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Tyler Nelson - drawbacks on weighted deadhanging for well trained climbers (Read 8142 times)

Liamhutch89

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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.

I've been following his stuff again (because I'm trying it myself) and he reckons you get the passive tension stuff all the time from actually climbing (which isn't to say maximal passive tension), and maximal active recruitment is something we can get from climbing, but often not enough of. He's definitely been preaching more climbing and less training which is encouraging.

I've also been following a few weightlifting coaches recently as the training seems a bit more well sorted in their sport (unsurprising since climbing is still young and niche in comparison). Volume is still king for continued strength gains, but that doesn't mean forcing it to get the adaption will work. I can't just keep doing an extra set every week and expect my recovery to keep up, it's a slow process and it's more like the adaption allows for the increased volume. Current thinking is that increased frequency seems to be one of the tricks to sneak in more volume without overly stressing recovery capability. E.g. most people can perform 3 sets of squats 4 times per week better than they can perform 4 sets of squats 3 times per week (better meaning either higher loads or more reps in total). Since volume is sets x reps x weight (at sufficient intensity), the increased frequency wins. Some coaches are having their athletes do the main lifts 5 or even 6 days per week with success! 

Based on the overcoming isometrics that Nelson promotes being less fatiguing, much quicker to warm up for etc. I'm speculating in my own training that they should allow for greater volume at maximum recruitment than max hangs do, thus providing more strength gains in the long run. At least that's the hypothesis I'm testing! I've found that when isolating the finger flexors, I can actively produce a force of around 70% of what I can manage with the same edge when attaching weights and lifting them. This at least confirms that passive tension exists! I'm only 2 weeks in and going pretty well so far, but this is to be expected entering a recruitment phase.


matt463

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I remember listening to this Tim Ferris podcast a while ago with Christopher Sommer. He was talking about doing high impact plyo work as a gymnast and then finding himself with self-reported bulletproof joints when running. Thought this was interesting because there is probably some crossover with climbing and getting high-impact load on the fingers, like big reaches and latching a crimp. Which I imagine is exactly the kind of thing that isnt possible to replicate on a fingerboard and is what gives board climbing its unique advantage. Could be bollocks, but it seems like gymnastics in particular is probably a more relevant model to base thinking on than normal strength sports. There's probably a better emphasis on stronger joints/tendons etc for gymnastics which I'm sure (in lieu of any actual knowledge on the subject), requires a different approach to say building up a big bench press.

Liamhutch89

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Matt463 i think that is correct, but it's worth reminding that weightlifting (as in the Olympic style) is very dynamic. Think snatches rather than bench pressing.

It's quite confusing when 'powerlifting' is the discipline without the power/dynamic aspect! 

honroid

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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)?

Sorry, yes. Link here

The Nugget Climbing Podcast | Follow-Up: Tyler Nelson https://www.podbean.com/ea/dir-9gb5t-162380e6

So I think the podcast points out that the more trained someone is, the less they're getting out of using a fingerboard. Not slating fingerboarding just saying there's a point where adding even more weight to a one arm hang is not an effective tool for training strength that transfers to climbing.

Massively acknowledges passive tension being essential in climbing but proposes that this is already being trained in a lot of what we already do when climbing and board climbing.

For trained individuals he is still banging the drum for training recruitment in isolation - just training 'active tension' as he calls it - using concentric-like contractions rather than hanging of a board or picking up weights.

Talks about the amount of people he sees everyday with climbing related injuries and what he's leant from looking at them with ultrasound.

Definitely makes a good case here. It's a good conversation between the two. A lot of good questions answered directly. If you're geek enough for what's being discussed.




Alex B

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Just listened. Personally, I don't think he says anything that answers the criticisms in this thread.
For starters he claims the point of hangboarding (all strength training, in fact) is to increase motor unit recruitment. Wut?
He says at 13:35 "If I'm trying to get a benefit [in] a sport, all I care about is that recruitment".

