/ Beyond Moves and Technique: The Importance of Core Training

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UKC Articles - on 05 Feb 2015
The abdominal core muscles, 3 kbIf you spend a lot of time in climbing walls you will see people falling off. Falling off bouldering walls, top ropes, lead climbs. If these walls are overhanging, you often see peoples' feet slip off holds, their bodies' take wild swings and then the next 20 seconds will be spent in a valiant effort trying to put that toe back on the hold – to no avail.The core muscles are very important in climbing and only recently are people starting to realise this.

In this article Robin O'Leary has once again returned to the source of knowledge, Nina Leonfellner, to find out what our "core" actually is, why it is so important and how we can train it to improve our climbing.



Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=7059
Dandan82 - on 05 Feb 2015
In reply to UKC Articles:

Fantastic article, something that almost everyone could benefit from whether they know it or not.

I'm off to get myself a gym ball!
cyberpunk - on 05 Feb 2015
In reply to UKC Articles:

When I climbed a lot I started to get a sore back. My doctor told me that it was because there was an imbalance between have super strong abs and a not as strong back muscles. I have the typical climber posture. When I was stood up strange I had a hunched over posture. Anyways, Is this true what he told me?
Mark Davies PK on 05 Feb 2015
In reply to UKC Articles:

Never mind all this poncy training, get yourself a job in landscape gardening!

It improved my core strength no end!!

but that was 10 years ago
galpinos on 05 Feb 2015
In reply to UKC Articles:

Though the message of the article is probably good, the fact the guys in the pictures are wearing those wanky vibram five finger things undermines their credability. They'll be telling you about their paleo diet nxt.....
Dave Flanagan - on 05 Feb 2015
In reply to UKC Articles:

I was more that a little surprised to see that Sachi Amma is unable to do a front lever yet can climb 9b? https://www.vimeo.com/118595985 see 2:45
Jimbo C - on 05 Feb 2015
In reply to UKC Articles:

Great article. The part about centering of joints has given me food for thought.
1
ClimberEd - on 05 Feb 2015
In reply to UKC Articles:

Excellent article on core strength, one of the best I have read - including triathlon and bike related literature.
1
Static - on 05 Feb 2015
In reply to UKC Articles:

I thought the concept of core stability had been debunked years ago?

Yes abdominal strength is important for climbers on steep rock. But the idea that transversus abdominus is a more important muscle than rectus abdominus or that 'stabiliser' muscles are more important than 'mover' muscles is pure narrative with no evidence to support it.

Excellent article here from The Sports Physio;
https://thesportsphysio.wordpress.com/2014/03/21/brace-yourselves-were-talking-core-stability-with-b...
Static - on 05 Feb 2015
In reply to UKC Articles:

Another good article about the myth of Core Stability here;

http://www.cpdo.net/Lederman_The_myth_of_core_stability.pdf
stp - on 05 Feb 2015
In reply to Static:

Didn't read the whole articles but they both seem to be about lower back pain rather than for climbing or similar sports.
stp - on 06 Feb 2015
In reply to Dave Flanagan:

> I was more that a little surprised to see that Sachi Amma is unable to do a front lever yet can climb 9b?

Yeah that was pretty interesting. I suppose if most of his training is climbing he'd never actually need to do a front lever so it might just be a case of some front lever practice to get it dialled. Training is very specific to what you actually train.

In a recent Epic TV interview with Jimmy Webb he said he didn't do any core training aside from a few crunches now and then. Yet if core strength is at all important in climbing he must have a super strong core: he seems like one of the strongest compression climbers in the world.

Dave Flanagan - on 06 Feb 2015
In reply to stp:

> Yeah that was pretty interesting. I suppose if most of his training is climbing he'd never actually need to do a front lever so it might just be a case of some front lever practice to get it dialled. Training is very specific to what you actually train.

But it's not as if front lever are actually pretty hard, certainly compared to climbing 9b. If climbing hard doesn't translate to front levers is it correct to say that front levers don't translate to climbing hard?

Jimbo C - on 06 Feb 2015
In reply to Dave Flanagan:

> I was more that a little surprised to see that Sachi Amma is unable to do a front lever yet can climb 9b?

So, if front lever strength helps you get your feet back on after popping, maybe his feet don't pop off (at least not on a successful red-point anyway) If someone is going to climb 9b, then they need pretty damn good footwork and need to execute the moves perfectly.

Dave Flanagan - on 06 Feb 2015
In reply to Jimbo C:

I'm not sure how much correlation there is between core strength and front lever strength but I assume there is a reasonably large one.

I think, primarily that core strength helps you keep your feet on the rock, getting the feet back on is a secondary aspect I think.
hexcentric - on 07 Feb 2015
In reply to galpinos:

As soon as I saw him wearing those stupid shoes I had to stop reading!
Jonas Wiklund - on 08 Feb 2015
In reply to UKC Articles:

Front levers work mostly latissimus dorsi and the deltoids. They also somewhat work the forearms, biceps and trapezius muscles, the other muscles get little to no work (try one and you see). Anyone who can do 20+ pullups in good form can do a front lever regardless of how weak the hip abductors, abdominal muscles etc are.
stp - on 08 Feb 2015
In reply to Jonas Wiklund:

> Anyone who can do 20+ pullups in good form can do a front lever regardless of how weak the hip abductors, abdominal muscles etc are.

I don't think that's right. I'm quite sure Sachi Amma, as on of the best lead competition climbers in the world, can do 20 pull ups with ease. I used to do pull ups with fairly heavy weights but was never close to a front lever. I sure at least some specific training is needed. For instance I imagine front levers may require activating certain core muscles not used, or not used in the same way, in pull ups.
stp - on 08 Feb 2015
In reply to Dave Flanagan:

> But it's not as if front lever are actually pretty hard, certainly compared to climbing 9b. If climbing hard doesn't translate to front levers is it correct to say that front levers don't translate to climbing hard?


That's a really interesting question. Presumably the Cafe Kraft trainers thought they were useful to get Amma doing them in the first place - unless that was just more of a test to determine his strengths/weaknesses.

I think of it this way. If you climb you develop much of the muscles used in front levers but you're never actually activating them in that way. So additionally you may need to do some specific training to fire off the exact circuit of the front lever muscles. Likewise if you train front levers you're developing the muscle groups used in climbing even if not the specificity - though climber will get that from just climbing.

It's a bit like one arm pull ups. Very good climbers often can't do one arm pull ups. You probably will never ever need to actually do one whilst climbing. But strong climbers might not have to train very much at all in order to do them, compared to lesser climbers who are no where near able to do them.

I see both these exercises as demonstrations of strength in climbing related muscle groups.

Jonas Wiklund - on 08 Feb 2015
In reply to stp:

Of course you need to learn the technique to hold the position, but that doesn't take long.
jotunscope - on 24 Feb 2015
I don't doubt that fitness is a huge advantage, and maybe necessary to climb hard, but fitness is not sufficient to climb hard.

My issue with this article is encapsulated in the title: "Beyond Moves and Technique: The Importance of Core Training". A narrative about correcting climbing problems using fitness follows. I think this article is trying to sell me a great fitness programme!

I've seen quite a few super fit types show up to the climbing wall, and fail to get up boulders that are frequently sent by small children and scrawny adults.

Strength is only strength when it relates to a purpose, or something like that! I say, go climbing!
1
GBurton on 24 Mar 2015
In reply to UKC Articles:

Then you have your ubulus muscle, which is connected to the upper dorsimus.....

It's boring, but it's part of my life.

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