Hangboard Training Program – Piotr

Piotr is an extremely motivated and experienced lead climber, who excels at crimpy slabs and vertical walls. He lives in Mexico, where he has access to vast areas of high-quality virgin rock, which allows him to bolt his own new lines.

To me, Piotr is a bit of a mystery because, based on the score from my lead climbing grade prediction algorithm, his level should only be 5.11d (7a). So far, the algorithm has been pretty accurate at estimating the current lead climbing level for other climbers on the program. And yet just a while ago, Piotr managed to send his fourth 5.13a (7c+) route. I believe that what Piotr lacks in terms of physical determinants, he makes up for with experience, technique, a strong mental game, and commitment. On top of that, being six feet tall gives him an extra edge on crimpy and slabby routes. 

Piotr is currently climbing a lot outdoors, so he follows a low volume hangboard training program, which strikes an equal balance between strength and endurance development. It also needs to be mentioned that Piotr never really trained on the hangboard before, so he still has a huge potential for physical development. I believe that if he combines his improved strength and endurance with his technique and experience, he will significantly progress as a climber.

Climber on an overhanging route in Mexico

Photo: Piotr in his element – projecting a 5.13a route in Mexico.

Here's what Piotr says about the Program:

Tired of reading, analysing, and piecing together everything I found on- and offline, I decided to look for help. Being a 43-year-old with very specific needs, I decided to contact various online coaches, who unfortunately could or did not want to take me under their wings. Through sheer luck, I came across StrenghtClimbing website, and upon having read all (sic!) its content in one go, I decided to contact Jedrzej to ask a few questions. He got back to me quickly, answered all my Qs and offered help with training. I started Jedrzej's training programme 7 months ago. At present, I can feel my fingers (crimping and grip) much stronger than before and my endurance has grown substantially. For the very first time, I am motivated to train on a fingerboard, which I had avoided and used infrequently before. I meticulously write down my results and J meticulously gets back to me with his feedback. In short, I have found my coach!
Piotr
Sport Climber (Mexico)
5/5

Results of Cycle 1

When Piotr entered the program his MVC-7 on a 20 mm edge was only 114%, a result typical for a V5 climber. His critical force was 33% of his MVC-7, which is more common for boulderers than lead climbers. For sport climbers, this number normally lies above 40% and it’s not uncommon to see ratios as high as 50% or even 55%. Taking into account Piotr’s results, and the fact that he never trained systematically on the hangboard, I decided to put him on a balanced program, with a slight emphasis on endurance development.

Cycle 1 was three months long, from mid-June until mid-September when we ran the performance assessment. As a result, Piotr’s strength increased by 4 kgs, which is a very respectable 5% improvement. However, Piotr’s gains in terms of endurance were even more spectacular. In only three months his Critical Force went up to 40% MVC-7, and 47% body weight. In August Piotr confirmed his physical fitness by redpointing a 5.13a (7c+) project. 

I believe that Piotr still has some way to go before he’s ready to lead his first 5.13b route, but he’s on the right track, and with his commitment and discipline, it’s just a matter of time.

Table 1: Hangboard Training Program progress.

 06.202009.2020
Previous cycleJust climbingStrength/Endurance
MVC-7 (20 mm) [kg]8185
Body weight [kg]7171
MVC-7 (20 mm) [%BW]114%119%
CF [%MVC-7]33%40%
CF [%BW]38%47%
CF [kg]27
34
Score828947
Bouldering level predictionV5 (6C)V5 (6C)
Current bouldering levelV5 (6C) V5 (6C)
Lead level prediction5.11d (7a)5.12b (7b)
Current lead level5.13a (7c+)5.13a (7c+)

Figure 1: Critical Force as percentage of MVC-7 – progress plots.

Figure 2: Critical Force as percentage of bodyweight – progress plots.

References