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More accurate power-to-weight handicap calculation. (Read 7292 times)

Fiend

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Yup, this dead horse again  :tumble:

I've been thinking a bit more about power-to-weight again, and also about those occasional beasts who aren't actually crimp waifs and can still haul themselves up things.

It's occurred to me, in a blindingly obvious way, that the issue is not just about power-to-weight-per-height, but also about the distribution of that weight AND the functionality of that weight towards climbing. Crudely, any weight that is distributed towards climbing-relevant muscles is likely to be more beneficial and less inhibitive than weight distributed elsewhere (on anything except slabs). Equally crudely, that roughly corresponds to the upper body, upper torso, arms etc (again, on anything except slabs).

That distribution factor could be broadly tested thus:

Get a climber to lie on a pivot point (foam roller etc) with arms out-stretched above their head, and find the point along their body where they are finely balanced.

>> If that point is further UP their body, then they have more weight distribution towards their upper torso and arms, and for a typical physically progressive climber, this is likely to be in climbing-relevant muscles. Therefore their weight will be LESS of a handicap.

>> If that point is further DOWN their body, then they have more weight distribution towards the lower body, legs in particular, and, and that is likely to be in areas that are less useful for physically hard climbing. Therefore their weight will be MORE of a handicap.


(YES as always there are a million objections and potential nitpicks to this. What is someone has fat arms?? Really heavy bones in their hands?? What about The Dawes?? (spoiler, he didn't make a name for himself climbing the burliest board style problems around) What about weight around the midriff that will be finely balanced and also useless for climbing?? What about needing really beastly burly legs for those all-important rock-over moves you, errr, don't get in burly board style climbing?? (Another spoiler, look at Megos' legs, he does okay). Etc etc et-fucking-cetera. The general principle still seems sound to me).


TL,DR: Rejoice all you heavy climbers who have that bulk in shoulders, lats, traps, biceps and forearms - you're gonna do just fine. As for the not-quite-as-heavy climbers who have legs so heavy their pivot point is below their arse, GLHF, you're fucked.


Liamhutch89

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I've found strong legs to be extremely beneficial for steep bouldering. As a former weightlifter and heavy squatter, I'm never going to have small legs, in fact they are still my largest muscle group (relative to where they should be), but the only time I find them a disadvantage is when cutting loose. Perhaps crucially, good mobility is needed in combination with the beef so that the power can be put to use in weird positions. Just gain a couple of kg's on your max hangs to make up for the muscle weight  :thumbsup:

Fiend

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I had a wee bet with myself that LH98 would pop up with the counter-argument and there we go, I won the bet, I'll treat myself to, errr, something.

Maybe very occasionally extremely beneficial IF you have extreme flexibility to use them in unusual ways (feel free to tell Megos and a thousand others - edit, including BOSI - that their sparrow legs are doing it wrong), but I strongly suspect that it still pales into insignificance to a better balance towards upper body mass, especially if you're strong enough to "just gain a couple of kgs on your max hangs"

Liamhutch89

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Oh I didn't realise you just wanted agreeable views that fit your pre-existing belief. I can't think of many hard boulders I've done this year where strong legs didn't help. Maybe I'm doing it wrong.

Fiend

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Sorry, yeah I don't know what I want in posting this to be honest. Just a brain fart I guess. I guess everyone has quite particular experiences with their own particular morphologies despite the basic fundamentals of the activity.

Carliios

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On the other side Iím fairly heavy for my height (167cm 69kg) - all upper body and still shit at climbing

Wellsy

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You realistically aren't shit at all and you're morphologically suited to the discipline, and 69kgs is not that heavy at all, it's pretty light for a grown man

I'm pushing 77-8kgs at the moment so I'm not that heavy but like all sport there is morphological suitability and you'll do harder stuff the closer you are to that.

I think having strong legs probably helps but part of the issue is that we don't know how much it would help if you lost a couple of kgs per leg because that's not really an option for the majority of people. My calves are pretty chunky but my legs are short so overall I dunno where that leaves me. It's about no. 7 on the list of things holding me back though so not worth worrying about

mrjonathanr

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Iíll bet that thereís plenty of heavy powerful boulderers, but not so many heavy trad and sport monsters (unless they only climb 10m long Peak routes).

