Login with Facebook
 ADVANCED
grip strength training in other sports - book
View Latest Posts in This Forum or All Forums
   Page 1 of 1.  
Follow replies to this topic? Notify me at the top of web site.
1

Email me.
 
 
By kenr
Dec 27, 2012
I got John Brookfield's book, Mastery of Hand Strength (2008). Interesting findings about grip strength. Wide variety of interesting (non-climbing-specific) grip exercises and challenges.

You might guess that the book was a way to promote the IronMind.com devices -- actually it seems that making and selling of the devices is rather a mere sideline to John Brookfield's amazing passion for working on and playing with grip strength itself.

Interesting (non-scientific) finding in the book is that obvious exercises with the obvious grip-strength devices are not necessarily very helpful to sport-specific performance -- also for sports other than climbing. So the author gives alternative approaches.

So I'm now thinking that grip strength is even more specific than I would have guessed (and I'm a long-time big believer in specificity of training). Maybe neural recruitment training is very important? But actually what Brookfield reports, and his proposed alternatives, make it seem like overall integration with full-body-movement performance is key.

Variety of exercises + apparatus ...
seems to me there's at least three approaches for climbers.
(a) Don't waste time on any non-climbing-specific training.
(b) Serious training leads to plateau-ing. Use variety to break thru plateaus.
(c) A big part of the fun of climbing is the showing-off / performance / stunt (for a potential audience). So why not look for related "showing-off" possibilities?

This book has lots and lots for (c), and some for (b).

Ken

FLAG
By Jake Jones
From Richmond, VA
Dec 27, 2012
Me and the offspring walking back to the car after...
kenr wrote:
(c) A big part of the fun of climbing is the showing-off / performance / stunt (for a potential audience). So why not look for related "showing-off" possibilities? Ken


I haven't conducted a survey or anything, but I have found that generally, the longer someone has been climbing, the less this bullshit matters to them- and that's what it really is- bullshit. That's not to say that you and a couple friends can't have a safe, friendly competition at a crag and talk a little shit, but training and climbing specifically to show off? Maybe I'm being obtuse and judgemental, but this just seems like an utterly toolish thing to do.

I have also found that the bravado that is typically the inspiration for "stunts" and "showing off" gets people injured more often than it impresses anyone- and most "showoffs" haven't had the distinct pleasure of experiencing what happens when a day of carefree climbing turns into a horriffic shitshow. This is worth considering I think, but it is just my opinion. Take it with a grain of salt.

FLAG
By Joe Stark
From Iowa
Dec 27, 2012
Warming up
I trained hand strength for a few years before getting into climbing. I used Captains of Crush grippers and even tried some of the unorthodox things from John's book. I think it helped with the initial period before I learned to properly use my feet. I can still grind the handles together on a #2 gripper (195 lbs), but it doesn't do much for increasing forearm strength.

FLAG
By kenr
Dec 28, 2012
Jake Jones wrote:
the bravado that is typically the inspiration for "stunts" and "showing off" gets people injured more often than it impresses anyone

Yes I agree that "showing off" in climbing can be dangerous.

All of the challenges in this book are non-climbing performances ...
which generally are:
  • less likely to cause injury
  • more likely more often to have apparatus available in range of an audience of non-climbers

so consider ...
  • these might be safer outlets for any residual "showing-off" urges hidden inside an otherwise-rational climber.
  • In the northern hemisphere right now, there's not many opportunities for "real" outdoor rock climbing, so it could be a time to try things not intended as a year-round training method.

FLAG
By Finn the Human
From The Land of Ooo
Dec 28, 2012
Mathematical!
Didn't someone post recently saying that elite climber's (5.14+) grip strength is only a little better than your average climber, which in turn is only a little better then the average non-climber?

I think they said something about the ability to crush something to smithereens not really translating to the ability to hold onto a rock. I tend to agree. I have a hard time believing that if I train my grip strength a bunch, I'll become a better climber.

