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Capilarity Training and.. Bouldering ??
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phaser


Feb 6, 2005, 6:38 PM
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I would have to disagree with that training for climbing is still in the dark ages, the problem is that the application of those training routines are weak and half a$$ed.

In a sense that's the point. When I say training for climbing is in the dark ages I mean two things (a) the state of coaching and hence the practise of training for most climbers is poor as well as (b) although we understand the basic physiological factors reasonably well and a truly well qualified coach can certainly point out deficits we don't know how to design a long term training program for a given climber as we do for say a sprinter. We have a lot to learn in how to 'tune' the factors to climbing.


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Look at the most recent USAC Junior nationals. I was in complete shock that some kids could make it to the national level and barely being able to onsight 12.D/13.A.

I think this is unfair. Obviously you don't specify whether the kids in question were boys or girls or how old they were. But for all girls and boys up to say 14 being able to onsight 12.d/13.a is a serious achievement. It is one thing to be able to redpoint at that level or to be able to have onsighted some routes at that level, BUT to onsight 12+ or better (for girls or boys up to 14) in competition, on the day, is no mean achievement. It implies that the climber can consistently redpoint a grade harder which is to say around 13D and there just aren't that many young climbers IN THE WORLD who can do that. It is very very demanding. (but yes, there are juniors climbing at that level)

In reply to:
We had this huge amount of hyped of kid superstars struggling on real 12Bs and the like. The coaches are at the same degree of fault as the kid who got pumped out. So the problem is the lack of ability to apply certain training routines.

I absolutely agree that we have seen hyped up kids unable to flash 12+ in competition. Personally I think that the main problem is overhyping what the kids can really do. I have heard people say that a given kid climbs 5.12 a million times, but to onsight 12+ consistently is very demanding. And as (as I have implied above) this is very hard it does demand specialized training. So we're agreeing again, these kids just aren't prepared to climb at that level. There are european kids (notably the french) who certainly are prepared properly so it is by no means impossible.

I think people toss grades like 12+, 13 way too lightly. I repeat that to consistently onsight at that level for most kids is very very hard. Some climbers may have freak genetics (notably abnormal hand strength) and be able to do it off the couch, but most need lengthy specialist preparation - years of training and not just mindless volumes of climbing.


rockprodigy


Feb 7, 2005, 6:48 AM
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clmbr3:

Your warm up/cool down routine sounds very similar to what I do. I don't know if that duration of ARC'ing is enough to increase capilarity, but I think the primary reason for doing it before and after a power workout is to get warmed up before the workout and to promote recovery by flushing the muscles with blood after the workout. I think that is where the real benefit comes from.


rockprodigy


Feb 7, 2005, 7:29 AM
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So it's been about a year since we first had this discussion (my how time flies!) Way back then we had a really good exchange of ideas, so I'm curious if anyone else incorporated changes into their training routines and if those changes were beneficial?

I'll go first:

After going back and forth with "wyomingclimber", I was interested in shortening my ARC phase, as we discussed. He convinced me that the training base that I am seeking may be fulfilled by the hypertrophy phase, and a seperate, long phase of pure ARC was not necessary. I did my Spring Macrocycle in the traditional way:
about 6 weeks ARC
5 weeks Hypertrophy
2 weeks max Recruitment (shorter than usual because I had trad goals, not sport)
about 4-6 weeks of PE/Peak phase

Usually at the end of this, I would take 2 weeks off, then go into the 6 weeks of ARC. Instead, I took about a week off, then started my Hypertrophy phase, which consists of hangboard workouts. The time span between my last campus board workout in my first macrocycle and the first hangboard workout of my 2nd macrocycle was 7 weeks. Typically that span would be 12 weeks or more.

