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Rob Miller on training
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By Brian Abram
From Columbia, SC
Sep 25, 2012
Brian Abram, leading pitch 2 of Dinkus Dog on the South Side of Looking Glass.  Kyle Sox is belaying.

startingstrength.com/index.php/site/article/the_map#.UGGtX7e>>>


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By Jake Jones
From Richmond, VA
Sep 25, 2012
Me and the offspring walking back to the car after a day of cragging.

An interesting read Brian. Thanks for posting.


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By Devin Krevetski
From West Woodstock, VT
Sep 25, 2012

The Kool-Aid drinkers aren't gonna like it.


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By camhead
From Vandalia, Appalachia
Sep 25, 2012
You stay away from mah pig!

devkrev wrote:
The Kool-Aid drinkers aren't gonna like it.


Flavorade. That goddamned "Kool-aid" reference is an invocation of the Jonestown cult, and Jonestown actually used Flavorade.

But yeah, great article, and I really hope to hear more from Miller on how to incorporate weights and barbells into EFFICIENT climbing training.


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By Zappatista
Sep 25, 2012
Book me, officer.

Really good read. A lot of things Rob laid out really clicked.

Not as impressed with the "map" concept as I was with his clearing away of all the myriad dead leaves that represent cross-training and climber-specific training that usually put people exactly where they started afterward.

Quality thinking.


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By Devin Krevetski
From West Woodstock, VT
Sep 25, 2012

All Killer No Filler wrote:
Really good read. A lot of things Rob laid out really clicked. Not as impressed with the "map" concept as I was with his clearing away of all the myriad dead leaves that represent cross-training and climber-specific training that usually put people exactly where they started afterward. Quality thinking.


I dig the Socratic Dialogue style of writing as well.


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By SMR
Sep 25, 2012

Good article. Thanks for sharing. Would be interesting to discuss thoughts on the idea of periodization vs. what Rob is discussing (100% effort all the time) with changes in volume.


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By reboot
From Westminster, CO
Sep 26, 2012

JLP wrote:
I'm failing to connect those barbell exercises to climbing, though

There certainly was a big leap to conclusion on how barbell is the way to get better at climbing...there's very little logic or evidence presented in the blog about barbell training.

As someone who was pretty strong & flexible before climbing, my feeling on general fitness/strength is that these kind of training, much like loosing weight, help to a certain extent. If you don't over do it, it may even speed up climbing recovery. But the real difference lie in finger/hand/forearm strength.


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By Kevin Stricker
From Evergreen, CO
Sep 27, 2012

My take from reading the article and also his site is that barbell training is the primary "cross training" used to ensure and maximize a hormonal response from the training load. As climbing primarily works such specific and small muscles, additional stimuli is necessary for the advanced climber to continue to adapt physically.

Interesting stuff.


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By Will S
From Joshua Tree
Sep 27, 2012

I'm with Kevin. The takeaway for me was that to elicit a big hormonal response, you need to put big stress on the body, and the way to do that is with heavy multi-joint compound movements (that by their nature train a large volume of your muscle mass).

Now if someone would show me the studies to back it up, showing that it does actually elicit a superior hormonal response, we'd be getting somewhere.

The reason I'm somewhat skeptical is the reading I've done of studies on single set vs. multiple set training. Then again, multiple set isolation exercises is applying stress via concentrated volume, rather than stress by dispersed volume.


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By Mark E Dixon
From Sprezzatura, Someday
Sep 27, 2012
At the BRC

Will S wrote:
Now if someone would show me the studies to back it up, showing that it does actually elicit a superior hormonal response, we'd be getting somewhere.


If someone showed me a study that demonstrated a positive effect for climbing performance, I'd be more receptive.

Seems like the latest fad to me.

Don't get me wrong, I do general strength training weekly, but don't believe it helps my climbing overly much. It does help manhandling twin sons! Plus it's fun in a masochistic way.

I'm with Shumin, it's all about finger strength (plus technique of course.)


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By Brent Apgar
From Out of the Loop
Sep 27, 2012
Me and Spearhead

Very good read. Given the scope of topic he's covering I feel like he did a great job of putting the trees in order to try and see the forest.
And I didn't take his comments on barbell work to mean that it's the only way to create a training stimulus in more physiologically well adapted athletes (not saying stronger or "better" climbers here). Just that given what he's learned it's the most effective way to keep the physiological stress on the athlete high enough so that the athlete continues to see improvement.


