Basic Climbing Skills

Pull-ups, kipping pull-ups, muscle ups.  You can't do those? Ok.  Jumping pull-ups, band assisted pull-ups, negative pull-ups. These are viable strategies and I think the pull-up is a classic exercise, it's never going out of style.  But what's the big picture? For me, it's all about practical application first, massive lats second - I'm a fan of both. The video details some new techniques: scapular depression, tucking, lateral and forward swinging, forearm hanging, and pop ups.  Nothing really fancy here, but we're expanding pull-ups to more adaptive skills.

But I don't just train for strength, I train for freedom of movement.  That's exactly why I practice climbing skills.  The king of back exercises is the go-to for strengthening the back, but to earn nicknames like "Tarzan" you need a broader skill set and a higher level of physical competence.  Many people overlook the importance of hand strength, forearm strength, shoulder stabilization, and linkage.  One step further? If you really need your ability to climb (for something other than impressing potential mates), will it be there? Could you climb a wall or a thick tree branch? Could you jump to hanging? Could you swing and jump to a specific spot on the ground or another hanging surface? Again, big picture, freedom of movement type stuff.

I perform these climbing drills to reinforce the "role players" in the kinetic chain and to make sure my strength is integrating back into practical performance.  If you're lacking climbing strength, these drills will condition the weak links.  If you're strong enough, these drills will teach you coordination and body control.  The difference between what you can currently do and what seems impossible is all in mastery of the basics.    These drills are just the tip of the iceberg, but I wanted to share some movements to guide your exploration.  Comment below if you've got questions or can share some other drills you use to be more ape-like.