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The day we installed our Transgression, we couldn't help trying the most challenging edge, the 6 mm one.
Dafnis held for 10 seconds with ease, but this wasn't unexpected, given his strengths and the years he has been using the methods I started to develop in 2004, and others that now are included with this hangboard.
I dindn't walk it, but the goods news is that there's still room for improvement and a variety of methods to achieve it.
Speaking of training on small edges
In a study of my own (López-Rivera, E. & González-Badillo, J. J., manuscript in preparation), we found association between the maximum added weight that could be held for 5 seconds while hanging from a 15 mm edge (finger strength test), and the smallest edge upon which the same person could hang for 10 seconds during first training session. These results are in line with Bourne et al. (2011), who found positive significant relation between the maximum force applied on a 12.8 mm edge and the one applied on 7.3 and 5.8 mm.
The above results add up to the fact that in our study (López-Rivera E. & González-Badillo J.J.; 2012), the group that trained 4 weeks using added weight and an 18 mm edge, and then other 4 weeks without added weight on smallest edge possible (a more specific exercise), showed positive significant relation between the relative increment in maximum strength and the maximum time on an 11 mm edge without added weight; and also with the smallest edge held for 10 seconds. All of this has the following implications:
Training with added weight on a medium-sized edge like the 18 mm one, and then using a more specific exercise like is the deadhang on smallest edge possible, we will obtain an improvement in our ability to hold small edges (11 mm) for longer and also to hold smaller edges than before. As we all know, these improvements sometimes can determine the success of a climb.
Practical Aspects of training and climbing on very small or shallow edges
According to Bourne et al. (2011), the force applied on tiny holds, like 4.3 and 2.8 mm, didn't show association with the maximum force applied on 12.5 mm, but did with anthropometric factors like having a bigger volume of flesh between the distal end of the bone (phalanx) and the fingertip. The authors say that this would increase deformation of the fingertip, increasing the skin to rock contact area on very shallow edges, and thus increase the limit of force production. (This paragraph has been corrected on 23 July 2012)
|Deformation of my fingertip when hanging from an 8 mm edge.|
Yes...I prefer to use open grip instead half crimp on small holds
- Temperatures below 15º C, make it easier to grab small holds, because the skin is a bit stiffer, and doesn't stretch so much, helping to maintain the angle of the distal phalanx relative to the hold.
- If the skin is not adapted to climbing in general, and to dead hangs on small edges, the deformation will be greater, and, again, it will more difficult to maintain the angle.
|Marks left on my skin after a hard deadhang session|
-If we perform a maximum repetition on an edge too small for us upon which we can't hold for the stated time with the previously determined effort level (EL), we risk spoiling the training session, because we can end with a cut fingertip or exhausted due to the "record setting" try.
As you have probably noticed if you already tried it, training in small edges causes a deep and localized fatigue. So manage cautiously the shifts from one size to the next, and honor the proposed rest periods between repetitions, sets and sessions.
You've been warned... if you want to make a try until muscular failure, do it in a separate session or as the last repetition of your dead hang training segment.
More articles about finger strength training and JM Climbing & Eva Lopez hangboards here
Bourne, R., Halaki, M., Vanwanseele, B., Clarke, J. (2011): Measuring Lifting Forces in Rock Climbing: Effect of Hold Size and Fingertip Structure. Journal of Applied Biomechanics, 27, 40-46.
López-Rivera, E. & González-Badillo, J.J. (2012): The effects of two maximum grip strength training methods using the same effort duration and different edge depth on grip endurance in elite climbers, Sports Technology, 5:3-4, 100-110