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Periodization & Hangboard loss between cycles
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By Will S
From Joshua Tree
Jan 30, 2008

A specific question for those of you who do a hangboard based hypertrophy phase in your periodized cycle:

When you return to the hangboard phase in a new cycle, how much of the prior gains have you typically lost?

For example, I just finished my hangboard phase yesterday which consisted of 12 workouts, spaced to occur on every third day (i.e. two days rest between sessions). I overlapped one MaxR campus workout between 11 and 12. During the phase, I increased the weight used on most grips 35-40lbs from the beginning weight.

Now I expect about 11 or 12 weeks combined of maxR, PE, peak, and rest before I hit the hangboard phase again. Since I don't want to "waste" a session trying to get dialed in on the right weight to start with, what's a good guideline for a starting point. Let's say my last workout on a first joint edge in the prior phase was +50lb 5x10, just reaching failure on the last rep. Am I going to start the next phase at +25, +35, less?


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By Monomaniac
Administrator
From Morrison, CO
Jan 30, 2008
Insurrection, 5.14c.  Photo Adam Sanders.

A great question.

I understand your desire to not "waste" a session, but my general advice would be that you will be much better off in the long run if you use a very conservative approach at the beginning of each phase. If you start with too much weight, you are constantly failing to achieve your goals; its de-motivating, and can result in injury. If you start with too little, you will complete every set, the risk of injury is reduced, and you feel good about your accomplishments. You can quickly dial up the resistance in a gradual fashion, that makes you feel like you're constantly improving between each workout.

Any, to be more specific, here is how I determine the resistance for my first workout. I will go through my hangboard logs from the previous 3-4 seasons, and particularly look at how much the resistance changed between the first 2-3 workouts. The reason I go back several seasons, is that hangboarding is more difficulat at different times of year. When its cold out, you can do a lot more weight, because the friction is better. If you did your first cycle in December, the data you recorded will not correlate well to what you can do in June.

Anyway, I look at what my goals were for the first session, then I compare it what I actually did. Then I compare that to what I did in the 2nd and 3rd workouts. If I upped the resistance significantly between workouts 1&2, and I managed to complete all or most of the exercises in workout #2, then obviously workout 1 was not challenging enough, so I will base next season's workout #1 goals on what I did in workout #2.

On the other hand, if I was barely able to do workout #1 last time, I will repeat the same resistances again.

So anyway, the resistance for workout #1 next time around should not have much to do with what you did on your LAST workout last season. It should be based on what you did in the first 2-3 workouts last season. There shouldn;t be a huge jump. Overall, if you are improving 10lbs on each exercise each season, you're doing good. Some grips will improve more, some less. In other words, your basically starting over from scratch each season, except that maybe you are 5-10lbs stronger than you were at the beginning of last season. If you take this advice, you will find that you will be able to ratchet up the resistance pretty consistently each workout, and you will surpass your previous best efforts from last season (but it won;t happen until near the end of the hypertrophy phase).


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By susan peplow
From Joshua Tree
Jan 30, 2008
Beer Anyone?

Hangboard - Smangboard - just keep doing those 12oz curls Will!


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By Peter Spindloe
From North Vancouver, BC
Jan 30, 2008
Starting the fourth class downclimb.  Photo by Ted. August 2007.

I have a related question: how would you structure a hangboard workout for hypertrophy versus recruitment.

In a periodized workout schedule run by my local gym, we used HIT workouts for hypertrophy and, I thought, a combination of hangboard and bouldering for recruitment.

I'm sure you can do either with a hangboard but would be interested in opinions on how to tailor the routine for each.


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By Will S
From Joshua Tree
Feb 6, 2008

Thanks for the detailed reply Mono.

Hopefully some more folks will chime in with their experience.

Peter, I don't look to the hangboard at all for recruitment. In recruitment you are trying to get the most fibers firing at the same time and the best way to do that seems to be dynamic movments where you have to latch a hold with everything you've got all at once to stay on...hence campus board training.


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By Monomaniac
Administrator
From Morrison, CO
Feb 7, 2008
Insurrection, 5.14c.  Photo Adam Sanders.

I've never attempted to train power on a hangboard. However, I would check out Taylor Roy's workout.

This looks to me like an intense power workout, and I know he is very strong.


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By Will S
From Joshua Tree
Aug 12, 2011

So here we are 3.5 years later, and my experience has worked out almost exactly how Monomaniac suggested it would/should.

I have started each new phase with workout #3 from the prior phase and it has been about the pefect starting point. This is based on a ~4mo cycle length, and does end up with a PB on each exercise about 10lb better than the prior cycle.

