Round 169

Dear Eric, A question about fingerboard training: How should my workouts look if I want to train maximum finger strength for 4 weeks? Should I still train maximum bouldering for, let’s say, 60 minutes after fingerboarding…or should I focus only on the fingerboard?  Or should I train fingerboard then continue my workout with, say, other forms of power endurance training? –Christoffer

Hi Christoffer, It’s best to keep your training focused on a single energy system for a given workout. So for twice weekly weighted hangboard training for max strength, you’d want to do this on the same workout day as you do max bouldering, campus training, and similar. That’s a lot for one session, so you’ll need to keep the volume modest and rest a lot between sets. You can do two other weekly workouts for other energy systems; for example, a pumpy lactic system workout or a more moderate “threshold” workout (high volume), as described in my book Training for Climbing. Happy training!

Hi Eric, I was wondering if there is any research done on the correlation of someone’s grip strength and body weight to the time they can dead hang for? –Luke

Hi Luke, No climbing specific research that I’m aware of, but this has been done with other muscle groups and there’s a strong correlation. If you Google “Rohmert’s Curve” you’ll find a lot of studies that shows how max strength correlates to lower-force endurance. Climbing researchers are just getting started on specific studies like this. Developing…

Hi Eric, I am proud owner of several of your books–for me maybe most important bring both printed and Kindle version of Maximum Climbing! It has so much wider perspective that I try to apply to business too. I love it! Now my questions: I am 40 (started climbing at 35) and have lead a mainly sedentary life (computers). Currently my challenges are pain in my right forearm/wrist (doctors say “Carpal Tunnel” and “lateral Epicondylitis”). I had it for 1.5 months and only during training (probably due to crimps and pinches on 30 degrees overhanging system board). Now I took 3 weeks off due to CTS. My fear is it will come back. Any pointers on rehab–when (e.g. on climbing days, or after) and how often (e.g. same number as climbing days) to do this? Any other exercises? –Bojan (Serbia)

Hi Bojan, Those are difficult questions to answer, since we’re not 100% sure what you’re injury is. My concern is that these kind of elbow/forearm problems can become chronic…which means they can come back again and again. Some people are just more susceptible…but often it is environmental (work or training related). Anyway, I say do nothing that causes you discomfort or pain–no training activity is worth aggravating it. In fact, one smart approach would be to stop all specific climbing training (hangs, slopers, fingerboard, etc) and just climb 2 or 3 days per week. Also, of course, do your antagonist & rehab exercises. Do this for a full season and perhaps the conditions will correct and become a thing of the past. Good luck!

Hello Eric, I really love your scientific approach to training. I find it fascinating and motivating. I have a question for you if you have time to help out a follower. At what point can I start trying one arm dead-hangs? I currently can complete 10 second hangs with 100lbs added weight and with 187lbs body weight. So I’m able to hang around 54% of my body weight. I have no available pulley system. –Daniel

Hi Daniel, You’re just about ready! I suggest using a 20mm edge and a half crimp grip and do 5 second hangs. You do need to be strong enough to keep your arm bent and scapular engaged—like your 20% percent into a one arm pull-up. Or, Grip lightly onto a helper sling with other hand if need (in place of pulley system). Do a complete finger and pull-up warm-up to get everything “turned on” before doing a few sets of one-arm hangs.