What about other benefits like increased muscle mass, stronger tendons etc?
Does Nelson really think that the only reason Megos/Ondra etc. have stronger fingers than Joe Bloggs is that they can recruit a higher % of motor units in their forearms?  :-\

Second. He claims that the adaptations you get from heavy hangboarding don't transfer to climbing. This is just stated as if self-evident.
"Fingerboarding is like.. as soon as we take away that big heavy weight on an athlete, they're not producing that same response."
20:56 "As soon as the load is removed, the adaptation goes away"

I get that he's mostly talking about very heavy hangs, but why wouldn't his principle of specificity apply generally? Even two arm hangs with +10kg should not transfer to climbing, because only adding weight can elicit the increase in recruitment?
It's not obvious to me why recruitment gains from heavy deadhangs wouldn't help you to resist other forces pulling you off the wall e.g. overcoming a horizontal swing after cutting loose. You're not going to forget how to crimp hard just because the conditions are not identical to actual hangboarding. There are plenty of studies showing that isometric exercises *do* increase strength for concentric/eccentric movements which use the same muscle. For example, isometric knee extensions also increase the weight you can squat. IIRC, Eva Lopez did a study showing that training with added weight on a large edge also increases strength on a smaller edge. Everyone who has ever done max hangs knows that this is true to some extent.

honroid

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I still think he's talking about people with training history who climb a lot in this podcast and so not sure the first point is relevant. I mean, you're right that hangboarding has a load of benefits other than recruitment and that these recruitment pulls are going to do less for that. But I think he acknowledges that here, no? Ondra doesn't hangboard as he says it doesn't do anything for his fingers. Megos does some crazy one arm hangs but seems to be able to generate that without hangboarding, right? Would their fingers benefit from recruitment pulls more than hamgboarding? Probably.

The point he makes about heavy hangs not transferring I thought: wow, I never thought of that. But you're absolutely right. He makes that claim with nothing at all to back it up.

He is convincing isn't he.


abarro81

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Resurrecting this as a more appropriate place than jwi's hangboard thread:

Having said all this, I haven't done any hanging* from any fingerboard for 6 months and feel to have gone from finger strength being a significant weakness (with poor scores to back it up), to now subjectively feeling like finger strength isn't a concern, but having no idea what my actual hang scores look like.

*Instead have been doing the weird active tension stuff Tyler Nelson preaches and I rate it highly.

Interesting - I tried this for a while, but stopped doing it when I realised that my scores correlated with absolutely nothing. E.g. If I'm strong on the board and in 8B form I can "pull" (with fingers), say X kg on an edge. But after a sport trip I'm a lot weaker, am worse on a board, worse on hangs, in say 8A form... but can still pull ~X kg. I find there's more variation within a session (say ranging from X-2 to X+2) than there is between months where I'm strong and weak.

After discovering that I ditched it assuming that it wasn't really a useful tool. Have you found similar Liam (or anyone else who's tried it) but still felt strong on rock, or have you had a different experience?

How strict are you being with isolating the fingers (e.g. elbow fixed on a box?)?

Fultonius

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n=1 I've barely done any fingerboard in the last year, other than building up to heavy hangs as a brief (15-20) min warm up for a boulder session, or Dumby sport and I've gone up from 106kg to 111kg on max hangs...

I did spend a bit of time do the pseudoScience Emil style "no hangs" at 70%ish of max.

No idea what this anecdote adds.  :lol:

Wellsy

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My 5 second max was 52.5kgs

I can't get close to that right now but I suspect if I did a few months consistent hangboarding I would (which I will once the finger heals)

Sorry my point was is that I've not really ever felt like my fingers on the wall were that strong
« Last Edit: June 27, 2023, 12:22:33 pm by Wellsy »

Liamhutch89

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Thanks Alex, I've been wanting to speak on this a bit.

To give a bit of background, which may be relevant, my performance on rock or a board has always correlated very strongly with finger strength scores. In my head I put this down to a few things: 1. finger strength is/was my weak link, 2. my body strength and mobility is very good so I can readily apply any finger strength gains to the wall, 3. I think i'm quite good at picking up on the nuances of a hold and how to get the most out of it and also rinsing body positions to put as little weight on my hands as possible. That is to say, yes, the active pulls correlate well with my climbing performance, but hangs did too.

