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Capilarity Training and.. Bouldering ??
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tomma


Jan 7, 2004, 6:25 AM
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Capilarity Training and.. Bouldering ??
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I was wondering how capilarity training will influence my bouldering.

For the last year I've only bouldered, and now I'm thinking of coming back to route and alpine climbing next spring and summer. I've tried doing some longer routes in a gym (it's to cold to climb outiside, I still boulder though) and I lack stamina for completing longer pieces (though I find individual moves or sequences fairly easy). This is no big surprise and I've decided to do some endurance training, starting with capilarity (easy climbing for 30-45min) - I know it works as I used to do it some years ago. The only 'unknown' is: what impact will it have on my bouldering?? I still have a few problems to send this winter (sandstone friction is best now), and I generally believe bouldering is good for everything;-).


Partner j_ung


Jan 7, 2004, 7:21 AM
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I'm not a sports doctor, though I often spray like I wish am. ARC to warm up before you get down to the serious bouldering, or just do it on off days and I don't think it will have any negative affect on your projects. Again, I ain't no expert.


bernard


Jan 7, 2004, 7:54 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.


rockprodigy


Jan 7, 2004, 8:07 AM
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In reply to:
Is "capillarity" really a word to describe climbing training physics?

Yes. If you don't know what we're talking about, keep to yourself.

I don't think ARC training will hamper your bouldering too much. I always do 15-20 minutes of ARC before and after I boulder. However, any endurance training (including ARC) should theoretically reduce your maximum recruitment/power to some degree. I think for ARC training, that degree would be very small. If you were doing power-endurance training, the effect would be much greater.

If you end up doing more route climbing, I think your bouldering power will fall off...that's just the price you pay.


jt512


Jan 7, 2004, 8:10 AM
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I'm not a sports doctor, though I often spray like I wish am. ARC to warm up...

Indeed. What does "ARC" stand for?

-Jay


jv


Jan 7, 2004, 8:54 AM
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In reply to:
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.

From Performance Rock Climbing under Capillarity: "When capillaries frequently accommodate the extra quantities and pressures of blood that accompany local endurance work, they widen and multiply to adapt to the needs of exercise. The result can be literally miles of new blood-supply networks infiltrating your muscles. The new, denser capillary networks deliver oxygen and remove lactic acid much more quickly than those in untrained muscles, enabling muscles to restore consumed energy faster. As a result you can climb harder routes without getting pumped, and you can recover faster when you do get pumped."

So yeah, you're right: capillarity is not a training method. The training advocated to increase capillarity is ARC.

ARC stands for aerobic energy restoration and capillarity, again according to Goddard and Neumann. The theory is to train for at least 30 minutes at a pace that does not create a pump. You want to maintain a low level of activity, about 30 percent of maximum strength, so that you feel like you could climb all day without getting pumped. This is supposed to increase capillarity by keeping the capillary beds open (not shut as when you are pumped) while increasing demand for blood flow.

JV


unabonger


Jan 7, 2004, 9:18 AM
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Tendons get strong with low intensity repetition--the opposite of muscular tissue, right?

So ARCing should help injury-proof your tendons.

The EuroBonger


rockprodigy


Jan 7, 2004, 10:22 AM
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In reply to:
ARC stands for aerobic energy restoration and capillarity, again according to Goddard and Neumann. The theory is to train for at least 30 minutes at a pace that does not create a pump.

How sure are you about that? I thought the goal was to "maintain a light pump". I've been doing it that way for about 6-7 years.


rockprodigy


Jan 7, 2004, 10:32 AM
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Here's the wording from the book:

"The optimal load for developing [ARC] is around 30% of maximum strength. At this intensity you should feel a very mild but not painful pump that you can climb with indefinitely....

"When you're finished your arms should feel used, warm, and full of blood, but not tight or hard. They should feel almost the same near the end of the workout as they did ten minutes into it."

I think if you're not getting any pump at all, then you're probably not getting any physical benefit besides practicing technique.


Partner j_ung


Jan 7, 2004, 11:05 AM
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In reply to:
In reply to:
I'm not a sports doctor, though I often spray like I wish am. ARC to warm up...

Indeed. What does "ARC" stand for?

