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By Optimistic
From New Paltz
Dec 30, 2012
1) In some other thread, someone posted this link by Steph Davis:
highinfatuation.com/blog/finge...
I really love the simplicity of this workout (no weights, no timers, minimal record-keeping, etc). Have people used this workout and liked or hated it? Or, if you think there's a good reason to NOT use this workout, I'd be interested to hear it.

2) The article copied below asserts that
" intermediates will soon reach the point where they need to hang on the smallest and most damaging holds to achieve the short hang times. This is the classic mistake. A golden rule is never to hang on holds that are smaller than your first finger joint." I'm pretty sure a lot of people break this "rule", but maybe not? Thoughts?
rockandice.com/articles/how-to...
(hopefully the link will work, funny things happen when you cut and paste onto this site...)
Happy new year!
David

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By IronMan
Dec 30, 2012
Both links work.

I like the idea in article one. It will give you benefits, but you could reap more by using weights and a timer. Just hanging puts more emphasis on your fingers. It's a fingerboard, not a pullup board.

As far as the Rock and Ice article, I don't have too many holds on my board that are that small.

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By slim
Administrator
Dec 30, 2012
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.
Davis is a good climber and probably means well, but she doesn't know the first thing about how to use a hangboard effectively.

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By koreo
From Denver, CO
Dec 30, 2012
sloping
Steph Davis' method will only give you measurable gains for a brief period. Before long you have to bring in the weights and the timer. If you look at any exercise program (aside for conditioning workouts calling for failure) there are a set numbers of reps and set time limits for work and rest.

I'm kinda interested to see what the response will be on what everyone thinks is the best effective hold size.

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By Mark E Dixon
From Sprezzatura, Someday
Dec 30, 2012
At the BRC
I'm no expert, but thought both the R&I and Steph Davis plans were sub-optimal.

I am starting to think that hanging on the smallest possible holds is most useful (that I can hold for 7/3 x 6 or 10/50 x 3.)

I have also started doing some hangboard crimping, which is going ok and seems to help a lot with crimps. I openhanded everything (indoors and out) for years and never trained crimps as I believed that open hand training also trained crimps, but this hasn't been my experience. Training crimps helps crimps.

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By camhead
From Vandalia, Appalachia
Dec 30, 2012
You stay away from mah pig!
gawddammit, it's articles like these that convince all the meatheads at my gym to go do a bunch of pullups on random holds on our hangboards. The only gains that they ever make are on greasing up holds.

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By Dana Bartlett
From CT
Dec 30, 2012
The Steph Davis article provides very poor advice.

The proper way to use a hangboard is also what makes it so difficult for people to use one, and to use it consistently.

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By frankstoneline
Dec 30, 2012
camhead wrote:
gawddammit, it's articles like these that convince all the meatheads at my gym to go do a bunch of pullups on random holds on our hangboards. The only gains that they ever make are on greasing up holds.


this.

Also: I think the advice about hold size is valid enough. after a point (for me, sloping crimps about 3/4 of a pad in depth) I feel I experience seriously diminishing returns by going smaller, adding weight however is quite effective. YMMV.

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By koreo
From Denver, CO
Dec 30, 2012
sloping
Mark E Dixon wrote:
Training crimps helps crimps.


I think open handing grips gets the broadest results. But specificity will get more specific results(duh). I believe isometric exercises only strengthen within 15 degrees of the joint angle being used. Or something like that.

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By Dana Bartlett
From CT
Dec 30, 2012
koreo wrote:
I think open handing grips gets the broadest results. But specificity will get more specific results(duh). I believe isometric exercises only strengthen within 15 degrees of the joint angle being used. Or something like that.


Have to look this up again, but I believe that 15 degree specificity is not through the full range of motion of a joint.

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By Nate Reno
From Highlands Ranch, CO
Dec 30, 2012
Ellingwood Point Summit, Little Bear in the backgr...
koreo wrote:
I think open handing grips gets the broadest results. But specificity will get more specific results(duh). I believe isometric exercises only strengthen within 15 degrees of the joint angle being used. Or something like that.


One reason why I train 1 crimp position when I use the hangboard (other than I haven't figured out how to climb completely open handed yet), is that it gives some controlled stress to the pulley connective tissue - strengthen that stuff up w/o rupturing it!

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By Optimistic
From New Paltz
Dec 31, 2012
Could people be a little more specific on why they don't like the Davis workout? Is it simply a question of inefficiency? I.e., that the workout does not harness the power of the hangboard to zoom right in on the very margin of what you can handle, and let you focus your training there? Not so much that this plan won't achieve anything, just that it's not the most effective use of the time and effort?

