Forums: Climbing Information: Technique & Training: Glycogen Stores: To Deplete or Not?: Edit Log


Jun 9, 2011, 7:39 PM

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Registered: May 28, 2011
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Glycogen Stores: To Deplete or Not?
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I have read that you should not deplete your glycogen stores completely in a climbing session. However, if an increase in muscular (power) endurance is a priority, and as long as you follow the session with good food and rest, I don't understand why. It seems to me that depleting your glycogen stores during a climbing session would be the stimulus for and increase in muscular endurance. This is a priority of mine, therefore it seems it should be a good training strategy.

If you deplete your glycogen stores during your climbing session, it doesn't have to mean that you have to practice bad technique in the process. Neither does it have to mean that you're putting yourself at high risk for injury. My approach in gym training is to start with routes I can complete easily as a sort of warm-up, work up to more difficult ones until I peak at the most difficult routes I want to try to send until I'm clearly depleted, then finally resort back to climbing the easy routes again whose sequences I have well established until I'm physically drained. So, I'd end with routes involving technique I don't have to put much effort into. I have those engrams so well established that I will still practice good technique on them, and I simultaneously continue to challenge myself to focus on the right things (center of gravity in relation to base of support, driving up with the legs while maintaining optimum posture for the moves, etc...).

By "depleted" above I mean the point at which most people seem to say they've got nothing left. For me, it's when I've reached muscular failure to complete a move that I know I can do a number of times. At this point, a clear decrease in overall physical performance is usually apparent from that point on, despite a 10 minute recovery break between pitches. So, if I climb a hard route, rest for 10 minutes, then try to climb another, and it is apparent to me that my physical machine is not performing the way it was earlier, despite my 100% mental and physical effort, I would consider myself "depleted." I don't reach this conclusion simply because I've fallen; the term would only apply, for example, if I've fallen a number of times on a move despite doing everything I've got and I would have been capable of completing the move without a problem earlier the same day.

I'm sure we all have our own opinions on what "depleted" means to us, and our muscle glycogen is not ever entirely depleted. To most of us, it will probably mean the point at which your muscular self feels like "I'm done." In that case, this question would be "Should you keep pushing past that point?" Regardless, I would like to know your opinions on...

If an increase in power endurance is a priority, is it a good idea to deplete muscle glycogen stores as much as possible during an indoor climbing session?
Why or why not?

(This post was edited by Learner on Jun 14, 2011, 1:03 PM)

Edit Log:
Post edited by Learner () on Jun 9, 2011, 7:42 PM
Post edited by Learner () on Jun 9, 2011, 7:43 PM
Post edited by Learner () on Jun 9, 2011, 7:44 PM
Post edited by Learner () on Jun 9, 2011, 7:46 PM
Post edited by Learner () on Jun 14, 2011, 1:03 PM

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