/ Need help with endurance training

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Stone_donkey - on 04 Oct 2012
I've read bits on ARC, IRC(?), AeroCap, AnCap and am getting more confused by the hour. Currently onsighting ~6a, redpointing/TRing no harder than 6b+ and looking for a first foray into periodised training. Planning 1 month endurance then 1 month speed/power and alternating thereon in. No definite timeframe or fixed goals, other than to improve to higher 6's. Only have access to a poor bouldering wall so all training will need to be on a lead/ TR wall (but understand this may be more of an issue when it comes to the strength/power phase than the endurance one, so I'll come back here and ask about that in a month's time).
Has anyone got some suggestions for endurance training - it's not clear to me whether I should be working towards lots of mileage on routes that give some 'effort' but no pump (I think this is the basis of ARC), or whether I should be working laps on harder routes to get a pump and keep climbing through it, or both. If both, on the same night or dofferent sessions? Any words of wisdom from the training experts out there?
Ramblin dave - on 04 Oct 2012
In reply to Stone_donkey:

I'm in a similar boat trying to get my head around different sorts of training. I've found that The Self Coached Climber has about the best explanation of this stuff for getting an intuitive grasp of why there are all these different exercises.

The basic idea is that you've got an aerobic energy system and an anaerobic energy system. The aerobic system can't pull very hard but can keep going all day, whereas the anaerobic system can pull hard but runs out of welly fairly quickly (ie you get pumped). So the things that you can do to increase endurance are:
* increase the capacity to pull hard with the aerobic system without breaking into your anaerobic reserves (so you can yomp up miles of easy stuff and still be fresh for the crux) - you do this by ARCing, ie climbing easy stuff continuously (literally, ie no breaks at all) for half an hour
* increase the endurance of the anaerobic system (so you can keep going harder for longer on sustained bits) - you do this by 'interval' training of some sort, ie do about 4-6 sequences of about 20-40 moves with 2-3 minute rests in between, at a difficulty level that leaves you pumped solid at the end of the set.

I'm at about your level, and frankly I don't find much stuff is easy enough to ARC on, so I tend to focus on the latter.

I think that learning to rest effectively and climb efficiently is a big part of your effective endurance as well, although I'm fairly crap at that.
conorcussell - on 04 Oct 2012
In reply to Stone_donkey: If i were you i'd just go and do 4x4's. Same grade route x4 without stopping - rest while your partner climbs his 4 and then repeat a total of 4 times. Start at 4+/5. Do this 3 times a week. Don't get too bogged down in the details about ARC etc. Just go and climb lots and get pumped.
Ciro - on 04 Oct 2012
In reply to Stone_donkey:

As Rambling Dave alluded to, if you're climbing low 6s (and you're not overweight*) you're likely to get much more benefit from a high volume of climbing concentrating on technique and tactics - letting your strength, stamina and endurance improve as a by-product of moving onto harder routes.

First and foremost, are you completely relaxed when you're climbing or do you fear falling? If you're in any way nervous you'll overgrip and waste yourself much quicker than you have to.

If (or once) the fear of falling is out of the way, learning to climb more efficiently will help you avoid crossing the anearobic threshold in the first place, and learning to rest and de-pump on the route (and climbing regularly that way) will improve your ability to work for short spells within the anaerobic range, and help increase your anaerobic threshold.

Also, although localised forearm fitness is important, general aerobic fitness is often overlooked - a bit of endurance training in the pool, on a bike, or out running can help a lot. (don't do power training on the bike though, unless you want to carry a few extra kilos of leg muscle up with you!)

* If you are overweight, sorting that out will likely work much better than trying to get strong enough to compensate, with all the added benefits.
Jonas Wiklund - on 04 Oct 2012
In reply to Stone_donkey: A "wave periodisation plan" (i.e. alternating strength endurance and strength) sounds like a good idea! Do one session / week of strength work during the endurance phase, and one session / week of endurance during the strength phase.

For all training it is important that you have some form of measuring of progress.

For long strength endurance keep the difficult level, i.e. route grade, and increase the volume, i.e. total number of moves, over time. When you can do 2000 moves / session increase difficulty.

For short strength endurance keep the volume constant and increase difficulty over time.

For strength work do some hard redpoints. Harder than you think you can do. Do some auxiliary strength work without gaining weight (if you are not too skinny).
Stone_donkey - on 04 Oct 2012
In reply to conorcussell: I seriously doubt I can climb a 12m route of grade 4 or above 16 times - does this only work if I'm failing on the last set (thought I read somewhere that you had to be getting close to failing right at the end or the routes were too hard) or should I justtry and do as many as I can?
Jon Stewart - on 04 Oct 2012
In reply to Jonas Wiklund:
> (In reply to Stone_donkey) A "wave periodisation plan" (i.e. alternating strength endurance and strength) sounds like a good idea!

