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Tyler Nelson - drawbacks on weighted deadhanging for well trained climbers (Read 8549 times)

shark

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« Last Edit: September 07, 2022, 01:00:01 pm by shark »

Duma

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Thanks for the summary link shark, I've got this episode lined up for the commute this week so will listen with interest.

teestub

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I often feel like Tyler just comes up with a load of stuff to fill in another podcast episode and try and sell a few more strain gauges through his website!

Lots to go through and refute in there, one glaring one to me is that he says there’s a lack of transferability between hold sizes when fingerboarding. I’ve not found this to be the case except maybe at the extremely small end, which is more about skin strength!

The other is time under tension, he says 4-7 seconds average which seems low for actual climbing (not bouncing around on a board), where you will regularly grab a hold and move your feet around a lot and potentially move your other hand several times.

I guess my main thing would be, who is this written for? It seems that for the vast majority of climbers, who have identified finger strength as a weakness, any of the currently prescribed methods are going to give them decent returns without the requirement of fancy gadgets.

abarro81

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A few notes:
1. Tyler's core argument seems predicated on the idea that passive tension is not a useful thing in climbing. I am wholly unconvinced of this and he provides no evidence for it.
2. The logic around the adaptation only existing if the load is higher than bodyweight may be true, or may not be, but is not an issue with hanging per se, it's only an issue if you're hanging 1-armed with added weight. This could easily be solved by moving to a smaller/worse edge. There are not that many people who have to worry about finding 1-arm hangs on 10mm edges too easy.
3. Tyler is very focused on recruitment, but there are many reasons you might hang other than recruitment. Many of my best strength gains have not come from periods of recruitment training but from periods doing more volumous strength training.

I often feel like Tyler just comes up with a load of stuff to fill in another podcast episode and try and sell a few more strain gauges through his website!
He certainly likes to package things as being revolutionary and very clever. However, when pushed he rarely explains well or engages, he blocked me from posting on his insta posts for a while and I don't even remember being mean! He also seems very bad at extrapolating beyond his very limited experience - e.g. to trying to actually be good at sport climbing.
It's a pity - he has lots of interesting ideas and it would be cool to get to the bottom of which ones are worthwhile and which aren't... but he shows no interest in that, instead posting in a very prescriptive way, not distinguishing between opinion/hypothesis and facts, and trying to dismiss probing comments by vague appeals to authority and sounding sciency. It's funny watching him occasionally get owned by someone sensible in the comments on insta. I now only go near his insta if I want to wind myself up  :lol:
« Last Edit: September 07, 2022, 01:46:42 pm by abarro81 »

Wellsy

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Seems like a lot to say "board training is good, as is fingerboarding in blocks" which I think is broadly training praxis right now, no?

Eddies

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Dear god... 55min long podcast on finger-boarding  :yawn:
Rivalling Macleod's keto diet vid!

Bradders

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Tim and Alex have already been through the issues with the theory / hypothesis, but let's just say he's right (I don't think he is); there are issues in my view with the suggested training protocol as well. I left this comment on the Training Beta post about this, which they haven't replied to:

Quote
What I really struggle to understand with this is that in @c4hp example video (video 7, on the 45) all of the moves are very slow/static, and that just doesnt make logical sense to me if the handholds are small/bad enough to be working finger strength, even if the moves are very small. When climbing on holds that are taxing for the fingers surely by necessity the moves must have a speed component? The point about skill in grabbing holds also doesn't make sense to me; grabbing holds slowly surely just indicates an easy(/ier) move; the skill in taking a hold quickly is totally different (e.g. hitting an edge open handed and engaging on it to stick the move, then closing up into a crimp to pull on it - trying to do that slowly just doesn't make sense as it's completely unnecessary if you can go that slow).

I often feel like Tyler just comes up with a load of stuff to fill in another podcast episode and try and sell a few more strain gauges through his website!
He certainly likes to package things as being revolutionary and very clever. However, when pushed he rarely explains well or engages, he blocked me from posting on his insta posts for a while and I don't even remember being mean! He also seems very bad at extrapolating beyond his very limited experience - e.g. to trying to actually be good at sport climbing.
It's a pity - he has lots of interesting ideas and it would be cool to get to the bottom of which ones are worthwhile and which aren't... but he shows no interest in that, instead posting in a very prescriptive way, not distinguishing between opinion/hypothesis and facts, and trying to dismiss probing comments by vague appeals to authority and sounding sciency. It's funny watching him occasionally get owned by someone sensible in the comments on insta. I now only go near his insta if I want to wind myself up  :lol:

Yes, agree. My feeling is that he consistently goes much too far down the rabbit hole, which leads him to conclusions which when thought through logically are nonsensical, especially when set against the lived experience of hundreds / thousands of climbers. I get that he's trying to look for avenues to improve how people can train for climbing, but he often forgets about the actual climbing part! And he does it in a kind of pseudo scientific way without undertaking proper study, but presents his case as though it's completely factual.

