From Weak to Strong: An Expert Gymnast’s Training Guide

from weak to strong how to improve climbing

From Weak to Strong : How to identify weaknesses and effectively trying them to make the most improvements in your climbing. Some of the most famous climbers in the world, such as Lynn Hill, came from gymnastics backgrounds.

When Steven Low started climbing, he had a high degree of bodyweight strength and conditioning from his time in gymnastics and parkour. His approach is detailed in his book Overcoming Gravity, 2nd Edition. From Weak to Strong : How to identify weaknesses in your climbing…

For example, Steven Low have always been able to do at least :

  • 1–4 one-arm chin-ups
  • Dips with at least 90+ pounds for 5 reps
  • Weighted (50% bodyweight) pistols
  • At least 1–3+ freestanding handstand push-ups
  • 10+ weighted hanging leg raises
  • And so on…

You might think this would instantly translate to success on the rock. In fact, he found that his gymnastics background was initially a hindrance, at least during those first few years, because he could muscle through climbs without really learning much technique. That bodyweight strength background got him decently far, however, but he soon stalled out in the V8-10 range.

From Weak to Strong

This led him to experiment over the years. And he have come to some different conclusions on what he recommends to climbers for exercises that are useful for strict improvement. Climbing is a very skill-based sport, and you get a lot of mileage out of just climbing and learning how to dial in micro-beta and leverage perfect body positions.

However, it is inevitable that weak links may crop up in the chain. Whether it is hand strength, arm and body strength, body tension and positioning, or the ability to use leg strength effectively.

This is an overview of how he thinks climbers should be thinking about incorporating exercises into their training and climbing routines, and what exercises he believe will be most effective for improvement.

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