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does failure to latch hold mean no gain?


Original Post
snowdenroad · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2007 · Points: 40

So my already strong climbing partner wants to improve her contact strength. I suggested, with feet on, using one arm only to go from one large, but slopey, wooden hold to the next (google rock candy training).

She thought this would be useless b/c she could not latch the hold. My guess is that if you are really trying to squeeze the sap out of that hold with each attempt, you will get stronger. Am I wrong????

eli poss · · Durango, Co · Joined May 2014 · Points: 456

The best thing for contact strength is hangboard exercises.

Matt Carroll · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 35
eli poss wrote:The best thing for contact strength is hangboard exercises.
I think the campus board is proven to be much better for contact strength...it's about as specific as one can get. Although training on the campus board is high risk and not for beginners
evan h · · Denver, CO · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 320

I think there are some nomenclature problems here. Does she want stronger fingers, or does she want to be able to dynamically grab holds? Probably both.

If it's the former, the hangboard is the tool for baseline strength.

If it's the latter, the campus board trains contact strength, which is actually a power exercise. For specificity, unless she is training for a goal that involves large slopey holds (probably not), I'd stick to the standard metolius rungs.

The best overall plan is to build dumb muscle on a hangboard, then coordinate that dumb muscle into something functional on a campus board.

Edit to add: Another element to this is the large pull muscles. It's hard to say what's going on based on your description, but if she is having trouble "getting to" the hold, that's not a finger tendon issue, that's a big muscle issue.

Fat Dad · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 60

How hard does she climb? Most beginners need to improve their technique before any specific strength training, particularly of a type where it's easy to get injured.

Aleks Zebastian · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 175
evan h wrote:The best overall plan is to build dumb muscle on a hangboard, then coordinate that dumb muscle into something functional on a campus board.
climbing friend,

or go bouldering, trying hard until you are crushed and crawl aacross ze pads for reaching the next problem, and you do not let go of the holds until zey pry dem from your cold,d ead hand.
slim · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2004 · Points: 1,085
eli poss wrote:The best thing for contact strength is hangboard exercises.

judging by the phrasing of the question ("latch"), it sounds like she is talking about the ability to apply full strength as quickly as possible, which is consistent with the usual definition of contact strength.

campus board is the best thing. a system wall with the right setting would be the second best thing, and a really good overall method.
josh villeneuve · · Enfield, CT · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 170

One arm "jump catches", to whatever hold or rung is appropriate for your level. Small metolius 18mm hold is = v10ish

snowdenroad · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2007 · Points: 40

Thanks for the input thus far. She climbs mid 5.12, and does do a bit of standard campus rung work already.

But no one has answered my question:

Even if you fail to latch this round, aka 1/2 a soft ball stuck to the wall hold, will you still be making strength gains by continually trying?

slim · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2004 · Points: 1,085

yes, you will definitely still make gains. i know this because when i was campusing i did a LOT of failing and i got a lot more power. tell her to stick with it. even if you are only 'latching' the hold for a very short time and then losing it, you will make gains.

Steve Pulver · · Williston, ND · Joined Dec 2003 · Points: 455

IMHO you're wrong, but also IMHO these ideas of strength and contact strength are too poorly defined, and the effects of training too poorly understood for anyone to be certain. I think you are training strength when you don't latch, but you have to latch and transfer load onto that hand to train contact strength. Also, I think maximizing the load by pulling on that latched hold (ie. Going to another higher rung with the other hand, rather than that being the end of the exercise/movement) is the better way to train contact strength.

evan h · · Denver, CO · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 320
snowdenroad wrote:Thanks for the input thus far. She climbs mid 5.12, and does do a bit of standard campus rung work already. But no one has answered my question: Even if you fail to latch this round, aka 1/2 a soft ball stuck to the wall hold, will you still be making strength gains by continually trying?
Well, you still haven't fully described if she's getting to the hold in question, but I'll assume she is. I'm with Slim and agree that you are improving, but not necessarily in pure strength. If you're hitting the hold, attempting to grab it and not succeeding...keep doing that. One day you'll stay.

Why not just stick with campusing? What do the wooden half balls have to offer that can't be achieved on a campus board?
evan h · · Denver, CO · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 320
Steve Pulver wrote: these ideas of strength and contact strength are too poorly defined, and the effects of training too poorly understood for anyone to be certain.
I do agree with this statement for the most part, but I think there's a clear difference between what is achieved on a hangboard and what is achieved on a campus board or through limit bouldering. People think anything associated with these things is simply "getting strong", but there's much we can pull from traditional sports to separate the two, at least broadly. Vague enough? :)
Lee Durbetaki · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 5

Strength = ability to exert force against external resistance (the hold).
Increased strength, therefore = ability to produce more force against the hold than before.

If you have gotten stronger but still cannot latch the hold, it is theoretically possible to volitionally exert more force than you did last time. The increased force might be enough to produce a training stimulus.

The trouble is that volitional effort is this scenario is impossible to measure. How do you know that you are squeezing harder than last time, or hard enough to get stronger? Did you miss because you couldn't squeeze hard enough, or because you didn't squeeze hard enough?

kenr · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 11,674

Campusing is a good way to specifically focus on training contract strength.

Problem is that most public campus boards (at climbing gyms) are designed for people who are already at 5.12 strength.

They are not effective for training to get to 5.12-level contact strength because
- the rungs are too far apart - to allow incremental progression to the next bigger move.
- too overhanging.
- don't allow "cheating" by using feet to assist.
- don't allow using a foot touching the wall to stabilize the body.

Some of the designs in books and websites are also not effective for training from less than 5.12. Oddly one book recommends "cheating" when starting out, but the design given does not support cheating.

Ken

Aaron Danforth · · Cody, WY · Joined Sep 2007 · Points: 0
SM Ryan wrote:Failing at an exercise all the time seems counterproductive to me. For example if you can't do a pull-up there are better paths forward than just failing at a pull-up over and over again. There might be better ways to progress. One arm traversing on a bouldering wall. Use a none slopey hold initially. Feet on campusing on the large rungs.
Untrue. Limit Bouldering, one of the very best ways to train power, is failing repeatedly. It's a valuable tool in your training arsenal, but it's also important to be working on base strength and endurance.
rob.calm · · Loveland, Colorado · Joined May 2002 · Points: 630
SM Ryan wrote:Failing at an exercise all the time seems counterproductive to me. For example if you can't do a pull-up there are better paths forward than just failing at a pull-up over and over again. There might be better ways to progress. One arm traversing on a bouldering wall. Use a none slopey hold initially. Feet on campusing on the large rungs.
If one fails to do a single chin-up after repeated tries, then do work-up-to-it exercises. This is standard practice for doing movement that is currently beyond one’s ability in any sport. For the chin-up start by doing hangs gradually working up to hanging at least 12 seconds. Then just do partial chin-ups, say working up to do six, quarter of the way up. Increase to going half-way up. If needed, get a partner to provide some upward push. Also, standing on some support, reach the full up positon and try to hold for six seconds. Etc.

Rob.calm
SM Ryan · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2008 · Points: 1,090

My explanation was poor. Limit bouldering is awesome - faliling repeatedly on some campus board drill seems pointlessto me. Oh well..

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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