Why a hangboard focus will fool you

EDITORIAL

16 July 2021

Getting stronger is an awesome feeling - especially when it can be measured, like on a hang board. The dilemma is that the biggest gain is not coming from muscular development but instead through intra-muscular fibre recruitment that quickly will disapear. A hangboard session will basically teach a higher percentage of your muscle fibers to switch on - but within a couple of resting days, most of the gained recruitment will switch off again.

Let us say you make a short bouldering session that you finish with trying to measure you maximal three-finger open crimp. Then you continue bouldering for a month, meaning that you will be able to measure some strength progress. If you on the other hand skip bouldering and only do one (1) hangboard or campus session, you will in fact be able to measure a bigger gain.

The reason for this is simply that although your muscle fibres have not grown after one hangboard session, you will have taught your muscles how to activate more of their fibers. Another twist is that if you only focus on a certain grip, like three-finger open hand, you will at the same time loose some of your strength on open hand or open crimp in the very short run, as the recruitment coordination of the other two gripping positions will drop.

On the other hand, facing a crux move which you cannot do may just require some recruitment training. How to temporarly get 100% stronger in 30 minutes

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