The Importance of Antagonist Training During a Performance Phase by Ollie Torr

Many of us spend a good portion of our year in a performance phase. Whether this is working towards a specific goal or just climbing as much as possible whilst the weather is good. During this time, it can be quite hard to muster up the motivation to do any training which does not directly help our short term climbing performance.

“I believe that if most climbers did just a little antagonist training during this time, their whole climbing year could be improved.”

Why do it when we are trying to perform?

When we are climbing a lot and have reduced our supplementary conditioning, our bodies become more specialised. This is a good thing for a short time period as it creates the best results but this can back fire if continued for too long.

By adding in moderate intensity exercises which train the muscles that are used less, we avoid an increasing imbalance in strengths. This can not only help you sustain a longer peak performance but also means you are less likley to be injured when returning to training later in the year.

How often?

Two short sessions per week is enough to help maintain a healthy strength balance for most climbers. Doing such as small amount is also very unlikely to result in any fatigue which would be detrimental to your climbing.

What exercises?
Try to complete;
-1 exercise to work the upper traps, such as shoulder shrugs or shoulder press
-1 exercise to work the tricpes and chest, such as tricep dips, press ups or bench press
-1 exercise to work your rotator cuff, such as standing IYT or external rotations
and 1 exercise to work your forearm extensor muscles, such as forearm curls

Volume and intensity?

A moderate intensity is all that is needed. We suggest doing this after climbing days to avoid adding training to rest days.
Try completing 3 sets of 8-12reps with a few minutes rest between sets. This volume is usually used in hypertrophy training but as the intensity is moderate and the frequency is much lower than your climbing, this is not something to worry about if you are concerned about gaining muscle mass.

ollie

~Ollie Torr