/ wht are women generally weaker than men on steeper ground

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pork pie girl - on 30 Jan 2013
i'm no expert and haven't spent alot of time watching and comparing men and womans strength but do you think it's an accurate obswervation that men are stronger on steep routes in comparison ot women?

why is this the case?

sporty women are generally lighter then blokes... we should be able to handle our own body weight better tha we do on climbs...

i can knock out lots of wide grip pull ups... often alot more than the blokes in the gym.. but get me on a steep climb and i really should be stronger.. i do ok but not good enough as far as i'm concerned.

have most strong women climbers had to invest more time into getting stronger on steep problems/routes in comparison to strong male climbers?

what muscles are involved in climbing steeper routes... is it all aboiut back and biceps .. as well as finger strength...

why do women have less power? do women have less fast twitch muscle fibres in comparison to men? or is that irrelevant?

Camm on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to pork pie girl:
Women may be lighter but men have a lower body fat percentage, so more muscle rather than fat.

Also eating lots of pork pies wont help
mrchewy - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to pork pie girl: Is it all about power? What about the difference in hip shape and movement? Maybe that effects things when it's steep.
pork pie girl - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to danrock101:

i can't even face pork pies .. they're only good for longwinter routes
Orgsm on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to pork pie girl:

Frozen Pork pies also make good chock stones on winter routes
pork pie girl - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to mrchewy:

as in big pear hips? what about athletically built women who are straight up and down?
pork pie girl - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to A Game of Chance: bloody hell.. good idea!
syv_k - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to pork pie girl:
> (In reply to mrchewy)
> what about athletically built women who are straight up and down?

Even with a boyish body shape, women will still be at a disadvantage because testosterone = more muscle and less subcutaneous fat. This difference (check records of male and female weightlifters, at least the ones who aren't on steroids) is far too big to be outweighed by women being lighter on average.

Styx - on 30 Jan 2013
Don't forget all your core muscles play a large part on steep routes/problems too, body tension is essential to put weight on to the feet.
thebigfriendlymoose - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to pork pie girl:

As well as the greater muscle for weight, men tend to climb faster and more aggressively: powerful, dynamic moves rather than lots of static fiddling. Such an approach is likely beneficial on steep, difficult ground. I'm a fella with a typically very static style (climb in a series of frozen tableaux, like bad-stop motion animation) and often find ladies beta more useful than gents (despite being very tall). But on steep ground I have to force myself to climb faster - less searching for the optimum position and more just flinging, making do, and hoping a rest comes along later.
lost1977 - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to pork pie girl:

>
> what muscles are involved in climbing steeper routes... is it all aboiut back and biceps .. as well as finger strength...
>

glutes and hamstrings play a big role on steep and overhanging routes so the slightly different pelvis tilt may play a role in the weakness
Ali - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to pork pie girl:

I don't really have any scientific knowledge behind this, and presuming you're comparing like for like in terms of climbing ability, I think it's probably down to the fact that women generally have smaller muscles than men. May also be that men tend to do more 'powerful' exercises (e.g. in gym) so are used to exercising and using their fast-twitch muscles more. There are some pretty powerful female climbers (e.g. Mina Leslie-Wujastyk) but these are generally are a high level. I think looking across the range of climbers, women often avoid steeper problems because they struggle, therefore don't train their muscles as much as they could do.
Jon Stewart - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to pork pie girl:

I would have thought that men's overall wider shoulders, bigger arm muscles and smaller hips would explain it without having to get into much detail. Not having tits can't hurt either.
sianabanana - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to pork pie girl:

But, you don't have to have strong upper body strength to do overhanging routes. Its more beneficial to have strong core muscles.

Keep your arms straight, twist to reach holds. Push through with legs and keep arms straight. Shouldnt need to do one pull up.

You should feel it more in your tummy, trying to keep your legs on the wall and weight through your feet.
Stone Muppet - on 30 Jan 2013
Speaking as a bloke who is better on vertical terrain than overhanging, I struggle to believe the premise is true. Plenty of girls can climb steep stuff. Admittedly there aren't so many women as men at your average wall - are you sure it's not just a function of who the usual females are at your regular hangout?
Ian Black - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to pork pie girl: You forgot to add that you're probably faster and stronger walking in than most blokes!!!


Ian.
xinkai on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to pork pie girl:

Hilarious, I see this as feminist movement reaching a new level. Let's say, for any given girl who can knock out X reps of pull ups, there exist at least 10 guys who can do X+10 reps of the same.



