June 23, 2010 posted by

WFH: Back & Chest (and even some legs)

Lactic Acid Bath is the name of a New River Gorge sport route that was famous in the early 90s. But you don’t have to travel for such an experience. Just train your chest and back, in a volume workout, on the same day. Toss in a few sets for your other big muscle group and you’ve got a veritable pukefest in waiting.

Day 2: A step down in focus from day one but every bit as painful. Working two large muscle groups together is brutal, and today we throw in a third.

The Warm-Up

Because such light weight is being used I do not warm-up thoroughly. I generally do a bit of easy movement, some ballistic stretches, and then practice each movement to determine the weight I’m going to use, doing about 10 reps.

3 sets of 30 reps for 4 different exercises. 1 minute rest between sets.
Wide late pull-downs
Seated rows
Pronation pull-ups – done on rings
One arm rows

2 minute break

3 sets of 30 reps for 4 different exercises. 1 minute rest between sets.

Dips – I can’t do 30 dips so I’ve rigged a way to do dips from my knees.
Cable Flys – I use a band
Wide fingertip push-ups – These are fairly climbing specific. I’m on my knees and they still hurt at this point.
Diamond push-ups – I do these from Tony Horton power stands, on my knees, and at this point in the workout I’m dying from about rep 10 on.

Note: I try and hold a long stretch between each set. Bodybuilders claim this stretches out the fascia and will lead to more hypertrophy. At a minimum it counteracts all the muscle contraction by forcing the actin and myosin strands of your muscle cells apart.

I can’t do much for my legs right now because I can’t bend at the waist under duress. If I could I may change the schedule because I’m dying on the little that I’m doing.

Wall Squat – One set to shakiness with my low back flat on the wall. I will probably increase this to two and then three sets but it’s vital at this point not to put too much strain in the low back area.
One leg calf raises – 3 sets, each from a different angle: toe in, toe out, and neutral. This is somewhat climbing specific.
Tibialis Anterior exercise – I set to failure of form. I consider this a stabilizer exercise but do it here because it feels right. Back flat against a wall, feet about a foot’s length in front, raise the toes. Should be able to do 40-50 easily.

Again, I’m limited what I can do so I train core two days in a row. Today is easier.

Bridge – one set until form start to go- at least 2 minutes today, which doubles when you haven’t done the above workout.
Plank – on elbows, back flat, to failure of form. 2 minutes or so at this point in the workout.This is a far cry from what I do when healthy but the point is back rehab right now.

pic: from the back in the day files, me climbing in mexico, sometime during the 90s.


  • Any thoughts on changing the exercises? I prefer weighed vest for push ups (probably not for fingertip ones) and I don't have rings to do pull ups?Thanks a bunch, appreciate the help.

  • This is just a template, really. You could change the exercises to whatever you thought would suit you. If you have our pullup bar (the one I made) it has a ton of variations. I like my elbows in during many of my pullups because it lessens the stress on the elbows. I do my pull downs with the elbow out though, as that motion trains the lats so it's also important.

  • Grrrrreat back!I love working back, at the gym I do the lat pull downs but at home stick with my pull up bar, push ups, and bent over rows.Don't think I am near tough enough for this workout

  • can you give me an example of what to do if one can not do 30 pullups in a row, let alone three sets of 30? should i substitute jumping pull ups? also could you further describe what you used for doing dips on your knees? thanks in advance, john

  • I used a pull-up assist, which is a band (three, actually, so you can change the tension). This is a great device but it allows you to get reps and keep solid form. It requires good form the way it provides tension. Before I had a pull-up assist I would use a chair out in front of me, which I'd put a leg on when I started to fail.The floor dip were done on the stool that I have that worked. It's for sure a gerry rigged system but you could do other movements that are probably better. Traditional dips cause a shoulder impingement so I don't do them too often. However, they also mimic manteling so they are appropriate for climbing. So make sure and keep you form solid (head up and relaxed)as slumping to finish a dip is a compromised position.

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