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rob1082


Feb 1, 2013, 3:40 AM
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endurance training
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HI i am trying to get better at climbing and was wondering what some of the best ways to improve my endurance are.


lena_chita
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Feb 1, 2013, 4:21 AM
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rob1082 wrote:
HI i am trying to get better at climbing and was wondering what some of the best ways to improve my endurance are.


ARC traversing/laps.

Get your hands on Self-Coached Climber book and read.


rob1082


Feb 1, 2013, 4:36 AM
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ok thanks alot and would some running and cardio help?


viciado


Feb 1, 2013, 4:45 AM
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Re: [rob1082] endurance training [In reply to]
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While cardio (running or whatever) will likely give you general health benefits and contribute to reducing recovery time, climbing specific exercises will most directly affect your endurance. +1 on the SCC book as it responds directly to your question both technically and practically.


saint_john


Feb 1, 2013, 8:07 AM
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rob1082 wrote:
HI i am trying to get better at climbing and was wondering what some of the best ways to improve my endurance are.

Downclimb and do laps on routes that are fairly easy for you.


olderic


Feb 1, 2013, 8:15 AM
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Re: [saint_john] endurance training [In reply to]
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saint_john wrote:
rob1082 wrote:
HI i am trying to get better at climbing and was wondering what some of the best ways to improve my endurance are.

Downclimb and do laps on routes that are fairly easy for you.


And then come up with a fancy acronym to describe it and write a book about it. Use the pen-name "CaptainObvious". Make a million $$$...


redlude97


Feb 1, 2013, 10:03 AM
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aerobic or anaerobic endurance?


crackmeup


Feb 1, 2013, 12:13 PM
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rob1082 wrote:
HI i am trying to get better at climbing and was wondering what some of the best ways to improve my endurance are.

Endurance is a bit generic. Do you get pumped in the middle of a long route where the moves don't vary much in difficulty? Do you get tired after only a few routes? It would be helpful for you to describe the scenario in which you feel the lack of endurance. Others mentioned the Self-Coached Climber, which addresses all of the above.

For example, you may be climbing too slowly or with inefficient technique. If that is the case, you might see a very quick improvement by practicing some of the exercises in the book. If your technique is decent and you're already relatively efficient, you might benefit from more volume and better resting between routes. If the problem is that you're getting pumped during a specific route, you may need to work on power endurance.


kferg21


Feb 3, 2013, 2:48 AM
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I know my technique is fairly poor as I am new to this sport. Is there any books or videos that you would recommend to help improve my technique?


rob1082


Feb 3, 2013, 6:51 AM
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the book that was said at the start of this post will help i think. i have just ordered it =)


Partner camhead


Feb 3, 2013, 7:58 AM
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All good advice here. Crackmeup was right on when he said that in climbing, there are several types of "endurance" that you might be talking about. It would help if we knew what your climbing level and goals are, and what is challenging you right now as you try to meet those goals. Anyway...

Pure cardio endurance, the stuff that you can train by running or cycling, does not have a lot of direct applications to climbing unless you are planning on big alpine/mountaineering routes, or big walls in a day. For single pitch climbing, or anything in which you plan on increasing the difficulty of MOVES, cardio fitness will probably not have a direct benefit (unless you use it to lose some weight, or make steep approaches easier).

In fact, this may be esoteric, but some elite sport climbers actually go out of their way to NOT do too much cardio, since it can make your body too tired for more sport-specific training, and even add un-needed muscle mass to your legs (ok, I only know one climber who fixates on that, but he's a badass).

When most climbers want "endurance," they mean they want to get better at dealing with the pump in their forearms, and to able to do moderately difficult moves while pumped. Running or cycling won't really train this too efficiently; I know plenty of solid 5.13 endurance climbers who are smokers, and get winded on the approach trail to the Motherlode.

To train single pitch endurance, focus on a lot of laps and downclimbs, as others have said upthread. This is called ARCing, and for the life of me I cannot remember what it stands for. Anyway, get used to moving with a MILD pump on, practice staying on the wall for 15-20 minutes at a time, and work on recovering and depumping while hanging on big jug holds. For ARCing, if you are a solid 5.11 climber, you should probably never do moves that are harder than 5.9+.

At the same time, work on technique more, learning every trick in the book to get your weight off of your forearms and fingers (stems, kneebars, even handjams).

Finally, when you get a higher threshold for managing pump, think about working on power-endurance, which in my view is what most intermediate and advanced climbers mean when they say endurance. This means simply having the energy reserves to get tired and pumped, but still be able to pull of a hard-ish move (say, if you are a v5 climber, you should work on doing v2 moves under a full pump). You can train this by doing 4x4s, or interspersing boulder problems into your ARC laps without leaving the wall.