... i can knock out lots of wide grip pull ups... often alot more than the blokes in the gym.. but get me on a steep climb and i really should be stronger.. i do ok but not good enough as far as i'm concerned.
IainRUK - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to pork pie girl: Just simple testosterone differences.

Males outcompete females generally.. look at any world record.. some sports the gap is smaller but its almost always there. People say ultra running, but female winners outright, are still pretty rare.

100m sprints, soccer, marathons, males are generally stronger and quicker. I don't think it is biomechanics.

If you look at when the gap was at its closest.. 1980's.. it was when perfomance enhancing drugs were at their peak usage..
Jon Stewart - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to sianabanana:
> (In reply to pork pie girl)
>
> But, you don't have to have strong upper body strength to do overhanging routes. Its more beneficial to have strong core muscles.
>
> Keep your arms straight, twist to reach holds. Push through with legs and keep arms straight. Shouldnt need to do one pull up.
>
> You should feel it more in your tummy, trying to keep your legs on the wall and weight through your feet.

Hmmm. As much as you try to keep use of your arms to the minimum possible by using keeping your feet on and you hips twisted in while possible, the amount of pull in the arms is pretty much always the limiting factor on steep routes with decent holds. You can make a steep route much more efficient with good technique, but you really can't climb steep routes without a lot of upper body strength. As the angle increases, physics means that the amount of weight it's possible to have on your feet decreases, (barring heel hooks) and the arms have to take the rest. Upper body strength is a requirement on steep routes.

sianabanana - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to Jon Stewart:
Agreed, not saying your arms dont take any weight, of course they do. And i know this gets a lot trickier the harder the route.

But what im saying is, just because its overhaning doesnt mean you have to do a pull up on to every hold.
xinkai on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to xinkai:

Add a condition X>1 to be accurate.

Hilarious, I see this as feminist movement reaching a new level. Let's say, for any given girl who can knock out X reps of pull ups, there exist at least 10 guys who can do X+10 reps of the same.



... i can knock out lots of wide grip pull ups... often alot more than the blokes in the gym.. but get me on a steep climb and i really should be stronger.. i do ok but not good enough as far as i'm concerned.
AJM - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to pork pie girl:

One random thought - different climbing style, it's a generalisation obviously but guys can often climb with a more powerful aggressive style which means climbing faster through the steep stuff and avoiding more cautious static moves?
climbingpixie - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to pork pie girl:

A few reasons - not being as strong (arms, core and shoulders) generally as the chaps, not having as much power and climbing in a more static and less dynamic way (that might be less efficient) are a couple of possibilities. But the main one I see is that a lot of women at the wall just don't spend as much time on the steep problems/routes as the blokes do, and if you don't work your weaknesses they won't improve.

P.S. the above reasons are partly based on observation and partly based on being told I climb steep ground like a bloke (fairly powerful and dynamically, not worrying too much if my feet come off as I've got decent core strength) whereas my chap climbs steep ground like a girl (drop knees, fancy footwork and rarely cutting loose).
Jon Stewart - on 30 Jan 2013
In reply to climbingpixie:

I'm not sure about this "climbs like a bloke"/"climbs like a girl" dichotomy. Mainly because I blatantly climb like a girl (but I call it "climbing like a trad climber" rather than a "climbing flashy sport climbing show-off who's spent too much time on the campus board because it's easier than learning how to keep your feet on"...sadly I don't climb anywhere near as hard as the latter, because I'm too busy fannying around trying to work out how I can avoid slapping for the next hold, and instead reach it statically in a completely reversible manner - because there's a voice inside telling me if I fall off I will almost definitely break my spine or possible die).
I like climbing - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to pork pie girl:
I haven't noticed this. I know quite a lot of girls who are really strong on overhangs......It seems like 50/50 to me.....
climbingpixie - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to Jon Stewart:

I'm more thinking about indoor bouldering rather than routes, not sure if that makes much difference to you. I think it's less scary slapping for stuff if you're only going to fall a short way onto the mats.
AJM - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> "climbing flashy sport climbing show-off who's spent too much time on the campus board because it's easier than learning how to keep your feet on"

I think you may be getting sport climbers confused with indoor boulderers! Energy conservation is an even bigger priority when sport climbing than trad climbing hence the more dynamic style, but in my experience that doesn't involve removing feet unless absolutely necessary...

