Lomba's 9b knee pad technique and leg strength story

17 May 2022

In the Eder Lomba video of Rainman 9b, we can see that he stays in a kneebar from 3:50 - 7:10, and short parts of it, "no hands rest". Steve McClure did the FA and he has said about that rest, "Kinda rubbishy kneebar, very intense, you are not staying there very long." Noteworthy is that they are both 170 cm tall. It should also be mentioned that when Adam Ondra tried the route in 2017 he could also get a no hands rest but still thought it was 9b.

Steve comments: Knee pad technology has improved somewhat! With the pads I now use I’d have been able to rest better! At the time the pad I found most useful was a simple knee support bandage. I also sometimes used an original 5.10 pad but it kept slipping down. So the route was really a sprint from the top of Raindogs all the way up. But this is the progression of things. New tools come along that we use to give us the edge…. Shoes, sticky rubber, chalk, cams. And these tools make the climbing feel better. Which is good!

The kneebar with good pads will make it a little bit easier, but by how much I can’t say. If others propose a downgrade, fair enough. But pretty sure for me, and the way I climbed it, it was 9b. What more can I say? Do we have to get so obsessed by the grade? If we must… I thought 9b. Ondra thought so. Eder needed ‘9b’ leg power to do it that no one else has maybe? He has used new strengths applied to the route in an awesome way. Luckily I did it yonks ago, had such a good journey. And will be happy forever.

Eder comments: When I first tried the kneebar I couldn’t get no hands, took me 3-4 sessions to get 5 seconds no hands, and months training my legs so I could stay longer, last November managed for the first time 1 min on the kneebar and after a winter of training I got 3 min for the first time last month. The kneebar is hard very painful and super intense, what you see on the video is the outcome of loads of really hard work, loads of pain and loads off pinning off the kneebar buttering your knees… My mate Josh Ibertson is also trying the route with the same knee pads and he struggles to get 30 seconds no hands… he is been trying the route for as long as I have.

So the training, I did loads of strength training like weighted squad deadlifting. Also some pain tolerance training for my right toes, because the kneebar is so intense that my right toe will really hurt due to the pressure you inevitably apply on the heel. All that pressure transfers through the shoe getting really tight on the toes.

I also did loads of explosive jumping. Calf raises… but the specific for the route where kneebar behind de campus and body crunches every other day, and the pain tolerance by adding weight to my calf raises on really painful footholds. The toes were really painful due to the particularity of the foothold.

On this particular kneebar, (see the picture), I use my left leg to still push my right foot into place to keep a more stable pose. I found that the more comfortable way to stay on the kneebar.

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