Showing posts with label hypertrophy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label hypertrophy. Show all posts

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,

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 ;)


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Hyperthophy (muscle mass) Training: workout structure

Last August a friend of mine asked me for an hypertrophy workout. This friend of mine is absolutely in love with the gym, he would literally spend all day pumping iron.
So I accepted his request.

(Before the hypertrophy training, we worked one month on his strength)

I designed a workout based on bodybuilding trainings that will last until February (currently we are at week 3).
I'm not going to discuss the aerobic training and the diet. I will focus on the “weight” part of the program. I would just like to say that my friend takes protein shakes after every training session and he follows an healthy diet.

Here is the plan in details.
  • 82kg of muscle mass by February
  • Get a V shape
  • Do at least 5 dips and 5 pull-up with 20% of body weight loaded by February
  • Reduce body fat percentage

5 days of gym training, from MON to FRI, for 5 weeks + 1 one of deload. Repeat the cycle until Febrary.
I'm using a split training system, divided in even and odd weeks.

upper arms.....
lower arms.........
upper arms.....
lower arms.........

upper arms.....
lower arms.........
upper arms.....
lower arms.........

*WED* ---> Wednesday is the “test day”. My friend has to pick a body part not trained the day before (that's why the workout is divided in even and odd weeks, otherwise he will always test the same body parts), e.g. chest, and try to beat his 1 RM max. After that, he carries on with legs and abs.
I added this test day to motivated him to go beyond his limits and to set new targets every week.

*FRI* ---> Friday is the high intensity day. I introduced this day to shock the muscle and to avoid its adaptation to the workout. I wanna catch it by surprise with more weight and less reps than usual.


Always keep an equal number of pulling and pushing exercises to maintain a balanced body structure.

Train to failure. If you have to do 12 reps of bench press, you have to reach the 12 th reps almost dead and try to do a couple more. As Arnold said, are those two last reps that make the muscle grow (and make the difference between champions and normal people)

Lifting weight is a mean, not the goal. We are training to make our muscles grow and not to lift heavier weights. You need to know the right weight for the right exercise and for the number of reps you are going to perform. This is an ability that comes with the experience.

Number of reps and rest. Generally, we will work between the 8 and 12 reps per set with one minute of rest between set.

Warm-up and cool down. Every session begins with a warm-up (rope skipping + dynamic stretching) and it ends with a cool-down (low intensity treadmill run + static stretching)

Feedback. At the end of the session, my friend has to follow a little questionnaire about his pre-and-post workout fatigue, enjoyment, satisfaction, challenging (scale 1 out of 5). Moreover, he writes me his weight after training and the duration of the workout. Finally, he tells me what he liked and what he didn't liked about the training session.

Focus on the muscle that we are training. Targeting the muscle is a matter of technique and right weight. All exercise should be execute with the proper technique. Wrong weight might deviate from hypertrophy training and could even lead to injuries.

Listen to your body. Learn to listen to your body will help you to train better and to avoid injuries. If it hurts (actually pain) then stop!

To work the muscle harder, I use this techniques in top of the basic concentric movement.

Squeezing: squeeze the muscle at every contraction! You will work it even harder

Stripping: get to the last rep, push to the limit and go above the limit. Now, drop the current weight, immediately pick up lighter one and repeat from the beginning. You will surprise how much energy you muscles have when lifting a lighter weight.

Negative: get to the last rep and instead of dropping the weight, perform an eccentric movement (negative). Ask to someone to help you to lift the weight again and perform eccentric movements until you can.

Supersets: perform two or more exercises in a row without rest between series.

Isotension: between sets, keep on flex and contract your muscles. This help to feel “the pump”, which is to keep the blood pumping in the muscles. Arnold said that the pump is like an orgasm (or maybe better)...

Body weight exercises: this kind of exercise stimulate the body to produce growth hormones.
This is it.

At the beginning I had two main issues:
a) In his gym there is anything to measure body fat (I don't really trust the formula method)
b) V shape?!
Bonus) I'm in UK, he is in Italy.

For the first problem, I will use photos to track his progress. I had a picture of him before begin the workout and I will ask him to send me one at the of the program.

To get a V shape I will make him work on the superior part of the latissimus dorsi (with pull up for instance), expand the thoracic cage (pull-over), shoulders and I will try to get his waist slimmer.

While I'm writing this article we are in week 3 of training and he is 79kg. At the end of August he was 76Kg. During September we worked to improve his general strength and the workout described above started on October.

I will post example of a week planning later on; I need to collect more data first.
If you have any advice, question or critic, please don't be shy and fell free to leave a comment: I will really appreciate it.


I know I know, I am a student and I'm supposed to reference properly (e.g. in text); yet, I have already finished the article so... maybe next time :)
Bompa, Di Pasquale and Cornacchia. Serious Strength Training
Delavier. Strength Training Anatomy                                                                              Freitas de Salles, Simao, Miranda, da Silva Novaes, Lemos and Willardson. Rest Interval between Sets in Strength Training                                                                                    Low. Overcoming Gravity                                                                                      Schwarzenegger. The New Encyclopedia Of Modern Bodybuilding