pork pie girl - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to xinkai: (where did the feminist bit come in?.. i asked a question in order to benefit my own clinbing to see if i could potentially transfer my existing upper body strength into more efficient and powerful climbing)...

don't agree that for 'any' given girl that 10 blokes could do 10 more reps of her best effort. i do 140 reps of pull ups per work out over 7-8 sets alternated with a leg exercise, so don't rest between sets (i often go through stages of sets of 25) .. i've done wide grip pull ups since i was very young so have trained those muscle groups for a long time... i see lads in their twenties struggling to get anything near that.. i've trained in gyms for about 25 years, mainly in male dominated environments and have had numerous discussions with blokes of all ages about how they can improve their pull ups. loads of blokes can knock out average numbers of reps, most women can't do one rep.. i don;'t think i'm an exception to the rule as i expect any woman that uses pull ups as part of her training over a long period of time could do just as well as this.
pork pie girl - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to I like climbing:

cool... that;s really encouraging :o)
pork pie girl - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to climbingpixie:

i think indoor bouldering is very different
neilh - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to pork pie girl:
I had to laugh at this. I just thought of the brilliant women climbers like Lynn Hill, Catherine Destiville,all those other French and Spanish women sports climbers ( whom I can never remember the name of).

Weaker on steeper grund.....you have got to be kidding.
Lord_ash2000 - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to pork pie girl: "why are women generally weaker than men on steeper ground"

You kind of answered your own question there. It's because women are generally weaker and steep climbing puts much more load on your upper body as well as requiring more core strength to keep the feet in.

You're right to mention power to weight ratios however although men are generally heavier they are massively stronger and partially at lower levels tend to have a head start in muscle mass.
Jon Stewart - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to AJM:
> (In reply to Jon Stewart)
>
> [...]
>
> I think you may be getting sport climbers confused with indoor boulderers! Energy conservation is an even bigger priority when sport climbing than trad climbing hence the more dynamic style, but in my experience that doesn't involve removing feet unless absolutely necessary...

You're right. The big difference between me - the terrified trad climber - and sport climbers (or good, brave trad climbers) is that I just can't make myself slap for holds. This is rather off-topic...
Jon Stewart - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to climbingpixie:
> (In reply to Jon Stewart)
>
> I'm more thinking about indoor bouldering rather than routes, not sure if that makes much difference to you. I think it's less scary slapping for stuff if you're only going to fall a short way onto the mats.

It's funny - while I obviously do a lot more slapping and falling off indoor bouldering than proper climbing, I'm still a lot more static than average. Having spent a lot of time soloing on grit and doing bold-ish trad it has quite a deep influence on my climbing style.

And AJM is right of course - the campus masters are boulderers (and not just indoors). I've often been surprised by the unsteep, technical font 6b/c problems that 7b/c climbers have failed to get up and dismissed as 'gash' because they can't be climbed with upper body strength alone.
Stone Muppet - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to pork pie girl: i don;'t think i'm an exception to the rule

Exactly. You have trained to that level in pullups and could presumably match it on overhangs. I think this is more a reflection of what people do do, not what they can do.

Quiddity - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to Stone Muppet:

> Exactly. You have trained to that level in pullups and could presumably match it on overhangs. I think this is more a reflection of what people do do, not what they can do.

I don't really think climbing overhangs is anything at all like doing pull ups. I don't think I have done more than 8 pull ups in a set, or campussed anything more than 1-3-5, ever.
Neil Williams - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to Quiddity:

I think climbing overhangs can be done in two ways - one involves good technique, the other involves pull-ups. If you're good at the latter, you can avoid having to develop the former, at least until you get onto really hard stuff.

Neil
Kemics - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to Neil Williams:

I remember someone posted an article saying it's not about pull ups at all because of the plane of motion. You're most likely to replicate a pull up motion on a vertical wall. As it gets more overhanging it becomes like performing an inverted row. It's more about lats and chest?
pork pie girl - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to neilh: i'm not talking about elite climbers though :o) i'm talking about women in general
pork pie girl - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to Jon Stewart:

agree.. steeper stuff requires the ability to lock off and keeping your body close into the the rock
pork pie girl - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to Kemics: i thinking pulling up on both arms an overhanging wall is fine, the more challenging thing is locking off one one arm
neilh - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to pork pie girl:
I think you are talking a load of rubbish, these days there are a hell of alot of good strong middle grade women climbers.

You need to walk round with your eyes open a bit more.

AJM - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to Quiddity:

Agree.

