Exercises That Will Make You a Better Rock Climber – Week 5 Press Ups

We are on to week 5 and will discuss the humble press up, I have never across someone who has never attempted to do them.  from a young age we attempt to do the press up and usually perfectly, somewhere along the way when growing up we forget how to do it.

Here I write how to do them properly as adults and how they work well for a Rock Climber.

Purpose: Shoulders, chest, forearms and core

Targets: Mantling

When you’re climbing, most people think about pulling themselves up the wall, but being able to push yourself up it is important too.

In rock climbing, pushing yourself up on your arms is known as mantling. This useful skill can help you to scramble onto ledges and top out a route. A well-timed mantle can also support almost any other move and can be used to give you extra reach or to tackle sections of bare wall, allowing you to get your feet into position for a move much higher up.

Mantling requires strong chest, shoulder and triceps muscles, parts of your body that are all developed by the classic press-up.

Technique: Most people have tried a press-up at some point in their life but few people have done them well.

First off, lie down in the classic press-up position, face down on the floor with your hands level with your shoulders, then push yourself up off the floor keeping your head in line with your body and your back and legs straight. Many people will let their heads drop or will push their bum off the floor before the rest of the body, but if you aren’t in a straight position you’re not getting the full benefit of this exercise.

While you’re doing your press-ups, keep your stomach muscles tight and make sure your shoulders stay level. It’s a common mistake to let your shoulders creep up towards your ears as you go down which can add extra strain to your triceps.

Hands are another area that can cause problems as many people move their hands forwards, level with their head rather than their shoulders. This again means you’re not working out the full range of muscles as well as you could, which defeats the point of the exercise. You also want to watch how you balance your weight on your hands. Pressing down through the heel of your hand can cause injuries to your wrist over time so try to push with the outside of your hand which is much stronger and more stable.

Finally, take your time. Make sure that you go fully up and down to within an inch of the ground. It’s common to see people doing lots of quick, short press-ups but they’re skipping the real workout. You also want to take your time dropping back down. Controlling your speed here will give your muscles an extra workout and develop your body control too.