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Strength Gains Without Weight Gain


How do I gain maximal strength in legs and upper body without much Hyperthrophy?

I want to get as strong as possible without building additional muscle mass because I am a rock climmber!
Is this possible with the WSB method or the complex set method?


Heavy Weights, low volume.

Check out CW's Set/Rep Bible (search in articles) but note that my response is not the whole picture.


I remember a nutrition program posted for grapplers awhile ago. I think it might have been Berardi's. It might be good for you.


easy.. . train for strength without eating for size.. . as it is you might have to up your cals a bit just to maintain your current weight.. . otherwise you might end up losing some rather than gaining it like you fear. ..


What you wrote is really wrong. You have to gain weight to get strong. PERIOD. Dont be afraid to gain weight.

But remember if you wanna climb around on rocks focus your training to it. You dont need that much strength to climb aroung on rocks, but muscular endurance(two very different things). Train smart


If you're a rock climber, why would you want to train Westside? That much volume squatting and that much benching are nearly useless to you.



That is a tricky one. Rock climbing is so specific that it would be hard to recomend an over all strength program.
What do you see as being the most beneficial to your climbing? I've climbed trees(profesionaly) and rocks(recreationaly) and I found grip, stability and flexability to be the most important. Having a good deal of strength through a whole range of motion is most advantageous.
So, what do you see as your weak points?


This isn't really true. Strength is also a function of how much existing muscle can be recruited - a CNS function.

Low reps and high weight will help this. However, you will lack endurance.

You might try a sceme like this:
1x20 warmup
3x3 heavy
1x20 cooldown

which should help you get strong and maintain some level of endurance. It misses the sweet spot for hypertrophy, so hopefully you'd avoid gaining much mass on a program like this.


I second this. Only want to add that you are training for strength while performing an athletic pursuit, as such, Westside may be too much for your goals, look at Staley's EDT for Strength at http://www.t-nation.com/readTopic.do?id=459587. Also, a good campanion to this is his periodization article at http://www.t-nation.com/readTopic.do?id=460360.



Uh, no-that's not true. There are reasons why you might not want to bulk up for a given sport, and it does not preclude gaining strength. There are various excellent programs for those who want to gain strength but limit mass gains, some written by strength coaches who contribute to this very site.


Just want to add that you should take your body fat into consideration. The less fat you have, the less dead weight you have to carry up those rocks. Replacing a couple pounds of fat with a couple pounds of muscle will make you stronger and a better athlete.

That can be done by manipulating your diet. Be sure to keep a food log so you'll know what works.

And you can gain strength while staying the same body weight. Eric Cressey is a great example of this.


This is something I've been working on for a while. I'm in the same boat you are. Now, I have diff. sport considerations, so you may want to consider exactly what helps the rock climber. In my view, this is: 1) techique 2) grip strength, esp. with fingertips and odd grips (ie.different crimp holds) 3)flexibility.

Through experimenting and bugging the crap out of CT, Cressey, etc., I've found that in general, keep the total work reps in any single workout under 20 for any given movement/muscle group. Also, work more frequently (ie, squat or associated movements/muscles 3x a week). In addition, avoid working in the 65-80% range, as this is hypertrophy range. So, either max strength range or speed strength/explosive range. Since you asked about max strength, I'll use that as a base.

squat workout could look like this:

Good Morning
8x1 at 90%

Squat 6-8x2 at 40-60%

Front Sqt.
8X2 at 80-85%

And switch percents/rep schemes around for three weeks, then peak, then test, recover. Repeat.

Mess around with these ideas. You could work whole body 3x a week, keeping work reps under 20 for any given muscle group. You could work body 2x a week, and climb 1-2x a week. You could work lower body 3x and upper body 3x. Whatever.

Remember to switch exercises frequently. Remember to switch rep ranges and percents on individual exercises frequently (ie. don't squat always at 90% for 8x1. Do some light work.)

Actually, this is where Pavel Tsatouline (sic?) has some great ideas. His workouts won't leave you feeling drained. And they're frequent. Modify them as you see fit.