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one-armed hangboard routine
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By chuckpr
Mar 25, 2013

I did my first hangboard cycle this winter using the Anderson brothers repeaters exercises -- two-armed hangs, 7s on 3s off increasing weight decreasing grips per set, three sets per grip, five grips, etc. Just finishing my max recruitment phase now and I feel pretty good. It's been interesting, however, to read about pros/cons of one-armed hangs from Peter Beal and Monomaniac. Here is a link to a one-armed routine from Chris Webb-Parsons.



It seems to me that one-armed hangs might be more sport specific. Also, fingers are loaded differently (maybe more similar to climbing) when hanging off one arm (discussed by Dave Macleod here).

onlineclimbingcoach.blogspot.com/2012/08/a-few-beastmaker-ti>>>

Two-arm hangs seemed to do wonders for me nonetheless. Anyway, yet another hangboard routine to consider. Would love to hear what the hangboarding MP crew thiks of the Webb-Parsons routine above...


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By Dustin Drake
Mar 25, 2013

I don't really have any input other than I might give this a try next hangboard cycle.


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By frankstoneline
Mar 26, 2013

I'll bite while I drink coffee this morning and kick out some thoughts.

First: In the interest of full disclosure, I don't have near the experience on a fingerboard that Chris Webb Parsons or any number of MP training heavyweights have.

Second: I don't doubt for a second this is a routine which would produce gains, whether it will produce maximum gains for time spent vs. a more traditional repeaters or weighted max hangs workout, I have my doubts.

Those two things said, my initial thoughts on it were as follows.

It doesn't require weight plates, swapping weights etc. Convenience is cool.

He advocates essentially straight armed max deadhangs. Popular training plans generally seem to warn against this as overly stressful on the joints.

It seems like it would be difficult to integrate the time vs changing force idea (letting go of the rope so you gradually increase the force your fingers see and timing it so your hangs are the correct length)

It seems to lack some focus, i.e. I'm not sure hang times/stress levels are right for true hypertrophy, and reps aren't high enough for true max recruitment. (this is highly speculation, curious to see what others think of this idea)

I do think if you were looking to include more structured training in a schedule without moving through a series of phases this might work well. Warm up in the gym, go do this workout, then climb some routes/boulder.

Thats enough of my rambling.


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By kenr
Mar 26, 2013

I do lots of assisted single-arm hang workouts on my fingerboard -- but in a more measurable calibrated way than that video. I'm such a new and mediocre-difficulty climber that it doesn't prove anything -- but anyway I do enjoy rambling arguments about theory ...

frankstoneline wrote:
I'm not sure hang times/stress levels are right for true hypertrophy, and reps aren't high enough for true max recruitment.

But how could anyone know what's optimal for hypertrophy? (or for recruitment) for small-muscle isometric training? I had not heard this had been studied much in a well-controlled way.

I did think, on the other hand, that it was well settled decades ago that isometric generally is not the best way to achieve muscular hypertrophy.

(And how do they really study recruitment? Sticking electrodes very accurately near some muscle? Only in animals? Hard to imagine somebody spent the time and cost to carefully study that for small-muscle isometric contraction.)

Also the idea that exactly one combination of workout timing and resistance is best for hypertrophy (or for recruitment) for everybody seems farfetched.

My theory (which seems to be implicit in the books of Eric Horst) is that most exercises that fight boredom and have some chance of breaking thru a plateau, are worthwhile.

frankstoneline wrote:
He advocates essentially straight armed max deadhangs.

That's only one-third of the workout in that video.

Ken


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By koreo
From Denver, CO
Mar 26, 2013
sloping <br />

I'd agree with one armed being closer simulation to climbing. It also points out the finer weaknesses between one hand/arm and another. But I find it to be a time thing. Doing but doing weighted hangs is a lot faster than trying to do one-armed hangs. And shortens the duration of boredom.


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By frankstoneline
Mar 26, 2013

kenr wrote:
I do lots of assisted single-arm hang workouts on my fingerboard -- but in a more measurable calibrated way than that video. I'm such a new and mediocre-difficulty climber that it doesn't prove anything -- but anyway I do enjoy rambling arguments about theory ... But how could anyone know what's optimal for hypertrophy? (or for recruitment) for small-muscle isometric training? I had not heard this had been studied much in a well-controlled way. I did think, on the other hand, that it was well settled decades ago that isometric generally is not the best way to achieve muscular hypertrophy. (And how do they really study recruitment? Sticking electrodes very accurately near some muscle? Only in animals? Hard to imagine somebody spent the time and cost to carefully study that for small-muscle isometric contraction.) Also the idea that exactly one combination of workout timing and resistance is best for hypertrophy (or for recruitment) for everybody seems farfetched.