FLAG
By Steven Groetken
From Durango, CO
Dec 28, 2012
On top of Hitchcock Pinnacle.
It's interesting that this thread is focusing on grip strength, but no one has mentioned endurance. It may very well be true that advanced climbers are only marginally stronger than average or even non-climbers (I'm pretty sure I'd make Ondra my bitch in an arm wrestling match). The point is, climbers don't necessarily have to be all that strong, you're only holding a portion of your body weight at any one time with your hands. More important is to be able to do that hundreds of times without getting the numb shakes like you get after a hard workout, the kind where you can't even pick up a beer. Tragic. Long distance runners can rarely squat heavy loads, and you won't find them at La Fitness doing that for a very good reason.

FLAG
By shotwell
Dec 28, 2012
Jake Jones wrote:
I haven't conducted a survey or anything, but I have found that generally, the longer someone has been climbing, the less this bullshit matters to them- and that's what it really is- bullshit. That's not to say that you and a couple friends can't have a safe, friendly competition at a crag and talk a little shit, but training and climbing specifically to show off? Maybe I'm being obtuse and judgemental, but this just seems like an utterly toolish thing to do. I have also found that the bravado that is typically the inspiration for "stunts" and "showing off" gets people injured more often than it impresses anyone- and most "showoffs" haven't had the distinct pleasure of experiencing what happens when a day of carefree climbing turns into a horriffic shitshow. This is worth considering I think, but it is just my opinion. Take it with a grain of salt.


Ever heard of John Gill? It was all about performing (in the theatrical sense) to him. Doesn't sound like bullshit to me and even seems healthier than plenty of other reasons to climb.

128.pair.com/r3d4k7/HomePage5....

FLAG
By Jake Jones
From Richmond, VA
Dec 28, 2012
Me and the offspring walking back to the car after...
shotwell wrote:
Ever heard of John Gill? It was all about performing (in the theatrical sense) to him. Doesn't sound like bullshit to me and even seems healthier than plenty of other reasons to climb.


Yes, I have heard of John Gill. Ever seen someone at a crag jump on something they clearly weren't ready for, issuing the words "check this out" or "watch this shit" and subsequently ruin everyone's day with a gory injury and a rescue? I think the latter is much more likely and common than the former not only because relatively inexperienced climbers are much more common that climbers of elite grades, but because youth lends itself to bravado. It's rare that you'll see a "showman" of John Gill's ilk. It is not rare that you'll see a couple of hotties and a couple tools that think they know a hell of a lot more than they actually do, wanting to impress them at your local crag. Being a performer, as it were, or a showman, is different than showing off in my opinion. I still say that being motivated by "showing off" is a dangerous source of inspiration in a potentially dangerous sport. Again, just my $.02. Take it with a grain of salt.

FLAG
 
By The Stoned Master
Administrator
From Pennsylvania
Dec 28, 2012
Day Lily.
Great link man. Awesome stories. Its definitly not uncommon for people to state something as if they speak for the whole. Hopefully one day the masses will realize they can ever truly know (their truth) and speak for themselves. Good stuff. Love climbing history. Enjoy.

FLAG
By Will S
From Joshua Tree
Dec 28, 2012
Something that gets overlooked in all the "studies show climber grip strength barely better than avg Joe" banter is this:

Most of this is coming from Heather Reynolds Sagars book/studies from about 10 years ago. There are other studies that show exactly the opposite, here's one:

"Grip Strength and Endurance in Rock Climbers
A Cutis, BSc, PhD1
S R Bollen, MB, FRCS, FRCSEdOrth1
1 Rheumatology and Rehabilitation Research Unit, University of Leeds
Abstract
The performance of competition climbers in laboratory-based tests of pinch and whole hand grip strength and endurance was compared to that of non-climbers of the same age, sex and physique. Climbers performed significantly better, indicating higher stresses acting in the flexor mechanism..."

Anyway, in the ones that say climbers are no stronger than Joe Sixpack, the measurement here is usually some kind of hand closing, squeezing action, similar to those captn crush grip trainer things. In Sagar's self assessment, she calls for laying on the floor with a carabiner attached to a lat pulldown machine, and using your fingers to curl this into a closed hand position. This is miles away from what actually happens when you are trying to hang a small hold.

Many of these "grip strength" assements are measuring a movement that has a large component from the thumb and small muscles in the hand. They aren't really measuring finger flexor strength (what you are using to stay attached to the rock), they are measuring (as they say) "grip strength".