My pullup pb was when I climbed 6a. They just aren't very relevant.

Momentum is key because it avoids you having to lock off hard and good footwork/body position/awareness and the posterior core chain to weight foot holds better gets more weight onto your feet.
shark - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to pork pie girl: > (In reply to pork pie girl)
> I had to laugh at this. I just thought of the brilliant women climbers like Lynn Hill, Catherine Destiville,all those other French and Spanish women sports climbers ( whom I can never remember the name of).
>
> Weaker on steeper grund.....you have got to be kidding.


Although climbing steeper grund isn't wholly reliant on upper body strength it is a key factor and the difference between men and women is significant

"the lower lever of upper body strength that women have with respect to men for all sport levels:
- about 60% when adjusting for body weight,
- 70-75% when considering lean body mass (Stone, Stone and Sands, 2007)."

http://en-eva-lopez.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/Key%20Performance%20Factors#uds-search-results

Eva goes on to say: "This is why I take the opportunity to encourage all female climbers to improve their pulling strength. They will be astonished by their performance gains."
davo - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to pork pie girl:

Interesting discussion. I am trying to avoid doing work so...

Your opening post is something I have thought about a fair bit and have noticed the same thing as you.

I think that there are a series of things going on (as always this not based on science just my opinion!):

Initially at a beginner level I think it is fair to say that most guys are able to do more pull ups than women and have more muscle mass in the back, lats, biceps and shoulders etc.. Therefore it is fairly obvious that most guys will tend to be able to climb steeper ground more easily than a woman. Obviously their technique will be bad and they will be using lots of unnecessary energy but the point remains that they will be able to get up a steeper more powerful climb than your average beginner woman. I understand that there are exceptions to this but in general I reckon it holds true.

As with everything being better at one thing tends to mean that you will do more of that thing generally because most people like to do well at things and not look or feel bad at something that others seem to find easy. So this then means that lots of guys get sucked into climbing steep ground with big holds and lots of women then dont want to try steep ground because they prefer vertical or technical climbing that they are good at. The more this continues the better each person/group gets at the thing they do and the bigger the disparity grows. Obviously I am generalising a lot here but I still reckon if you look around when climbing inside at people who are beginner/intermediate level (whatever that means) it does mostly hold true.

There is also a group effect type thing. If you look around a wall and see that the steep stuff is populated by guys with their tops off, sweating, grunting and monkeying their way around and that the vertical/slabby has lost more women then you as a beginner/intermediate climber could be forgiven for assuming that guys climb steep stuff and women are better on the vert!

In my opinion as the standard increases this starts not to hold true as much and the differences start to even out quite a bit. Yes in general I still think that your average guy who redpoints sport 8a is likely to have a greater liking for steep ground and thuggery than your average female that redpoints 8a but the difference is much less profound and it is likely that the female in question could still climb really well through roofs and steep ground. Also as the climbs get harder raw power begins to be less and less important, rather steely fingers, good power endurance and good technique are much more important. To be honest being able to do a one armer and 1-4-7 has never helped me very much sport climbing. Personally if I lose my feet on a climb it is normally all over and I have certainly never needed to crack out a one armer! That is not say that it isn't good to have a bit more power in the tank on some moves just that I think it rarely makes much difference and that from someone who likes campussing and generally maintains an ability to crack out a one armer!

Personally I think that there are obvious phsyiological differences between men and women's muscle mass and ability to generate power, however I reckon that most of the difference comes down to not training that particular thing.

For example I personally am not the greatest on the vert (in fact I suck), the answer is relatively simple as to why. I don't do much of it, I generally avoid it and therefore don't climb very well on it. However once a year or so I make myself do a thin vertical wall climb that is somewhere near my top grade, initially I can hardly move and hate it but by the end of the process (if I don't spit the dummy) I move much better and have relearnt how to de-weight the fingers, keep the hips in and put more trust in my feet etc..

Dave
Bulls Crack - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to thebigfriendlymoose:
> (In reply to pork pie girl)
>
> As well as the greater muscle for weight, men tend to climb faster and more aggressively: powerful, dynamic moves rather than lots of static fiddling.