He often goes down to a level of minutiae which honestly I find totally mind-boggling and completely unnecessary for the vast majority of people. I unfollowed him a while ago because of this. There are so many posts on his page where I just think "I do not need to know that to progress in my climbing"!

Moo

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Maybe part of his problem is that training for climbing should be very simple for 99% of climbers?. He’s relying on producing content in order to get views which is how he drives his business, it’s no wonder then that he ends up down pointless rabbit holes because otherwise he’d just be posting the same basic training advice over and over again.

spidermonkey09

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What Moo said. There's a surprisingly large market for people to confuse themselves discussing the endless minutiae of training instead of going to try a few different things and seeing what works. Just look at the lattice Facebook groups! (no doubt others exist for catalyst, grade etc)

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Since this article has gone down like a lead balloon, just how many lead balloons should be added for our weighted deadhangs??

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I think Tyler has some good ideas, but I also agree with the general sentiment in this thread.

There's probably some truth to the speed/power component being more important than we have previously realised and it would be silly to think that we have all the answers now. Future climbers will be stronger and fitter than the climbers of today, partly due to improvements in training knowledge.

Interestingly, i've recently picked up on Aidan Roberts and Will Bosi both suggesting they've had better performance on the wall, despite having lower max hang scores than they have had in the past. More board climbing and less fingerboarding seemed to be the common thread. However, it's unarguable that there is at least some correlation between good old fashioned max hang scores and climbing performance - a higher percentage of 8C climbers can one arm an edge in comparison with 7C climbers.

In conclusion, I think it's a good thing that Tyler is proposing new theories (even if he speaks them as gospel). People will try it and we'll find out which parts work.

Stu Littlefair

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Isn’t Tyler actually making two points here:

1) fingerboarding is too slow to promote power and coordination in the fingers

2) because of passive loading, you can make the finger flexors work just as hard - at lower overall load on the fingers themselves - using active exercises like “overcoming eccentrics”?

Point 1 I’d hope is obvious and well accepted?

Point 2 is actually kind of interesting. It would be ridiculous to ditch fingerboarding entirely. Like Alex says, passive tension is actually important for climbing! However, it does suggest a route for getting stronger finger flexors with lower overall injury risk, perhaps by mixing up FB and overcoming isometrics during a training block.

abarro81

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it does suggest a route for getting stronger finger flexors with lower overall injury risk, perhaps by mixing up FB and overcoming isometrics during a training block.

It's not obvious to me whether it's lower injury risk (because you're loading the connective tissues less) or higher (because you're getting stronger muscles without loading the connective tissues and therefore without them "keeping pace" with the finger flexors). Instinctively I wonder if it depends on who you are - someone who's at risk of injury because of getting strong fast (these people might want to keep hanging more) or someone at risk of injury because of overload/overuse niggles (like you or me, who might want to play around with the fixed-arm overcoming isometrics a bit more). Thoughts?

shark

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I don’t know if this was myth, proved or debunked but one notion that was in my head was that as climbers we are regularly loading our fingers so that after the novice/ intermediate stage the body just get used to it and so to achieve strength gains you have to do something exceptional to the flexors elicit a sufficient hormonal to get gains which was I thought one of the main benefits of heavy weighted hangs. If so isn’t there a potential drawback in using lighter loads with short hangs that it won’t provide sufficient stimulus to elicit the response to make gains?

abarro81

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I'd have thought if it were a hormonal response you were after you'd be best stacking some BFR or heavy lifts on the end of your fingerboard session as that would do more than any tweak to the hanging (or non-hanging) protocol... but I may be wrong on that.