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By JohnWesely
From Red River Gorge
Dec 31, 2012
Gunking
David Horgan wrote:
Could people be a little more specific on why they don't like the Davis workout? Is it simply a question of inefficiency? I.e., that the workout does not harness the power of the hangboard to zoom right in on the very margin of what you can handle, and let you focus your training there? Not so much that this plan won't achieve anything, just that it's not the most effective use of the time and effort?


Higher risk of injury with much less potential for reward.

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By Optimistic
From New Paltz
Dec 31, 2012
JohnWesely wrote:
Higher risk of injury with much less potential for reward.


Injury meaning to the elbows from the pullups? Or to the fingers because of pulling instead of just hanging? Or both?

BTW, I don't have an agenda here (other than climbing better), just looking to learn!

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By Mark E Dixon
From Sprezzatura, Someday
Dec 31, 2012
At the BRC
I can see three issues-

1) Theoretically fingertip pullups are a compound exercise which should be better than two isolated exercises (hangs and bar pullups.) However, fingertip pullups are NOT at all climbing specific unless you do a lot of campusing or have inefficient technique. Better to avoid.

2) If you do need to increase your pullup strength, fingertip pullups are a poor choice, because you will not work the shoulder muscles as your fingers will fail first.

3) Finally, although the finger load while doing FTPUs can be as high as when doing a hang, it is uneven. High load at initiation (bottom) of the pullup and lower during the rest of the pull. So the actual time under max tension is much lower. Plus you have a much higher risk of hurting your fingers during that one brief max effort. You don't want to shock load your fingers while hangboarding. Save it for campusing. That's why you need to be careful NOT to jump into hangs.


It all depends on what you are trying to train and what you are willing to do. If you like Davis' workout and will actually do it, you'll get more results than any more effective routine that you don't like and don't do!



PS I realized I misspoke in a post above. My small edge hangs are 6/4 X 6. I need the extra second to shake and reposition on the edge. Also, my 'small' edges aren't that small. I have one 7mm edge I like with weight removed, but the bulk of my hanging is on the small round metolius rung, which I believe is about 15mm, or 2/3s of my first pad.

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By sanz
From Raleigh, NC
Dec 31, 2012
One of my first trad climbs, Ooga Chocka at Crowde...
Both articles are completely wrong IMO.

Steph's pullup workout is not what hangboarding is about. I don't think there's anything wrong with doing pullups on a hangboard every now and then, but the main focus of a hangboard program should always be static hangs.

The R&I article doesn't provide much meaningful information, and I think their "Golden Rule" is BS. If your goal is to get stronger on holds than are less than one pad, you need to train on holds that are less than one pad. Intense hangboarding on small holds with few fingers is definitely a risky business, with lots of injury potential, but it is also the way to get strong fingers.

The following link offers some good, if chaotically written, tenets for hangboard training, written by the makers of the best hangboard in the game, upon which I have recently re-evaluated my hangboard training philosophy.

beastmaker.co.uk/pages/trainin...

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By Will S
From Joshua Tree
Dec 31, 2012
A couple thoughts.

If it's too much trouble for you to structure your workouts...like putting your watch in front of you, clipping on some weight plates and writing down a few rep times is just too much effort for you...then training probably isn't for you. "Easy" outs and effective training aren't really compatible concepts. That idea does sell a lot of BowFlex machines and diet books though.

In the early stages, almost any form of stimulus will make you better. But soon that low lying fruit is gone and you have to use some intelligent structure to continue making gains. Embrace the details. Geek out on it and it becomes an interest, rather than a chore.

On hold size: If you never go smaller than a full pad deep edge, before too long - within a few years of starting hangboard training - the limiting factor will likely be how much added weight your shoulders can take, not your finger flexor strength. I used to do one set of my ~ 4-5 sets as really heavy added weight on a relatively large hold (about 1 1/3 pad deep). Soon, at probably year 4 of doing 3 cycles per year, I couldn't add more weight because my shoulder girdle couldn't stay retracted and it was doing bad, bad things to my shoulders.

I've also bumped against this ceiling in the last few cycles, where at the end of the cycle I've got a ton of weight hanging off the harness for one of my 4-5 sets, using the smallest hold on the DRCC V512. It feels incredibly stressful and dangerous to my shoulders after the first couple of reps because I can't maintain enough tension to keep the alignment and loading on the shoulder structure correct.