You've obviously never seen me climb!
pork pie girl - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to shark: cheers shark, that's really helpful
pork pie girl - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to neilh: i don't think i'm talking a load of rubbish at all really... most women need to invest more time into getting strong on steeper ground in comparison to men.. i'm not saying there aren't alot of strong women climbers out there

seems like you might need to get down to your local wall and work off some of your grumpiness ;o)
shark - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to pork pie girl: > (In reply to Kemics) i thinking pulling up on both arms an overhanging wall is fine, the more challenging thing is locking off one one arm



It might be more challenging but in the article linked in my last post concludes that pulling ability is a more important strength for climbing than locking ability.
shark - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to davo:


On the money, as usual :-)
pork pie girl - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to davo: haven't got loads of time to respond but i'm with you on this.. cheers for taking the time to give your opinons about this... it's very encouraging to see that the gap lessens as people move up the grades.. got my sights set on a challneging project (for me) this year .. so i'll take every bit of positive stuff going :o)
davo - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to shark:

Interesting set of articles from Eva Lopez there.

Seems to say that locking off training is not really beneficial it is mostly about the ability to pull between holds.

Only thing in my experience is that my pulling ability between holds and the ease and speed with which I execute these movements is often quite strongly correlated with how strong I feel in my locking off ability. To be fair I think somewhere she says something quite similar, there was just so much i struggled to digest it all.

I think in some ways it is a chicken and egg thing. Which is the best way of training arm strength that is most relevant for climbing? I guess she says that pulling between holds is the best way rather than trying to practice lock offs.

Dave
Rachel Slater - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to pork pie girl:

I'm a girl and I LOVE steep climbing. I'm also quite a short and fairly powerful climber which I can put to better use on steep that slabs. My sister climbs a similar grade to me but she is tall and ha much less upper body strength in comparison. Her max grades are usually on slabs and vertical climbing where as mine are on steep stuff.

I think in England women may look like they are worse on steep compared to men but I agree as someone said earlier is that its because you rarely see them trying steep routes and boulder problems. However I used to train on a youth climbing team in Canada and I'd probably say that at least half of the girls on my team would say they are better on steep stuff than slabs. So I don't think women are worse at steep stuff compared to men however you can't expect to be decent on steep stuff if you don't do it often.
flaneur - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to pork pie girl:

Davo said:

> Personally I think that there are obvious phsyiological differences between men and women's muscle mass and ability to generate power, however I reckon that most of the difference comes down to not training that particular thing.

There are physiological differences between the genders but, at least as important, there are social conditioning and expectation differences. Women are less likely to participate in sport in the UK, are much less likely to participate in strength and power sports, and frequently receive a barrage of negative comment if they do so. Search "Zoe Smith" + "Troll" for a recent high-profile example. Low-level versions of this are ubiquitous and not absent from the right-on world of climbing.

It's not considered 'feminine' to have muscles and muscles are what you need to climb steeper ground.
John_Hat - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to pork pie girl:

power to weight ratio is pretty much the same below the waist for blokes and women, but upper body power to weight ratio women are about 60% of blokes, so says a study of lots of sports people I have here...
neilh - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to pork pie girl:
Laughs -- to watch all those strong women cruising overhanging/steep sections

Not meaning to sound grumpy, I just do not agree.

Anyway there are loads of male climbers who are terrible on steep and overhanging stuff.

I do believe that women have far better technique, they use their feet and body position better than blokes.
shark - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to davo:

I only skimmed read them before and have been re-reading more carefully.

The timings are the clincher as analysed in article 3. Most people think of climbing as a slow sport but the actual execution of moves is usually quick, typically around 1 second for hand movement from one hold to the next. This rises for beginner to intermediate climbers who consequently will find that they are in a locked position for longer but rather than training to lock better they would generally be better directed at improved technique to reduce their lock times to break into the higher grades.

Nonetheless there is pleasure to be gained from locking a hold kissing your bicep then blowing chalk of your leading hand before casually reaching for the next hold.
GridNorth - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to neilh: I was once told that I climbed like a girl. It was meant as an insult but I considered it a compliment.
Stone Muppet - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to Quiddity:
> (In reply to Stone Muppet)
>
> [...]
>
> I don't really think climbing overhangs is anything at all like doing pull ups. I don't think I have done more than 8 pull ups in a set, or campussed anything more than 1-3-5, ever.

Oops, I didn't mean to imply that it was! I was trying to point out that in the OP's case, what you do, you become.
Dave Garnett - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to neilh:
> (In reply to pork pie girl)
>
> Anyway there are loads of male climbers who are terrible on steep and overhanging stuff.
>
> I do believe that women have far better technique, they use their feet and body position better than blokes.