Wellsy

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Thats at least a good part of the reason why I'm primarily a boulderer. The path of being thick and juicy. It's why Aidan and Jimmy Webb are my favourites! And Nalle of course  :wub:

CapitalistPunter

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Thats at least a good part of the reason why I'm primarily a boulderer. The path of being thick and juicy. It's why Aidan and Jimmy Webb are my favourites! And Nalle of course  :wub:

Lets not forget daddy Feehally

Fiend

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Thick and juicy?? Paging doylo....


Anyway that's a fine list of v-shaped wedges of simian burl who would have a pivot point somewhere near their nipples....

Wellsy

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Anyone at the top end will for obvious reasons but I like at least that they're big lads rather than crimp waifs!

MischaHY

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Having recently dropped 4.5kg< (an ongoing process, thread coming at some point) I have a more nuanced opinion on this than I used to. It was all much easier when nothing I ever did would change my weight without totally compromising performance as well. However after dropping from 82.5/3 down to 78/.5 I've had huge jumps in performance in both power endurance and max strength and can't really deny that it's been a ridiculous journey and considering body composition I'll probably at least double that number dropped before plateauing.

I've always had good finger strength and have been able to hang 20mm one arm with weight added for several years now - but I've always been fairly poor on smaller edges in a pure hang situation. This improved a lot recently due to focusing on crimping with a steeper finger angle but honestly it pales compared to the meteoric jump of dropping over 5% bodyweight.

The other day I walked into my board room and fondled a holds briefly, as I often do. They felt rather good so I tried a one armer. This was also very easy so I had a little hang on the BM2K middle edge. It felt almost unbelievably floaty so I pulled onto the 6mm micros in mild disbelief and hung comfortably for a few seconds. I sensed something seemed to be happening and so reached for the lone 10mm BM edge which has remained un-hung since I fixed it there several years ago as a stretch goal. I pulled on and hung for 1-2s in a half crimp. Absolutely mind blowing as I've never been able to even get close to this previously - it's always felt a million miles away.

I suppose the point of this post is because I've previously made a pretty big point of saying I don't think weight manipulation would help my climbing but I have to admit I was wrong. I also now understand how it can be such a dangerous and addictive thing esp. in the hands of a young professional under pressure from sponsors. 

Fiend

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On the other side Iím fairly heavy for my height (167cm 69kg) - all upper body and still shit at climbing
Okay so you're actually light / normal for your height (albeit not crimp waif light)  :whistle: If you think you're not climbing near your potential, isn't that because you're fairly new to climbing (2019??), so have a lot of potential progress with areas other than power to weight??


Wellsy that's a good point that we rarely have a control version of the same person without, as you say, those beefy legs.

What would be interesting would be to say have a couple of different climbers, both with a solid climbing history and both having pushed themselves physically, then have one have a fairly clear increase in weight (especially non-climbing-relevant, e.g. further down the pivot point), and one have a fairly clear decrease in weight (equally non-climbing-relevant, thus their pivot point goes up), and then see how their purely physical benchmarks changed (obviously climbing standard benchmarks would be subject to technique, all-over body usage, etc etc).

Carliios

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On the other side Iím fairly heavy for my height (167cm 69kg) - all upper body and still shit at climbing
Okay so you're actually light / normal for your height (albeit not crimp waif light)  :whistle: If you think you're not climbing near your potential, isn't that because you're fairly new to climbing (2019??), so have a lot of potential progress with areas other than power to weight??


Wellsy that's a good point that we rarely have a control version of the same person without, as you say, those beefy legs.

What would be interesting would be to say have a couple of different climbers, both with a solid climbing history and both having pushed themselves physically, then have one have a fairly clear increase in weight (especially non-climbing-relevant, e.g. further down the pivot point), and one have a fairly clear decrease in weight (equally non-climbing-relevant, thus their pivot point goes up), and then see how their purely physical benchmarks changed (obviously climbing standard benchmarks would be subject to technique, all-over body usage, etc etc).

