This Climber Shared How 30 Days of Romanian Deadlifts Improved His Strength

After injuring one of his hands, YouTube’s Geek Climber was forced to take a break from his climbing and calisthenics activity. He didn’t want to let his progress slide altogether, so he decided to take up the Romanian deadlift for a month, after consulting with physical therapy expert Jason Hooper, better known as vlogger Hooper’s Beta, who explained how deadlift training offers three key benefits for climbers.

“There’s a pure strength component,” said Hooper. “Especially with the hamstring strengthening that you get, it’s going to help you immensely with your heel hooks and any kind of strength that you need for cave climbing… You’re increasing the health of your body, so you’re going to decrease the chance of injury.”

“The second part is a deadlift is such a complex movement that learning to do it properly is really going to help you learn how to control a lot of tension. Learning to engage multiple muscle groups is really vital to climbing. A deadlift is a compound exercise, so it’s going to activate your mid back, your core, your glutes, your hamstrings and even your quads. And finally, it actually will up-regulate some really important anabolic hormones such as testosterone and human growth human. If those are floating around in your bloodstream, they’re actually going to help with building, help heal injuries, and supplement your other training.”

After learning the basic technique for the RDL with Hooper, the Geek Climber went ahead and performed the move for 30 days—although after just one session, he was incredibly sore. “It felt like muscles that had never been activated before got activated,” he said.

He started out performing single sets of 8 to 10 reps at 50 percent of his 1-rep max. As time went on, he would do 8 to 10 reps at around 65 percent of his max, then 4 to 5 reps at 75 percent of his max, then 3 to 4 reps at 85 percent of his max, and finally 1 to 3 reps at 95%.

At the end of the month, he had improved his 1-rep max from 125 pounds to 175. Not only did this represent a 40 percent increase, but also enabled him to work on his strength in another area while recovering from his injury ahead of returning to his climbing training.

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