Absolutely. My daughter carefully heelhooks her way across roofs whereas as I just go for it and only make it halfway.

I think the analysis earlier that we all tend to do more of what we are best at is the real point. I know that I really need to work on stamina and steep stuff but I just do more short bouldering and technical slabs. I'm happy to climb like a girl!
ads.ukclimbing.com
davo - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to neilh:
> (In reply to pork pie girl)
> Laughs -- to watch all those strong women cruising overhanging/steep sections
>
> Not meaning to sound grumpy, I just do not agree.
>
> Anyway there are loads of male climbers who are terrible on steep and overhanging stuff.
>

Definitely true, I see loads of guys who have terrible technique and just try to thug their way up and as a consequence don't do very well. Also some guys are very heavy and just don't have good power to weight ratios. There are also some guys who have avoided overhangs and are pretty weak at them.

However in general most guys are better than women on overhangs for all the reasons I outlined above. Yes there are exceptions and as I said as you progress up the grades it tends to even out a lot but in general there is still a difference.

> I do believe that women have far better technique, they use their feet and body position better than blokes.

As a generality at a low climbing level I think this is a fair point, however as you go up the grades most people have good technique. Obviously some have better than others but most climbers (men and women) that I know who climb well have good solid technique.

I take the point that at a beginner/intermediate level a lot of women are more confident at putting weight on their feet and generally climbing on the vert whereas a lot of men tend to find it pretty hard.

I don't know where you climb and possibly it is different where you are (but I doubt it) but i think the op's post is a fair one. If you look around an average climbing wall most women tend to climb better on vertical/slabby stuff rather than overhanging stuff. Yes this is a generalisation but it would hold true for the majority.

Dave

davo - on 31 Jan 2013
In reply to shark:
> (In reply to davo)

> Nonetheless there is pleasure to be gained from locking a hold kissing your bicep then blowing chalk of your leading hand before casually reaching for the next hold.

In my opinion, this is quite simply the greatest of al climbing pleasures!

Where your friend fails, you cruise up, lock off footless and do a casual french blow before reaching for the next hold and glory!

Obviously it is a high risk strategy and can make you look like an idiot but when it works there is simply nothing better!

Dave Stelmach on 04 Feb 2013
In reply to pork pie girl: concentrate on good technique and the grades will follow. The best training for climbing is ............... Climbing!
Alternatively, work the moves isometricly so the right muscles are developed.

Good luck, and I'll have your spare pork pies!
switch - on 04 Feb 2013
In reply to Dave Stelmach:

Do you mean work the moves individually in isolation? Isometric (static) exercises are different eg a deadhang, where you are holding a static position
Stone Muppet - on 04 Feb 2013
In reply to Dave Stelmach: Good technique is absolutely the most important thing for improving your climbing, along with strength, endurance, power endurance, bouldering, redpointing, losing weight, commitment, tactics, regular sessions indoors or out, lots of trad mileage and the willingness to fall off.
Siderunner - on 05 Feb 2013
In reply to pork pie girl:

When I'm warming up at my local wall I always observe the men doing puillups, pressups, and abs, while the women are doing a lot of stretching and sometimes core. Quite often I hear the men moaning about their flexibility, and occasionally women commenting that they ought to do more strength work - makes me smile inwardly.

Actually the disparity is reducing a bit, with more men doing yoga, and occasionally I even see a woman on the pullup bar. I put this down to better education/information. But still everyone likes to work their strengths :-)

At the top level, where everyone trains to the max their body can take, the testosterone advantage and the slightly lower body fat (9% vs 14% or so) means men have the edge. But it's a small edge: women are at 9a, men at 9b, roughly speaking. I think a lot of women in the mid and low grades use this small disparity as an excuse for avoiding working their weakness.

Lastly, AFAIK finger/forearm strength/endurance trumps pullup strength every time. Maybe the problem is you've been working the wrong thing :-o

Good topic!
koalapie - on 05 Feb 2013
In reply to pork pie girl: Starts at puberty. I think the figures are relatively 50% more muscle lay down in upper limb and 30% more in lower limb for males. Which explains the greater difference in performance between men and women in upper limb based strength/power sports. As climbing performance is so multifactorial, it turns out to be a sport with a diminishing gap between men and women (particularly outdoor sport climbing), however, the differences will be most evident on steep, powerful ground, as a general rule.
pork pie girl - on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to Siderunner: i'm quite fairly satifsfied with the progress i'm making on steep stuff... but if i could get my fingers and forearms to catch up with the muscles that help me on pull ups that would be awesome... it's a very slow process (25 years doing pulls Vs 3 years of doing proper climbing.. before that i've done some great climbing but big booted multi picth VDiffs and severes and winter Vs... i'm still learning) so it still feels like early days...

