We all know that having a strong core is important for climbing. However, with all the core exercises out there, it can be hard to tell exactly what’s going to be the most effective core training for climbing.
To provide some clarity to the world of core training, here’s an article by climbing coach and trainer Steve Bechtel of Climb Strong. In it, he discusses his priorities with core training and outlines how he coaches athletes to train the core.
“The core should not be treated as a prime-mover. There are many exercises that target the abdominals, but the abs should be trained the way they are used- as structural support. Most of the ab exercises we learned as young athletes use the rectus abdominus to create either hip flexion (as in supine leg raises) or trunk flexion (as in crunches or sit-ups). Although these do “work” the abs, that’s not how we use the muscles in normal movement. The core muscles are almost exclusively stabilizers, and are best used to control movement rather than to initiate it. The one exception which may be specific to climbing is the hanging leg raise and its variations.” – Steve Bechtel
Advances in Core Training
While this article does give you specific exercises and ways to progress the difficulty of these exercises as you improve, don’t just skip to them and miss Bechtel’s greater message. According to Steve, the way many of us try and train our cores isn’t actually effective for producing climbing specific core strength gains.
Instead, Bechtel believes that we should be training our core using the same strength training protocols we use for the rest of our strength training (i.e. high load/intensity and low reps). What this means practically is if a core exercise is easy enough that you can keep doing it once you’re fatigued, then you aren’t effectively training core strength.
Furthermore, to make sure we are training a complete and functional core for climbing, Bechtel divides core training into 4 categories:
- Dynamic Stability
- Hip Flexion
Click through below to learn more about Steve’s views on core training and to learn how you can implement these ideas into your own training.
Full Article: Climb Strong – Advances in Core Training
(photo courtesy of climbstrong.com)
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