A Reverb: Push The Bush

Last night I got the chance to climb with one of the coaches from my local gym, climbing didn’t go so well but our workout session was awesome. This winter I have refocused a little and have been getting a lot of training sessions in with a great crew. Unfortunately Coach  couldn’t join in on a regular basis cause , well, shes coaching kids…

One day she came to me and ask if I had any advice I could give her. So naturally I was like “of course!!!” . But then it struck me, for her level of climbing she is really solid, advances appropriately, and not many weakness’. So I came up with an off the cuff eval and watched her for 1-2 weeks and this was my conclusion.

Set up a little thought process to help me give you some advice.
This is my assessment and doesn’t mean I’m right just what I notice watching you climb and coach.
High level beginner to Intermediate climber with skill sets trending toward a high intermediate climber
Score 1-5 :1 needs work -5 ready to advance

Skill : 2-3
Strength: 5
Flexibility: 1
Knowledge 3-4
Foot work: 3
Endurance :2-3
Mean: 2.91

Average climbing ability: v4-v6
Projects: v6-v8

Goal for advancing grades:
-Increase average climbing ability v5-v7 over the next 6 months
-increase project ability to v8-v9 over their next 8 months


Number one need to get you healthy again. So a lot of climbing should be lower impact, during these times I switch to rope climbing. You can still push it hard but with less impact to your body.

This would be a good time to work on flexibility
A lot of skill is based on your ability to move on the wall.
Work on general movement and opening up your hips .
Skill level will increase the more you climb ropes, also climbing ropes out side will increase foot work and skill level.

Talk to me about what I do for skill and technique reinforcement and learning

Back to flexibility, static flexibility is good but your dynamic flexibility is what is important . This would be like tia chi movement. You can gain this by working through your mid level climbs by using technique and flow working on opening your hips through the movement.
Also yoga, regularly stretching , and … ya stretching more.

Foot work ask me what I do to practice this

Endurance same as above

Knowledge will grow with experience

Once your feeling your feeling healthy ; finger , hip, knee . To the point of pushing it again.
Let’s get some sessions in.

Weaknesses to focus on to advance in grade.
1- flexibility
3-skillset on the wall
you compensate with you physical strength. Practice moving efficiently on the wall.
Slow and steady feet. Quiet feet . Try stepping through moves not swinging.
Instead of pulling through a move walk your lower body up so you can casually reach a hold.
Once again all this is best done on ropes

So ya you need to climb lots of rope as a means to the goal

From the time asking for advice and me responding she had rehabbed herself really well, and by the time we got to session together her injuries were well within her control.
Her biggest weakness by far was her flexibility and hip movement on the wall,  this was impeding everything else.
Opening the hips is so important in climbing; it allows you to use proper foot technique, allows for a good flow and skill set to be learned while climbing.
Sooo… we got on the systems wall together and I watched her natural flow, took note of where she was strong and where she needed work. She was locked up when square to the wall and moving her legs was cumbersome causing her to compensate with her strength. When she dropped kneed  or turned out her movement flowed.
We first worked on moving on the wall and using her strengths to not be locked up, this involved foot work and skills moving her body so that she could utilize her strong positions. Once we practiced different skill sets and almost immediately saw improvement we got to the real core issue.
When we did some movements off the wall she was really locked down in a lot of the anterior medial muscle groups.
   Image result for anterior hip muscles
 The Abductor group, Sartorius, and Iliopsoas all were really tight impeding any outward rotation of the hips. This was what was causing the locking down of movement.
So what can you do to climb better when this is one of your weaknesses?
First of all work on flexibilty, just stretch.
When your climbing actively work on PUSHING THE BUSH. Keep your core tight, open your hips , and push the pubic bone forward over your feet. Activate your glutes. There is a great article from a surfing blog that touches on all this and she explains it way better than I do:
PUSHING THE BUSH can be applied to all sports and the concept is touched on in yoga, marshal arts, and many others. To effectively do it you need a strong core, Coach has a really strong core and allowed her to implement skills on the wall really quickly. It takes a lot of strength to bring your hips in and forward over your feet.
When your not flexible getting this position is difficult and your movement gets locked up on the wall. When you open the hips and push the bush you are allowing a greater versatility of foot movement, you are anchoring your core and translating power down through your legs to your feet.  Since I’m not  a physical trainer I thought it best to ad links talking about hip movement and flexibility:
The following link has great exercises to stretch your hips with:
There are many more links and advice out there for you to find. For a round up, in coaches case, this one type of training will vastly improve her climbing. Flexibility and hip movement are integral to climbing and if you put the time in you will see improvements in your own climbing by working on this one area. Combined with routine core workouts, an over all increase in climbing ability will be in your future

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