I'm not surprised at all that your day-to-day variability on active pulls (lets go with this as the name) is high. This is because they provide a better measure of fatigue than hangs. Active pulls predominantly rely on recruitment at the finger flexors, whereas hangs benefit from passive tension within the muscle, tendons and other structures. This fact means that you can usually achieve similar hang scores even while fatigued - I see this as a negative because it's digging a deeper recovery hole whilst loading the passive structures more heavily and not reaching optimal recruitment at the muscle. This is readily accepted, because other sports are known to use a grip strength test (actively squeezing a device) as a measure of readiness to train.

Making this specific to your training, I understand you do a lot of endurance work (from PE to ARC), so it's likely you carry fatigue from one session to the next? Personally, my active pull scores are fairly consistent because I do basically no endurance training at all and my weekly schedule is consistent. However, when I've had a big day out on a weekend, my pulls on a Tuesday are still affected sometimes. However, I don't understand why you are still able to get high scores when you're in worse form, unless you were well rested at the time of testing.

On form, I don't fully isolate my fingers with equipment, but I try to just pull with the fingers. I did try a setup with my elbow on a table but didn't get on with it. For the benefit of others, what I do is attach a large full pad edge (26mm) to a Tindeq anchored to the floor, so that I can hold the edge at a comfortable height with my legs and elbows locked out. I then pull to peak force just by contracting my fingers and not by leaning or pulling with my body. I say peak force, but what I actually do is pull to 95% of my measured peak force and do this for around 5 reps (at this point i'll usually have dropped under 95%). That would be one set and is what I did for the first few months seeing great progress, a corresponding increase in performance on the wall, and interestingly my time needed to warm up for every climbing session drastically reduced, whether i'm doing the active pulls or not on that day. I've always been very slow to warm up, but now i'm at almost Will Bosi levels of readiness, able to pull hard almost straight away!

For the last few months, I've introduced concepts from French contrast training, which I first read about from a rugby coach. Before performing (in our case this would be climbing on rock or even a board session), the idea is to do a strength exercise followed by a power exercise for a few sets, a few hours before performing. What I do on this session is pull to a subjective 90% of peak force for 3 reps without looking at the Tindeq reading until afterwards, then after 1 minute rest, I do 5 speed pulls using the same edge and the RFD program on the Tindeq, trying to get the best scores I can. This is 1 set. On set 2, magic happens, the two exercises potentiate each other, my 90% is now higher and the speed pulls are higher. I get stronger and faster each set, and when I'm just starting to plateau I end the session. The first time I did this I hit a new PB whilst subjectively thinking I was at 90% of peak force! A few hours later I had an amazing session on rock.

As of last week, I added some hangs in again for the first time this year, more for curiosity than anything. I'm doing assisted 5 second 1 arm hangs on the BM2K middle edge and i'm really pleased to see that I'm a lot better at it than I ever was.



abarro81

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Thanks Liam

I'm not surprised at all that your day-to-day variability on active pulls (lets go with this as the name) is high.

I actually meant that my variation within a session (e.g. just doing it a few times with a few min rest in between is "high", although actually I don't think it's that high, it's just that the variation between when I'm strong (pre month-long trip) and weak (post month-long trip) is small so the variation within a session looks like the same size... if that makes sense?

I've not actually tried when fresh vs tired - that could be interesting. I've only done them first day on so when fairly fresh, and never when feeling knackered. I'll try that and see what happens out of interest. I wonder if it's a good measure of "freshness" but not "strength" for me?

interestingly my time needed to warm up for every climbing session drastically reduced, whether i'm doing the active pulls or not on that day. I've always been very slow to warm up, but now i'm at almost Will Bosi levels of readiness, able to pull hard almost straight away!
Interesting. I definitely find them good for a fast warm-up. I've not noticed that following through on other days too, but may not have done them enough to notice or see that effect.


