Near the end of my strength training program where I was doing heavy weight lifting routinely and not focusing so much on my peak climbing ability; I did a 10 part fitness evaluation that is an appendix in Eric Horst's "Training for Climbing". Part 3 of the test was a timed one-arm lock off with each arm. My result of 0 seconds for a lock off with each arm raised instant red flags. Part 5 of the test was maximum number of fingertip pullups on a 3/4" edge where I was only able to complete 4 1/2 pullups. And finally part 6 of the test was a lock off in the top position on the same 3/4" edge where I was able to hold the lock off for 8 seconds. These poor test results made it very clear to me that I had to specifically target these weaknesses in preparation for the spring climbing season.
My training solutions:
- First and foremost, continue to gradually slim down and lose unnecessary body weight by reducing my daily caloric intake while increase my frequency and intensity of cardio workouts
- Work on improving my lock off strength by performing offset/uneven grip pullups 2x a week
- Improve my finger strength through continued indoor climbing sessions, HIT strip workouts, and now through hangboard sessions as well, also 2x a week
Offset/Uneven Grip Pullups:
I was able to devise a pretty basic and cheap setup to help with the offset pullups. All that I needed was (2) eye hooks mounted above my head height to hang objects from, 2 carabiners, a pair of handles and a daisy chain. I begin the workout by doing 10 warm up pullups with the pair of handles at the same level. I then use the daisy chain to offset the handles so that one is lower than the other, The daisy chain that I have offer a 3" drop between loops and my target rep range is 4-6 reps per hand. I have been doing 3 sets of 5 pullups with each arm with the handles 9" apart. I am hoping to work up to a 15" offset before I depart for my climbing trip at the end of April.
There are so many options and workouts out there right now for hangboard training. I was looking for simplicity while still being effective and not overly time consuming since I knew that I would be doing various other finger training exercises in conjunction with the hangboard. I settled on climbing coach and trainer Steve Bechtel's Hangboard Ladders program.
To summarize this program, you first pick an edge that you can hold an open hand grip position for a 10-12 second deadhang. This edge will be your training hold for 4 weeks. Once the hold is determined, you cycle through 3 grip positions and a set amount of timed hangs and sets. You start with an open hand grip for a 3 second hang, followed by a 6 second hang and then finally a 9 second hang. Rest and repeat 2 more times for 3 total sets. Then you switch your grip position to a full crimp and again do 3 sets of hangs for 3,6,9. The final grip position is the strongest, the half crimp again for 3 sets of 3,6,9 second hangs.
Each week things gradually progress as follows below. After 4 weeks of strict training you can evaluate the results and then add some extra weight to yourself or begin using a slightly smaller hold. After 8 weeks (2 complete cycles), a month of no hangboarding should take place.
**For these workouts I have chosen to utilize the adjustable depth edge hold on my BAM! Climbing board.
Week 2 (2x a week) Week 3 (2x a week) Week 4 (2x a week)