-Jay

See jv's post below my first.


wyomingclimber


Jan 7, 2004, 11:55 AM
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The conventional wisdom is that capillarity training will reduce max power, through a reduction in maximal recruitment. This makes sense if you think about it--the mind is essentially putting an inhibitor on the muscles to increase endurance. I don't think there are any studies on this, but my experience has been that recruitment can be easily maintained through bouldering. Extensive ARC training can reverse hypertrophy in a highly trained muscle, but hypertrophy tends not to be all that extensive in climbers anyway.

Keep in mind that high levels of capillarity will help endurance only from the standpoint of improving your ability to shake. Raising your aerobic floor (oddly) does not improve your abililty to do multiple reasonably hard moves (ie the abilities don't sum.) For this you need to train your anaerobic energy production system (generally called power-endurance training.)

Good luck.


bernard


Jan 7, 2004, 1:31 PM
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Mr. Prodigy.....exactly my point.

Not that i don't know what i'm talking about.....but that somebody has hijacked this word "capillarity" for an inappropriate use......and everybody else has gone along on the ride

I've looked in exercise physiology references and Merriam-Webster's.......no "capillarity"......not in describing what is being described here, "Vascularity", yes. With all respect, i'm not sure if 'Performance Rock Climbing' is considered a medical or physiology reference.


jv


Jan 7, 2004, 1:46 PM
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In reply to:
I thought the goal was to "maintain a light pump". I've been doing it that way for about 6-7 years.

I think you're overdoing it. 45 minutes a session ought to be enough.

JV


wyomingclimber


Jan 7, 2004, 2:28 PM
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Bernard:

I know you're waiting for someone to admit this, so here you go. You are right. Capillarity is used here in a somewhat unothodox way (it generally refers to suface interactions.)

However, vascularity is too general a word to use--it can refer to blood, arteries, lymph, etc.

Neumann is refering to training which increases capillary bed density and has hijacked the word 'capillarity' for want of a better one. He is not out too far on a limb, though. If you google 'bicycle capillarity' you will get a reference to a JAP article. And that's pretty authoritative in my mind...

km


rockprodigy


Jan 8, 2004, 5:14 PM
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In reply to:
With all respect, i'm not sure if 'Performance Rock Climbing' is considered a medical or physiology reference.

In terms of Climbing physiology and training, it is somewhat of a bible.

You could probably find 10's of words in that book that are "made up". But, then, if you ever write a "first-of-it's-kind" book on a subject, you are free to make up words as you like. That is how words are defined. The word "capillarity" is very meaningful to students of climbing physiology.

I stand by my original statement. By questioning the original post's diction, rather than addressing the question, you have asserted your ignorance of this topic.


curt


Jan 8, 2004, 5:25 PM
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In reply to:
In reply to:
With all respect, i'm not sure if 'Performance Rock Climbing' is considered a medical or physiology reference.

I stand by my original statement. By questioning the original post's diction, rather than addressing the question, you have asserted your ignorance of this topic.

What is wrong with being ignorant about something, if you are asking a question to learn about something that you don't know?

Curt


rockprodigy


Jan 8, 2004, 5:34 PM
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I never said there was anything wrong with being ignorant.

As you may recall, he asked about the use of the word, I answered his question, and he has since proceeded to argue with all of us about it.

Here's a word for you: Homonym


jv


Jan 8, 2004, 9:40 PM
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In reply to:
Here's a word for you: Homonym

I confess, this has me stumped. What is the homonym you are referring to in this discussion?

JV


tomma


Jan 9, 2004, 1:57 AM
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All right,
Neil Gresham (planetFear.com) calls it 'SACC' training (Specific Aerobic Capacity & Capilliarity). To those of You who've got my point - many thanks.

Now, some people advise to do it as a warmdown, e.g. after a bouldering session.
Will it not prevent super-compensation, a desireable effect of any high-intensity workout?


rockprodigy


Jan 13, 2004, 8:59 PM
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Ahh...very interesting. I was a competitive distance runner for about 8 years...I even ran in college. I have also tried to compare ARCing to what we would call "base-mileage" running, as in, every training season started with 6-8 weeks of high mileage, low intensity distance running.

I always figured that is where they derived the concept of ARC from. As a runner, at the end of one of those runs, your legs always felt tired, you always got your heart rate up, and got a sweat going.

