Strength Imbalances

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  • #16264

    Ive been training for ice & mixed using a number of the uphill athlete resources including the lock off strength workout.

    Today was the first time i have been able to hold a 1 arm lock off with no assistance. I managed two 12 second unassisted one arm lock offs on the first set on my left arm before having to resort to some assistance. I was unable to hold one on my right arm without assistance.

    I imagine is the case with lots of people in lots of exercises that they have a stronger side. So what is the best way to redress the balance? Train the weaker side more, continue as normal and hope it will catch up, train the stronger side less until the weaker side catches up?

    As a side note i found it quite amazing that having never even managed to hold a 1 arm lock off for even 1 second previously (every time i let go with my other arm i would immediately start to sink) that the first time i manage to hold it i actually managed the full 12 second rep not once, but twice. It got me thinking that there must be a psychological barrier at play there to go from nothing to full rep. I said to myself before i started that today was the day i finally hold a lock off, psyched myself up a bit and managed to do it. Its worth noting that over this season ive also had 5-6 sessions dry tooling with some climbers far far stronger than me and its been pushing me physically way past where ive ever been before. Ive learnt to pull on my tools harder and for longer than before.

  • Participant
    Colin Simon on #16268

    There’s the psychological component, but also the nervous system component – that training is teaching your brain to fire all of the correct muscle fibers.

    If you restart pull-ups after some time off, you may find that when you fail, it doesn’t feel “hard”, you just don’t have quite the same capacity to try hard. If you’ve been doing them quite a lot, and are feeling strong, you can probably reach a deeper strain.

    So besides being stronger, you are also probably better at doing lock-offs.

    Anonymous on #16272

    Colin is right about the motor programming that the brain does. We interpret this as “strength” gains. But, it’s not the same is the kind of strength gains that come from getting bigger muscle cross section. With the type of “max” strength we normally prescribe the main training effect is neurologic. The brain is figuring out new and better firing patterns for the muscles in use. If you have not read this then I recommend it: It addresses this exact issue.

    To correct the imbalance you will need to bias your training more to the weaker side.


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    psathyrella on #16286

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