|By Mark E Dixon
From Sprezzatura, Someday
Sep 28, 2012
I just finished the article and am very disappointed. I had been looking forward to trying Ms Lopez's new regimen, but may reconsider whether that's a good use of 8 weeks of training time.
I'm not a scientist, so I hope others (Aerlii?) will read the paper and offer more qualified opinions.
The gist of the study- take high end climbers (redpointing in the 8a range) and do 8 weeks of twice weekly hangboard training in two different sequences (weighted hangs followed by small edges vs small edges followed by weighted) and see which is better.
Both groups did 4 weeks of 10 second hangs on an 18 mm edge with enough added weight that they would theoretically fail each rep at 13 seconds.
Both groups also did 4 weeks of 10 second hangs on the smallest edge on which they would theoreticaly fail at 13 seconds, with no added weight.
The number of reps increased gradually over each 4 week period, starting at 3, and ending at 5. There was a 3 minute rest between each rep. You read this correctly, the TOTAL work time was 30-50 seconds. (Not counting the warm-up, of course.)
The subjects also did "technical and physical training" 6 days a week for 2-4 hours daily, tailored for each participant individually by Ms Lopez. This training was not analyzed for the purposes of this study, which seems problematic to me.
The meat of the paper is in Table 5. First, as far as I can tell, there is no statistically significant difference in outcomes between the two groups. This may be because of the very small size, only 9 participants total. Ms Lopez seems to argue that there is an important trend difference favoring the added weight/small edge sequence, but the data just don't convince me.
Looking at the change in strength (measured by maximum amount of added weight held for 5 seconds on a 15mm edge)the weight/small group increased the amount of weight by 5 kg after training with added weight for 4 weeks, dropped back to baseline after 4 weeks of small edge hangs, increased again by 3 kg after 2 weeks break from hangboarding, then were again back to baseline after 4 weeks break from hangboarding.
The other group, small/weight improved their strength a little bit (0.8 kg) after 4 weeks of small edge training, had NO increase with 4 weeks of weighted training, dropped back to baseline after a 2 week break, then was worse than ever (-2 kg) with another two weeks away from the fingerboard!
I don't see a meaningful trend in this data. It looks to me like you can increase the amount of weight only if you train weighted hangs first, even then, can't maintain the increase if you subsequently train on small edges and are still back to where you started if you don't hang for 4 weeks. if you start off training on small edges, nothing helps and you end up weaker than ever after a rest!
Looking at the change in endurance (measured by maximum duration hang on an 11 mm edge) the weight/small group increased the amount of time hung by 8 seconds after training with added weight for 4 weeks, added another 1.5 seconds after 4 weeks of small edge training, lost 5 seconds of hang time after a two week break and was one second below baseline after another 2 weeks away from the hangboard.
The small/weight group increased by 6 seconds after 4 weeks of small edge hangs, another 3 seconds after 4 weeks of wieghted hangs, maintained these gains with two weeks break, but were also back to baseline after 4 weeks away from the board.
Again, I don't see a difference between the groups. Both increased hang time about 9 seconds, then lost all the gains when they stopped hangboarding.
The take home for me- don't stop hangboarding!