The effect of this change was about what I expected. I was able to "get back in shape" rather quickly, and I was able to perform much better on the hangboard (i.e. hold more weight). As far as climbing goes, I was able to redpoint a lot of hard routes, but I didn't push my redpoint level at all. I think this is more a result of the limited number of routes available to me in the summer rather than an indication of fitness. I did improve in one respect. I did my first ever, one-day Redpoint of a 13a, and actually did 3 2nd try by the end of the season. My previous fasted redpoint of a 13a was about 3 days and 5 tries (or so). All-in-all my peak was shorter than usuall (as I would expect) and when it was over, it was over dramatically...as in, I couldn't climb 12a. It is possible that my peak was not as high, but it's hard to say because I didn't try many routes harder than 13a.

For my next Macrocycle (Fall), I did a bit of both. I took about 2 weeks off, then did about 2 weeks of ARC, then started the Hypertrophy phase. The span between my last campus workout of Summer cycle and the first hangboard workout of Fall cycle was 6 weeks. The Fall cycle went really well as far as training goes. I was very strong in my hangboard and campus workouts. Unfortunately, I was not able to transfer this to actual routes. Weather was bad and I got really involved in a multi-pitch trad climbing project. I felt like I was stronger than ever before, but I didn't really get to test that theory by spending a lot of time projecting hard sport routes.

So in summary, I think that I have decided that a long phase of pure ARC is overkill, and not necessary every cycle. I've decided to do 4 weeks of it (or so) once a year, but not every cycle. I did 4 weeks of it this january, and I won't do that again until next january. An interesting thing to note (Fluxus will love this) is that my hangboard abilities have been going through the roof over the last year, and yet my peak redpoint level has not increased since December '03. So maybe he's right that strength isn't everything...then again, I haven't really felt like I've had an opportunity to concentrate on pushing my redpoint level since December '03. For this reason, I've decided that this season my #1 priority is climbing outdoors, not training on my hangboard, which is usually #1. I think this will ensure I get the most out of whatever fitness I have, even though it might not be as high as usuall.

comments?


edge


Apr 13, 2005, 9:12 AM
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Thank you Fluxus, Rockprodigy, and Wyomingclimber (and others) for one of the most interesting and insightful posts in a long time in this forum.

I have made this a sticky in hope everyone gets to review it.


mtnbkrxtrordnair


Apr 13, 2005, 9:55 AM
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Is "capillarity" really a word to describe climbing training physics?

I know that in describing the circulatory system of the body "vascularity" is a correct term. I know that capillaries are the smallest of the blood vessels in the circulatory system but i think capillarity describes the mechanics of fluids in very small spaces.....

....but it seems that climbers have hijacked the word capillarity to describe something other than what it is intended.

Sorry to dredge this up after all this time but bernard is absolutely correct. Capillarity has to do with the movement of fluids though narrow tubes. Without it trees would not exist.

Climbers have hijacked the word and the correct term for what is being discussed here is CAPILLARIZATION.

Capillarization is the increase in diameter and density of capillaries in muscle fiber as a response to exercise.


rockprodigy


Apr 13, 2005, 11:59 AM
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I don't understand your need to point that out.

You are contributing absolutely zero to the discussion, except to point out that you think you are smarter than everyone else.

How is a word defined? Isn't it through usage? Is the term "beta" really a word that applies to rockclimbing, or was it hijacked?

Thanks for nothing.

The term "ARC" means Aeroebic Restoration and Capilarity (a term which probably wasn't invented by climbers in the first place). The word "capilarity" is probably used because they needed a noun to agree with "restoration". Capilarization is a verb is it not? I'm an engineer, so what do I know? I know there are plenty of self proclaimed english cops lurking around here to correct me.


mtnbkrxtrordnair


Apr 14, 2005, 7:57 AM
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Thanks for the kick in the ass. I thought I was being helpfull and not a know it all, I merely looked it up. A word is not defined through usage when the usage is WRONG. Try looking it up in a dictionary, it's a medical term with an accepted meaning and usage. You can call a cat a dog if you like, but that doesn't mean they are going to change it in Maricon-Webster's dictionary.

