The Exercises, in the order that they appear in the video
1. Hang with tight shoulders
Tight shoulders are the foundation of body control while on steep walls. Picture a front lever without tight shoulders. You can’t picture it! You’d never be able to do this with loose shoulders:
That’s called “hanging straight from the bar”. Practice “seating” your shoulders.
You certainly don’t always need to have tight shoulders, but you’ll need to be able to do this when the climb/exercise calls for it, so get comfortable.
2. Hang with tight shoulders and tight core
This is subtle, and the biggest visual difference between a tight and loose core is if the legs are hanging straight down, or in line with the body, which my video does not show very well.
Just tighten your core until your torso and legs are perfectly straight. If you’ve got tight shoulders, your torso should be at a slight angle, so your legs should be on the same line.
If you’re like me and your lower back sometimes hurts, by keeping your core tight you’ll never bend your back in an uncomfortable way.
3. Knee lifts
This is getting hard now. But imagine all the times this sort of power is useful. Anytime you are on overhung terrain, you need to move force from your hands to your feet and back, right? Without a strong core, you’ll not benefit from your feet while on steep terrain.
Have you ever tried those really steep V2 problems at the gym, and are flummoxed by how they are rated V2 and seem so freaking hard? Technique+core is the answer. Core power is straight forward to build, so this should all be good news to you.
When doing the knee lifts, do them just like in the video. Keep your shoulders engaged, and don’t swing. Slow and static is perfect.
4. Leg lifts
Now we’re having fun.
These are just like the knee lifts, but thanks to physics, when you extend your legs, they feel heavier. Keep your shoulders engaged, and work at the leg lifts until you can do four sets of ten, with 30 seconds of rest between.
By now you might notice something else – your shoulders and back are getting tired. If you follow my suggestions, you’ll probably feel sore in your shoulders and lats the day after you exercise. This is proof that you are doing it will.
5. Egg rolls
Egg rolls are a bit of a jump from leg lifts. You’ll need to be able to do a few pullups. If you can’t do a pull-up, but CAN do 40 leg lifts with tight shoulders, leave a comment. I’ll figure out how to get you to pullups.
Watch the video. I could not find any good online guides, so I’ll make one that focuses just on egg rolls later.
This exercise almost perfectly mimics the moves that you’ll make when climbing in steep terrain. Your feet will be cutting, and you’ll need to control the swing and place your feet with precision back on the wall, right where you want them.
6. Side leg lifts
Your obliques are the muscles that run along along your ribs, on the sides of your torso.* When you are climbing, you never use your obliques in isolation. It is always in conjunction with your shoulders and arms. So why would you exercise them in any other way.
Hang from the bar, twist your torso so one hip is in the air, and move your legs up and down in as controlled a fashion as you can. When you start swinging, stop. These are brutally hard to do without swinging.
In the video I was getting really tired by this point, so my side leg lifts look sloppy, but I think you get the idea. I’ve not done core work in a while, and have a delightful tenderness in my obliques from side leg lifts and windmills. (Made the video two days ago. Still feeling it.)
An additional advantage of these “side leg lifts” is you don’t load your arms evenly. One arm takes more of the weight of your body than the other, so this is doubles as a pull-up workout.
You know how they say squatting and dead lifting is good for you because they are “compound lifts” that utilize many stabilizing muscles?
Windmills are the climbing equivalent. So many different muscles come into play to make these work, and when your legs are completely on one side or the other, most of your body weight is hanging from just one arm. Fantastic exercise.
You’ll basically stay in an L-sit position the entire time, but add in a partial front-lever and rotate your legs from being extended on one side of your body to the other.
*not the technical definition of what obliques are.