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Training Advice

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 Emlyn Price 12 Jan 2021

I've recently been taking a more in-depth look at my training and like most people have become massively confused about what works best. Research suggests that Max's hangs improve muscle recruitment and power etc. but repeaters work on Hypertrophy and aerobic capacity essential for longer sport routes or trad which is what I predominantly climb. 

My current plan is to do 4 weeks of hypertrophy/aerobic finger work repeaters, etc. supplemented with general weights sessions (pull ups, dips, shoulder press, core workouts), I do this 3 times a week with 2 days of rest between sessions, where I do some cross training (cycling, walking)(actual climbing is off the cards as im recovering from a broken leg). following this I plan to do 3 weeks of Max Hang/ finger strength training, with a similar pattern of 3 sessions with 2 days rest before a week of resting and repeat the process again. 

I guess im wondering if I should swap the blocks around so finger strength is 4 weeks or longer and repeaters are 3 weeks or more/less?

I was also wondering if Incorporating max hangs into 4 weeks of hypertrophy training would work i.e. 2 repeater sessions and 1Max hang session, I've not seen anything suggesting to do this and wondered why this is?

 Mike Nolan 12 Jan 2021
In reply to Emlyn Price:

Max hangs will improve finger strength, but not so much power (you would also need to include velocity for power(eg. recruitment pulls, campussing).

Repeaters can be used to improve any energy system (endurance), including aero cap, depending on the intensity of the repeater session (how much weight you add or remove as a percentage of your maximum). You’ll also see some hypertrophic gains, because the intensity is in that hypertrophy range, but that generally isn’t the main purpose of repeaters. 

Your plan sounds fine, and I’m certain you would see improvement if you’ve not done any structured training or fingerboarding before, but I’d probably amend it slightly.

For general training without a particular goal/peak in mind (which is what most climbers I know are after), I’d probably suggest doing what you mentioned in the last paragraph (1 max hang and 1/2 repeaters per week). This approach is called non-linear periodisation, and is where you do a bit of everything at the same time. It’s not the most specific way to structure your training, but will mean you’re ready to perform throughout the year compared to a more traditional linear approach. I’d personally do more max hangs for 4 weeks before swapping and doing more repeaters (focussing on strength before switching to endurance), but I’d still do both session in the same week to maintain the strength and endurance, just swap the focus every 4 weeks or so. This approach has worked for me, and I also have a few coaching clients on this kind of plan - I’d recommend it to anyone. 

A linear approach is more similar to what you described in the first few paragraphs, where you focus on one thing, and then move on to the next thing. This works better if you have a trip or specific peak time at the end of the plan, as during the training period you’re not maintaining some elements and won’t be able to perform as well. I’d probably avoid this unless you do have something really specific in mind. 

Normally best to start a linear plan with a period of strength training, before moving on to a period of endurance training. 3 weeks of max hangs is too short though for me, I’d aim for 8 weeks of max hangs (plus a rest week) before moving on to an endurance block, if you do decide on a linear approach. There’s some research to suggest that 4 weeks of max hangs followed by 4 weeks of repeaters is actually worse for max strength than only doing repeaters for 8 weeks. Obviously max hangs for 8 weeks showed the most strength gains. 

Hope that helps! 

Post edited at 22:15
 carr0t 13 Jan 2021
In reply to Emlyn Price:

What exactly are your training priorities and what are you trying to achieve? I would take that as a starting point when trying to structure a training programme. If for example you find that fingerstrength is a weakness, doing a few max strength Fingerboarding sessions will be of benefit. I still get quite confused about the ammount of training options out there but have found that having a clear list of things I want to focus on helps narrow down what I should be doing as part of my training programme.

 Emlyn Price 14 Jan 2021
In reply to Mike Nolan:

Amazing, thanks for the help Mike this has definitely cleared a few things up for me, a few amendments to my plan and I should be good to go! massive thanks

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