The problem I've had with ARCing, is that if the intensity is so low that I'm not getting pumped, then I'm not breaking a sweat, raising my heart rate, or taxing my forearms. I would do 3 30 minute sets and not feel the slightest bit tired at the end...just bored. I decided there is little benefit in that.

I believe I read in their book that the goal is to increase the size of the capillaries by forcing blood into them with higher blood pressure. Therefore, if you're not raising your heart rate, I would argue that you're not increasing the blood pressure and therefore, not increasing the capillarity, right?

So, I decided that you have to work hard enough that your heart starts pumping, and (for me) that means barely breaking a sweat. Maybe the best way to regulate it would be with a heart rate monitor? I totally agree that you often climb too hard, get pumped, then try to rest. I always try to be very careful about that and keep even intensity, but it takes a lot of concentration. If my thoughts wander, I tend to end up doing "too easy" terrain.

The reason it is so easy to do in running is that it is so repetitive. It's easy to set a certain pace and maintain it. In climbing, however, every new hold is like a new "pace", or surging up a hill. If you had one of those treadmill walls with all the same holds on it, you could set a certain angle and achieve perfect ARC, but you would get none of the technique benefits.

I have always struggled with this phase of the training cycle. (never had a problem figuring out how to campus!) It's ironic that the ARC phase takes up the largest percentage of the training cycle, yet is the least known and least discussed in training books. Eric Horst doesn't talk about it at all even though it is the "4" out of his "4-3-2-1" training cycle. He calls it "climbing-endurance" and the only specific direction is "...not to climb maximally." (pg 111 of Training for Climbing") Well that leaves a large margin for error!

I would be very interested to hear other opinions on how ARC should be accomplished....


wyomingclimber


Jan 14, 2004, 11:35 AM
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This is a really interesting subject. Like Rockprodigy, I've done a lot of thinking about this because I'm involved in endurance sports too--probably the most ARC intensive sport on the planet: Bike racing.

Intensity must be low. If you're getting a pump (and thus feel like you're actually doing something) you are taxing the anearobic energy production systems (in this case glycolysis.) Think about biking or running. In an aerobic HR zone, you really don't feel much in your legs at all. You feel like you're doing something because your HR is up and you're breathing a bit. And after a long run or ride your muscles end up just feeling kind of noodley and not really fried (sorry about the food analogies, I haven't had lunch yet.)

There is no way to monitor this in a climbing setting. A huge factor in HR is the efficiency of the exercise (ie the number of muscles it brings into play.) Think of the enormous differences in local muscle effort between climbing and XC skiing to create a specific heart rate.

During a typical contraction resulting from grabbing a hold, your capillaries are completely pinched shut anyway, creating little training stimulus (to increase size or number) until you let go. So ideally, you would be doing long series of moves so easy they leave capillaries open--something that's tricky to do in the uncontrolled environment of climbing, but really easy on a bike.

The idea of lactate threshold is also very different. In endurance sports it is a systemic phenomenon--your muscles produce lactate in the exact amount it can be processed by organs, unused muscles, etc. In climbing, it is much more an issue of moving the lactate out of the forearms than the fact that it can't be consumed and converted systemically.

The other weird thing about local aerobic capacity is that it doesn't work directly with anaerobic capacity to increase your overall ability. For instance. Let's say you can maintain 300 watts on a bike for 1 hour and 900 watts in a 30 second sprint. If you do a bunch of LSD (ARC) training and raise your 1 hour power output to 400 watts, you will not see a corresponding increase in your sprint. In fact, you might even lose a few watts.

So by increasing aerobic capacity, you won't improve your ability to do back to back hard moves. What you will improve is your ability to recover between those moves and on rests.

Wow, that was a very long and geeky post. Sorry...


rockprodigy


Jan 14, 2004, 1:26 PM
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OK, I can see now why I shouldn't be elevating my heart rate too much. It makes sense that the forearm muscles are so small compared to the muscles used running.

I still don't know if I can achieve the desired "fatigued" feeling at the end of the workout without ever getting even slightly pumped. I have no problem getting bored, though.