Interesting with the floor set up too. I've been doing it sat down with it above my head - quite hard not to "cheat" by using the arm a bit, so I wonder if maybe I've just cheated my way to similar scores? :-\

Have you seen your pull scores go up meaningfully during the time you've been doing it? Sounds like you've seen good gains elsewhere anyway which makes me tempted to play around a little more

Liamhutch89

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The variability might be due to differences in form? E.g. if you're doing them overhead (which allows you to pull loads more if you're not strict) then cheating it to some extent is going to be unavoidable and that might be what is causing the variation. The elbow on table method might be worth a try first if you can set it up, or even just the floor anchor / standing version that I do.

My pull scores have gone up about 15kg on each hand, so yes a massive difference. My RFD scores have gone up loads as well.


Rocksteady

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On form, I don't fully isolate my fingers with equipment, but I try to just pull with the fingers. I did try a setup with my elbow on a table but didn't get on with it. For the benefit of others, what I do is attach a large full pad edge (26mm) to a Tindeq anchored to the floor, so that I can hold the edge at a comfortable height with my legs and elbows locked out. I then pull to peak force just by contracting my fingers and not by leaning or pulling with my body. I say peak force, but what I actually do is pull to 95% of my measured peak force and do this for around 5 reps (at this point i'll usually have dropped under 95%). That would be one set and is what I did for the first few months seeing great progress, a corresponding increase in performance on the wall, and interestingly my time needed to warm up for every climbing session drastically reduced, whether i'm doing the active pulls or not on that day. I've always been very slow to warm up, but now i'm at almost Will Bosi levels of readiness, able to pull hard almost straight away!


This is really interesting. I recently tried max pulls but was not isolating the fingers and felt I had a lot of variation depending on the body position I was pulling in, arm angle etc. I like the idea of isolating fingers.

I have some questions on how you implement this if you don't mind.

When you try to contract to your maximum, are you moving your fingers, like heavy finger rolls? Or keeping eg a half crimp position but putting it under tension. I get the impression you are creating the feeling of a lift, vs putting your fingers under tension for a certain amount of time. Do you then have a lowering feeling like with weights, or do you pull to max (or 95%) then release all tension at once?

Thanks!

Yossarian

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For the last few months, I've introduced concepts from French contrast training, which I first read about from a rugby coach. Before performing (in our case this would be climbing on rock or even a board session), the idea is to do a strength exercise followed by a power exercise for a few sets, a few hours before performing. What I do on this session is pull to a subjective 90% of peak force for 3 reps without looking at the Tindeq reading until afterwards, then after 1 minute rest, I do 5 speed pulls using the same edge and the RFD program on the Tindeq, trying to get the best scores I can. This is 1 set. On set 2, magic happens, the two exercises potentiate each other, my 90% is now higher and the speed pulls are higher. I get stronger and faster each set, and when I'm just starting to plateau I end the session. The first time I did this I hit a new PB whilst subjectively thinking I was at 90% of peak force! A few hours later I had an amazing session on rock.

As of last week, I added some hangs in again for the first time this year, more for curiosity than anything. I'm doing assisted 5 second 1 arm hangs on the BM2K middle edge and i'm really pleased to see that I'm a lot better at it than I ever was.

Just seen this Liam. Re the RFD thing and going for best scores. The various videos online about this have confused me a bit. Are you scoring this on the 28-80 RFD number, or a 250ms time interval number? I literally dg out my Tindeq earlier today and suddenly realised it seems to do more fancy things than it used to do!

Liamhutch89

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When you try to contract to your maximum, are you moving your fingers, like heavy finger rolls? Or keeping eg a half crimp position but putting it under tension. I get the impression you are creating the feeling of a lift, vs putting your fingers under tension for a certain amount of time. Do you then have a lowering feeling like with weights, or do you pull to max (or 95%) then release all tension at once?

Thanks!

It's the former. The sensation is curling the fingers into the edge using flexor strength only. I don't think about the 'negative', I just release naturally.

Re the RFD thing and going for best scores. The various videos online about this have confused me a bit. Are you scoring this on the 28-80 RFD number, or a 250ms time interval number? I literally dg out my Tindeq earlier today and suddenly realised it seems to do more fancy things than it used to do!

I haven't been training power recently but have played with both of these functions in the past. I've read that the Tindeq's sampling rate is too low for it to provide properly useful measurements, but I do notice the numbers going up as I get more snappy.

 

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