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By steve edwards
From SLC, UT
Sep 27, 2012

I think it's an outstanding article. I've addressed some of your questions and tried to layman-ize it a bit in a follow-up post here:

Review of The Map of Athletic Performance

Of course there is a lot of specificity left out. You can't address everything in one article. Rob is trying to set a foundation of thought behind you training, which is sorely lacking in most of us.


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By Adam Leedy
From Austin, TX
Sep 27, 2012

what, climbing wise, would fall into the category of "junk miles"?

It seems like climbing at max difficulty all of the time isn't going to do much to help me build much needed endurance for places like the Red River Gorge. Maybe doing 4x4s until I'm so flamed I can't hang on still qualifies as maximum effort?

I'd also like to know some alternatives to these bar workouts for those of us who don't have a weights setup or a gym membership with one.


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By Brian Abram
From Columbia, SC
Sep 28, 2012
Brian Abram, leading pitch 2 of Dinkus Dog on the South Side of Looking Glass.  Kyle Sox is belaying.

Steve, your review doesn't suck. Good job. =)


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By Crossing
From Breinigsville, PA
Sep 28, 2012
old rag summit

Forgive my high school level of understanding on this subject, but to give an overview of my understanding: the cells responsible for hypertrophy are the satellite cells which move to the trauma site caused by the training and begin to repair/replace damaged muscle fibers and hormones regulate the satellite cells. So I assume that by doing full body strength workouts you are damaging more muscle fibers in your body, thus the need for a higher level of growth hormones. But I am failing to see how one would expect that the forearms/fingers would receive a greater portion of the growth hormones. I would imagine that the hormones would be distributed across all injured fibers where the bigger fibers would receive a larger portion of the hormones than a smaller fiber. Anyway the main take away for me was if you want to increase endurance you should train strength, not endurance - to an extent, and that goes along the same lines as what Steve Bechtel wrote about in THIS article in 2009, so I'll be sticking to the hangboard and will not begin pumping iron. Muscle growth information was obtained via www.ideafit.com/fitness-library/how-do-muscles-grow if you care to look.


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By Jake Jones
From Richmond, VA
Sep 28, 2012
Me and the offspring walking back to the car after a day of cragging.

My question, although not entirely relevant to my own situation, because I have much more "basic" work to do, is; If you're doing power lifting exercises, that is cleans and deadlifts and the like, how do you effectively work hard enough to trigger a hormone release, but not bulk up from the repeated work? In other words, how hard would one have to work to trigger the desired response, and how would that correlate to anabolic (and largely) unwanted growth of large muscle groups?

This, regardless of where the hormones go, assuming that the theory actually does hold water, seems like a much more rudimentary question that needs an answer. Some of the aforementioned missing specificity on the actual incorporation of said training might help illuminate some answers. Does anyone else follow this line, or am I way the hell off?


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By Zappatista
Sep 28, 2012
Book me, officer.

Jake, I bet you can get in touch with Rob direct if you look around a bit, and the smart money has it that that guy, who's freed El Cap, probably knows a bit about training for strength, not girth. Possibly more than those of us posting on an internet forum while the sun shines. Speaking of which, gotta go run errands so I can get out tomorrow-


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By slim
Administrator
Sep 28, 2012
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.

i think most climbers in general (although there are obviously going to be exceptions to this) won't really gain that much muscle weight by doing these extracurricular workouts. that being said, for me, it comes down to time - in terms of recovery as well as dealing with my work schedule. i simply don't have time to be horsing around with squats and shit like that.


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By Ben Gordon
From La Canada, CA
Sep 28, 2012

Jake,

I am no expert on any means and echo the above of getting in touch with Rob. I do however cross train to support a variety of my outdoor pursuits (backpacking, mountain biking, climbing, etc). I am not a super strong climber by any means, but I do know a small amount from my own research and experience doing mainly barbell workouts for the last few years.

In general I have found that food, not the exercises themselves, make one bulky. I am 160 and 5' 11" so I am not huge by any means. However my supporting workout consists of heavy (170 pound) squats, deadlifts, etc. I mainly do a low carb diet, focusing on meats and fresh veggies and tubers if I want carbs vs. processed flour.

My understanding is that engaging large muscle groups (legs mainly, as they are in general so much larger) elicits a hormonal response of growth hormones that strengthen your muscles over all.

I don't have any super good links looking at studies. Just some observations from my own life =) Google around though: there is definitely stuff out there about how large barbell exercises dont have to make one bulky.


