Thursday, August 19, 2010
Defining Strength vs Power
As I move into block III of the Workout From Hell the program is starting to divert from the original format. My goal at the beginning was to modernize an 80s program and the final round, 5 reps of old school weight lifting, doesn’t make a ton of sense with what we now know about training. So I’m combining the 5 rep strength phase with some dynamic power work. Before I go into what I’m doing I’d better begin with an explanation of the difference between power and strength.
Many text book s would define these as synonymous and to the average person they are. Power equals absolute strength, which is the maximum amount of force that your body can create. But in a training sense they are different. Strength is the force that you can create statically. Power is the force you can create dynamically. When it comes to sports performance these are different animals.
The traditional 5 rep to failure sets in the WFH would help with static strength. For some sports applications it might make sense to focus on this alone for a block but for climbing purposes it feels like wasting time. Using the principles of PAP training, I can use the strength training to begin my power phase, by finishing each of the sets with a power movement.
Power training, especially for climbing where you are stressing smaller upper body muscles dynamically, is very intense and dangerous (meaning easy to get injured). Using PAP principles I can use this next block of training to ease into my dynamic (integration) block by following my weight training sets with large muscle dynamic movements.
The only climbing specific dynamic movement commonly used is campus boarding, which is dangerous, so I’ve added a few twists to this. These are moves that I’ve either seen in other applications or made up myself. Therefore I’m experimenting with my exact workouts and I’m not going to post them now because I think I’ll tweak them so they’ll be more efficient over the coming weeks.
In general, however, here is what I’m doing:
I’ve changed the days so that I do pushing motions one day and pulling the next, followed by stabilizer and mobility work. I’m doing far fewer exercises and doing my compound movements. My push days include chest, shoulder, tris and pull days include back and bis. I do three ab/core sessions a week, an A, B, and a C.
Hangboard work is now 4 sets of three different grips. Each set is 5 second one-arm hang (the other arm holds a scale so that I can tell how much weight I’m taking off and how much I improve—or decline—each workout). I rest for 2 minutes between sets. I’m following some of my sets with a low-impact dynamic set on the campus board, but more this later as I experiment.
I’m continuing my rice bucket forearm sessions after any day that I train my fingers and I’m climbing, but not maximally, 2 days per week.
What started as an old school program has reverted to modern trial and error. I guess this is a homage to the 80s and early 90s as well, as that’s exactly what I was doing back then. We’re getting into the sink or swim of the program. Will I end up stronger or injured? Is this a lesson in what to do or what not to do?
pic: above: more wolfie and kurt; what's power to most is strength to them. we really don't know how long the held their one-arms, it could have been endurance. below we see gullich clearly in power mode on action direct, which for ages was the hardest route in the world. he's also defining the unwritten rule that singlets may only be worn by those who can do one finger campus moves.