I don't think that anyone has done the research for small muscles, and I certainly agree that a single combination of times/resistance across the board doesnt seem like it would fit everyone's needs. As I mentioned in my post my speculation was based on a general recollection of various blog posts and such. I guess my point was, it seems like people like eva lopez advocate maximum force for 10 seconds for hypertrophy type training (either small edges or large weights or some combination)with lots of rest between reps , and generally repeater type workouts seem to fall more in the recruitment camp(higher reps, lower forces). This plan seems to fall between the two (lower reps, lots of rest, but not maximum effort in the reps).


kenr wrote:
My theory (which seems to be implicit in the books of Eric Horst) is that most exercises that fight boredom and have some chance of breaking thru a plateau, are worthwhile.


I agree with this, for most of us ANY board work is good enough

kenr wrote:
That's only one-third of the workout in that video. Ken


I'm not saying it's outright bad, just curious as to whether its a concern, as its often brought up as something to be avoided at all costs.


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By Will S
From Joshua Tree
Mar 26, 2013

frankstoneline wrote:
maximum force for 10 seconds for hypertrophy type training (either small edges or large weights or some combination)with lots of rest between reps , and generally repeater type workouts seem to fall more in the recruitment camp(higher reps, lower forces)


This is backwards.


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By Mike McKinnon
From Golden, CO
Mar 26, 2013
Bunny pancake

Will S wrote:
This is backwards.


That was my initial though too. He has it backwards.

More specific to the plan, is he advocating the half crimp for one arm hangs only? I use open hand when I two hand hang board. Should I be using that half crimp he mentions for all my hangboarding?


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By Brendan Blanchard
From Strafford, NH
Mar 27, 2013
Obi Wan Ryobi - Darth Vader Crag, Rumney NH

Mike McKinnon wrote:
That was my initial though too. He has it backwards. More specific to the plan, is he advocating the half crimp for one arm hangs only? I use open hand when I two hand hang board. Should I be using that half crimp he mentions for all my hangboarding?


Although open hand is arguably the most safe, some people insist on half-crimp to gain crimping strength. I think Metolius advocates open hand because it trains both open hand and crimp strength, but not vice verse.


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By Mike McKinnon
From Golden, CO
Mar 27, 2013
Bunny pancake

Brendan Blanchard wrote:
Although open hand is arguably the most safe, some people insist on half-crimp to gain crimping strength. I think Metolius advocates open hand because it trains both open hand and crimp strength, but not vice verse.


Yep that has been my understanding all along. Open hand is the basis for all grips so strength gained open hand transfers to all grip types.


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By frankstoneline
Mar 27, 2013

Will S wrote:
This is backwards.


Doh. I'm a dope.

Mike McKinnon wrote:
More specific to the plan, is he advocating the half crimp for one arm hangs only? I use open hand when I two hand hang board. Should I be using that half crimp he mentions for all my hangboarding?


I used to open hand all the grips I was using until I (fairly recently) moved to a much smaller set of edges, and now I'm half crimping everything. I assume recent crimp strength gains are due to the smaller edge, but could be due to grip change. I still dont really full crimp at all.


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By Brendan Blanchard
From Strafford, NH
Mar 27, 2013
Obi Wan Ryobi - Darth Vader Crag, Rumney NH

frankstoneline wrote:
Doh. I'm a dope. I used to open hand all the grips I was using until I (fairly recently) moved to a much smaller set of edges, and now I'm half crimping everything. I assume recent crimp strength gains are due to the smaller edge, but could be due to grip change. I still dont really full crimp at all.


I forget where, but I've read that half-crimp gives you benefits of both without severe risk on injury. If I were using smaller/non-rounded edges I would consider using a half crimp as I think it is a good middle-ground.


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By Brendan N. (grayhghost)
From Salt Lake City, Utah
Mar 27, 2013

Mike McKinnon wrote:
Open hand is the basis for all grips so strength gained open hand transfers to all grip types.


Sadly no. Since there are muscles that move your fingers from 'open hand' to 'full crimp' there are muscles you aren't working by hanging 'open hand.' More specifically, you want to work the muscles that KEEP you from moving from 'full crimp' to 'open hand' to 'hanging on the end of the rope.'