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By Mike McKinnon
From Golden, CO
Sep 28, 2012
Bunny pancake

Jake Jones wrote:
My question, although not entirely relevant to my own situation, because I have much more "basic" work to do, is; If you're doing power lifting exercises, that is cleans and deadlifts and the like, how do you effectively work hard enough to trigger a hormone release, but not bulk up from the repeated work? In other words, how hard would one have to work to trigger the desired response, and how would that correlate to anabolic (and largely) unwanted growth of large muscle groups? This, regardless of where the hormones go, assuming that the theory actually does hold water, seems like a much more rudimentary question that needs an answer. Some of the aforementioned missing specificity on the actual incorporation of said training might help illuminate some answers. Does anyone else follow this line, or am I way the hell off?


It is the volume of work and rep count that will increase bulk not the actual exercise. Look at your high end olympic powerlifters in the lower weight classes. Those guys work out incredibly hard but have to maintain a low weight to stay in their weight class.

A rep count below 5 in the 90% max range usually will increase strength without the corresponding mass increase called myofibrillated hypertrophy. The other kind,sarcoplasmic hypertrophy, will increase the size of the muscle and is usually in the 8-12 rep range.


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By S.Stelli
From Colorado Springs, CO
Oct 1, 2012

Ben Gordon wrote:
My understanding is that engaging large muscle groups (legs mainly, as they are in general so much larger) elicits a hormonal response of growth hormones that strengthen your muscles over all. I don't have any super good links looking at studies. Just some observations from my own life =) Google around though: there is definitely stuff out there about how large barbell exercises dont have to make one bulky.


In regards to putting on weight, just look at the articles found on websites like T-Nation or BodyBuilding...

The amount of work that bodybuilders do to actually gain muscle size is incredible. I don't think that anything Rob Miller is saying in this specific article is going to make you gain an appreciable amount of muscle. It takes a lot of work with your jaw muscle to put on weight, as well as some crazy work in the gym.

In my particular case, I once went from being 145lbs to just under 170 in a few months time. I was eating roughly 5,000+ calories per day. I was eating 3 solid meals, 2 "shakes" and an assortment of snacks every day. I was doing a basic bodybuilding split routine, lifting weights 3 and 4 days a week in a specific manner. The most work of ALL of it was in the kitchen.

I agree with the several other people in this thread that have mentioned the need for some solid evidence backing up the release of hormones that provide a "full body" effect in the positive, and the application of that to a sport specific routine. I would imagine this information would also have to be applied in the same manner that Rob Miller is talking about when it comes to the skill and advancement of the individual. If you take someone who has never lifted weights, they make fast progress. But if someone has been lifting for a while, the response elicited from the stimuli takes longer.

It would be very interesting to see how this release of natural growth hormones is accomplished in the beginner, the intermediate, and the advanced weight lifter.

I really dig the "trajectory" idea, mostly as a way to track progress in a very specific goal. And the map can make it easy to identify what your current trajectories are. For me that idea is more important at this time since I'm barely an intermediate climber.... actually closer to a beginner than anything!


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By Will S
From Joshua Tree
Oct 2, 2012

Alright, been way busy, but am starting to get somewhere on answering my question: Do the heavy, full body compound exercises, actually elicit a greater hormonal response?

The answer appears to be yes, but with significant caveats...mainly that the greater response might not make any difference.

Here's one study that points that way (there are several more that indicate a significant increase in hormonal response for the resistance exercise protcols that involve heavy weights over more muscle mass). I have quibbles with the study design (there is sympathetic training responses in the untrained arm when you train only one arm, this will cloud the results in a study design like this) and will continue looking at the research when I get some free time. Unfortunately, I haven't been a grad student in a long time and don't have ready access to either hard copies or full text of most of these journals, so I'm relying on abstracts.

This is from the Journal of Applied Physiology, 69:1442-1450:

Elevations in ostensibly anabolic hormones with resistance exercise enhance neither training-induced muscle hypertrophy nor strength of the elbow flexors.
Daniel W. D. West1, Nicholas A. Burd1, Jason E. Tang1, Daniel R. Moore1, Aaron W. Staples1, Andrew M. Holwerda1, Steven K. Baker2, and Stuart M. Phillips1