And if you do heavy single rep protocols (instead of "repeaters")...forget it. It's not quite as bad as the repeaters because it's easier to keep the shoulders/back tight enough through a rep or two, but I can hang a ridiculous amount of added weight on the smallest holds on my board for singles...and those are about 1/3-1/2 pad deep.

The Eva Lopez research indicates that at a certain depth of edge the anthropomorphic details (how fat/long your fingers are etc) become the limiting factor more than the strength. I don't recall the exact dimension, but it's in her blog writings on hangboarding and developing her boards. I'd say you want to train on the smallest ones you are capable of that are larger than that limiter size.

Finally, I'd much sooner look to people like Eva and the Andersons, who have a ton of experience in hangboarding (and the results to show for it), than some "name" climber who does a random cycle maybe once a year, on random years, whe she needs to shake it up or it's a snowy winter in Moab, and who hasn't really raised her game in the last decade.

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By Mark E Dixon
From Sprezzatura, Someday
Dec 31, 2012
At the BRC
+1 for Will's comments.

Here's the Eva Lopez link

en-eva-lopez.blogspot.com/2012...

The small edges referred to are 4.3 and 2.8 mm, so pretty small.

Will, have you tried one arm hangs? I used to like them a lot, although maybe more shoulder stress. I switched to two arms since it only takes half as long and time is precious.

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By camhead
From Vandalia, Appalachia
Dec 31, 2012
You stay away from mah pig!
Another minor disadvantage of focusing on larger holds: once you go bigger than a pad, it is WAY tougher on your skin, as you get folds and breaks under the first knuckle, if that makes sense.

Another way of looking at all this is that both the Davis article and the R&I bit (which I just re-read, and GEEZ it is terrible!) are obviously geared toward beginners; this theme has been a bit more prevalent this season than in past years, and brings up the question of WHEN in one's climbing career it is best to begin structured hangboard training.

For the most part, I fall into the school of thought that hangboarding is only for those wanting to move beyond the v5/solid 5.12 range, and that below that point, one is better off focusing on technique, and can build basic strength just by virtue of climbing in the gym. I've seen a lot of the "trickle down" effect in which more beginner climbers use advanced practices because that's what the pros do (think tickmarks, pre-hung draws, and project burns on 5.11s); I think the same thing may be happening with training, too.

But, I know that some folks, including the Manderson Bros. recently, have begun shifting toward the idea that structured training can be beneficial in building a strength base for climbers of any level, even if it means starting out doing repeaters on mini-jugs with weight-subtracting pulleys and other gadgetry. Of course, even for beginners, the Davis/R&I routines are pretty bad, but it is sigificant that both of these articles are obviously geared toward introducing newer climbers to more structured training systems. I dunno.

So, what do y'all think? When should someone begin hangboarding or campusing as a means of improvement?

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By JohnWesely
From Red River Gorge
Dec 31, 2012
Gunking
camhead wrote:
When should someone begin hangboarding or campusing as a means of improvement?


Here is my two cents, hangboarding and campusing should be incorporated when the body can handle recovering from them and when the climber is already using a structured, periodized training program. A lot of the time, new climbers get hangboarding and campusing confused with training. They aren't. Hangboarding and campusing are training tools. Training is about setting measurable goals, and creating a structured framework to achieve them. If you are not already being extremely deliberate with your time, then adding on campusing or hangboarding is just putting the cart before the horse.

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By The Stoned Master
Administrator
From Pennsylvania
Dec 31, 2012
Day Lily.
+1 to what John just said. Well put.

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By Will S
From Joshua Tree
Dec 31, 2012
camhead wrote:
gawddammit, it's articles like these that convince all the meatheads at my gym to go do a bunch of pullups on random holds on our hangboards. The only gains that they ever make are on greasing up holds.


This just busts me up, because it's dead on. When I moved the last time, it took a while to get settled into a house and build a hang station. So I went through two cycles of training on the gym's boards.

It did make me appreciate those wooden boards (Metolius, Beastmaker, etc) as well as using small campus rungs for hangs in that kind of setting. The wooden ones don't seem to cake and grease as bad as plastic, or it's easier to get off or something. I think the wood probably absorbs a lot of the skin oils.

I'd get guys jumping onto the board while I was bewteen sets (messing up my rest times as a bonus) to crank out pullups on jugs. All with 3 pullup bars about 4' away. There are a couple of kids in there who still carry a grudge because I yelled at them.

Camhead is right on about the >1pad deep thing too. Even with the super skin-friendly dual-tex boards, the folding is an issue.

Mark: No one-armed hangs for me.

