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Weightlifting vs muscle mass
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By Newton
From Colorado Springs, CO
Dec 19, 2011
Monastery action.

I've started doing some dumbbell workouts lately to improve my overall (not just climbing related) strength and power. I'd like to put on as little new muscle mass as possible, because I'm pretty sure most of my climbing ability comes from being built like a string bean. I've heard conflicting advice as to the best strategy to get strength and power gains without getting jacked. What do you guys think? Here's what I've heard so far:

Most common: "Hi reps, low weight" This is what everyone seems to say, but it doesn't make sense to me. How can I increase power and strength if I don't workout somewhere near my limits? Also see blood flow theory below.

2nd opinion: "Low reps, high weight" edit for clarity *High weight builds strength but won't add size at low reps* These guys seem to think that muscle mass is gained because your body needs to get more blood flow to the guns. I.e., higher reps at a moderate weight are what really up the demands for blood flow, so that's what builds bulk.

3rd opinion: "It's all about diet/individual physiology anyway"

I know these are simplistic, but I'm new to this training stuff, so if anyone can give me some good advice or point me to some reputable resources, I'd be much obliged.


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By camhead
From Vandalia, Appalachia
Dec 19, 2011
You stay away from mah pig!

Newton wrote:
Most common: "Hi reps, low weight" This is what everyone seems to say, but it doesn't make sense to me. How can I increase power and strength if I don't workout somewhere near my limits?


Maybe because the "strength and power" that you are wanting to build through weight lifting are not the same thing as climbing strength and power (which have very specific meanings in climbing)?

My opinion: weight training is a terrible way to build climbing strength and power. It's better than nothing, and it is good to work opposing muscle groups that regular climbing training does not work, but that's about it. If you are looking just to tone up your bod aesthetically (bro), then the high reps/low weight thing will work, I guess.

The best benefit to weight training is that you'll get bulky enough to beat up any skinny 5.13 climber who laughs at you for falling off of his warmup.


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By Monomaniac
Administrator
From Morrison, CO
Dec 19, 2011
Insurrection, 5.14c.  Photo Adam Sanders.

Read this:

climbstrong.wordpress.com/2011/11/28/strength-training-for-r>>>


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By Newton
From Colorado Springs, CO
Dec 19, 2011
Monastery action.

Thanks for the replies. Monomaniac, that article seems to jive with my "2nd opinion", which makes the most sense to me - I need low reps near my max to get strength w/o bulk.

camhead wrote:
Maybe because the "strength and power" that you are wanting to build through weight lifting are not the same thing as climbing strength and power (which have very specific meanings in climbing)?


Could you explain these special meanings? By strength I meant the maximum amount of force I can apply. By power I guess I meant the physics definition (force*distance/time) as it applies to athletics: strength throughout a movement at speed.

To be clear, I'm not doing the lifting to improve my climbing; it's for overall fitness and injury prevention. I just want to avoid losing vertical skillz because I accidentally put on 15 lbs. And I could care less about toning up, I like my the size and appearance of my body just like it is (thanks Oprah!).


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By Mr. Mix
From Sauk City, WI
Dec 19, 2011
Zane and me

A combination of your diet, exercise choices, and genetics will determine how much muscle weight you put on from your strength training. Certainly you should avoid a "bodybuilding" style workout that works mid to high reps for the large muscle groups. This will add bulk without adding much functional strength. However, it is still possible to add a tremendous amount of muscle by doing low rep work also. I am a former power-lifter and use to train exclusively with single reps. I attained a weight of 240 at 5'10" and was predominately muscle, so don't believe you won't add muscle from low reps. If one of your big objectives is to keep your weight down, I would not focus on exercises such as squats, deadlifts, and cleans. All fantastic exercises for developing whole body strength, but they also have the tendency to add muscle without benefiting functional strength for climbing. I personally would advise to keep your focus on body-weight type strength training that will improve overall fitness and lend functional strength to climbing without a high risk of adding bulky muscle.

Mr. Mix


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By Joe C
From Boston, MA
Dec 19, 2011

You really need to find a balance and it all depends on you. Low rep/high weight will definitely help you build absolute strength but climbing is all about relative strength (i.e. relative to your body weight). If you do standard lifting exercising and ingest lots of protein etc. you will definitely bulk up and you don't want that to affect you're ability to lift your own body weight. My advice:

A. Pull ups. Start out with full grip pull-ups until you can do about 20 slow and controlled pull-ups then move on to the same but with like 1.5 pads. Once you can do that add a weight vest (with not a lot of weight, maybe like +10-15lbs) and work back to the same goal.

B. Lock offs. Work on lock offs, try to hold as long as you can. When you are comfortable, add a weight vest.

C. Static Hangs. Same as above

D. Core. Very important, but normal dynamic sit-ups and stuff won't cut it. Do everything to a 10 count up and down. Sit-ups (on a board if you have if) leg lifts, side plank raises and pull-up bar twists. Again, at some point consider adding weight (weight vest or med ball)

E. Run...enough said

You could probably get a good round of this done in about an hour. Then if you have the time doing some dumb bell exercises would definitely be beneficial, but again normal cleans and jerks won't cut it for climbing. They will just bulk you up. Think more along the line of HIIT training. High intensity lifts (with higher weight and lower reps) mixed with intense cardio and more dynamic body weight and lifts at lower weight.

Obviously, what and how much you do depends on your free time. I work a good amount so it is sometimes hard to even get out and climb 3 days a week but if you work up a regimen that works with you schedule you won't regret it.

Some resources:
mountainathlete.com/

Eric horst's books (you only really need to look at one, it is the same stuff repeated in different form. You can find enough of it online, definitely no need to buy if you don't want to)

www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field>>>

9 out of 10 Climbers:
www.blankslateclimbing.com/shop/item/9-out-of-10-climbers/

Sorry for the long winded response.

- Joe


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By Gif Zafred
From Pittsburgh, PA
Dec 19, 2011
Gif on Bimbo Shrine, Kaymoor

Steve Bechtel has good stuff. Check out Mono's link.

If you want to increase strength and power train high weight / low reps. The medium weight/10-12 reps will add size more than other styles of exercise. It's what bodybuilders use.

There is a myth with heavy weight training that you will instantly be huge. Not so. It's difficult to put on muscle mass. You have to eat to the point of uncomfort all day to pack on 15 lbs quickly. Monitor you weight gain with nutrition. Eat enough to add a few lbs of muscle but don't eat like a body builder. Those guys also take hormones and roids so don't worry about looking like them. Look at the 160 lb powerlifters who dead lift 400 lbs. They aren't "huge".

For overall fitness and injury prevention, focus on full body workouts with compound movements. Stay away from curls and single jointed exercises.


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By Old and Busted
From Centennial, CO
Dec 19, 2011
Stabby

By definition weights add mass. If you don't want any mass, weights are a waste of time. Like others are saying, body-weight exercises are the way to go. Want to try a KILLER workout? Find somewhere where you can do Tire Flipping.



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