my body better able to engage those muscles and not be as worked after using them?
The user formerly known as stzzo

climber
Dec 13, 2011 - 01:21am PT
Unfortunately I'm afraid of Crossfit. So many of the exercises they do look like they'd damage my left knee

Prolly damage the left nut, too.

Edit: BTW, I'm often up for a trip to PG SF for crack & OW practice -- especially as winter sets on. On occasion, I might be up for Generator Crack practice.

Kent
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Dec 13, 2011 - 01:23am PT
the greatest criticism of cross training I've heard:

"it's two sports you can get hurt in"

there's wisdom there...
murcy

Gym climber
sanfrancisco
Dec 13, 2011 - 01:43am PT
Let me know if you ever need a partner for cracks at Bay Area gyms or in the hills. I have A CAR.

Credit: murcy
Johnny K.

climber
Dec 13, 2011 - 01:45am PT
How about making your own OW woody at home? An adjustable frame for various widths etc

http://hotaches.blogspot.com/2011/09/wide-boyz-crazy-new-climbing-film-due.html

donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Dec 13, 2011 - 02:50am PT
Lots of people have a natural resistance to OW- no training required.
Norwegian

Trad climber
Placerville, California
Dec 13, 2011 - 03:46am PT
climb lots of awe fwits,
till uoy,

Credit: Norwegian
frisbee

climber
{this page left blank intentionally}
Dec 4, 2012 - 09:40pm PT
Winter training BUMP
LilaBiene

Trad climber
Dec 4, 2012 - 10:19pm PT
I've used a TRX for years -- you can use it pretty much anywhere and it doesn't lock you into any particular set of exercises -- you are only limited by your imagination. (I'll probably regret writing that, eh?!) ;D
The Lisa

Trad climber
Da Bronx, NY
Dec 4, 2012 - 10:32pm PT
Speaking as a non-skilled OW climber but as a runner/climber/Crossfitter - Mark, avoid focusing on single muscle groups. If all you do is lots of bicep curls you will only get stronger at doing bicep curls.

Lots of great advice on here and endurance seems to be the thing to focus on the most. You will not be making dynamic, short burst power moves. Did you get to see the Reel Rock Tour movie "Wide Boys"? Two British climbers trained HARD to come to the US and claim the gnarly FA of Century Crack. They made an artificial OW roof crack to train on, brutal stuff.
PAUL SOUZA

Trad climber
Central Valley, CA
Dec 4, 2012 - 10:42pm PT
We have an adjustable, slightly overhanging crack at the gym from 1/2" to about 8" or so here in Fresno. For a brief period, I really worked on my cardio and bouldered up the OW above where it starts to go overhanging and did timed static holds on each side. I would alternate between chicken wings, arm bars, and gastones. I would also do planks for time, facing down and side to side. I did notice an improvement in my OW climbing.

Good luck!

Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
Dec 4, 2012 - 10:48pm PT
Endurance, endurance, endurance!

Far too many people spend far too much time working for max power when they don't have the endurance base to support it.

(says the 56 year old guy who just climbed two El Cap grade IVs and a grade V back to back to back.)
zBrown

Ice climber
chingadero de chula vista
Dec 4, 2012 - 10:51pm PT
I didn't see any mention of pull-ups.

Here's a pushup variant. Put each hand on one of those big balls, put your feet on a bench. Push away.

After practicing, swap the bench for a ball. My balls are much harder than this guy's i.e. they don't collapse. Spread your fingers wide. If your wrist starts hurting, take a break.

Don't forget balance. Take a dumbell. Turn it vertically. Stand on top of it on one leg. Do curls, presses etc. Can also use one of those half balls.





frisbee

climber
{this page left blank intentionally}
Dec 4, 2012 - 10:58pm PT
Put each hand on one of those big balls
My balls are much harder than this guy's i.e. they don't collapse.

hee hee
Borut

Mountain climber
Ljubljana, Slovenia
Dec 4, 2012 - 11:03pm PT
Not about training, but technique:
http://www.highinfatuation.com/blog/how-to-climb-offwidths-101/
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Dec 4, 2012 - 11:41pm PT
so PellucidWombat what did you do and how did it work out?
the OP was two years ago...
zBrown

Ice climber
chingadero de chula vista
Dec 4, 2012 - 11:43pm PT
Good call Dr. Hartouni.


Time passes slowly up here in the mountains
We sit beside bridges and walk beside fountains
Catch the wild fishes that float through the stream
Time passes slowly when you're lost in a dream

-Margaret Runyan Castaneda




The user formerly known as stzzo

climber
Sneaking up behind you
Dec 4, 2012 - 11:54pm PT
I've been thinking on this lately...

For some OW and squeeze muscles, seems like some weird crab walking on knee & elbow / palm might satisfy both the resistance and coordination / endurance components.

If you see me crawling like a Gila Monster across the gym floor, you'll know why.
Jeremy

Social climber
Albuquerque, NM
Dec 5, 2012 - 12:02am PT
Jesus Christ...delete this stupid thread and go find a girlfriend.

F*#k...
frisbee

climber
{this page left blank intentionally}
Dec 5, 2012 - 01:12am PT
Girlfriends are good training for OW??
The user formerly known as stzzo

climber
Sneaking up behind you
Dec 5, 2012 - 01:26am PT
Having a girlfriend can result in a good core workout.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Dec 14, 2012 - 02:53am PT
the OP was two years ago...
one year ago. ("Topic Author's Original Post - Dec 12, 2011")
Mark must have been in fairly good shape if he could keep up with Steph in the Tetons in September....
Not sure how well that translates to ow, but probably it's good core shape.
Wade Icey

Trad climber
www.alohashirtrescue.com
Jun 5, 2013 - 12:59pm PT
michaeld

Sport climber
Sacramento
Jun 5, 2013 - 01:35pm PT
Boulder. A lot.
Front Levers.
Leg Lifts.
Sit ups.
Some curls.
Some benchpress.
Finger strength exercises.
Boulder more.
Bike around town.
Messages 1 - 44 of total 44 in this topic
Return to Forum List
Post a Reply
 
Our Guidebooks
Check 'em out!
SuperTopo Guidebooks


Try a free sample topo!

 
SuperTopo on the Web

Review Categories
Recent Trip Report and Articles
Recent Route Beta
Recent Gear Reviews