Saturday, August 23, 2014

UPDATED: finger strength workout plan

Now with Pulleys!

I have a new plan and an improved setup:  I added pulleys, I am doing max weight hangs instead of repeaters, and I changed to a less tweaky crimp.  I had several very useful conversations online and in person, and think the new plan offers several improvements.  (link to old plan

Saturday the 23rd was my first workout for which I warmed up and climbed a brief 12 min ARC set.  And here is what I did on the hangboard:

  1. Hangboard warm up:   hang for 10 seconds on, 10-20 seconds off, on four or five of the holds on the board. 
  2. Open hand 'Warm Up #2' above.  
    1. +40 pounds
    2. 3 sets of 10 second repeaters, alternating right than left hand for 2 minutes, or 10 seconds by 6 repetitions.  3 min rest between sets.  Feet on wall.
    3. Next workout start weight (NWSW):  +45
  3. Small edge, middle area of edge
    1. +5, +8, +10 lbs
    2. 3 reps of 10 second max hangs, 3 min between reps.  NWSW: +10
  4. IMR
    1. +40, +40, +45 lbs
    2. 11, 11, 11 seconds;  NWSW:  +45
  5.   Wide pinch
    1. -40, -35, -30, -25
    2.  11, 11, 12, 8 seconds;  NWSW:  -25
  6. MRP, #2 above
    1. 0, +5, +10, +15
    2. 11, 11, 11, 11 seconds;  WSW: +15
  7. Small campus rung
    1. +40, +40, +40
    2. 9, 7, 8 seconds; NWSW:  +40
  8. Warm down on the Jug
    1. +40 lbs
    2. 3 sets of 10 second repeaters, alternating right than left hand for 2 minutes, or 10 seconds by 6 repetitions.  3 min rest between sets.  Feet on wall;  NWSW:  +45
Why? Why?  Why?
  • Why the alternating one hand repeaters with heavy weight?  For a given level of load per hand, the single handed hangs do not require nearly as much added weight as two handed hangs. Your single hand is suspending your entire upper body plus all of the added weight.  Increased strength on large open hand holds would greatly aid my performance at the Red by increasing my endurance on these routes by allowing me to hold on at a lower percentage of my total effort.  Strength increases on these holds also aid my progress on open hand grips with limited fingers because I am strengthening muscles for all fingers.  
  • Why keep your feet on the wall during your 1 handed repeaters if you are trying to add weight?   Single arm hangs feel very unstable and dangerous to my shoulders unless I keep my feet on the wall.  With feet, I am basically just doing an extended shake out on a good jug, but with lots of extra weight.  
  • Why max weight hangs for most of my workout?  The first principle of strength training on a hangboard should be to build strength by adding weight before reducing hold size.  Eva Lopez advocates for training strength with 10 sec hangs from holds at max weight, with 3 min rests between repetitions.  She has some experimental results that suggest that training max weight before reducing hold size will build strength more rapidly.  It makes sense to build overall finger strength before increasing the leverage disadvantage or reducing available fingers.  Finally, max weight hangs are far kinder on your skin. 
  • Why are you going against the suggestions from the RCTM on strength training?  Actually, I am not, I am just following more closely two of the most important principles:  make your workout specific to your goals, and the best way to increase intensity of hangs is by increasing weight.  Some really good ideas from the Anderson brothers' blog did not make it explicitly into the book, but I think it applies here.  If you are primarily climbing steep routes with larger holds you need to modify the basic plan and add lots of weight and do some one arm hangs.  see hangboarding FAQ #2
  • Why did you get rid of repeaters if they have been shown to be helpful?   I did not get rid of them, but I have moved them to later in my training sequence so that they coincide with some of my power endurance training.  Another reason for starting with max weight hangs is they will help me predict a good starting weight for repeaters.
  • Here is my current training season outline: 
    • Endurance and skill:  ARC
    • Strength: Max weight hangs
    • Power:  campus and limit bouldering
    • Power endurance:  repeaters and PE circuits. 
    • Performance phase
    • Rest  

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