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By chuckpr
Mar 27, 2013

Brendan, do you think the half crimp position trains the muscles you're referring to? Or is it significantly better (i.e. the gains outweigh the injury risk) to train with a full crimp grip for full crimp strength?


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By Aerili
From Salt Lake City, UT
Mar 27, 2013
Get down from there! <br /> <br />May 2013 <br />Photo by Duc

Brendan N. (grayhghost) wrote:
Sadly no. Since there are muscles that move your fingers from 'open hand' to 'full crimp' there are muscles you aren't working by hanging 'open hand.'

Which muscles are those?

Brendan wrote:
More specifically, you want to work the muscles that KEEP you from moving from 'full crimp' to 'open hand' to 'hanging on the end of the rope.'

Again, which ones?


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By Dana Bartlett
From CT
Mar 27, 2013

Brendan N. (grayhghost) wrote:
Sadly no. Since there are muscles that move your fingers from 'open hand' to 'full crimp' there are muscles you aren't working by hanging 'open hand.' More specifically, you want to work the muscles that KEEP you from moving from 'full crimp' to 'open hand' to 'hanging on the end of the rope.'


Brendan, are you sure about this? I thought that the flexor digitorum profundis and flexor digitorum superficialis were the primary muscles involved in hanging a hold (regardless of the position the fingers are in) and they are the muscles that are primarily responsible for finger flexion. Perhaps I didn't understand what you wrote.


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By Brendan N. (grayhghost)
From Salt Lake City, Utah
Mar 28, 2013

Dana Bartlett wrote:
Brendan, are you sure about this? I thought that the flexor digitorum profundis and flexor digitorum superficialis were the primary muscles involved in hanging a hold (regardless of the position the fingers are in) and they are the muscles that are primarily responsible for finger flexion. Perhaps I didn't understand what you wrote.


I am among the least-educated of my training crew, but yes, I believe joint angle matters when training hang strength. I'll ask again and maybe Aerili can add her knowledge in the meantime.


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By Dana Bartlett
From CT
Mar 28, 2013

Brendan N. (grayhghost) wrote:
I am among the least-educated of my training crew, but yes, I believe joint angle matters when training hang strength. I'll ask again and maybe Aerili can add her knowledge in the meantime.


The reason I asked was that your post seemed to say that different muscles were involved in hanging and flexing. Were you talking about joint angle specificity?


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By Aerili
From Salt Lake City, UT
Mar 28, 2013
Get down from there! <br /> <br />May 2013 <br />Photo by Duc

Brendan N. (grayhghost) wrote:
I am among the least-educated of my training crew, but yes, I believe joint angle matters when training hang strength. I'll ask again and maybe Aerili can add her knowledge in the meantime.

If you get really specific, I doubt there are many (or any) studies which address hangboarding and finger joint positions and resultant torques. So we can only theorize based on other studies which look at other joints and other forms of exercise.

(By the way, what you said and maybe what you meant earlier were not the same thing at all.)

As usual, joint position and resulting muscle tension and joint torque is not 100% clear cut or black and white. There is a definitely a length-tension relationship muscles experience throughout various joint angles. However, training joints isometrically does allow some carryover through other joint angles. I went back to one of my favorite books ("Designing Resistance Training Programs" by Fleck) and refreshed my memory.

"Many factors may affect the degree to which joint-angle specificity occurs, including the muscle group(s) trained, the joint angle at which the training is performed, and the intensity and duration of the isometric actions."

He goes on to cite studies which examined isometric training of different joints like the elbow and ankle at various angles and their carryover strength to other angles. In some angles, there was not a wide range of carryover -- for example, training the elbow at 25* or 120* resulted in small carryover of strength to other joint angles. But training it at 80-90* resulted in a large angle carryover (+/-20* or more).

Training the ankle plantor flexors (gastroc, soleus et al) at 90* resulted in a strength carryover of only 5* on either side.

Training the knee at 135* resulted in strength carryovers in angles of +/-30* but training at 65* resulted in only +/-10*.

Also, it seems possible that performing higher numbers of reps of an isometric exercise (like, MUCH higher) results in greater carryover to other joint angles than performing less numbers of reps. He cites a study which said 20 reps of 6 second isometric exercise had greater carryover than 6 reps of 6 second exercise (although I do not know which joint was being examined and therefore I am not sure if this is true for all joints).


Sorry for the long-winded academic response, but hopefully some people will find it interesting. :-)


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By Will S
From Joshua Tree
Mar 28, 2013

Aerili wrote:
hopefully some people will find it interesting. :-)


Very interesting indeed. Thanks.