Ok, that was way too long. Good luck!


rob1082


Feb 3, 2013, 8:26 AM
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hi thanks alot for the help. the problem i am having is i climb for a bit then my arms burn so much that i cant climb any more. i have ordered this book people have said about and i will start doing more laps on the wall.

thanks again.


Syd


Feb 3, 2013, 12:03 PM
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Head stuff, ie relaxation, must have a lot to do with endurance. I remember my first indoor comp ... best score of 10 climbs ... easy eh. ? A couple of warm ups, then into the hard stuff. By the time I was half way through, I couldn't even climb easy routes, I was so ridiculously pumped. Without being aware of it, I was just over gripping through excitement (not that I even felt excited).


bcrigby


Feb 9, 2013, 8:22 AM
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Re: [Syd] endurance training [In reply to]
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When you're stressed out, performance will definitely suffer, even beyond over-gripping. Stress increases the release of epinephrine which increases the body's breakdown of glycogen to supply energy. More glycogen breakdown means more free hydrogen ions being released which contribute to the pump (and burning sensation) faster. If you can stay calm on the wall, your body will only use as much glycogen as it needs and you won't pump out as fast.

In slightly longer terms, staying calm will also lower cortisol release, which will decrease how much muscle your body breaks down over a session and prevent you from fatiguing as fast so you can climb for longer (not as in a single climb on the wall, but as in more climbs throughout the day before you get wiped out).

Remember to breathe!


jt512


Feb 9, 2013, 11:53 AM
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Re: [kferg21] endurance training [In reply to]
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kferg21 wrote:
I know my technique is fairly poor as I am new to this sport. Is there any books or videos that you would recommend to help improve my technique?

The book/DVD combo The Self-Coached Climber is basically the definitive text on the subject.

Jay


Syd


Feb 9, 2013, 1:16 PM
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Interestingly I didn't feel at all stressed ... I was just in the comp for fun. Another young hot shot friend only made 5 routes before he was so pumped before he had to drop out.

Having to restart a climb in the event of a fall added to over-gripping.


bcrigby


Feb 9, 2013, 2:33 PM
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Well it's just one aspect to consider on the emotional side of climbing and comps! It's not to say other factors can't also play equally large or even larger roles in getting pumped fast. Forgetting to breathe or breathing too little will make your bicarbonate buffering system less effective, at least for parts that require less effort, and increase pump out rate because you have nothing to buffer the excess hydrogen ion release with.

If you start a comp with less-than-ideal glycogen levels (i.e., maximal), then your body will need to rely more heavily on blood glucose created through gluconeogenesis to fuel high-intensity sections, which will cause more rapid pump outs as well. Glycogen creates 3 ATP per molecule anaerobically while blood glucose can only create 2 ATP, so in a theoretical sense you'll only experience 66% as much hydrogen ion build up if you have enough glycogen (because you need to oxidize less total glucose and thus produce less total free hydrogen ions). Of course, nobody uses just a single substrate at any given time--but the scales are definitely favored for those who have enough glycogen to begin with as they will use less blood glucose naturally.


Syd


Feb 9, 2013, 2:51 PM
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"Stress increases the release of epinephrine which increases the body's breakdown of glycogen to supply energy."
"If you start a comp with less-than-ideal glycogen levels (i.e., maximal), then your body will need to rely more heavily on blood glucose"

These sound somewhat contradictory ?
How are glycogen levels maximised ?


bcrigby


Feb 9, 2013, 3:11 PM
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Re: [Syd] endurance training [In reply to]
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Sorry, I should clarify it all into a single statement so it makes more sense!

Glycogen is superior to blood glucose as an energy source for anaerobic exercise, and normally our body will only release as much as is necessary to supply our body with the energy it needs. At some point, though, our muscles get overwhelmed with excess free hydrogen ions and cease to function properly, causing the pump and fatigue. Ideally, this happens as slowly as possible because our body is only using the glycogen that it absolutely needs to.

When we get stressed, our body pumps out epinephrine which signals to the rest of the body "Hey! We need a lot more energy here!" Maybe you saw a tiger and need to outrun it or perhaps mid-climb your hold flaked off and you nearly take a fall. In either case, your body's response is to release as much fast energy as possible so that you can run as quick as you can or hold on with your other hand with all your might. The consequence, however, is that your body still has to pay the biochemical price of releasing all this energy, which is hydrogen ion build-up.

