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Rock Climbers

Guest vsmith

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Hey Guys,

My first post (but Snot, I have MOHS--read it several times--looked through the FAQ and read many posts over the past few weeks....).

I'm a rock climber (mostly sport climbing in the gym) and have been working on hand/wrist/forearm strength to improve climbing performance.  Any other members out there in the same situation?  I don't have any goals related to "closing the #3" (I'd rather 'send that V10 climb or, in the short run, just look good in front of the cutie I saw in the gym the other day...) but still would like to share training ideas, routines and progress without boring the group.  Anyone else out there train specifically to improve their climbing?


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Guest ballast

vsmith-I'm not a rock climber, but the commercial gym I use to work out at in Phoenix was frequented by a group of rock climbers who did some of their conditioning there.A popular exercise was one-arm bar hangs while holding a plate or dumbell in the other hand(I've included this exercise into my grip routine, and it is awesome).One of them was also able to do consecutive one-arm chins, which always drew a crowd .Pretty cool to watch.Just a few suggestions for you.

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vsmith - I climb. It appears our climbing goals differ considerably. I am a long trad and big wall route kind of guy and sending a boulder route in the gym holds little for me in the way of long term satisfaction. In addition to that, there are few chicks on the wall routes. Furthermore, I have found that of the non-climbing grip exercises discussed here those that offer the most in the way of crossover strength to climbing don't motivate me very much. Instead I enjoy bending steel, the grippers and block weights ... just because they are fun and motivate me. I think the best things for climbing (other than climbing) would be thick bar deadlift lockouts, finger(tip) lifts and the like. If you are a boulderer, then you want a lot of dynamic strength and contact strength. Maybe block tosses would work (I do them). The campus board and bouldering are still probably your best bets for bouldering though.

Maybe tearing a phone book in half will be a good way to impress the chicks. Who in the climbing gym can do that?

-Mike M.

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I took up climbing 2 years ago because of a fascination I've always had with the sport.  Coincidentally, in the 6 mos. prior to this I had ordered MOHS and started a grip training program.  After my first session in the climbing gym I was amazed at the workout my hands and forearms received.  It was also very humbling.  I left feeling pretty much like a wimp due to my hands giving out quickly.  This just fueled my passion for increasing my grip strength.  At 215 lbs. and 37 yrs. old, I'll never be anything more than an average climber, but it is fun and challenging.

There are 4 exercises I do that I feel have helped my climbing:

  1)Farmer's walk

  2)Fingerrolls w/barbell

  3)Fingerboard pullups

  4)Pinch-gripping plates

Of these, I feel like the farmer's walk had the biggest impact (surprisingly) on my climbing strength.  I perform these with dumbells and a racquetball situated between the handle and the heel of the hand thus simulating a thick bar.


I suspect that the best way to improve your climbing is to climb.  Climbing for me is a supplement to my strength workouts (your situation sounds reverse).  I live an hour from the climbing gym so climbing often is not feasible.

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I climb too occasionally.  Mainly bouldering on real rock.

Weighted pull-ups or fingerhangs on a fingerboard would improve contact strength.  Dynos on a campus board, plus weight.  Stuff like that.  Try to climb a route that isn't too challenging for you with weights attached.  Increase difficulty over time.

I personally don't train handstrength for climbing, its just an obsession of mine, of course it has helped me with bouldering a lot.

Michael Falkov

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Thanks for the comments.

Presently I climb 3 times per week; 2X during the work week (45-50 mins, plus warm-up/cool-down) and once on the weekend (2-3 hours, which includes the socializing...maybe 90-120 mins worth of work).  During the week, I usually climb around noontime, then do a weights workout later that evening (simple sets of reps with the basic exercises) followed by the specialized grip workout.  I do not do the weights or grip on the weekends to allow for recovery.

In the grip workout, I follow MOHS advice and try to hit all three areas of grip.  Each workout, I try to focus on one of the three areas and do less in the other two.  Every fourth workout I limit the grip work and focus on wrist/forearm work.  LLNNC--I have also found the supporting grip exercises have the greatest impact on climbing...right now I do deadlift lockouts with a 2" thick bar (I use a 5' piece of 2" PVC pipe slipped over a standard--1"--bar) but I will try the Farmer's Walk suggestion (thank you).  I purchased and use IM's Titan Telegraph Key which is just now starting to have an impact...I scaled a particular climb for the first time the other day that was primarily composed of pinches.

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cool to have another climber on the board.

I climb (boulder) twice a week for about an hour and a half, outside if possible.

first started training specifically my grip for my climbing, but it has become a goal in itself. I find it cross trains my grip real well, and maintains my level of strength during periods where I cannot climb; for instance, last year, I did not climb for about 4 months due to tendinitis, but could still train my grip. I lost very little in strength during that time.

It has also improved my pinching a lot.

train hard


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