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By kenr
Mar 28, 2013

Aerili wrote:
> ... joint position and resulting muscle tension and joint torque
> is not 100% clear cut or black and white ...

Tnanks for sharing those results, because for theory of climbing training it's all the data we're going to get for a long time.

Some fundamental trickiness with applying those kind of studies to climbing:
a) most sport physiology studies I've seen have a much shorter time-scale than the program of a serious climber who takes disciplined measurable training seriously. Mainly because longer-term studies are more expensive, more difficult to recruit subjects for, more difficult to manage -- with little career/professional payback for the extra cost and labor.
(Especially for isometric training, where the main attraction was to achieve quick strength/mass gains with minimal work and equipment.)

b) I've never heard of any serious climbers who would truly focus their training stress on a single joint-angle for any significant number of weeks. Simply because they're also going to keep insisting to do some climbing.

c) The work / rest / intensity / count protocols for many of the isometric studies are likely very different from the fingerboard workout protocols used by modern climbers.

d) While it's easy for me to believe that neural recruitment is joint-angle specific, it's difficult for me to imagine a plausible physiological explanation for how hypertrophy/hyperplasia gains would not generalize readily to other joint angles.
Arguably it's just on this sort of question that typical short-term sport physiology studies are going to miss out.

e) Even though the half-crimp grip tends to lock out the DIP articulation (which is driven by the flexor profundus muscles), the half-crimp does intensely focuses on the PIP -- which is driven by the flexor superficialis but also the flexor profundus. And the MCP flexor muscles are getting intensely worked by half-crimp. So all the same muscles required for the open grip are also getting substantial stimulation by the half-crimp.

Though perhaps not in the same proportions. Is it possible that with training Crimp, you unconsciously "cheat" a little on stressing the flexor profundus muscles -- while you could not possibly cheat them in training with Open grip?
A question I don't know how to answer.

Ken


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By Aerili
From Salt Lake City, UT
Apr 4, 2013
Get down from there! <br /> <br />May 2013 <br />Photo by Duc

kenr wrote:
ASome fundamental trickiness with applying those kind of studies to climbing: a) most sport physiology studies I've seen have a much shorter time-scale than the program of a serious climber who takes disciplined measurable training seriously. Mainly because longer-term studies are more expensive, more difficult to recruit subjects for, more difficult to manage -- with little career/professional payback for the extra cost and labor. (Especially for isometric training, where the main attraction was to achieve quick strength/mass gains with minimal work and equipment.) b) I've never heard of any serious climbers who would truly focus their training stress on a single joint-angle for any significant number of weeks. Simply because they're also going to keep insisting to do some climbing.

From my perspective, I feel like most of what you've stated applies to any athlete population. Most studies are of much shorter duration than the training programs of any serious athlete and yet they have certainly impacted/improved training methodology greatly in the last few decades regardless.

Specifically, what makes you think a much longer term study is needed to determine recruitment patterns and strength overlap in joint angles? You can easily elicit the direction of a training outcome in as little as four weeks (depending on volume and frequency).

Many physiological changes of interest do not require months to years to elicit. 4-, 6-, 12-week studies are often quite adequate.


kenr wrote:
c) The work / rest / intensity / count protocols for many of the isometric studies are likely very different from the fingerboard workout protocols used by modern climbers.

They may be, but how do you know climbers are using the best methods? (Not saying they are or aren't, just posing the question.) Does a study have to mimic the exact protocols of a given training program to find useful info for the individuals training?


kenr wrote:
d) While it's easy for me to believe that neural recruitment is joint-angle specific, it's difficult for me to imagine a plausible physiological explanation for how hypertrophy/hyperplasia gains would not generalize readily to other joint angles. Arguably it's just on this sort of question that typical short-term sport physiology studies are going to miss out.

First of all, strength is directly a result of neural recruitment. I am unaware you can separate the two. Hypertrophy is useless without the neural drive.

Also, strength/power outputs over the body's normal range of motion in any given joint is actually a fairly well-understood relationship. Strength gains don't generalize as 'across the board' as you seem to be saying...muscles exhibit a length-tension relationship (regardless of how strong or weak you are and regardless of how you train) that is non-linear and this is what accounts for changes in power outputs throughout a joint's range of motion.