ABSTRACT:
"The aim of our study was to determine whether resistance exercise-induced elevations in endogenous hormones enhance muscle strength and hypertrophy with training. Twelve healthy young men (21.8 ± 1.2 yr, body mass index = 23.1 ± 0.6 kg/m2) trained their elbow flexors independently for 15 wk on separate days and under different hormonal milieu. In one training condition, participants performed isolated arm curl exercise designed to maintain basal hormone concentrations (low hormone, LH); in the other training condition, participants performed identical arm exercise to the LH condition followed immediately by a high volume of leg resistance exercise to elicit a large increase in endogenous hormones (high hormone, HH). There was no elevation in serum growth hormone (GH), insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1), or testosterone after the LH protocol but significant (P < 0.001) elevations in these hormones immediately and 15 and 30 min after the HH protocol. The hormone responses elicited by each respective exercise protocol late in the training period were similar to the response elicited early in the training period, indicating that a divergent postexercise hormone response was maintained over the training period. Muscle cross-sectional area (CSA) increased by 12% in LH and 10% in HH (P < 0.001) with no difference between conditions (condition × training interaction, P = 0.25). Similarly, type I (P < 0.01) and type II (P < 0.001) muscle fiber CSA increased with training with no effect of hormone elevation in the HH condition. Strength increased in both arms, but the increase was not different between the LH and HH conditions. We conclude that exposure of loaded muscle to acute exercise-induced elevations in endogenous anabolic hormones enhances neither muscle hypertrophy nor strength with resistance training in young men. "


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By Nate Reno
From Highlands Ranch, CO
Oct 2, 2012
Ellingwood Point Summit, Little Bear in the background.

Interesting, and not entirely what I'de expect.
But I wonder if there would be a difference in hormonal response in trained vs untrained individuals, which is kinda the idea that I got out of the Miller article - that cross training is used as method to continue to produce results after the individual is well trained and gains are much harder to come by.
As opposed to untrained individuals that are are probably going to respond quickly to new stimulus, regardless of hormone levels.
Thanks for posting what you found Will.


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By Will S
From Joshua Tree
Oct 2, 2012

Continuing...this one also shows that training the larger mass (jump squats vs. bench press) elicits greater hormonal response (2x in this case). More interestingly, there were also correlations with diet.

J. Appl. Physiol. 82(1): 49¨C54, 1997.

Testosterone and cortisol in relationship to dietary nutrients and resistance exercise
Jeff S. Volek, William J. Kraemer, Jill A. Bush, Thomas Incledon, and Mark Boetes

Abstract
Manipulation of resistance exercise variables (i.e., intensity, volume, and rest periods) affects the endocrine response to exercise; however, the influence of dietary nutrients on basal and exercise-induced concentrations of hormones is less understood. The present study examined the relationship between dietary nutrients and resting and exercise-induced blood concentrations of testosterone (T) and cortisol (C). Twelve men performed a bench press exercise protocol (5 sets to failure using a 10-repetitions maximum load) and a jump squat protocol (5 sets of 10 repetitions using 30% of each subject¡¯s 1-repetition maximum squat) with 2 min of rest between all sets. A blood sample was obtained at preexercise and 5 min postexercise for determination of serum T and C. Subjects also completed detailed dietary food records for a total of 17 days. There was a significant (P ¡Ü 0.05) increase in postexercise T compared with preexercise values for both the bench press (7.4%) and jump squat (15.1%) protocols; however, C was not significantly different from preexercise concentrations. Significant correlations were observed between preexercise T and percent energy protein (r = −0.71), percent energy fat (r = 0.72), saturated fatty acids (g ⋅ 1,000 kcal−1 ⋅ day−1;r = 0.77), monounsaturated fatty acids (g ⋅ 1,000 kcal−1 ⋅ day−1;r = 0.79), the polyunsaturated fat-to-saturated fat ratio (r = −0.63), and the protein-to-carbohydrate ratio (r = −0.59). There were no significant correlations observed between any nutritional variables and preexercise C or the absolute increase in T and C after exercise. These data confirm that high-intensity resistance exercise results in elevated postexercise T concentrations. A more impressive finding was that dietary nutrients may be capable of modulating resting concentrations of T.

Would be interesting to see some studies that test for correlation with micronutrient/vits/minerals. Zinc, specifically. I'm sure they're out there.


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By S.Stelli
From Colorado Springs, CO
Oct 2, 2012

Will - I think Rob Miller was pointing more towards the "big lifts" i.e. the back squat, the deadlift, the press etc to generate as close to 100% of your genetic potential for atheletic ability.

He couples the idea of a high level of skill training, ramping up intensity and lowering volume. And cross training in an efficient manner to quickly activate the maximum amount of muscle motor units while doing whatever skill you are trying to accomplish.

He alludes to a hormonal response that would increase strength, and therfore increase "performance" across the board. Performance being different for each type of athelete, in Miller's words... their trajectory.


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