When the stress isn't of the momentary but intense form, it will have a corrosive effect by encouraging your body to release more energy than it actually needs. As a result, you're only increasing your rate of hydrogen ion release without actually translating it into a performance benefit. It's one thing if all that energy goes into gripping something equally as hard as you need to prevent a fall or get through a dynamic crux, but if you're only moving through a section you would normally climb with no problem then you're creating a condition where you'll pump out faster than you should.

So burning glycogen is way better than burning blood glucose, but burning too much glycogen is still bad--you want your body to be as efficient as possible, and keeping your stress under control helps it do that!


Syd


Feb 9, 2013, 7:03 PM
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Thanks bc ... and how to maximise glycogen ? "If you start a comp with less-than-ideal glycogen levels (i.e., maximal) "


bcrigby


Feb 9, 2013, 7:56 PM
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Assuming your diet has a relatively normal amount of carbs in it (at least 45%, no more than 65% for climbing), the best way to make sure your glycogen is replenished after each training session is to consume around .5 grams carbs per lb of body weight within the first half hour. Replenishing your glycogen stores after training is the first key to ensuring they are optimal for a comp, because right after exercise your body is keen to store glucose as glycogen. As a side note, you'll also recover faster so you can train more if you make sure you keep glycogen stocked.

Take a day off before the comp to make sure your muscles have every opportunity to be fully stocked in glycogen--probably a good idea anyway as your body can rest and training the day before generally increases the stress associated with competing. On the day of, make sure you're awake at least two hours before you compete so you can have a light breakfast to restore the liver glycogen which was depleted overnight. Avoid slow-digesting foods like fiber and fatty meats as you want your stomach to be more or less empty by the time you compete.

About an hour before competing, you can sip slowly on drinks with small amounts of carbs (like 6-8%, approximately 60 to 80 grams carbs in a liter of water). Pure glucose or glucose-only complex carbs like dextrose or maltodextrin are best because fructose can cause GI upset when consumed in large amounts. Keep sipping drinks like this over the course of the comp because it will supplement your energy sources and reduce your reliance on glycogen over the course of the day.

Here it's a little counterintuitive, perhaps, but ideally you want your body to have access to plenty of blood glucose during the comp. Even though it might contribute slightly more to the pump, it will also save your glycogen stores for when you really need them--the end. When your glycogen stores start being depleted, fatigue sets in, so if you can maintain them until the very end you'll have a huge advantage over anyone who isn't also maintaining them.

Your body can use around 60 g blood glucose per hour, so this is a good amount to consume over an hour period of time (frequent, small sips). If you're not sweating a lot, you might want to concentrate more glucose in the solution so you don't over-hydrate (up to an 8% solution instead of 6% and you drink less per hour). It's hard to say exactly how much water you need per hour because it depends a lot on how much you sweat! No more than a liter per hour, though, unless it's exceptionally hot.

With all this in mind, you can keep your glycogen high right until the very end and fight at least one source of fatigue (glycogen depletion). Actually, glycogen depletion is the cause of the bonk, so do all you can to keep it high and you'll perform better late into a comp when it's so crucial!


Syd


Feb 10, 2013, 1:04 AM
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Excellent. Thanks bc.

How about salt ... or Mg rather than Na ? Apparently Mg is a muscle relaxant, which doesn't sound too helpful for climbing ? Is it useful to take Mg during climbing ? It does seem to help reduce cramping afterwards, especially after climbing on stinking hot days.


bcrigby


Feb 10, 2013, 11:38 AM
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Sodium is good to add if you are sweating a lot, or even in general during exercise. It will keep your blood volume high (because more water is added to the blood to keep sodium concentrations within the biological range) which ensures better blood flow and nutrient delivery. I use about 1/8 tsp per liter, but again if you're a copious sweater, you may need more (up to 1/4 tsp per liter).

I'm inclined to believe that most climbers are probably pretty good with magnesium, especially if they climb inside frequently. I know my gym has copious amounts of chalk dust in the air, and climbing chalk is magnesium carbonate, so chances are good that we get significant amounts just from the air. People who work in an environment where there is a lot of elemental dust in the air oftentimes get overdose-related diseases from those elements (like selenium dust causing selenium toxicity, an otherwise very rare condition), and I can't think of a reason why magnesium would be any different. So if you climb inside often you're probably good on Mg.

Top theory behind cramping currently is sodium (not potassium anymore), though there is still a lot of uncertainty and probably a strong genetic factor which has not been accounted for. If you find yourself cramping, you might need to include extra sodium while climbing, but start with lower amounts like 1/8 tsp per liter.


Syd


Feb 10, 2013, 6:33 PM
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Very interesting. Tanks bc.

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