I'm doing max weighted dead hangs. To improve grip/finger strength for climbing. I'm doing a lot of research on how to create training programs to increase max strength but everything I've seen so far is related to movements where reps are a range of motion. With this particular exercise, it's not as obvious (or is it?). How can I relate reps into my training program?

Note: I don't feel that hanging for 10s jumping off and jumping right back on and doing another 10s would be analogous to doing reps.

I'm also trying to build max strength so I want to keep my reps low and intensity high and I'm just confused as to how I can relate typical ROM exercises to isometrics.

Any ideas are welcomed. Any resources/studies are appreciated!

  • Just to clear something up: Why do you feel the need to measure "reps" at all? Isn't time a better counter for isometric exercises?
    – Alec
    Dec 16 '18 at 22:47
  • @Alec I'm using time and maybe that's my rep equivalent. But looking at training programs and more specifically Prilepin's chart. How do I get equate 18 total reps into a workout? Am I going to do 18 sets of one 10-second hang? That doesn't seem to make sense so perhaps fewer sets with a longer hang time of 45 seconds but then I'm no longer training max strength.
    – Vindictive
    Dec 16 '18 at 23:49

The fallacy of "counting repetitions" in isometrics

I would caution against using Prilepin's chart when it comes to measuring isometrics. The reason for this is something you already put very nicely. A "repetition" implies range of motion, and an isometric exercise has no range of motion. In fact, it has no motion at all.

Another approach

I would instead suggest that you simply figure out what weight you can hold for X seconds, and try to improve on them all.

For instance, let's say you can deadhang with

  • 10kg for 70 seconds

  • 20kg for 55 seconds

  • 30kg for 30 seconds

  • 40kg for 15 seconds

  • 50kg for 5 seconds

Then on any given day you wish to measure progress, pick one, and note down positive change, if any.

On days you are not aiming to set a PB, train as usual. Of course, grip training should include more than just dead hangs, but that's a story for another question (which I encourage you to ask if you're into it, but be sure to search similar questions on the site first).

Bottom line

Prilepin's chart is a tool. It has its uses, but counting isometric "repetitions" isn't one of them. Find a different tool. You can use the one I suggested, or find another one somewhere. I'm sure there are wiser people than me that have thought about this already.

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