So thanks for totally misunderstanding the intention of my post genius.


jt512


Apr 14, 2005, 9:25 AM
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In reply to:
Thanks for the kick in the ass. I thought I was being helpfull and not a know it all, I merely looked it up. A word is not defined through usage when the usage is WRONG. Try looking it up in a dictionary, it's a medical term with an accepted meaning and usage. You can call a cat a dog if you like, but that doesn't mean they are going to change it in Maricon-Webster's dictionary.

So thanks for totally misunderstanding the intention of my post genius.

First of all, you're just plain wrong. The word capillarity is used throught the medical and exercise physiology literature to refer to the density, diameter, and length of capillaries in tissue.

-Jay


mtnbkrxtrordnair


Apr 14, 2005, 11:38 AM
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First of all, you're just plain wrong. The word capillarity is used throught the medical and exercise physiology literature to refer to the density, diameter, and length of capillaries in tissue.

-Jay

Please site a reference other than Performance Rock Climbing because I suspect that's the only place it is used that way. And English isn't Dale and Udo's first language.

Actually, don't bother with the reference cause I don't give a shit. I'm going out for a ride to work on the capilliarization of my lower extremities.

"Capilarization is a verb is it not?" First of all you spelled it wrong, also Restoration sounds like a verb too, doesn't it?

Don't get your knickers in a twist , love and kisses


jt512


Apr 14, 2005, 12:20 PM
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In reply to:
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First of all, you're just plain wrong. The word capillarity is used throught the medical and exercise physiology literature to refer to the density, diameter, and length of capillaries in tissue.

-Jay

Please site a reference other than Performance Rock Climbing because I suspect that's the only place it is used that way. And English isn't Dale and Udo's first language.

I said that the term is used "throughout the medical and exercise physiology literature." Which part of this phrase do you not comprehend? Apparenly, all of it, so let me break it down for you: Literature refers to textbooks and peer-review publications. Medical refers to the study of human health and disease. Exercise physiology is the study of metabolic and other physical responses to exercise. Thus, the "medical and exercise physiology literature" is the body of textbooks and peer-review journals dealing with these subjects. Since Performance Rock Climbing is not a part of this literature, I was not referring to the use of the word capillarity in that book. Finally, the word throughout implies pervasiveness. Thus, what I am telling you is that the word capillarity is used in the same sense that it is used in this thread pervasively in the medical and exercise phyisology literature. I am not going to dig up references for you. If you wish to do so yourself go to PUBMED and do a search for "capillarity and training" and see how many hits you get.

-Jay


fluxus


Apr 14, 2005, 9:45 PM
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And English isn't Dale and Udo's first language.

Dam that Dale Goddard he's had me fooled for years, he must have taken some kind of course to hide his alien accent! I'll have to call him tonight and let him know that the jig is up. I always suspected he were a fer'ner, be'n the tree hugg'n hippy and all!

despite the correct or incorrect use of nouns and verbs in ARC I hope we can all agree on what the POINT of ARCing is. In fact why don't we always call it ARCing and just forget wheather or not A,R & C refer to actual words. Some one please come up with a funny three word phrase based on these letters.


viciado


Apr 15, 2005, 2:51 AM
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Ain't Really Cranking

Okay, not funny, but accurate?


fluxus


Apr 19, 2005, 10:05 PM
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After teaching a clinic on ARCing tonight at my local gym I am struck by just how counter intuitive ARCing can be to climbers. We are so used to getting pumped and trying to push through it that it can be difficult for us to understand that if we get pumped we are ruining the workout sice we have left the realm of the aerobic, we must lower the intensity, move to a different part of the wall. Its interesting to see climbers who resist lowering the intensity even though they have clearly "gone anaerobic"


rockprodigy


Apr 20, 2005, 9:55 AM
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I can reiterate that point. As a distance runner in college, our coach used to harp on this. He is an extremely good coach who was an olympic marathon runner himself. The whole point is to avoid switching over to your anaerobic energy system. When guys on our team would run too fast during the Anaerobic Threshold (AT) runs, he would get extremely upset, raise his voice, and start cursing. He could always tell when we did run too fast early on because our split times later on in the run would be horrible. In running terms, you want to be able to maintain the exact same mile split time for 30-35min without stopping. If you dip into your anaerobic system, you will not be able to keep it up.