I guarantee you that if you did the measurement using say a weighted hang on a half pad deep edge, the climbers would be WAY stronger in relation to their bodyweight than non climbers. From the limited amount of performance predictors type studies done on climbers, the number one predictor of climbing ability was grip strength to bodyweight ratio.

It's not about simple endurance as Steven G. speculates above. Old saying that "if you can't do the individual moves, there is nothing to endure". Unless you climb exclusively in the Red, you're going to need more than endurance. The issue here is poor study/measurement design and the results being passed down through the years in the oral tradition without the caveats that the results were pretty meaningless due to poor experimental design.

FLAG
By slim
Administrator
Dec 28, 2012
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.
as a person who has spent a decent amount of time training around very strong climbers, and noting what they are doing compared to what i am doing (and i pay a lot of attention to this), i can assure you that those who are stating that strong climbers don't have that much more finger strength than regular climbers have no clue what they are talking about. willS is right on the money - the method that sagar used just isnt't appropriate for what she is trying to accomplish. somehow this myth gets perpetuated that strength isn't that important.

a lot of guys like to tell themselves that the hard climbing girls only have technique and no strength. you are completely delusional. the girls who are climbing hard are strong as shit - they just don't spend time pointing it out. a lot of them also don't believe they are strong until somebody points it out to them with some concrete evidence. i'm telling you - lynn hill? strong as shit. katie brown? strong as shit, etc etc etc etc. if you had a competition trying to one hand hang off a 1 cm edge, they would make you look really, really bad.

i definitely have to cringe when some well intending moderate climber tries to perpetuate the 'you don't need strength' myth, sprinkled with an innocent but serious misinterpretation of where endurance fits in on the spectrum. if you climb in the 8 to 10 range and don't really train, you will have a hard time sounding like you know what you are talking about.

FLAG
By slim
Administrator
Dec 28, 2012
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.
Jake Jones wrote:
Yes, I have heard of John Gill. Ever seen someone at a crag jump on something they clearly weren't ready for, issuing the words "check this out" or "watch this shit" and subsequently ruin everyone's day with a gory injury and a rescue? I think the latter is much more likely and common than the former not only because relatively inexperienced climbers are much more common that climbers of elite grades, but because youth lends itself to bravado. It's rare that you'll see a "showman" of John Gill's ilk. It is not rare that you'll see a couple of hotties and a couple tools that think they know a hell of a lot more than they actually do, wanting to impress them at your local crag. Being a performer, as it were, or a showman, is different than showing off in my opinion. I still say that being motivated by "showing off" is a dangerous source of inspiration in a potentially dangerous sport. Again, just my $.02. Take it with a grain of salt.


how does this have anything really to do with training finger strength? sounds like a tangential trip to the top of the soap box. i don't tjhink i have ever really seen a strength show turn into an injury - now a show of bravery without a rope turning into a fiasco? yes, but that is something quite different.

FLAG
By shotwell
Dec 28, 2012
slim wrote:
how does this have anything really to do with training finger strength? sounds like a tangential trip to the top of the soap box. i don't tjhink i have ever really seen a strength show turn into an injury - now a show of bravery without a rope turning into a fiasco? yes, but that is something quite different.


Agreed, and it was my point exactly. John was frequently showing off, even in his training (see the one arm front lever for example.) Glad to see I wasn't the only one totally amazed by that response.

FLAG
By shotwell
Dec 28, 2012
Jake Jones wrote:
Yes, I have heard of John Gill. Ever seen someone at a crag jump on something they clearly weren't ready for, issuing the words "check this out" or "watch this shit" and subsequently ruin everyone's day with a gory injury and a rescue? I think the latter is much more likely and common than the former not only because relatively inexperienced climbers are much more common that climbers of elite grades, but because youth lends itself to bravado. It's rare that you'll see a "showman" of John Gill's ilk. It is not rare that you'll see a couple of hotties and a couple tools that think they know a hell of a lot more than they actually do, wanting to impress them at your local crag. Being a performer, as it were, or a showman, is different than showing off in my opinion. I still say that being motivated by "showing off" is a dangerous source of inspiration in a potentially dangerous sport. Again, just my $.02. Take it with a grain of salt.


Jake, I've cleaned up the mess of a climber's mistake. Even suggesting that a large number of climbing injuries or deaths are related to showing off is straight up bullshit. Most of them are simple complacency.