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By Mark E Dixon
From Sprezzatura, Someday
Dec 31, 2012
At the BRC
JohnWesely wrote:
Here is my two cents, hangboarding and campusing should be incorporated when the body can handle recovering from them and when the climber is already using a structured, periodized training program. A lot of the time, new climbers get hangboarding and campusing confused with training. They aren't. Hangboarding and campusing are training tools. Training is about setting measurable goals, and creating a structured framework to achieve them. If you are not already being extremely deliberate with your time, then adding on campusing or hangboarding is just putting the cart before the horse.


I agree, well put. But here's another two cents-

Hangboarding is not worth the risk until your body can safely perform and recover form it.

Once that point is reached, I think there are pros and cons for beg/int climbers .

Pros-
If it really does take years to strengthen the fingers, getting started a couple of years before you need the strength might be worthwhile. Climbers at this level are often told to "just climb more" but that isn't always possible, and some climbing specific training in between sessions doesn't seem like a terrible idea.

Cons-
It won't make them better climbers and may make them worse if their technique suffers from over-reliance on strength.
Unless you like it, hangboarding is kind of painful and boring- there's only so much you can put up with in one lifetime, so why use up that finite amount before it's going to help?


On another topic- periodizing. As far as I know, the literature supporting this is not very robust and the anecdotes about climbing gurus (MAndersons) and olympic success stories (eg the Bulgarians) may not be generalizable to all the rest of us. The studies I have seen suggest a modest effect, and even then, they only looked at brief periods, say one 12 week cycle.

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By Chris Plesko
From Westminster, CO
Dec 31, 2012
OMG, I winz!!!
If you really want to hangboard, get a board, get some weights, setup a pulley and experiment. There are tons of ideas out there so get reading and try it out. I already had a board and it did not cost much at all to get a pulley from the hardware store and some old free weights.

For me it's definitely been worth the effort. Despite limited outdoor climbing time I'm making good progress. Seeing gains on the hangboard and gains in my V grade has been fun. Sure I'd love to just climb everyday instead but I have a family and job I love too. Plus the hangboard has strengthened my open hand grip so i don't crimp the shit out of every hold anymore.

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By Mark E Dixon
From Sprezzatura, Someday
Dec 31, 2012
At the BRC
JLP wrote:
It's nice to see everyone here in yet another thread so nicely parroting the official MP.com One Size Fits All Training Protocol. I would argue that Steph's routine could be either perfect or a total waste of time, depending on your own weaknesses and goals. I would say the same about the Rock Prodigy routine.


Unless the koolaid is bluring my vision, I think you are attacking a strawman.

Steph's routine might be good for some folks, but it isn't a good fingerboard routine, which is what I think the OP asked. It's a mediocre pullup routine and a mediocre or worse fingerboard routine.

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By Mark E Dixon
From Sprezzatura, Someday
Dec 31, 2012
At the BRC
JLP wrote:
Steph is a long route and crack climber. I believe she's sent FreeRider IAD, which is more than I see anyone in this thread accomplishing in this lifetime. Not to pick on Will (too much), but while he brags here about his hangboard sessions, his recent TRs for Rostrum, Cloud Tower and FreeRider speak volumes about how well these type of training sessions prepare you for such goals. Summary: they didn't. Steph, in her article, appears to be doing 54 move problems she seems to call "projects" - ie, they must be hard. I think that's interesting, myself. Then she dicks around on a fingerboard. Unless you're strong enough from your own awesome routine to free an El Cap route in a day, you can't really dismiss the workout as "stupid". I would, however, pick Will to crush Steph on boulders and 4-6 bolt sport climbs. If that's your thing, then great. If not, then IMO you just might be wasting your time with the RP routine.


Well if you look at my ticklist, you'll see I'm a mediocre climber at best. And I hate cracks, so don't know anything about climbing them.
Or training for them. I suspect that a fingerboard routine wouldn't be the way to go. Maybe a lot of pullups- couldn't say, and the folks who could don't seem to post here.

The fact that Ms Davis has free climbed El Cap doesn't really convince me that she knows anything about hangboarding, although then again, she might. The workout she presents has flaws (IMO) which I pointed out to the original poster. (Didn't call it stupid though)

Again, while I agree in principal that hangboarding is not the way to train for long crack routes, the fact that Will didn't onsight the Rostrum, etc doesn't really prove that his training wasn't appropriate- maybe he's just not doing enough, or is too weak or spends too much time on MP.

Rather than expound upon how great Ms Davis is, perhaps you could share some of your knowledge about what does make a good hangboard routine?

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