My latest training article for DPM has launched. It’s titled The One Workout Every Climber Should Do but it’s a workout every single person should do. Although the strength you gain from it is very specifically applied to climbing it’s also vital for almost everything else you do with your upper body. So while it may not be the ONE workouts you should do, everyone will reap huge benefits from it. I could go on but I’ll quote the article instead.
Climbers aren’t the only demographic to ignore the importance of stability training. A few sports scientist friends, trying to answer the riddle as to why bigger, stronger and faster-than-ever-before athletes are also most injured in history found that most—in some cases as high as 90%–showed significant muscular imbalance. When we’re out of balance don’t move with biomechanical efficiency and our linear movements don’t “track” correctly. When this occurs an injury can happen anywhere along the body’s kinetic (movement) chain.
In populations where these imbalances have been correct they’ve seen non-contact injury rates plummet. The major areas of focus are the shoulders and hips. Pelvic (hip in the colloquial) stability can be important for climbers (and everyone) but in the need-to world of sports specific performance we’re only going to address the shoulders.
This region hosts the origin of almost every move that climbing begins with. And while it does not include the “money” area, the hands and forearms, biomechanical alignment problems will radiate to that area as well, meaning that imbalances in the scapular region can lead to elbow, wrist, or even finger problems. Even though you rarely fail on a climb because your back or shoulders were pumped, strengthening these areas properly will shift more of each climbing movement’s burden to this region’s larger muscles, thus saving your smaller hand and forearm muscles for when you actually need them. This energy savings also translates to less strain on connective tissues, reducing instances of tendon and ligament damage.
This article is the second in a series. The first is titled Should You Train?, which means should you train for climbing (it is a climbing magazine after all), but has some application across the board as well and should be worth reading, especially if you participate in a sport where you get a lot of exercise by just doing the sport.
The movement videos should be live sometime today on DPM. If they aren’t you can find them by clicking the two presented here on the You Tube icon and following the series.