T Nation

When to Perform Explosive Movements


#1

As a rock climber I train to maximize my relative strength. I'm not looking to move massive weights or get really big, but I do need to be freakishly strong with bodyweight movements. Not sure if this has an effect on the answer to my question but I just wanted to make that clear up front.

Anyway, I train four times a week on hard boulder problems (very short, very dificult, the equivalent of lifting in the low rep range to maximize strength) and I add in additional movements (mostly pressing, squat variations, and hip hinge variations) to bring up other areas besides the upper body pulling muscles. I'm looking to add in explosive work.

Particularly, I'm looking to add incline plyo push-ups, broad jumps, and squat jumps. My question is: should I perform these movements as part of my warm-up or right before the applicable movement pattern such as performing squat jumps right before a squat variation? Are there any advantages/disadvantages with either of these timings?

Lastly, are there any other explosive patterns you think I should add in based on my training goals?


#2

If you perform a few reps of each “movement pattern” during your warm up, you’ll become more coordinated. Your body will “move” better and be more “athletic.”

If you do the same pattern before a lift, you should be more “explosive” on the lift.

If I were lifting on a full body plan, I would do 10-15 reps in 1 “dynamic movement pattern” per session. So if I were doing Press/Clean/Squat on M/W/F, I would do broad jump Monday, plyo pushup on Wednesday, and Squat or box jump on Friday. You’re working all the movement patterns with the weights. The dynamic stuff is like extra, targeted work.

If I were on a 4-way, 5/3/1 style split I would do full body dynamic moves. Or jumps, ploy-pushups and throws. Work all the movement patterns dynamically in the warm-up, because you’re only going to work one movement pattern or “section” of your body with the weights.

Have your “Training base” then do whatever is missing in “warm-ups” or for “conditioning.”


#3

I used to climb a fair bit (in the 5.12s, never any harder) and I feel like I was pretty damn strong just by climbing alone. I was easily 60 pounds lighter then and a different “athlete” if you will. The only issues I had were with my shoulders. So if I were to climb hard again, I would definitely do a lot of push-ups and perhaps some overhead pressing of some sort to balance everything out.

I wouldn’t work my legs at all. I feel like if you can hump your rack/water/gear a couple miles up a mountain, then climb all day, your legs will be plenty strong. Not like Olympic or powerlifter strong, but certainly able to do plenty for everyday life and your purpose of enjoying the outdoors.

If you’re bouldering over V5 and climbing 5.11+, you’re pretty strong. Like lifting, I think being specific to your goal is the best way to be stronger. So climb as often as you can and become a better climber by doing it with maybe the remedial stuff like push-ups or something. I don’t think Chris Sharma ever did plyometrics. Dude smoked weed and went climbing everyday and was strong as hell. I guess he is still climbing, I’ve been out of the loop…

…and as always, climb trad. :slight_smile:


#4

[quote]Evolv wrote:
I used to climb a fair bit (in the 5.12s, never any harder) and I feel like I was pretty damn strong just by climbing alone. I was easily 60 pounds lighter then and a different “athlete” if you will. The only issues I had were with my shoulders. So if I were to climb hard again, I would definitely do a lot of push-ups and perhaps some overhead pressing of some sort to balance everything out.

I wouldn’t work my legs at all. I feel like if you can hump your rack/water/gear a couple miles up a mountain, then climb all day, your legs will be plenty strong. Not like Olympic or powerlifter strong, but certainly able to do plenty for everyday life and your purpose of enjoying the outdoors.

If you’re bouldering over V5 and climbing 5.11+, you’re pretty strong. Like lifting, I think being specific to your goal is the best way to be stronger. So climb as often as you can and become a better climber by doing it with maybe the remedial stuff like push-ups or something. I don’t think Chris Sharma ever did plyometrics. Dude smoked weed and went climbing everyday and was strong as hell. I guess he is still climbing, I’ve been out of the loop…

…and as always, climb trad. :slight_smile: [/quote]

I agree with that, and I just started getting serious about building up my daily push-up numbers to balance the shoulders out a bit. Already starting to feel better!

Like I said, my main goal is to be the best climber I can be. However, I’m willing to sacrifice some extra time during my climbing sessions to add in some push-ups, squats, swings, and dead bugs. I’d rather stay at least slightly balanced and have more strength and GPP than have the body of an elite climber, constantly getting shoulder, elbow, and wrist injuries, not to mention the A2 pulley ruptures…

I like to take an intelligent approach to training for climbing as I think many climbers really don’t. Obviously going outside and climbing a lot is the most important thing but there really is a lot of ignorance regarding how to train for climbing. I’ve only been climbing for a year and I’m passing people who have climbed for two or three years, and I credit this to working harder AND smarter than they do.


#5

I think you’re likely to do what you want no matter what anyone else says from your posts so far. I don’t say this as a bad thing.

For what it’s worth, when I was climbing at my best, the only “plyo” or explosive movements I did were explosive pull-ups on a campus board or wherever.


#6

I feel that implementing plyometrics into your training routine is a great addition. There seems to be a gap within a climber’s training program. Not to stray from the main point that climbing more will be your best training program. Here is how I would set up the program.

A.) Warm Up > Plyometrics > Strength Work

For example:
Monday - Upper Plyos
Tuesday - Lower Plyos
Thursday - Upper Plyos
Friday - Lower Plyos

I also think learning/implementing some Olympic lifts will greatly benefit your explosiveness. You don’t need to get crazy with the weights but it will teach you how to be very explosive.


#7

Broad jumps should be continuous for true plyometric effect or even triple jump. Spring /running is great for relative strength.
I couldn’t hope to inform you more than that. I would think a lot of single work would be pertinent . Perhaps going from 2 legged movements to 1 legged movements over the course of several training cycles.

Don’t do anything which detracts too much from your climbing.