Developing Core Strength


The core stabilizes the entire body in and through every body position while climbing, and is the link between hands and feet. Because your core works hard in every move you do, it's important to train it in an integrated way; in other words, incorporate core work into all of your buy codeine online strength and cross-training.

First off, don't get caught up in thinking of the core as "abs". Your core is so much more than a 6-pack. Think of your core as your "trunk" instead - it includes your abdominals, obliques, mid- and low-back, pelvic muscles and hip flexors. A lot has been written about the limited benefits of the standard "crunch" or sit-up. One criticism of the crunch is that it is limited to only one plane of motion, but the spine and its muscles are three-dimensional - they go all the way around the trunk. When you climb of course, you are rarely moving in just one plane of motion, so why train that way? Choose core exercises that target several muscle groups at once, and integrate core work into your other strength training exercises as well. Pick pulls, pushes & stabilizer exercises that incorporate your core, rather than making every exercise isolated to any one muscle group. I like the rope climb or L-seat pull-ups because they count as both a pulling and a core exercise. Doing suspended core work is a great way to mimic the movements you need to do while climbing on steeper angles; suspended crunches or L-seats hanging from a pull-up bar or gymnastics rings are good examples.

The hip flexors are part of your core, are absolutely crucial in powerful climbing, and seem to be a weak link for many of the women I train. Every time you lift your legs, your hip flexors must engage, and the steeper the climbing the harder they have to work. Climbers run into trouble when they focus too much on the quads and abs to control the lower body, especially when trying to get their feet back on the wall after swinging off. Weak hip flexors often result in the low back giving more effort to control the lower body, which can be dangerous over time. Suspended crunches and supine leg raises are great for improving hip flexor strength. Be sure to stretch those muscles at the end of your workouts as well to maintain strength and function throughout the muscle's entire length. For the mid- and low-back muscles that support the spine, I like supermans (back extensions) on the ground or over a fitball. Target your obliques with suspended crunches with a twist (take the knees from side to side).

As I've mentioned in previous articles, I strongly encourage including yoga and/or pilates in your weekly schedule, as they can be very effective at not only training the core, but balancing the body in general. Some good exercises that target the deep abdominal and postural muscles include the pelvic tilt, supported bridge and spinal twists. A strong core is also a flexible one; yoga, pilates and other activities that encourage flexibility and balance will help to keep your whole body strong and free from injury. Strength in the core enables good postural alignment too - this means that you'll be climbing, training and living everyday life with better posture!

I encourage you to do some research or seek professional instruction with regard to any exercises I mention in this article that may not be familiar to you to ensure that they are appropriate for your needs and that you can execute them with proper form. As always, listen to your body, and seek balance in everything you do!!