Does anyone do any kind of direct leg training? I don't mean steady cardio like jogging or cycling, I'm talking about strength training. Squatting, deadlifting etc.
What is an appropriate weekly volume for leg training? I wanted to work out twice a week alongside climbing three times, during my home workouts I was planning to do Zercher squats, 3x3-5, and a glute-ham raise progression, 3x6-10. I'd do these at the beginning of the workout before my grip, core and upper body training. Is this more than necessary? Or not enough?
In reply to cb_6: Thanks for the feedback. I find the racking position for the front squat painful due to a lack of wrist flexibility and I cannot clean my working front squat weight, hence the decision to go for Zerchers. I'm doing this at home without a rack, hence why I'm not just doing traditional back squats. Any reason why front squats should be superior to Zerchers?
much better core activation with fronts and it also in very beneficial for shoulder health if done olympic style (rather than crossed arms), crossed arms would probably be easier for you (if you had a rack)
In reply to cb_6: Research I've done indicates that Zerchers are just as great for the core as fronts, maybe even moreso. They're quite similar anyway, with Zerchers of course the barbell is lower down between the chest and abs rather than sitting on the front delts. Having the bar in such a posotion is very challenging for the core. Forgive me for not being clear but it wasn't really a question of which squat variation is the best, in an ideal world I'd be doing back squats anyway ;-) but any heavy, bilateral barbell squat will hit the legs and core, whether it's back, front, Hack, Zercher or even trap bar deadlifts. It wasn't really exercise choice I was looking for advice on.
My question was more one of intensity and volume. Is the intensity necessary for a climber? That is, do I need to be doing low reps with such a high % of my 1 rep max, or would I benefit more from lowering the weight and doing high rep sets? Is the volume appropriate for a climber, given that I'm only doing 18-30 reps over the course of 6 sets in a week?
In reply to cb_6: Well I found doing partials gave me some progress, but then I decided just to go back to lifting weights to get my strength up. Right now with Zerchers I'm only lifting about 2/3 my bodyweight. If I can get up to over my bodyweight that's a significant increase in strength, and similar to the amount of strength required for pistols.
In reply to cb_6:
I found doing one legged squats on a high step with the free leg sliding down the side of the step to stabilise was a useful stepping stone to pistols. i now do this as a warmup before pistols since I can only manage 6 reps atm. To me these feel just like pressing out a high hands free rock over, and completely different to two legged squats with weight, since stability is half the challenge. But I know little about sports science!
Am interested you do legs first, is that better? I always do them last as they make me feel wasted and I can't do much after...
In reply to ellis: I was waiting for a comment like that, I'm sure most climbers have the attitude to squats or leg work that most women have over picking a dumbell up.
Your not going to get bodybuilders legs from doing some low rep high weight squats, your only going to build strength, SIZE is build through eating excess calories and training in a 5-8 or 8-12 rep range, usually. Look at Olympic lifters at 55kg lifting 2-3 times their weight.
For legs I do pistol squats weighted with kettle bells or weight plates, whatever is available. Remember your hamstrings need stimulus to, if you have a training partner or your gym has the right tool try Glute ham raises ( do those when your resting the next day, trust me:p)
He is sort of right strength training dosent make you massive, body building is a bit different, that said if you are skinny and weak weights will make you put a bit of weight on until your body adjusts.
In reply to lost1977:
Sorry, that was meant to be an "I'm a fat bumbly and I'd be interested to know" sort of actual question rather than an "I'm a world renowned expert on climbing training and I think you're barking up the wrong tree" sort of rhetorical question.
But I've always taken "core strength" to refer approximately to strength in the abs / lower back / hips which from a climbing point of view mostly translates into how much you can maintain tension between your legs and arms.
I've always found that if I do a lot of steeply overhanging bouldering, I often come out of it with pumped or achey muscles around my stomach and sometimes my back, but never with pumped or achey calves or thighs...
Ever struggled to keep your toes glued to small holds on an overhang? Ever been on a technical slab with next to no handholds and been forced to get a foot up high, rock your bodyweight onto it and push up? Ever had to do an explosive dyno? Ever gotten a heel hook while bouldering on a roof and found you can't really use it for anything? All in the legs my friend ;-)
I know of it, although I'm reluctant to embark on a specific strength training program not designed specifically for climbing (Stronglifts and Starting Strength are in a similar vein). Incorporating a small amount of barbell work with some more appropriate work (grip training and calisthenics) would seem a better approach to me.
> (In reply to cb_6)
> There is no better grip strength training than the dead lift
Deadlifting thick bars, maybe. Deadlifting a standard bar, not so sure. An inch thick barbell doesn't challenge the hand the same way small holds do. Besides, I only have a 5' standard bar with enough space for 129.5kg of my plates. I've already deadlifted that much for reps and can't afford to upgrade to an Olympic bar.
In reply to Martin1978:
> (In reply to cb_6) I wasn't asking for me, I was asking what you were hoping to get out of stronger legs ;)
Don't know if this is true, but I got the impression that training the big movers in the legs kicks off greater production of HGH which impacts the whole body not just the legs. That's part of my rationale for doing legs in the same workout as arms or shoulders and often the same session as some finger boarding : in my mind I am working these little muscles then supplying the body with a big kick to tell it to make everything stronger. Probably madness?!
about 30% of my training is leg stuff and i find no increase in mass or weight. it simply depends how you train. for serious leg capacity you need to train several aspects - legs are complicated structures and just raw lift power or light running is only part of the picture.
make part of it whatever squat turns you on (tho wouldnt zerchers be harder to position than f-squats?), but do narrow squats and follow thru into calf raises too, as well as lunges.
if you cant add weight to the bar add it to yourself with a pack or romanian bag over your shoulders.
chains are good for working balance and thrust.
single leg DLs are good, as are plyometric jumps (box and depth) and assisted pistols as mentioned. lateral jumps over a barrier are good stuff.
the finest leg ex i cann think of tho is running/walking with a weighted pack. tho many hate it, the best results i see are from this and if trained properly need not mean injury (plenty of soldiers, construction workers and and firemen do it). keeps mass down when trained with other stuff, including regular running (even better, on soft sand).