I've noticed that the limits of my core strength in bouldering come when I'm at or close to full extension with my limbs and torso. When I need to work the outer, outer limbs - from the knees to the toes, elbows to the fingers - while maintaining ferociously tense ab and back muscles, I often fall away from the wall or fail to move with precision.
With this recurring problem in mind, typical variations on core and abdominal exercises seemed to fall short. All the standard crunches and pulses on earth don't prepare me to move with precision at full extension for extended periods, the way a steep hard boulder requires. I reviewed all the classic and contemporary PIlates variations I could find, and came up with this short set of movements to target strength in the extended abdominal position, with an eye towards precise and varied movement of the outermost joints.
The workout, not including a warm up, will take about fifteen minutes. Please pay close attention, during the workout, to the position of the spine. The lower tips of the shoulder blades should be on the mat, so you aren't curled up too far. The abs are scooped in towards the back, and pulling upwards as if they could tuck up under the ribs. The lowermost ribs are drawn toward the center, buttoning up the whole operation. Stabilize through the center and hold any limb that is not moving in each exercise perfectly still. And for the love of Jah, don't arch your lower or middle back. Hold the legs higher (approaching 90 degrees) if you cannot yet support the 45 degree or lower angles.
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