Whether you prefer climbing slabs, steep sport routes, or difficult boulder problems, improving your core strength will have a positive effect on your climbing performance.  However, exactly how to train your core in a functional, climbing-specific way is slightly more complicated and something climbers often misunderstand.  Your core is not just your abs and doing set after set of sit-ups isn’t going to cut it.

To help you be more effective in your core training, here’s an article by The Anderson Brothers in which Mark outlines exactly what the core is, it’s function in climbing, and how he went about training his core for a radically steep sport route he was projecting.

“Before discussing the exercises, it’s helpful to consider the role of the “core” in climbing. The core generally refers to any and all of the muscles surrounding the torso, including the abdominals, obliques, muscles of the back, and perhaps some of the muscles in that region that activate the extremities, such as the iliopsoas (aka “hip flexors”). Athletes in general use the core for two basic purposes. The most obvious is to generate motion, such as when a decathlete rotates his torso explosively to hurl a javelin. The other more significant function is to stabilize the torso, creating a “rigid body” that resists movement, buckling, or rotation against external forces.” – Mark Anderson

Core Exercises Outlined:

Here are the exercises Mark used in his own training and which he outlines in detail:

  • Advanced 1-Arm Inverted Row
  • Ab Roll from Rings
  • Front Lever
  • Wings

All of these exercises are also accompanied by a video demonstrating exactly how to perform them with proper form.  Additionally, Mark not only describes exactly how to perform these exercises, but he also outlines progressions that will let you workup towards being able to perform these difficult exercises.

This ability to continue increasing the difficulty and intensity of the workout is critical.  Just like when you are training your fingers on a hangboard, if you don’t progressively increase the load you will not continue to see gains.  In other words, it is not enough to just have a set circuit of core exercises you do after every session if you do not progressively make this circuit increasingly difficult over time.

More From the Anderson Brothers:

Click through below to read the complete article.  As always, the Anderson Brothers take a scientific approach so even if you don’t end up using the exercises Mark describes you will definitely learn a thing or two about exactly what training your core for climbing should look like.

Additionally, if you are interested in taking your training to the next level, be sure to check out their book The Rock Climber’s Training Manual.  It is a fantastic resource full of scientific information to help your training in the most effective way possible.  After all, it is important to train hard, but it is even better to train smart.

Full Article: Anderson Brothers Core Training

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(photo courtesy of rockclimberstrainingmanual.com)

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