(Also to my knowledge, hyperplasia in adults is not proven.)


kenr wrote:
Though perhaps not in the same proportions. Is it possible that with training Crimp, you unconsciously "cheat" a little on stressing the flexor profundus muscles -- while you could not possibly cheat them in training with Open grip? A question I don't know how to answer. Ken

The abstract of this interesting study seems to conclude that FDP is actually more active than FDS in crimping than in open hand...despite the lack of DIP joint flexion. :-O !!!! :-)


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By kenr
Apr 5, 2013

Aerili wrote:
The abstract of this interesting study seems to conclude that FDP is actually more active than FDS in crimping than in open hand...despite the lack of DIP joint flexion.

Wow - what a remarkable result! - The opposite of what I was guessing.
Thanks for sharing about that.
Funny how I was saying I had no idea how to answer the question, but these researchers in Grenoble France did know how.
(Also funny because it's an approach I should have known, since part of my graduate work was on numerical/geometric modeling of humanoid robot fingers).

Shows you really have to dig into the details of human anatomy + physiology to get thru the misconceptions.

Also unexpected for me was that the bigger difference in forces on pulleys between Crimp versus Open was on the A2 not the A4.

Ken

P.S. Grenoble is a pretty good climbing town. Lots of rock within a short driving distance: I did my first rope-solo lead using a city street sign in St Egreve as my bottom anchor. Lots of good indoor lead climbing in the two Espace Vertical gyms, and nice indoor bouldering at EV3. With a little more driving outdoors there is Presles. Or for those who prefer granite: La Berarde.


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By Mark E Dixon
From Sprezzatura, Someday
Apr 5, 2013
At the BRC

Aerili wrote:
The abstract of this interesting study seems to conclude that FDP is actually more active than FDS in crimping than in open hand...despite the lack of DIP joint flexion. :-O !!!! :-)


Am I misunderstanding something?

I understood the abstract to say the relative contribution of the FDP vs FDS is higher in crimp vs open hand, but since FDP flexes the DIP joint, and there would be more stress on the DIP during crimping, wouldn't this be expected?


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By kenr
Apr 5, 2013

Mark E Dixon wrote:
Am I misunderstanding something? I understood the abstract to say the relative contribution of the FDP vs FDS is higher in crimp vs open hand, but since FDP flexes the DIP joint, and there would be more stress on the DIP during crimping, wouldn't this be expected?

Well I think there are questions where one of us would have to pay (or have an organizational affiliation) to access the full article. Since presumably the numbers for the "slope" grip depend on what sort of hold you're gripping (small edge versus big sloper).
. (I'm sort of assuming that "slope" grip in that abstract means like what I would call "open" grip, but there might be some misunderstanding of the words/concepts in French climbing terminology versus the "obvious" equivalents in American climbing.)

If by "stress" you mean the force (measured in Newtons) of tension in the line of the tendon, and we assume that the absolute forces for the two grips are similar, then I'd say it's reasonable to infer from that abstract that there's more tension going thru the DIP joint in the crimp grip than the "slope" grip.

On the other hand, that abstract directly says that there's higher relative force on the A2 pulley (which is far from the DIP joint) than on the A4 (which is close to the DIP joint).

Ken


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By kenr
Apr 5, 2013

Aerili wrote:
... strength is directly a result of neural recruitment. I am unaware you can separate the two. Hypertrophy is useless without the neural drive.

Makes sense, so if I'm getting 80% neural recruitement of fibers with contractile proteins firing with well-coordinated timing, then I can hold a tougher move than if I'm only getting 60% recruitment.

But if after three months of focused hypertrophy training, I've now got 16000 myofibril contractile proteins in the muscles for the third finger of my left hand while I used to have only 12000 contractile proteins, and then after an additional month of focused neural recruitment training I can achieve 80% well-coordinated timing of my contractile proteins, then 80% of 16000 myofibrils lets me pull a tougher move than 80% recruitment of 12000 myofibrils I had four months before.

Aerili wrote:
Strength gains don't generalize as 'across the board' as you seem to be saying...muscles exhibit a length-tension relationship (regardless of how strong or weak you are and regardless of how you train) that is non-linear and this is what accounts for changes in power outputs throughout a joint's range of motion.

Yes but after all the non-linearity across different angles and length-tension combinations ...
Give me a few months to train the neural recruitment and supporting connective tissues for the specific angle required for the move or grip, and for a given joint angle / force / velocity range, I'd bet I'll be able to pull a tougher move with 16000 myofibrils than with 12000 myofibrils.
(unless I'm just betting wrong, which I'll be most happy to have that explained to me here)

Ken


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