it's just that often the general difference between men and women is obvious in beginner/ intermediate stages... and i've noticed women really hold once they tend to gte into the harder grades.. like you say especially with sports climbing...
jkarran - on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to pork pie girl:

> don't agree that for 'any' given girl that 10 blokes could do 10 more reps of her best effort. i do 140 reps of pull ups per work out over 7-8 sets alternated with a leg exercise, so don't rest between sets (i often go through stages of sets of 25) .. i've done wide grip pull ups since i was very young so have trained those muscle groups for a long time... i see lads in their twenties struggling to get anything near that.. i've trained in gyms for about 25 years, mainly in male dominated environments and have had numerous discussions with blokes of all ages about how they can improve their pull ups. loads of blokes can knock out average numbers of reps, most women can't do one rep.. i don;'t think i'm an exception to the rule as i expect any woman that uses pull ups as part of her training over a long period of time could do just as well as this.

Christ, I don't think I can do more then 2 or 3 wide grip pull-ups, if that! What sort of level is it that you're struggling at? Your profile grades look pretty similar to mine and most of my harder ticks have been on steep ground or roofs despite my relative weakness (perhaps because of weak fingers?).

It's not my normal suggestion but have you considered coaching? It sounds to me that there is a pretty significant gulf between your strength and its application to climbing.

jk
pork pie girl - on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to jkarran:

my harder ticks have been on off vertical .. say 10 -15 degrees .. fingery stuff. bum kicked on roofs..

most stuff i climb on indoors is on steeper ground ,, but some of the boudering problems for most v7 feel impossible in terms of power and technique.. boudlering just feels like a completely different sport. but one i wnat to get better at as it compliments the sports climbing for sure

i agree that i am not applying some of my strength as my finger strength and technique aren't allowing me... somehting i am working on constantly and seeing good results... but it's a slow process

doig lots of pull ups doesn't seem factor with climbing at all.. infact i am totally unsure about why some sports climbers incorporate them into their training regimes.. i do them because i have always done them.
Ally Smith on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to jkarran:

I'm with jk on this; 140 wide grip pull-ups in sets of 20-25 is seriously impressive strength.

I can knock out 12 pull-ups on a good day, and only with a shoulder width grip. My best ever was 20, but i was only climbing 7b+ at the time.

PPG - i guess you must enjoy doing this exercise to keep going, but is it a beneficial use of your time and energy? You've obviously got the raw arm and back strength for much higher grades than your current 7b hardest.

James' suggestion of coaching could be spot on.
- Are you using your obvious strength in an inefficient way?
- Have you actually measured your finger strength? What proportion of body weigh can you support on a first joint edge?
Simon_Sheff - on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to pork pie girl:
> i'm no expert and haven't spent alot of time watching and comparing men and womans strength but do you think it's an accurate obswervation that men are stronger on steep routes in comparison ot women?
>
> why is this the case?
>
> sporty women are generally lighter then blokes... we should be able to handle our own body weight better tha we do on climbs...
>
> i can knock out lots of wide grip pull ups... often alot more than the blokes in the gym.. but get me on a steep climb and i really should be stronger.. i do ok but not good enough as far as i'm concerned.
>
> have most strong women climbers had to invest more time into getting stronger on steep problems/routes in comparison to strong male climbers?
>
> what muscles are involved in climbing steeper routes... is it all aboiut back and biceps .. as well as finger strength...
>
> why do women have less power? do women have less fast twitch muscle fibres in comparison to men? or is that irrelevant?

Yeah Lynn Hill was shit
pork pie girl - on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to ally smith: hoya..the pull ups don't take up very much of my time... i do two weight training workouts per week.. training all muscle groups... the pull ups are part of that.. so i'm not at em every day or anything.

the reps i manage with pull ups are only because i've been at them since i was about 16 (41 now).