The only problem I'm having now is a dilemma of whether to continue adding weight or switch to one-armed hangs and take some weight off. I'm adding over 2/3 bodyweight to some exercises and 50% bodyweight on the smallest 4-finger edge holds on my boards. It feels like it's starting to introduce bicep/lat/shoulder stregth limitations with that much added weight and harder to maintain good form (slightly bent arms), but I'm a little leery of one-arm hangs for form reasons as well...angle of loading of the wrists/shoulder/pecs etc.


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By John Carter
From Boulder
Aug 12, 2011
Fine Jade

Do tell... what is your training regimen?


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By Will S
From Joshua Tree
Aug 12, 2011

In that phase it's essentially the RockProdigy basic hangboard workout.


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By Mike Anderson
From Dayton, OH
Aug 13, 2011

I recommend transitioning to smaller holds as you get stronger, but you always need to keep it in context with what your climbing goals are. One arm hangs are impractical and unrealistic IMO, so you should rule those out right away. I question the value of training any grip that you can hang one arm anyway, as I can't see such a hold ever being a limiter, or at least a priority for training. What kind of climbing do you want to be able to do? Most people (whether they admit or not) climb on routes that are barely past vertical, and not too steep, and these routes allow you to put a lot of weight on your feet, so your hand are typically on fairly small holds. Unfortunately, most hang boards have holds that are too big because most manufacturers have no clue how a HB should be used. The HIT strips are a perfect example of this...the holds are way to big.


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By Will S
From Joshua Tree
Aug 14, 2011

My focus is mostly off-vert to slightly beyond vert gear routes on granite and sandstone.

Any idea where I can pick up sets of symmetrical/matching small holds?
Everything seems to be either too big if it's intended for "systems" boards, or asymmetrical if it's "regular" holds.


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By Mike Anderson
From Dayton, OH
Aug 15, 2011

I feel your pain. Mono turned me on to some good crimps from entre pris a while back, but they are sharp!

They're called "super tweaks" and can be found here:

www.epusa.com/store/handholds.html

They aren't symmetric, but I found two that matched "enough" and make about a quarter to third-pad crimp...perfect for training for granite climbing. These are a little too sharp, IMO, though, so I will alternate them with other crimps that are softer.

These sets from E-Grips look pretty good for hangboard training:

www.e-grips.com/pure/

If you find a good set, let us know!


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By Brendan N. (grayhghost)
From Salt Lake City, Utah
Aug 15, 2011

The eGrips two-texture Pure crimps are really small, symmetrical and comfy.


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By Mike Anderson
From Dayton, OH
Aug 15, 2011

Those do look good, and I think Mono has some of those also, come to think of it. I just ordered some...I love impulse shopping!


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By Monomaniac
Administrator
From Morrison, CO
Aug 15, 2011
Insurrection, 5.14c.  Photo Adam Sanders.

Ya, this pic should give you a pretty good idea of what I think of commercial hangboards.

At some point, if you get strong enough, you need to make your own hangboard.
At some point, if you get strong enough, you need to make your own hangboard.

Anyway, the olive drab holds are from the e-grips set ("2-Tex Pure Crimps"). I now have two sets, so the crimps match. I use a pair of the rightmost hold now. I would not recommend using this hold for hangboarding. The injury risk is substantial. That said, I use it.

Side view.
Side view.


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By Brendan N. (grayhghost)
From Salt Lake City, Utah
Aug 15, 2011

Monomaniac wrote:
The injury risk is substantial.


Are you closed crimping it?


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By Will S
From Joshua Tree
Aug 15, 2011

We have some of those dual-tex crimps in the gym I use, mostly the tops are straight and the ones that are slightly curved are symmetrical. Nice holds for sure.

But like Mono said, you'll need to buy two sets to have a truly "matching pair" because each hold in the set has a slight difference in amount of incut or slope (i.e. front-to-back angle of the edge) and/or width of the edge and distance from the bolt-hole to the edge.

Did session #8 of the current HB phase yesterday. I moved about 6mo ago and can't hang my boards in this house, so have been using the gym for the last two cycles using a combo of a couple of boards (Nicros modular thing, Metolius woodgrips, and the smallest campus rung) - and it sucks, badly. No temp control, folks who feel the need to do pullups on hangboard jugs instead of the numerous pullup bars located 4' away, jumping in while I'm mid-break between sets, etc.

Still getting stronger, that's all that really matters.


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By Brendan N. (grayhghost)
From Salt Lake City, Utah
Aug 16, 2011

Will S wrote:
We have some of those dual-tex crimps in the gym I use, mostly the tops are straight and the ones that are slightly curved are symmetrical. Nice holds for sure. But like Mono said, you'll need to buy two sets to have a truly "matching pair" because each hold in the set has a slight difference in amount of incut or slope (i.e. front-to-back angle of the edge) and/or width of the edge and distance from the bolt-hole to the edge.


