Image courtesy of Fleebley on Wikimedia Commons

I’m excited to be collaborating with Connor Davis, a climber in Canada interested in doing work with the Beta Angel Project. His first submission is on Eva López-Rivera’s latest climbing research project involving a comparison of three different hangboarding protocols. Here’s his work:

Comparison of the effects of three hangboard strength and endurance programs on grip endurance in sport climbers
Authors: E. López-Rivera, J.J. González-Badillo | Year: 2019
Summary/Results: The researchers compared the effects of three different Hangboard training programs on grip endurance in advanced sport climbers (7c+/8a mean climbing ability). The three programs tested were MaxHangs (4 weeks of maximum added weight dead-hangs followed by 4 weeks of minimum edge dead-hangs), IntHangs (8 weeks of intermittent dead-hangs on minimum edge depth), and Max_IntHangs (4 weeks of maximum added weight dead-hangs followed by 4 weeks of IntHangs). Strength and endurance testing was performed at week 0, week 5, and week 9. The results showed a significant improvement in grip endurance for the IntHangs group after 4 weeks (25.2%) and after 8 weeks (45%), as well as the MaxHangs group after 8 weeks (34.1%). The Max_IntHangs group did not show a significant improvement in grip endurance. Main conclusion: IntHangs are very effective for improving grip endurance, but MaxHangs are also effective. Notes: Interesting that a strength-based program (MaxHangs) showed a 34% increase in grip endurance, but also interesting that it is 17% higher than what the researchers showed in a previous study. This previous study was performed with more advanced sport climbers (8a+/8b mean climbing ability). Contributing Beta-Angel (Connor Davis) note: lower level sport climbers may be better off using the MaxHangs protocol as they can significantly improve small-hold grip endurance while also improving maximum strength.
Reference: J Hum Kinet, 66, 183.
See Link.

The following are some observations of the study I had for future work by the Beta Angel Project, which Connor seems keen to collaborate on:

  1. The authors used a 10 second on, 5 second off intermittent hang which they decided on based on analysis off 40-50 videos of climbs between 8b and 9a, where they looked at the “more intense segments of a route.”  This is fairly different from the 7 seconds on, 3 seconds off recommendation by the Anderson Brothers who have a popular repeater program.  And also different than the 8-4 ratio in the Medernach (2015) study.  It may be helpful to understand the assumptions behind the 10-5 [observational analysis, more intense segments of a route, 60-80% of MVC (Maximum Voluntary Contraction), observed minimum time of oxygenation] and the 7-3 (observational analysis, trial and error) protocols in order to better differentiate the research papers, protocols, and effects.
  2. The resting period the authors chose is based on two studies Connor and I are going to look into: one climbing-specific by gentleman scholar Simon Fryer and the other non-climbing specific. The studies apparently suggested 3-5 seconds of oxygenation.  Connor has gamely decided to jump in on a larger project of mine with questions surrounding the efficacy of micro-resting, which tends to have significantly shorter periods of rest (less than 1.5 seconds)
  3. This article adds a second piece of experimental group research to the argument that strength-based workouts provide positive benefits to climbing-specific endurance tests — the other being the Austrian protocol you can read about in the experimental section.

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