So think about my coach throwing his clipboard next time you're doing an ARC workout!


fluxus


Apr 20, 2005, 10:09 PM
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I hope your coach is a big guy with hair on his shoulders!

The thing that is true for runners and climbers alike is that we do get benefits from workouts even when we cross the AT but they are not the kind of benefits we are looking for.

I am beginning to think this is why so many climbers use the word "endurance" to mean anything that's not bouldering. they try to ARC, they get pumped which makes it a low intensity anaerobic workout, but the climber sees benefits at the crag, they just don't realize they are training anaerobic rather than aerobic endurance.

This may not be a terrible thing but if you are concerned with long term development or on-sight climbing the aerobic level must increase.


jt512


Apr 21, 2005, 9:58 AM
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I am beginning to think this is why so many climbers use the word "endurance" to mean anything that's not bouldering. they try to ARC, they get pumped which makes it a low intensity anaerobic workout, but the climber sees benefits at the crag, they just don't realize they are training anaerobic rather than aerobic endurance.

I suspect that climbers believe that unless they are getting pumped they're not training anything. ARC workouts don't feel like you're working hard enough to be training endurance, or anything else. The word endurance itself seems to imply that you should feel like you're enduring something.

In reply to:
This may not be a terrible thing but if you are concerned with long term development or on-sight climbing the aerobic level must increase.

That is not self-evident, and I don't think I believed it myself until you explained the following: Training aerobically increases the aerobic/lactate threshold, which allows the climber to climb at a harder level without accumulating lactate. I think that even some of die-hard ARCers are missing how this translates to increasing the onsight or redpoint level. For instance, I think it was wyomingclimber who stated that the only benefit is that you can recover faster at a rest or shake-out. But, logically, there should be more to it than that.

Consider a route that consists of 5.11 climbing to a 5.12 boulder problem crux, with no rest before the crux. If 5.11 is well above your AT, then you will be hitting the 5.12 crux with a substantial pump, an obvious disadvantage. At the other extreme, if you can climb the 5.11 section aerobically, you will be arriving at the crux essentially fresh. But when you cross the AT, it's not all-or-nothing. If you've raised your AT such that 5.11 is in your low anaerobic range lactate will accumulate more slowly, and you'll at least arrive at the crux with less pump.

The only remaining question I have is whether ARCing is necessary to increase the AT. I believe that there is a literature from other sports showing that anaerobic training also increases the AT, so I am not completely convinced that the best way to increase AT is to train in the high aerobic range, as compared with say the low anaerobic range.

-Jay


rockprodigy


Apr 21, 2005, 10:35 AM
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One additional point. My CC coach would tell us that your aerobic fitness is something you accumulate throughout your lifetime. This is why runners always end up doing longer and longer races the older they get. This seems to be true for climbing. The best boulderers are young guys with lots of power, and as they get older, their strengths shift to more and more endurance. This is also why you always see so many 50 year olds succeeding on huge endurance routes at Rifle or Maple versus the short bouldery route.

The point is, every ARC workout you do throughout your life should have some impact in the long run, and if you feel like your endurance is bad now, it should improve if you keep working on it.


fluxus


Apr 21, 2005, 12:45 PM
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In reply to:

In reply to:
This may not be a terrible thing but if you are concerned with long term development or on-sight climbing the aerobic level must increase.

That is not self-evident, and I don't think I believed it myself until you explained the following: Training aerobically increases the aerobic/lactate threshold, which allows the climber to climb at a harder level without accumulating lactate. I think that even some of die-hard ARCers are missing how this translates to increasing the onsight or redpoint level.
snip . . .
Consider a route that consists of 5.11 climbing to a 5.12 boulder problem crux, with no rest before the crux. If 5.11 is well above your AT, then you will be hitting the 5.12 crux with a substantial pump, an obvious disadvantage. At the other extreme, if you can climb the 5.11 section aerobically, you will be arriving at the crux essentially fresh. But when you cross the AT, it's not all-or-nothing. If you've raised your AT such that 5.11 is in your low anaerobic range lactate will accumulate more slowly, and you'll at least arrive at the crux with less pump.


