Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Weight training for climbing? WHAT DA?!?!

                                                                                                        JenElizabeth @ DeviantArt
Is weight training good for climbing?

I surfed a little bit on the Internet and the answer seems to be pretty simple: "no" and "why would you do that!?!?!".
Case close...

The first argument moved against weight training it is that it makes you bulk; as you can imagine more weight may make you climb more difficult..
Yet, I think most people assumes something like this: GYM = BIGGER.
Sure lifting weight makes you "bigger", it is the adaptation of the body to the training; but there is not only one way to train with weights. And I do believe that most of the climbers knows only one: gain mass (hypertrophy).

That kind of training will be unproductive for sure because "you train more the mass and less the strength" – in other words you get bigger. Which is cool when you walk around the beach asking girls if they would like to play beach-volley while you are showing off your enormous chest. True story bro.

… what if we follow a strength training?
It is quite self-explanatory; we are talking about a training focused on gaining strength. Because we work with sub-maximal weight, there will be less mass gain than an hypertrophy training and there will be an improvement of the central neural system. Why is that?
Working with sub-maximal weights, i.e. 2 set of 2 rep @ 90% of 1RM, the muscle fibres are not stressed enough to promote mass gain, compared to hypertrophy training; instead, most of the effort is focused on the motor units – neuron + the muscle that it innervates – and the central neural system, which includes:
  • Fiber Recruitment
  • Firing Rates
  • Intra-muscular Coordination
  • Inter-muscualr Coordination
  • Antagonist Disinhibition
  • Growth and Pruning

Moreover, a strong climber can climb longer and harder. It has been proven that sub-maximal training improves the muscle endurance (Hoof, Gran & Helgerud, 2002).

As my friend Joe The Climber writes here, why there are strength and conditioning programs for almost every sport and not for climbing?

We decide to try it out.

Second part coming soon; don't worry about that.

REFERENCE (like a pro)

Hoff, J., Gran, A., Helgerud, J. (2002).Maximal strength training improves aerobic endurance performance.
Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, 12(5), 288-295.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Killer Upper Arm Workout

Hi Everybody!

Here there is a very effective and challenging workout for your biceps and triceps.

Take a look.

You may ask:"What the hell  does 3NEG mean!?"
No Panic! I will show you.

3NEG means that once you have completed all the ten reps, you will perform three negative (or eccentric) repetitions straight away.
If you are pumping your biceps properly, you will not be able to lift the dumbbell after ten or elven reps; so, in order to perform the 3NEG, use the free arm to pull the weight to the chest.
The eccentric movement should last between three and six seconds.

Instead, SLOW means to perform the Push Down in a slow and controlled fashion. Both the concentric and eccentric movement should take two or three seconds. Moreover, make sure you lock your shoulders and elbows to focus the effort on the triceps; always engage your abs.
If you would like to make this exercise more challenging, after the concentric movement, rotate your wrist 90° out and squeeze your triceps hard for one second. I guarantee that it will burn! 

And finally last, but not the least, the STRIPPING(1). It simply means to drop the weight after completing ten repetitions and do other 10 reps straight away.
Push\pull + Drop + Push\pull = one series

When you are pumping iron, always remember to squeeze the muscles you are working!

The workout should take about one hour with warm-up and cool-down.
Try it and let me know how it went ;)

Enjoy it,

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The 5-0-5 Agility Drill

Today I would like to talk about one of my favourite agility drill: the 5-0-5 acceleration test.

The idea of this drill is to found out  how fast an athlete can fully stop from max speed and sprint back again.
This drill can be used in those sports where agility is a "must", such as American football, basket, football etc etc.

Let's see how this drill works.
Our pinkish cubic athlete will sprint from a distance that allows him to reach sub max speed before the 5 meters mark; generally, 10 meters away is a good distance. So, he will run toward the stop line, stop in front of it, turn back, and sprint again to the starting point.
The time starts when the athlete pass the 5m mark for the first time and we will stop the clock when he pass the 5m mark for the second time.

One key point of this drill is the stop phase. When the athlete reaches the stop line, he does NOT perform a change of direction (one foot on the line and sprint back); instead, he places boot feet in front of the line and then sprint back. Basically, he has to perform an 180° spin.
Moreover, the athlete, on the way back, has to sprint toward the starting point and not decelerate after the 5m mark.

We can adjust the marks according to our needs. For instance, we can start the clock at 10m and stop it when the athlete reach the 10m mark again.

In order to have an accurate result, is better to perform this test three time, allowing the athlete to have enough rest between sets. Moreover, we can do a practice set before the drill begin.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Adaptive Efficacy in Resistance Training [Infographic]

Here there is another infographic, this time about adaptive efficacy in resistance training.

In a nutshell, what are you training for according the RM (repetition maximum, which is how many reps you can do with a certain weight).

Enjoy it ;)


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Light Traffic [Warm-up Drill]

The warm-up could be the most boring part of the training session.
2 laps of run, back-pedalling on the short sides, sprint the last 20 meters. Then, all on one line and do some dynamic stretching; job done.
Every time the same routine. If people spends a lot of time thinking about new drills to avoid the tedium, why shouldn't we do the same for the warm-up?

Here I will show you a nice warm up drill that I use when I am coaching multisport.

This drill is called “The light-traffic”.
All your players are on the line (again?). When they are ready, you shout red, orange or green.

Green → they sprint forward
Orange → they slowly run forward
Red → they stop

You keep on shouting the colours and you can even change the exercise, e.g. back-pedalling or frog jumps, focusing on the muscles that the players are going to use the most during the training.

To make the drill more competitive and fun, you can introduce a forfeit every time a player doesn't follow your command, for instance you shout red! Then, red again and someone runs forward instead of staying still.

The effectiveness of this drill depends on the “creativity” of the coach and on his ability to make the training “interesting”.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Coaches in UK [Infographic]

I quite like infographics. They allow you to represent data in a creative way... "Miscere utile dulci" as Orazio said once (for those of you who does not speak Latin - unbelievable - it means "to mingle the useful with the pleasant").

This is my actual first infographic (click to enlarge) and I do recognise that there is a lot of room for improvements. Please let me know what you think :)

Enjoy it!