Training Tuesday: The Brachialis and the Brachioradialis

Training the lesser known muscles of the arm

February 11th, 2020 by | Posted in Indoor Climbing, Video | Tags: ,

Often when we think about training, we think about the big muscle groups. Frequently we forget about the smaller muscle groups that are essential to climbing. In the arm there are two muscles that are commonly overlooked: the brachialis and the brachioradialis. The brachialis is the muscle between the bicep and the triceps while the brachioradialis is the muscle that connects the upper-arm to the forearm.

Having a strong connection between these two muscle groups allows the climber to grip with a greater force and pull through to the next hold more easily. The bicep is fundamental to climbing, but without the strengthening of those muscles surrounding it, the climber cannot access their maximum pulling force.

These muscle groups are so untrained that any work put into them is exceptionally helpful. American competition and outdoor climber Drew Ruana has been focusing on these muscles this past year with strong results. As these muscles are frequently untrained, they quickly yield exceptional results.

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Once every year or so, we all have a magical day where everything lines up perfectly. All the training, dedication, and failures pave the way for one perfect day. Yesterday on my second go of the third session I managed to make the second ascent of the James Litz testpiece, Insurgency (V14/15). I’m so happy to have had such an amazing support crew, I couldn’t have done it without your help @brennannnnn @joshlevin94 With the day still young, we headed up to a few different boulders. I narrowly missed a flash of Masterpiece (v13) but did it next try. With a lot of time left we went to yet a few more areas, where I managed to send Mask of God (v13), Man from the Past (v11), and Slasher (v13). This is by far the best single day of climbing I’ve had in my life, and it’s leaving me stoked for the future! Joe’s Valley is quickly turning into one of my favorite climbing areas… stay tuned for a @brennannnnn video coming soon! @trangoclimbing @tenayaclimbing @tensionclimbing @arcteryx @frictionlabs EDIT: I spoke with @paulrobinson87 about this, apparently the OG line started a move up and the guidebook was wrong? Apparently I’m good at starting boulders one move too low 🙄🙄 UPDATE: James Litz confirmed that he started on the holds I did UPDATE: James litz said the route started where I started

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Hammer Curls

The hammer curl is a great exercise for targeting the brachioradialis. Determine whether your aim is to increase size or power or both, and adjust repetitions and sets accordingly. A good standard might be the completion of five repetitions in a set for three sets. You should be struggling to complete each set, but capable of maintaining good form.

Preacher Curls

This exercise is tailored to the climber that wishes to develop their Brachialis. The preacher curl forces the athlete into a reverse grip and targets the brachialis. Like the above exercise, three sets of five at a challenging weight is a good place to begin. As with all exercises in climbing, the goal is to become stronger, not lift the heaviest weight in the gym.