Training without Climbing

There we go again. I start the engine of my car and turn on the heating. It’s cold outside. The roads are icy but the sunshine ensures that it’s  nice to be outside. I’m on my way to the gym, the fitness gym.

I look at all the people around me. There are people of all shapes, sizes, and ages. Of course my attention is drawn to the most attractive people. There are always perfectly muscular guys and slim beautiful girls around. The guys are watching their own muscles in the mirrors and the girls are (most of the time) performing their sexiest walk on the StairMaster.
With all those different people, it is not boring at all to be there. It is at most a little bit disappointing because there are always prettier, sexier girls around than you.
Because I know that the StairMaster (though it might give you a nice butt) is not the best thing to step on as a climber because you’ll get muscles on your legs which are only a disadvantage, I go to the weight training area after my running warm up.

While I’m working my standard routine, I notice that a guy is sauntering around me.
I take a break before I start my next set and that’s the moment he comes to me. He asks me if he can step in with me, in order to  train on the same device. I don’t have a problem with that and say: “go ahead”. He performs some dips, moaning and groaning. Then it’s my turn again. I pull up and move my body to the right, lock off for five seconds before I move my body to the left and hold it for five seconds. I repeat that three times and step off the machine.
Then he fires his question to me. He’s wondering what exactly I’m working on and what sport I normally do that makes me so extremely strong in my shoulders. Non-climbers are always surprised by strong climbing shoulders. I’ve had women that ask me out of the blue, during shopping for example, how I managed to get such shoulders because they were jealous. (Something I still cannot understand because, damn, I wish I had a slender figure with tiny shoulders). Anyway, I answer him I don’t know exactly. “Just my shoulders and some lock-off strength”, I say. I can’t give him an extensive answer, describing muscle groups and technical explanations. Just because… I don’t know myself. 
He nods and says that it seems a very good exercise to him.            

I’m not a training specialist, but I made up a training program. I’ve browsed through many climbing websites to figure out what exercises should be beneficial for climbers. I also came across the blog of Galina Parfenov, a very strong local climber. Her determination and persistence are very inspiring and motivating. On her blog she wrote about her training schedule. While she performed her training on a fingerboard, it gave me good ideas for my own training in the fitness gym. Thanks for all this inspiration Galina!

The weighted assistance training machine, where I have spent a lot of my time lately
I’ve followed a fixed schedule three times a week for five weeks in a row. This is what a regular training day in the fitness gym looked like:
Warming up:
– running for twenty minutes

Strength training:
– 3 x 14 pull ups (I used some weighted assistance in order to complete the set)
– 3 x 14 quadriceps lifts (because those are underdeveloped in relation to my hamstrings)
– 3 x 14 one-arm pull ups (with weighted assistance)     
– 3 x 14 leg lifts
– 3 x 14 triceps 
– 3 x frenchies (pull up, hold for five seconds – pull up, hold for five seconds at 120º  – pull up, hold for five second at 90º – pull up, hold for five seconds at 45º).

– 3 x 14 lower back and glute exercise
– 3 x typewriters (pull up, move body to the right and hold for five seconds – move to the left and hold for five seconds and repeat it three times to finish one set).
Shoulder rotation exercises:
– 3 x 14 external rotator cuff
– 3 x 14 internal rotator cuff
– 3 x 14 diagonal extension
– 3 x 14 diagonal flexion

Check out this website for examples

– 1 minute regular plank
– 1 minute left side plank
– 1 minute right side plank
– 1 minute reverse plank
– 1 minute open and closed leg raise
– 15 V-ups

– Hamstring stretch

– Hip flexor lunge
– Pigeon stretch
– Pretzel stretch
– Butterfly stretch

Because I want to gain strength but no big, bulky muscles I usually do three sets with fourteen repetitions. To make the pull-up exercises more intensive you can wear a weighted vest or put a medicine ball between your knees. Make sure that you keep your shoulders low and straight with every exercise.

I guess that those weeks of strength training worked, because I realized that I can do one arm lock-offs now (without weighted assistance!!). I made some progress but didn’t feel weary afterwards.

Since a week I’ve changed my routine. Right now I’m working with the TRX.
Of course the first moment I was using the TRX, the same guy as before started working next to me while talking about shoulders and groaning during every weight-lift he did. 

Stay tuned for my TRX workout schedule and findings!   

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