This article on Pump Rocks training is the first in a series introducing you to a variety of NICROS training tools. Check back for upcoming articles on our hangboards, the H.I.T.™ Workout System, Campus Training, and effective use of home walls. Feel free to contact us with follow-up questions, and we invite you to suggest an exercise or topic you’d like covered in the Training Center.
6 PUMP ROCKS Exercises
NICROS’ Pump Rocks provide a unique alternative to training on a fingerboard or pull-up bar. Since the Pump Rocks are free floating, they allow your body to move more naturally through the range of motion when performing pull-ups or lock-offs. For this reason the Pump Rocks reduce stress on forearm tendons–and lower the risk of elbow irritation or tendinitis common to climbers who train a lot–since your hands can naturally supinate during concentric contractions. For this reason, individuals performing fingerboard training may want to split pull-muscle training time between the Pump Rocks and their hangboard.
Pump Rocks also provide an ideal platform for training a wide variety of exercises for the core muscles. Below you will find details of several pull muscle and core training exercises ideal for climbers of all ability. Next month, I’ll present several advanced Pump Rocks’ exercises.
1. “Floating” Pull-ups
More elbow friendly than pull-ups performed on a fixed bar or hangboard, floating pull-ups allow your forearms to naturally supinate throughout the range of motion. Perform up to five sets to failure. Beginners should have a spotter aid them (lift around waist) in performing at least 6 reps per set.
2. “Fingertip” Pull-ups
Pump Rocks possess a full-pad edge for performing fingertip pull-ups. As in the previous exercise, the free-floating platform provides more ergonomic training. Perform three sets of fingertip pull-ups with a 3- to 5-minute rest between sets. Count these sets towards the five-set total described in Exercise #1.
3. “Two-Finger” Pull-ups
This more advanced exercise trains finger-pocket grip strength. Warm-up with a set of Floating Pull-ups (bucket hold, as in #1), then perform two sets of two-finger pull-ups. Do the first set with the index and middle fingers, and the second set with the middle and ring fingers. Grip the pocket with the first one-and-one-half pads of your fingers–do NOT overthread your fingers! Conclude your pull-up workout with two sets of Fingertip pull-ups (i.e. 5 total sets on the Pump Rocks).
Lack of lock-off strength is common limiting factor on the rock, so this is a vital training exercise. After completing your pull-up exercises (above), attempt to hold a lock-off position for 30 seconds. Strive to pull the Pump Rocks in towards your armpits as much as possible. Fight to hold this position for 30 seconds, then rest for 3 minutes before repeating two more times.
5. Hanging Knee Lifts
Knee lifts provide excellent sport-specific training of the lower abdominal muscles. Hang with straight arms, but focus on contracting your shoulder muscles enough to prevent a stretching feeling in the shoulder joints. Now lift your knees to mid-chest level and hold for one second. Repeat this up and down range of motion until failure. Your long-term goal is two sets of 30 repetitions.
6. Body Curl
This is another good core-muscle training exercise. Perform a set of Body Curls in place of one set of Hanging Knee Lifts. Beginning from a hanging position, lift your knees towards your chest, but continue the upward motion by curling your hips upward until they pass between your arms. Stop at this inverted position (feet/butt up and head down), then lower back to the starting position. Repeat for up to 20 slow, controlled repetition.