Hangboard Training Program – Sam
Samantha is a super experienced lead climber, who has traveled worldwide and climbed rocks on almost every continent. She likes climbing bouldery routes, with short cruxes and good rests in between, but since her aerobic endurance is excellent, she can comfortably project longer routes as well.
Sam’s Critical Force to MVC-7 ratio is high, reaching almost 50% (Table 1), so it is no surprise that she established her 5.13b (8a) personal best in Red River Gorge . Because of that, we decided to emphasize strength development, to help her improve on overhanging and powerful routes. Sam trained diligently throughout May 2020 and significantly improved her finger strength, strength endurance, and aerobic endurance, as can be seen in the progress plots below.
At the moment, Sam is climbing mainly outdoors, so we reduced the training volume accordingly, but strength training remains the cornerstone of her hangboard program.
Photo: Samantha cruising up a powerful vertical route.
Here's what Sam says about the Program:
Results after Cycles 1 – 4 (1 year of program)
After one year of training with my Personalized Hangboard Training program, we found that Sam’s relative finger strength increased significantly, from 127% to slightly over 140% of her bodyweight. Her aerobic endurance remained at the 50% MVC-7 level, which is an excellent result, even among proficient lead climbers. However, we managed to greatly improve her anaerobic alactic and anaerobic lactic endurance relative to the MVC-7, which can be seen in Figure 2.
The fantastic progress Sam made is even better visible in Figure 3, where the endurance curve is plotted in relation to her body weight. I firmly believe that if all goes well, Sam will enter the 5.13c level this season!
Table 1: Hangboard Training Program progress.
|Beginning (04.2020)||After Cycle 1 (06.2020)||After Cycle 3 (12.2020)||After Cycle 4 (03.2021)|
|Previous cycle||Mixed||Strength /Endurance||Strength /Endurance||Strength /Endurance|
|MVC-7 (20 mm) [kg]||73.4||76.6||76.6||81.4|
|Body weight [kg]||58||58||58||58|
|MVC-7 (20 mm) [%BW]||127%||132%||132%||140%|
|Bouldering level prediction||V4 (6B+)||V4 (6B+)||V4 (6B+)||V4 (6B+)|
|Current bouldering level||V6 (7A)||V6 (7A)||V6 (7A)||V6 (7A)|
|Lead level prediction||5.13a (7c+)||5.13a (7c+)||5.13b (8a)||5.13c (8a+)|
|Current lead level||5.13b (8a)||5.13b (8a)||5.13b (8a)||5.13b (8a)|
Figure 1: Sam’s general progress in terms of MVC-7 and Critical Force, expressed as absolute loads in kg.
Figure 2: Critical Force as percentage of MVC-7 – progress plots.
Figure 3: Critical Force as percentage of bodyweight – progress plots.
- mountainproject.com, Red River Gorge Climbing, July 10, 2006. (link)