That's exactly how I would explain it.

In reply to:
The only remaining question I have is whether ARCing is necessary to increase the AT. I believe that there is a literature from other sports showing that anaerobic training also increases the AT, so I am not completely convinced that the best way to increase AT is to train in the high aerobic range, as compared with say the low anaerobic range.
-Jay

As I understand it, you are correct, low intensity anaerobic training does help raise the AT but not nearly to the extent that aerobic training does. So if I understand it correctly, I don't think the question is whether ARCing is necessary or not, I think the question is: does the AT of the forearms rise faster if ARCing and low intensity anaerobic training are done together? Or, what is a good aerobic level for a climber at a certain grade?


dirtineye


Apr 21, 2005, 1:05 PM
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All I know is that since I stopped running around the tennis courts like a mad man, my route endurance has gone to shit, but my bouldering/crux strength is better than ever, because I still boulder hard-- haha I just can't get to the crux in good shape any more, like JT was talking about.

Even doing sustained v3 traverses of more than 80 feet is not enough-- I think what you guys (JT n Fluxus) are partly saying is right-- you need areobic cross training to help get rid of lactic acid more efficiently.

At least it seems to have worked that way for me.


fluxus


Apr 21, 2005, 11:52 PM
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In reply to:
- I think what you guys (JT n Fluxus) are partly saying is right-- you need areobic cross training to help get rid of lactic acid more efficiently.

At least it seems to have worked that way for me.

well I wasn't saying that really, but I won't disagree that general aerobic fitness might help climbers with the stress of long efforts, long appraoches, and flushing lactate.

I guess I should point out that I am using the idea of the anaerobic threshold in an unorthodox way. in its strict sense anaerobic threshold is determined by the amount of lactic acid in the blood stream. Its a measure of systemic stress. In running for example there is a direct and measurable relationship between heart rate, intensity of effort, and amount of lactate in the blood stream.

But in the context of climbing I am using the term as a way of thinking specifically about what happens in the muscles of the forearms. Climbers tend not to get very high levels of lactate in the blood stream in general, but as we all know our forearms get full of the stuff, so in my mind its a fitting way to understand what happens locally, in the forearms. I also think it clears up a topic that was left a little vague in PRC. ARCing as described by Dale and Udo could either be the climbing equivelant of long slow distance or of a tempo run, and they never draw a direct line between ARCing intensity and performance level.

Saying that the goal of ARCing is to raise the AT of the forearm muscles makes it clear that ARCing has a specific goal and that it is a "tempo run" not "LSD". I also think we can draw a link between ARCing level and climbing performance. just like we can draw a link between bouldering level and performance, and power endurance level and performance.

later


serpico


Apr 23, 2005, 3:05 AM
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For me, the capillarity improvements due to ARCing are almost secondary to the improvement in technique that you can gain. In any other skill-sport new moves/skills are learned at low intensity/slow speed, and then scaled up to performance intensity; ARCing is perfect for practicing skills and the acquisition of new moves/engrams in a low stress, low intensity situation.
With regard to local anaerobic endurance, I think that the effect that ARCing has on it is dependent on the type of climbing IE: power endurance, or strength endurance. As a pedantic point I don't think climbers really get into PE, as that would mean to me many, very fast, big, dynamic moves (competition speed climbing comes closest). For the sake of this discussion I'll define PE as climbing where the climber has to slap between holds, as it's impossible/impractical to do the moves static. And strength endurance as where the moves are done static.
With PE there is little or no re-perfusion of the the forearm between moves, because there is no relaxation of the forearm muscles between holds. In this scenario I believe ARCing shows the least benefit (until a rest is reached), and that training local lactate tolerance is of greatest benefit.
With SE ARCing really comes into it's own. The ability to reperfuse quickly between moves is IMO the most important factor for climbing endurance. This has implications for pace: I think that everybody has an optimum climbing pace where the build up of lactate is balanced against the ability to flush it. And that sometimes it's a mistake to climb too quickly through difficult sections, in the same way that it's easier to walk than sprint up a hill.
Thoughts?