(it's intersting when i add additional weight... so my reps reduce right down to about 5 if i add 20lb ... just under 20% of my body weight, i reckon most blokes who knock out average reps in a set could manage more than 5 reps if an additional 20% of their body weight added?)

i've only been trying sports climbing for one season (last season), just dossed about with it up until then, before that i had two reasonable seasons of trad climbing and winter climbing.. before that i didn't clib for about 3-4 years (mostly mountain biked and lots of gym work and hill walking) and before that i climbed long multi pitch easy routes and alpine routes... lots of mileage but not doing anything any harder than a severe.. the aim was to not wear rock shoes .. big booting routes was our thing... but since meeting people that do what i consider climbing rather than mountaineering i have got the bug for wanting to push my grade more, so it's very early days in terms of the amount of time i've invested but i'm no spring chicken so want to make the most of opportunities to improve.

i think coaching could possilby be wasted on me right now... i thought i need to put more effort in first over a longer period of time to get the most out of coaching sessions?.. guess there's no rules though.
xinkai on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to pork pie girl:

"i expect any woman that uses pull ups as part of her training over a long period of time could do just as well as this."

You are comparing one highly trained girl (you) with general active guys you met and reaching the above conclusion.

I don't agree with this. There are many guys who do 200-300 pull-ups in one training session. 30X6 is not easy but can be achieved. Personally I prefer 10X5 with 50% body weight added. On the other hand, very few girls, even trained after a period of time, can do 5 pull-ups. There are exceptions, of course.

I also think pull strength is not quite related to climbing levels. I knew a girl climbing steep F8 who couldn't do a single pull-up.



Styx - on 06 Feb 2013
It's all well and good being able to crack out lots of pull ups but they're not really a climbing specific exercise, see Steve Bechtel's blog: http://climbstrong.wordpress.com/2011/07/26/pull-ups-are-a-waste-of-time/

Additionally, given the sheer volume you're capable of, you're not really training strength but power endurance. In order to stimulate neurological adaptation and hypertrophy you need to add weight until your reps drop to 2-6 for recruitment or 8-12 for hypertrophy.

If you want to increase your pulling strength the best approach would be to do weighted inverted rows.
pork pie girl - on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to xinkai: totally agree.. don't think pull up strength relates to climbing ability... and have said that a few times in response to a few comments

i do expect most women who use pull ups as part of their training could do as many as me... but not as many as any man...but i also think they could do 200-300 per work out too... in doing so i would perosnally need to substitute other back and arms excercises a. to allow time and b. to not burn out too soon and be able to get that many reps out.

my point is that men do naturally have greater upper body strength.. for example i couln't manage 50% of my body weight when trying to do pull ups. but if i was a bloke and used pull ups to train i would be disappointed if i couldn't achieve that.

earlier on when i first posted this topic someone suggested that any average bloke could do at least 10 more reps of any given woman's best effort, this is something i disagreed with...

most people i climb with are blokes and most of them don't do pull ups or aspire to do so... they don't think it's necessary to get climbing fit and neither do i .. it's just something i enjoy doing and would do more if i didn't do alot of exercise in any given week

many of the responses have been really encouraging... mostly agreeing that in the earlier stages of getting into climbing women are generally weaker than blokes but the gap starts to reduce the higher up the grades the two genders progress :o)



pork pie girl - on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to Styx: again.. agree with this .. read previous responses mate
xinkai on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to pork pie girl: " earlier on when i first posted this topic someone suggested that any average bloke could do at least 10 more reps of any given woman's best effort, this is something i disagreed with... "

That someone was me. What I said: for any woman who can do x pull ups, while x>0, there exist 10 guys who can do x+10 of them. This is a bit different from your statement above and I stand by it.
pork pie girl - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to xinkai:

if that's what you thought you said then so be it... i don't think the objective of the original post was to try and debate this issue to death...most certainly not the issue of whether women can do as many pull ups as men.. (that issue has obviously put a bee in your bonnet)... as i've said it's about women climbing steep routes or problems, especially at intermediate level, and any learning i can take from various members about climbing and how to focus any strength/fitness i have is really appreciated.

post officially closed... we're going round in circles

shark - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to pork pie girl:

Can I just make a point about pull-ups and training. Most people think in terms of number of pull-ups on a bar as the key measure but I think once you can do a half dozen or so of these it is better to start investigating variants that improve pulling power (ie weighted pullups), pulling ability on edges, pulling at different joint angles/orientations, one-armed work (assisted or otherwise)or foot-on pulls/moves on a board.
Styx - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to pork pie girl:
> (In reply to Styx) again.. agree with this .. read previous responses mate

Yeah, sorry, this thread's gone on for so long I'd forgotten what I'd read earlier in the week! :)

... must be getting old, argh.

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