Forums: Climbing Information: Technique & Training: Re: [cchas] muscle strength versus muscle volume: Edit Log

Partner rgold

Nov 18, 2011, 6:00 PM

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Registered: Dec 3, 2002
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Re: [cchas] muscle strength versus muscle volume
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cchas wrote:
maldaly wrote:
Any formula you may have about muscle strength vs muscle volume will go right out the window when you take a look at Heidataka Suzuki. He stood about 5' 10" and weight about 100 lbs and, as anyone who has ever climbed with him would attest, he's one strong MoFo.

Not really...

Yes, really not really. The volume method might in some limited circumstances be a valid way to gauge strength gains in a single individual, but it certainly cannot be used to compare different individuals.

There are at least three components to what people observe as "strength" in something like climbing: the anatomical set-up, i.e. where muscles are attached, which gives different people different amounts of leverage, the neurological set-up, which determines how much muscle-fiber activation can be achieved, and the biological set-up, in which the proportions of different types of muscle fibers determine maximal contraction speed and strength.

And then, on top of that, there is in climbing the fact that strength-to-weight is what counts, so that one person's small muscles can provide that person with a lot more body-weight capacity than another, much heavier, persons' big muscles.

Training can affect the neurological set-up for sure. I'm not sure if there is much in the way of conclusive evidence about whether the biological set-up can be affected by training, and of course the anatomical set-up is not trainable.

Training can affect muscle size; the cells themselves grow bigger. Although there is manifestly some relation between increased size and increased strength, I think it highly unlikely that they are proportional even for a single individual; it seems more likely that increases in size have less and less effect on strength.

If muscle strength was, in some hypothetical world, proportional to volume (and so also proportional to cross-sectional area since the muscle length does not change), then doubling strength would require doubling volume, not quadrupling it. If, say, volume was proportional to the square of strength, then that factor of 4 would show up.

And now, as did Chas, I have to confess that my PhD is in mathematics, and so I nothing I just said (except for the remarks about proportionality) can be trusted.

(This post was edited by rgold on Nov 19, 2011, 7:27 AM)

Edit Log:
Post edited by rgold () on Nov 19, 2011, 7:27 AM

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