fluxus


Apr 25, 2005, 10:25 PM
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Serpico,

your point about ARCing being a good first place to acquire new movement skills is important to remember. The best ARCs contain specific emphasis on developing movement skills.

As for your other point, this is where these discussion get interesting / challenging, because you are equating the pace of movement and a specific type of balance in movement with what energy system the muscles rely on most to generate these movements. But in the literature both tems, "power endurance" and "strength endurance" are non-scientific ways of talking about anaerobic endurance, they mean the same thing. So I'm not sure your description captures the right elements.

As for your second point, what you are talking about is the "motor density" of the work being done, that is the ratio of rest to work in an activity. In climbing going faster tends to mean that the muscles are subject to a more even work and rest patterns (grabbing a hold, letting go of hold), that the motor density is more favorable to the climber. There is of course a limit to this, which we find when we are moving fast enough that our execuition of each move begins to fall apart. Or if we are going too fast to get all the information we need.

Its important to remember that in climbing moving slower means that the forearm muscles have to go longer without a rest, and that as the overall duration of the climb increase our energy output does also, assuming one is not making the duration longer by staying at a good rest.

Take a route like Malvado in AF Utah. its a 35 ft. sport route with very continuous inensity and no rests. It is far more demanding to do this route in 3 minutes than it is in 1.5 minutes. The intensity of the route is the same in both cases but taking twice as long to do it, means twice as much energy output.

later


tradklime


Apr 27, 2005, 10:20 AM
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Re: Capillarity Training and.. Bouldering ?? [In reply to]
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A question about ARCing:

Do you guys think it is better to climb and then down climb routes, resulting in true continuous climbing, or climb a route, lower quickly, and immediately start climbing again.

The trade-off seems to be that if you are down climbing, and climbing continuously, the difficulty level of the movement will be necessarily significantly lower to avoid pump. If you are lowering from the top, you obviously get a short rest for recovery, and your focus can be on upward movement (which I can do a higher level difficulty verses downclimbing).

Thoughts?


fluxus


Apr 27, 2005, 1:04 PM
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Re: Capillarity Training and.. Bouldering ?? [In reply to]
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In reply to:
A question about ARCing:

Do you guys think it is better to climb and then down climb routes, resulting in true continuous climbing, or climb a route, lower quickly, and immediately start climbing again.

Over the years I have changed my mind on this issue, I say down climbing is the better way to do go. With up climbing only you get into a consisten work-rest pattern that your body gets used to.

cheers


serpico


Apr 28, 2005, 4:53 AM
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My use of the terms PE and SE was an attempt to differentiate between a state of near constant contraction of the forearm muscles (as when quickly slapping between holds), and the contract-relax action of slower static climbing.
If a route is such that you cannot do the individual moves static, then the lactic clock is ticking, and it's best to get to a rest ASAP. If you arrive (partially fatigued) at a section of climbing where you have the option of climbing it PE or SE, the instinct is often to use PE, but depending on the length of the section etc, I've found that it's sometimes better to climb steadily using a contract-relax style.
It's whether it's better to be in a state of sub-maximal near constant contraction, or an alternating, higher level contract-relax. In the former the lactate continues to build through the hard section, in the latter the lactate can be partially flushed between holds.
Part of the point I was making is that endurance is seen by most climbers as being solely a physiological attribute. Whereas IMO it's as much a skill as anything else eg: learning what pace to climb at on different terrain, how to tolerate lactic acid, how to use the minimum force to hold on, and how and when to try to recover on marginal rests.

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