Ive hovered between 66kg and 69kg and I can definitely feel a big difference in how hard I can climb between the two weights but yeah I also think I have a gap in my moveset from being fairly new still.

Wellsy

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I'd love to see a spreadsheet of all the top climbers and their BW and their 1 RM backsquat

I reckon the average would be something like 100kgs for the men.  If that.

Liamhutch89

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Interesting post Mischa. Considering your comment on body composition i'm assuming you had a bit of body fat to lose?

Currently I drift between 82.5 to 83.5kg and visually would guess i'm around 10-12% bodyfat. A few years ago I made an effort to drop down to 78kg at what must have been around 5% bodyfat (disgustingly lean to the point of my face being completely hollow, lines and veins everywhere and absolutely freezing all the time) and I lost a ton of strength, had no energy, and tweaked 2 pulleys then couldn't seem to recover. Looked well good from a 'men's health' perspective but my actual health did not feel optimal!

I guess the point of this is to say you've had great results so far but proceed with caution. When it starts getting difficult to shift the weight it's probably a good sign that the negatives will be soon to follow. I'd possibly have another go at dropping down a bit myself but would do so very carefully.

Also interesting to see how beastly you are on the BM2K while not being so good on the micros. I've been consistently fingerboarding for years, intend to carry on doing so indefinitely and would be surprised if I ever manage to 1 arm the middle slot, but I can piss the 6mm micros. More evidence of how individual climbing is.

Liamhutch89

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I'd love to see a spreadsheet of all the top climbers and their BW and their 1 RM backsquat

I reckon the average would be something like 100kgs for the men.  If that.

I'd be disappointed if I couldn't burn them all off  :lol:

tim palmer

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I'd love to see a spreadsheet of all the top climbers and their BW and their 1 RM backsquat

I reckon the average would be something like 100kgs for the men.  If that.

I'd be disappointed if I couldn't burn them all off  :lol:

I think you might end up very disappointed  :lol: :lol:.

I am totally unconvinced having very strong legs is of any help.   You might be able to work around it  or pick problems which dont select against it but there is a reason most people focus on upper body.

tim palmer

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And flexibility

Liamhutch89

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I'd love to see a spreadsheet of all the top climbers and their BW and their 1 RM backsquat

I reckon the average would be something like 100kgs for the men.  If that.

I'd be disappointed if I couldn't burn them all off  :lol:

I think you might end up very disappointed  :lol: :lol:.

I am totally unconvinced having very strong legs is of any help.

Somewhat contradictory points?

I was replying to Wellsy's prediction of a 100kg max (I once saw a video of Magnus Midtbo struggle to squat that much too), but wasn't being entirely serious and I'm sure there's an 8C 200kg squatter out there somewhere...

tim palmer

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Ah sorry I thought you were saying you would burn them off at climbing!  Yeah of course you could probably lift more than them, it doesn't really have anything to do with climbing does it.

Liamhutch89

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Ah sorry I thought you were saying you would burn them off at climbing!  Yeah of course you could probably lift more than them, it doesn't really have anything to do with climbing does it.

In reality, I wouldn't back myself despite having a size advantage over most. I'd expect some of the springy comp beasts in particular could put up some big numbers if they tried. Not because they train them but simply because they are mutants.

Mostly_Inanimate_Beans

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Anecdotally, I fractured my talus ~15 weeks ago and had my foot immobilised for 13 weeks, resulting in my quad and hamstring getting a little smaller, while my calf pretty much buggered off altogether. This, combined with eating sod all while on morphine has left me 6kg lighter, largely in the lower body, so quite an applicable case study. I've gone from being miles from being able to do one armers or front levers to being able to scrape through both, albeit with pretty shoddy form. Haven't been able to get back into properly climbing enough to say whether the loss of leg strength is made up for by the improved power to weight ratio but feel pretty strong on the board at the moment.

Fiend

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Crikey how long were you on morphine for??  :ninja:

 

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