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hypertrophy versus recruitment phase?
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By kenr
May 6, 2013
Is it important to keep hypertrophy and neural recruitment separated into different phases of training?

I notice that some people talk about separate phases, but other authorities with well-known books and websites make no mention of the difference.

I notice that in general strength training for non-climbers there's often a belief that sets of 6-12 (concentric-contraction) reps with shorter rests (30-90 seconds) between sets is better for Hypertrophy, while sets of 1-5 (concentric) reps and longer rests (180-300 seconds) is better for neural Recruitment.

But then it turns out that stimulating the growth of Fast Glycolitive / Type II fibers requires a pretty high percentage of Recruitment anyway. So doesn't seem like much contradiction between Hyp and Recruit training -- more of a difference in emphasis?

. (Unlike for hypertrophy versus Endurance, where I've found at least one experimental study for non-climbers using Concentric motions showing an actually contradiction in effectiveness when trying to train both at once.)

But those general theory and experiments were developed for Concentric contractions for non-climbing performance.
How and why should it be different for climbing? Or for Isometric contractions?

Ken

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By reboot
From Westminster, CO
May 6, 2013
I've always been curious of the supposed science behind periodized training with separate phases of ARC, HYP, etc. From the limited I've read, periodized training originated from varying levels of intensity/difficulty, not varying training focus. In fact, it seems that outside of the climbing circle, that's what periodized training meant. I also remember an article about strength & power trained together for vertical jump: squat (to supposedly "prime" the muscles) with a short rest followed by plyometrics that yielded better results than doing either on their own.

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By WillamR
May 7, 2013
Top of Disneyland Gunks
I just want to point out, the hypertrophy phases of most rock climbing programs are actually endurance training.
3 sets of 7 sec on 3 off for 6 reps for 6 grips or so.
That's 42 seconds each set 126 in total for each grip.
Time under tension is a very good indicator of what type of muscle building is targeted (endurance, strength, hypertrophy, etc)
hypertrophy is usually 40-70 seconds total
endurance is usually >70 seconds. 126 seconds is definitely endurance training.

A 3 second resting period also prevents any major recovery, so it simulates one long set testing endurance.

Edit:

The reason things get interesting with endurance vs hypertrophy with fingerstrength training is the way the muscle functions. The function and structure of the forearms are very similar to the structure and function of the calves. Both are programmed for long bouts of endurance. Think of training for the calves, they respond best to a very high rep range. This is endurance training, but it induces hypertrophy. Neither the forearms, nor calves respond well to normal hypertrophy range training for growth, but it doesn't mean one is training hypertrophy. It just happens to be a byproduct.

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By kenr
May 7, 2013
That analysis of finger-hang Repeaters as really more of an Endurance workout makes sense.

I was just looking at the book The Self-Coached Climber, by Hague + Hunter, and one example of a Hypertrophy exercise is on a campus ladder, climb 6-8 rungs with each arm as one set, rest then repeat for a total of three sets. When can do more than 8 moves with each arm, add weight.

To me that seems a lot more like a normal (non-climbing) strength-training Hypertrophy exercise.

Then one of their examples of a neural Recruitment exercise would be on the campus ladder to use so much weight (or distance?) that you do only 1-2 reps in each set (When can do 3 reps on one arm, time to increase the intensity).

I have noticed, now that I haven't done Repeaters in a rather long time, my endurance on some outdoor sequences isn't so great.

Ken

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By kenr
May 7, 2013
WillamR wrote:
The function and structure of the forearms are very similar to the structure and function of the calves. Both are programmed for long bouts of endurance. Think of training for the calves, they respond best to a very high rep range. This is endurance training, but it induces hypertrophy.


One source mentioned that higher reps (for longer duration) tends to produce hypertrophy of Slow Oxidative Type I muscle fibers, while lower reps yields hypertrophy of Fast Glycolytive Type II fibers.
(? arguably having thicker SO fibers would help a climber to "hang on" longer in isometric mode ?)
But I recall other sources saying that Hypertrophy mainly just initially grows FG Type II fibers (which perhaps later could be trasmuted into SO Type I).

I had not heard about the calf muscles (and forearms) not responding well for hypertrophy. Is it thought to be something in the biochemistry of muscle fibers? or the geometry of their bone attachments?

(Myself I always felt that I was pretty successful at increasing my calf strength with normal 3 sets of 6-12 reps training, but I never actually measured their circumference to see if it changed.)
(And some younger guys in my climbing gym seem to have achieved some pretty notable gains in single-rep strength, if not thickness, of their forearms).

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By kenr
May 7, 2013
reboot wrote:
From the limited I've read, periodized training originated from varying levels of intensity/difficulty, not varying training focus.

Now that you mention it, that fits my recollection ... like the oldest idea was a 4-week cycle of varying intensity.

But later for endurance racing sports (e.g. running, cross-country skiing), they developed "macro" phase plans for a long cycle of 6-12 months, with different kinds of workouts during each phase, which were supposed to produce different kinds of structural adaptations. One theme was that different kinds of adaptations tend to have different timeframes, so you start the slower ones earlier, and save the fast-ramp-up ones until later. Perhaps with each (multi-month?) phase having its own 4-week(?) intensity sub-cycles.

And for racing I recall some concern about the contradiction of Hypertrophy training producing Type II FG fibers which were "all wrong" for endurance -- therefore the Hypertrophy phase (if any at all) was at the very beginning, so all the remaining phases were available to transmute them more toward Type I SO fibers. Serious racers were warned to stay away from low-rep strength training in later phases -- because it would contradict the goal of Endurance performance.

Ken

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