For the record, I don't tend to see any of the stuff you're talking about, but I don't tend to hang out at crags that are for beginners anymore. I see plenty of performances, many of them amazing. Dave Graham, Ondra, Woods, Fred Nicole, etc. are all amazing, all climb really freaking hard, and all are just absolutely amazing to watch. It isn't because they just pull hard; they all have style. They all show off too. What do you think those videos are for?

FLAG
By Mark E Dixon
From Sprezzatura, Someday
Dec 28, 2012
At the BRC
To get back to the OP-

Ken, I've used a bunch of these gadgets over the years. I have a friend I train with who has fairly advanced hand strength and knowledge. It's a good time, I still like using them. However, the only ones that seemed to help my climbing were the TTK, the wide handled bars and the various pinch grip blocks. I found these helpful for plastic pinches. Not so useful outdoors. Obviously this is totally anecdotal and your climbing weaknesses will determine whether you see any climbing results from these tools.

Honestly, if your profile is up to date, if you just did a reasonable hangboard routine, some shoulder girdle exercises, plus worked on your technique in the gym, I think you'll get everything you can out of a winter's cycle.

Will - thanks for that reference. It is from 1993 and maybe not one of the premier journals, but it's gotten me motivated to see what is current. Your point about the inadequacy of the grip strength tests is a good one.

FLAG
By kenr
Jan 3, 2013
Mark E Dixon wrote:
if you just did ... some shoulder girdle exercises

Sounds interesting ... what are some "shoulder girdle" moves?

Reality is that I haven't been doing any climbing, not any training, not much reading about climbing -- because the skiing is good. With various kinds of warming or dryness happening, a day of good skiing is seeming more precious.

> pinch grip blocks

I bought the obvious one from IronMind, but haven't found time to use it yet. I'm thinking of making my own out of wood.
But I was already training pinch grip on my finger board (one of mine is old Metolius resin type). Main reason is because I actually enjoy indoor climbing just for itself, and the normal structure of bolting holds onto a wall does tend to offer opportunities for pinching.

(also as a "stunt", I have a goal to do a pull-up with both hands on vertical straight-side pinches)

Ken

FLAG
 
By Mark E Dixon
From Sprezzatura, Someday
Jan 5, 2013
At the BRC
kenr wrote:
Sounds interesting ... what are some "shoulder girdle" moves?


You should probably ask somebody who actually knows what they are talking about on this one. It's pathetic, but I train with a friend and just lift whatever he tells me to! I'll send you a PM with some ideas.

kenr wrote:
Reality is that I haven't been doing any climbing, not any training, not much reading about climbing -- because the skiing is good. With various kinds of warming or dryness happening, a day of good skiing is seeming more precious.


We finally have some decent snow here too- hoping to get to Keystone or Winter Park on Monday. Maybe Breck- whatever the kids prefer.

kenr wrote:
> pinch grip blocks I bought the obvious one from IronMind, but haven't found time to use it yet. I'm thinking of making my own out of wood. But I was already training pinch grip on my finger board (one of mine is old Metolius resin type). Main reason is because I actually enjoy indoor climbing just for itself, and the normal structure of bolting holds onto a wall does tend to offer opportunities for pinching. (also as a "stunt", I have a goal to do a pull-up with both hands on vertical straight-side pinches) Ken


My only issue with the blocks is that pinch grip does seems really joint angle dependent, at least for me- training on medium blocks never helped me with small pinches or wide pinches, so I needed to train with a couple of different sizes, which takes more time than I want to spend.
I had good luck making my own pinch blocks with 2by4s nailed together. I also had a blob from bisected York dumbell, which was really fun, but maybe not worth the hassle of getting it made.

I have started using the TTK again, and since I have never trained thumb strength much, seem to make rapid gains, which do seem useful indoors. I put my thumbs on top, do the concentric movement with both hands, then the eccentric with one. I have to be careful because this puts a lot of pressure on the thumb joints and I feel like a strain would be very easy.
I've used the hub pinch from Iron Mind- I don't think it helped my climbing at all.

Good luck with the pinch grip pull-ups. I believe that's pretty hard. I seem to recall of photo of Gill doing them.

FLAG


Follow replies to this topic? Notify me at the top of web site.
1

Email me.
Page 1 of 1.