Experiment in gymnastics

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Experiment in gymnastics

by LithiumMetalman » Tue Oct 26, 2010 3:14 am

For anyone interested! It may also be climbing related!

So far I've been using myself as a guinea pig for a training experiment.

Currently working in a winery, (Harvest is CRAZY, recommend it for everyone to try at least once in their lifetimes) I do not have too much time for climbing, but I do have enough time in between work to do gymnastic ring workouts near my house in the evenings.

I wanted to see how taking time off from climbing and focusing on gymnastic ring training exclusively would affect my climbing. (which I think for most, this is obvious, and the experiment is pretty much mute)

Nonetheless, I like being a guinea pig.

So far I had not climbed for 2 months, until a few days ago 10/23/10.

2 months of strict gymnastic ring training 3-4 times a week (levers, back levers, muscle-ups, etc)

Results translated onto the climbing wall:

-Improved core strength & endurance (expected)

-Decreased specificity in finger & forearm strength/endurance (expected)

-Decreased specificity in climbing movement (expected)

-Increased awareness of suppleness in muscle control & movement(not expected)

-Increased ability to move body in space easier (kinda expected)

-Increased flexibility (not expected either)

-Increased overall strength (expected)

-Increased mind awareness and discipline (surprising!)

-Increase in wrist control(I'll explain this one in a moment)

-No increase in climbing level, but no loss either (unexpected)


I feel much stronger, I have gained weight from the workouts, but feel that the weight is of little hinderance on the wall, and it appears to offer an edge in the strength department overall and feel 'lighter' overall on the rock.

Climbing strength wise, my forearms and fingers are the limiting factor, the lack of specific training showed, but the loss was not as great as I had expected it to be.

Technique and specificity wise, I felt a loss in some of the subtleties (especially timing in movement), foot work technique felt rusty, this is to be expected from taking time off.

Then ability to gauge space and movement direction, especially under tenuous positions or off-balance positions, felt alot easier to control / manipulate both physically and mentally, able to use/control/ initiate specifically from specific regions of the core (this is hard to explain).

Increased wrist control, this may be from doing support exercises on the rings, on the rock felt that it was easier to manipulate the body overall from the wrists in conjunction with the core, felt like I had more control especially in movements that involve pull-into-push, mantles, off balance pushes and pulling/pushing down to the waist.

Increased flexibility and mind/body awareness, I normally do Qi-gong for mind/body awareness, but the rigors of ring training seems to train a different aspect of awareness, especially on a kinesthetic level, hard to explain! Flexibility wise, I think this from stretching, but feels like I have more active flexibility strength.

I really thought I'd drop down in the levels but surprisingly did not! Though did not feel fluid, did feel comfortable enough to climb!


Climbing for climbing is the best training tool.

It may be hard to conclude if ring training may have or not helped overall, especially with climbing Why?

Well I'm not too sure, but it seems that several months off the wall helps the C/N system and memory reorganize enagrams into more efficient sequences from what I understand (someone please correct me if this is wrong)

Taking enough time off from climbing in general will always have some impact on performance overall

This could all be in my head, and very much a be a placebo, "convincing" myself that ring training might have some benefit to climbing.

I do FEEL that ring training has given me a higher overall mental and physical base fitness to build climbing skills off!

Hey if you made it this far, thanx a bunch for taking the time to read this spiel!

Comments, advice, suggestions and taunts welcomed!

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Re: Experiment in gymnastics

by climbinmandan » Tue Oct 26, 2010 3:25 am

Thank you for the report! All very interesting. Similarly, all of my training is gymnastically based and I feel (maybe wrongly) that I gain far more climbing strength (not necessarily finger strength) from doing obscure gymnastic-type exercises. Unlike your method however, I still make sure to spend at least 5 or 6 hours a week on rock. I can't find anything that strengthens the forearms quite like climbing. No amount of wrist curls or such. Either way, thank you for your report and keep up the good work!

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Re: Experiment in gymnastics

by LithiumMetalman » Tue Oct 26, 2010 4:33 am


I'm def going to incorporate my climbing schedule in conjunction with rings once I finish Harvest!

Feel that combining both with lotsa rest and food will have a profound effect on my climbing!

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