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More Training Info > Corner Reverse Pushups

Corner Reverse Pushups

Most climbers have well-developed lats but underdeveloped rhomboids, forward-slumping shoulders, tight pectoral muscles, 'belay-neck' from looking up at climbing partners, all of which can eventually result in neck and back pain.What can you do to avoid developing a 'gorilla posture'? Rhomboid work: anything that involves squeezing the shoulder blades together in the back as you perform a rowing motion. Climbing primarily involves pulling straight down (working lats) rather than rowing (until you get into overhanging routes) so it's best to add several sets of a rowing exercise to your weekly strength training routine.

Featured left is an exercise we call Corner Reverse Pushups. You can do it without any equipment at all except a corner of a room. Snug into the wall, arms parallel to the floor, feet anywhere from 6-24' forward, and body straight from head to feet, shoulders relaxed and down. Press elbows into the wall and move your entire body forward, pause and hold for a full count or two, then slowly lower body back into the corner. The farther out the feet and longer you hold the position, the harder it is.

How do you find out if you have 'properly working rhomboids'? The simplest way to see if you appropriately recruit the target muscles is to enlist the help of a friend while you do a seated row. Grab hold of a low-set cable, band, or the like, position yourself by it so that you can pull at shoulder level (upper arms parallel to the ground) towards your body, and have your partner place a hand on your back, with thumb on one shoulder blade, middle finger on the other, and index finger on the spine indentation between the two. Now, pull the band or cable in toward your neck, and have your friend see what your shoulder blades are doing. If your shoulder blades don�t move, you are primarily an 'arm puller' and at greater risk for postural problems. Next time, try to move your friend�s thumb and finger close together (in simplest terms, imagine cracking an egg between your shoulder blades). If you are primarily an 'arm puller' this motion may feel extremely odd. High grip rows to the face, squeezing shoulder blades together at the end range of motion, will help you strengthen both the rear deltoids (back portion of the shoulders) and the rhomboids.


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