You can also call them and get a "set" of identical holds.


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By Mike Anderson
From Dayton, OH
Aug 17, 2011

grayhghost wrote:
You can also call them and get a "set" of identical holds.


Doh! I wish I'd done that rather than spending $100 on two full sets...oh well, the excess holds will find a loving home on my woody.


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By Mike Anderson
From Dayton, OH
Aug 17, 2011

Will S wrote:
I moved about 6mo ago and can't hang my boards in this house, so have been using the gym for the last two cycles using a combo of a couple of boards (Nicros modular thing, Metolius woodgrips, and the smallest campus rung) - and it sucks, badly. No temp control, folks who feel the need to do pullups on hangboard jugs instead of the numerous pullup bars located 4' away, jumping in while I'm mid-break between sets, etc.


That sucks, I feel for you. Can you build a free-standing hangboard mount?


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By slim
Administrator
Aug 17, 2011
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.

another option might be to build a frame that you can screw into the ceiling rafters overhead. then put some plywood on the frame. this would allow you to put it somewhere that gives you some room to operate. that's how i set it up in my basement. then later, all you would have to do is fill in the screw holes in the ceiling and touch up with paint.

great thread with a lot of usefull info. i like the idea of going down to smaller holds. you get to a point where you are putting a lot of weight on your harness (pain in the ass), but trying to hang one handed is hard to control rotation.


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By Will S
From Joshua Tree
Aug 17, 2011

I'm working on getting a psuedo free-standing rig. The house is on the National Register of Historic Places, and aside from restrictions on what I can do, there are practical reasons...mainly that the shell walls are plaster over board-formed concrete (i.e. no wall studs!) and interior are plaster over hollow clay tile with "nailer" boards formed into the tile cvonstruction for attaching door/window trim. If I tried to nail to the ceiling joists, the plaster would crack like crazy and fall off in chunks.

But there is a sunroom off the master with exposed ceiling beams in a sloped ceiling. It's too sloped to just attach directly with an angled cut backer-board so my plan is to build a free-standing sort of frame that attaches to those beams at the top. Should let me trim down the design a little and be more stable than a full-on free standing job.


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By Luke W.
From Prescott
Aug 19, 2011
Avi

Mike Anderson wrote:
..One arm hangs are impractical and unrealistic IMO, so you should rule those out right away..


Peter Beal wrote:
..I find that working one-hand strength is key to handling hard moves..


Shit

I thought the progression of hangboarding leads naturally to one arm hangs. Instead of adding half your body weight why not just hang from one arm? I dont think I would be able to open hand the edges I am using if they were any smaller.


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By Mike Anderson
From Dayton, OH
Aug 19, 2011

Well I've messed around with it a bit (one arm hangs) and found them to be impractical.

I also don't really see the application unless you are frequently climbing extremely steep rock with terrible feet. In "most" rock climbing, you have 2 or 3 points of contact with the rock at any one time, so it's hard for me to envision scenarios where you require the strength to hold most of your body weight with one arm.

In training finger strength there are 3 ways to increase the difficulty of the exercise: increase rep duration and/or duty cycle, increase load, or decrease the hold size.

Similarly, as you progress in route climbing, routes can be made harder in corresonding ways: increased length/reduced frequency of rests, steeper, or smaller holds. (In addition, routes might get harder because of complexity of movements, holds further apart)

Considering those, think of how most climbers progress. When they are ready to progress to the next level, what changes about the route? Do they pick a route with the same size holds but 5-10 degrees steeper? If so, they should train with the same holds but more load. In reality, I don't think this option exists for most people.

Instead, I would argue that as people progress up to harder routes, they continue to climb at the same crags, so the routes will have similar angles, but the holds will get smaller and further apart (or facing the "wrong" way) and rests may become less frequent. If that is the case, it makes sense to move to smaller and smaller holds for fingerboard training as you improve as a climber.


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By Luke W.
From Prescott
Aug 19, 2011
Avi

Thanks Mike. That makes good sense.


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By slim
Administrator
Aug 19, 2011
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.

i think one handed hangs can probably be beneficial, particularly for building strength (and maybe moreso) confidence for hard clips.

to me there are 2 drawbacks though - it is hard to program the timing and rests well (ie you can either do one hand at a time and time it well, or alternate hands which doesn't work that well). it can make it quite a bit more time consuming.

also, it is kind of a pain in the ass to keep your body from rotating. this is pretty hard on my shoulders.


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