The way I schedule a 4ish month training cycle is similar to what my running coaches would do with base mileage. For a four month cycle, I spend about the first 6-7 weeks doing strictly ARC. By the end of the ARC phase, I'm doing 4-5 sessions per week with 3x30min sets per session. Then I do 4-5 weeks of hypertrophy on the hangboard, then about 3 weeks Max recruitment on the campus board. Finally, I do the power endurance phase, which usually consists of real climbing, on the rock, attempting my projects for the season. The power endurance/peak phase usually lasts 3-4 weeks.

It seems almost ludicrous to me that I spend 35-40% of my training cycle on ARC training, which seems to have little benefit on the surface. In running we would spend that much time on our Base (LSD), but in that case I felt like it was helpful and I was making progress. ARC just doesn't seem that helpful.

I've often thought about cutting my ARC phase to about two weeks and having just a 3 month cycle. However, with running it was always pounded into our heads that "the bigger your base, the higher the peak can be". As in, the more time and effort you put into ARC, the higher your peak will be, and the longer you can sustain it.

Over the years, I have been less strict about what I define as "ARC" in order to keep my sanity. During the winter months, I figure a day of ice climbing can satisfy the ARC requirement because it's not that intense. I still aim for ARCing in the gym at least two days per week. In the summer, I'll often just go do an alpine route in the tetons, or a long multipitch route, and count that as ARC. This past summer, I didn't do hardly any ARC sessions in the gym, and had one of my most successful climbing seasons ever...not that I can attribute that success to one variable, but at least it wasn't detrimental.

It's very helpful to hear other opinions. It takes so long to build up knowledge when you are the only test subject. Keep it coming!


usmc_2tothetop


Jan 14, 2004, 4:25 PM
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Ill have to try that ARC trainning. Iam trying to make my tendons stronger for crimps. Iam 180lbs and a 5.9 climber. Iam also trying to stretch for better heel hooks. getting back to cardio hopefully will help me lose about 15-20 lbs. That way my grip will be trained at 180lbs and hopefully Ill get to 165 or so.


rockprodigy


Jan 14, 2004, 8:48 PM
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In reply to:
Ill have to try that ARC trainning. Iam 180lbs and a 5.9 climber.

I think you're the perfect candidate for it. I encourage other climbers at my gym of your skill level to do one 30 minute session at the end of every gym session.

In reply to:
I am encouraging people to look at the intensity of their ARCs in terms of grades. Is a climber able to sustain 5.7, 5.4, 5.11 in their ARCs and how is this shaping their climbing?

Here are some more data points for you:

my hardest redpoint level is 13b...during my peak phase, I was able to warm up on an 11c route that I had pretty wired, and I believe it was right around the threshold of getting pumped (however, it was a dead vertical technical route, rather than a jug haul). Now that I have completed my rest cycle, and I'm starting a new training phase, I would guess my ARC terrain is about mid 5.10. In another month or so, I should be at the end of the ARC phase, and I will probably be on about 11- territory for ARC workouts. So, in summary, when I'm in peak shape, I ARC at about mid 5.11, when I'm just starting, I ARC at about mid 5.10, after 1.5 months of ARC, I'm at about 5.11-. This all assumes I'm ARCing correctly!

In the past I have tried to ARC without getting pumped. I decided that for this spring cycle I will try to "sustain a light pump" and see if it makes any difference.


rockprodigy


Jan 16, 2004, 7:45 AM
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You are quite insightful.... I have onsighted a few 12c's in my day. I'm pretty sure I could onsight harder if I spent more time at it. As for the # of 12's in a day, I've never attempted to do lots of 12's during a sport climbing day, but on multipitch trad routes, there have been days where I was able to do as many as 5 pitches of 5.12 intermixed with other easier pitches as well.

I think you are right that I do not do enough "strict" PE. Because of my background with running, I always felt like I had pretty good endurance, and it was usually difficult moves that kept me from doing a route, so I have a tendency to emphasise strength and recruitment as opposed to endurance in my training.

I also thought of it as a way to extend the peak phase. If the peak phase is typically 3 weeks long, but you do 2-3 weeks of PE before that, I figured I could combine the two and get 5-6 weeks near my peak (within 10% of peak fitness).

Honestly, I was never very clear on what I was supposed to do during the PE phase. I wasn't sure if I should be doing PE training in the gym, or on my project, it seems I read conflicting information on that.

Thanks for the advice.

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