I assume recruitment is relatively non-hormone driven, since it's neuro-muscular, while any attempt to grow the finger flexors would do well with a boost of hormones. I guess I was partly thinking of this kind of thing when I said
"3. Tyler is very focused on recruitment, but there are many reasons you might hang other than recruitment."
- I assume the isolated overcoming isometric with only the finger flexors might give the good recruitment response but might give less hypertrophy response and less adaptation of connective tissue than busting out some weighted Anderson hangs (maybe even inc. a set on bent arms and with BFR cuffs on) followed by a few sets of bench press?

shark

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Thanks Alex

BTW I think that he is often using the word ‘recruitment’ in the sense of the flexors working rather than as shorthand for fast recruitment as most of us use it

jwi

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The hormonal thing has been shown to be completely irrelevant, afaik. If I have time this afternoon I'l dig up the references.

duncan

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There's probably some truth to the speed/power component being more important than we have previously realised ...

I think Nelson's main contribution is to make more people aware of this. I don't know of any original research in climbing but I'd bet a decent amount of money that a power (and possibly speed of contraction) measure will be a better predictor of performance than a strength measure. It certainly applies in other sports (and predicting independence in the elderly).


To my mind there are two main ways to think about using a fingerboard.

Firstly to directly enhance performance, which I guess is most people's aim. I'm guessing it's not ideal for this because it doesn't have the power/speed of contraction element the way most people use them. Nelson is encouraging people include speed/power work rather than just strength which I think is likely to be helpful especially if you don't have easy access to a board.

The other way of thinking about fingerboarding is as conditioning (horrible term, like core simultaneously vague and ubiquitous), the aim is not to increase performance directly but to prepare you for more climbing-specific training and enable you to work harder without breaking. At my very punter level this is how I use it and it's been quite successful in that I do seem to be getting fewer tweaks since I started fingerboarding more regularly (n=1, other covariates). Reinforcing what Alex and Stuart have said, if you're using fingerboarding at least partially as conditioning then I think it makes sense to aim to load the connective tissues rather than trying to isolate just the contractile ones.


« Last Edit: September 08, 2022, 11:01:39 am by duncan »

abarro81

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I think that he is often using the word ‘recruitment’ in the sense of the flexors working rather than as shorthand for fast recruitment as most of us use it

I think I use it the same as him, i.e. how many muscle fibres (or what % of them) you can recruit/use. I think you're meaning what I would call contact strength and some would call rate of force development (RFD)?

Wellsy

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In classic sport science the theory would be to do max hangs to increase base raw force production and then do board climbing and campusing to increase power output, cycle through etc, right?

Stu Littlefair

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Instinctively I wonder if it depends on who you are - someone who's at risk of injury because of getting strong fast (these people might want to keep hanging more) or someone at risk of injury because of overload/overuse niggles (like you or me, who might want to play around with the fixed-arm overcoming isometrics a bit more). Thoughts?

Totally agree with that. Also for the beginner - why complicate things? They’re going to get better through deadhanging.

erm, sam

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He does say at the beginnning of the podcast it is of relevence to the already highly trained athlete. I think he is interested in it as a interested micro element of training, but over the course of the long podcast that context gets lost a little and it ends up sounding like he is applying the idea more widely than he initially was.
My understanding of the podcast was "Tylers been doing some interesting thinking he wanted to share" which would have been relevent and well contexted in a 10 min chat, but when smeared over 50 mins lots of kind of pointless questions from the host it doesn't work as well.

Paul B

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Instinctively I wonder if it depends on who you are - someone who's at risk of injury because of getting strong fast (these people might want to keep hanging more) or someone at risk of injury because of overload/overuse niggles (like you or me, who might want to play around with the fixed-arm overcoming isometrics a bit more). Thoughts?

I think you've just defined a relatively young climber and their older counterpart where they've been training for decades?

honroid

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I have to say, the more I delve into this witchcraft, the more it makes sense. He is getting better at explaining himself and putting across his theory. Makes a lot of sense in this conversation here.

abarro81

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Was that supposed to come with a link? Did he address any of the points discussed here (e.g., passive tension actually being a useful thing in climbing; being above-BW only being a real issue for those that can deadlhang a small edge 1-armed; strength training being about more than recruitment)?

I've done some of these out of interest over the past few months. My thoughts are still broadly as they were - this is an interesting tool to have in the box but is unlikely to be the best thing since sliced bread. Mostly useful if you want a session that is fast to warm up for (seems much faster than normal max hangs to warm up for this) and is not too tiring - e.g. a quick first session before work on a double session day (seems perfect or this), or as part of a warm up at the crag. 

 

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