• Exercise

    High Rep Calf Raises

    I was talking to a friend a couple weeks ago. He was doing off-season training for ice climbing and mentioned how his calves would get tired while leading. In leading ice you normally stand on your front points and lower your heels to lock in your knees and keep your weight on your bones, or skeleton. This saves wear and tear on your muscles. Be that as it may though, it still takes quite a bit of flexibility and strength to do most efficiently. This made me think about my own training with high rep calf raises. Without going into too much detail about muscles, the calf is built with…

  • Exercise

    Bodyweight Exercise One Legged Band Sissy Squat

    I like to do some type of bodyweight exercise for warming up. It’s also great for working the smaller stabilizing muscles that I think shouldn’t be trained under heavy load. Unilateral bodyweight exercise is particularly good for the stabilizers and core. In this example, the one legged band sissy squat, it takes a lot of effort to stay level. It’s definitely not for beginners. You should get in a few hundred reps on the two leg version of this bodyweight exercise before trying the single leg version. Try it with your feet and knees together to work your way into it. This simulates the balance of doing it with one…

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  • Exercise

    Core Week – Standing Side Abs with Barbell

    You need to work your obliques, including the abs on the side. Bending side to side is a pretty good way to train your core and improve strength that applies to mountaineering, like picking up your really heavy pack, lifting a sled over a crevasse lip, digging out a tent platform. The instructions for this one are pretty simple. In my case I like to use a barbell for the instability, but you could use something more compact and stable, like a kettlebell, dumbbell or weight plate. I grab the middle from a mid-thigh position off a rack, straighten my back and shoulders for good posture, then dip the bar…

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  • Exercise

    Core Week – Standing Band Ab Curls

    The Standing Band Ab Curl is a pretty cool exercise for your core that works a lot harder than you would think. Gravity really doesn’t give you a boost, since you’d be pulling against the resistance from above and/or to the rear. Typically you’d use a little over-the-shoulder yoke hooked to a cable and a pulley to a weight stack, like in a lat tower. I prefer to use bands crossed over my chest. Pretty cheap and simple, and you can adjust the resistance by stepping forward or back as needed. Lean into the bands and use your core to curl forward into a “C” shape, pulling your chest toward…

  • Exercise

    Core Week – Inverted Situp

    So you want a set of six-pack abs? Or at least a strong core, which is probably more meaningful for ice climbing and hauling around an 85 lb pack while dragging a 45 lb sled (standard fare in Alaska). I really like this exercise – the inverted situp. I do it a few different ways, but one of the easiest for me is on the Glute Ham Raise bench. If you go to a gym, there is probably some type of bench designed for inverted situps, or something you could improvise. At home you might be able to figure out how to use a deck or staircase, but don’t blame…

  • Exercise

    Core Week – Rotation Planks

    Very simple and very effective – works your entire core, including your abs and obliques and the QL. I like to use something to take the stress off my wrists when I do planks. In the video below I’m using the Perfect Pushup handles to allow my wrists to stay in a neutral position and rotate a bit. I type and mouse for a living so that’s really important to me. Just get down into a plank position with your feet wide and hands close, then put a hand up in the air above you, rotating into place off the balls of your feet, using your hips and shoulders to…