I'm not so sure - I'd suggest the most efficient way to get better would be concentrate on technique (drills like 'silent feet', downclimbing, etc) until 6a feels easy. Even if the bouldering wall's rubbish, I'd still do lots of that too, as doing moves at your limit means you need good body position etc to do a single move - it can't be avoided/substituted as it can on routes.

I think periodized training is only useful once you've got good technique, otherwise you overcome bad technique by hanging on longer, lanking through moves, burling your way out of trouble etc. Good footwork is an asset that you use for ever, and just gets better and better with more experience. The best time to develop it is straight away. Fitness comes and goes depending on how much you're going to the wall. If you spend 6 months working on technique, that can make you into a far better climber, forever. If you focus on the physical, you might make gains but in the long run they may not amount to much.

I understand that all climbing improves your technique, but doing laps pm easy routes is nowhere near as efficient at developing technique as bouldering and specific drills, IME.
AJM - on 04 Oct 2012
In reply to Stone_donkey:

A month sounds like a very short time to train strength, you will probably make some neurological gains but not as many muscular gains. If you've been reading about ancap etc then you should have come across the adaption times, in particular the fact that basically none of them are as short as 4 weeks. I have found for me that anything up to 2 months of power endurance works well (the aeropower stuff suggests 8 weeks or so adaption time), 4 is the minimum I would contemplate and only if I were very short of time. For basic endurance, I think 8 weeks is also the stated adaption time, and of course for ancap it's about 16 weeks.

For basic endurance training I can't recommend aerocap enough - climbing round and round, "pumped but in control", for anything from 10 minutes upwards. Easier to get the intensity than for ARC since you can always stop and shake. 4 sets of 4 routes at the wall is a decent way of doing this if you really do only have a lead wall really to train on. Keep the routes as varied as you're able in order to not stagnate into one route you know far too well.

For power endurance, 2 obvious approaches which would hit different ends of the power endurance spectrum would be to try and redpoint harder routes, hitting the P end of power endurance, and doing a set of 4-6 routes, with about 2 minute rest between each route (roughly at your onsight grade I tend to find, but you should know the route well), until you peel off the wall pumped sold and unable to make a fist (the E end of power endurance).
Stone_donkey - on 04 Oct 2012
In reply to AJM: I got the intervals from here http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=3804 - these are only 2 weeks periods which I thought were a bit short based on what else I'd read so I doubled them. Still too short?
AJM - on 04 Oct 2012
In reply to Stone_donkey:

Based on the timings on p6 (page not slide) of here: http://ukbouldering.com/media/pdf/principlestraining.pdf they could be longer...
Calder - on 04 Oct 2012
In reply to Stone_donkey:

Depends what you read. Eric Horst's books recommend 4 weeks endurance, 3 weeks strength, 2 weeks power endurance, 1 week rest. This is based on the idea that you need to vary your training regularly to reduce risk of injury, and that all these elements will add up to make a fit and strong body.

One suggestion for endurance training is to do intervals of 3-6 mins of continuous climbing followed by 3-6 mins rest, this should be on routes 1-3 french grades below your onsight limit - ie. aerobic endurance, not anaerobic, and as such you shouldn't be getting pumped (although you should feel 'worked'.

I've only recenstly started trying this out so can't give you any proper feedback yet....
Stone_donkey - on 05 Oct 2012
In reply to Calder: Let me know how you get on! I think Plan A will be to see just how many times I can climb a route a couple of grades below my onsight limit (so that'll be 5 then) - if as I suspect I can't do it 16 times or even close then the 4x4's may be a distant dream...
Ramblin dave - on 05 Oct 2012
In reply to Stone_donkey:
I'm not sure, but I think the idea is to start by adjusting the difficulty down until you can just do the number of repetitions, rather than adjusting the number of repetitions down until you can do the difficulty, if you see what I mean.

I might be dead wrong, though...
Calder - on 05 Oct 2012
In reply to Stone_donkey:
> (In reply to Calder) Let me know how you get on! I think Plan A will be to see just how many times I can climb a route a couple of grades below my onsight limit (so that'll be 5 then) - if as I suspect I can't do it 16 times or even close then the 4x4's may be a distant dream...

You do realise you're supposed to rest after each set of 4?!

I've done the endurance part, and basically feel like I have a really good base of fitness. Just lacking a bit of strength when the holds get really small or I need to do something powerful, but I'm hoping that will come.
Stone_donkey - on 09 Oct 2012
In reply to Stone_donkey: Had a week to work on this now - first session (bouldering) spent traversing, traversing and more traversing. Quite a good forearm pump but boy is it boring...
Second session on the lead/TR wall. Did up-down-up on a 5 (led, downclimbed, TR'd back up without coming to the ground) - hard, work, then clip-dropped another 5 (overhanging), then led 2 x 6a, attempted downclimb (failed), lowered to first holds then re-climbed on TR, then returned to the first route and led/downclimb/TR/downclimb. I learned a couple of things - (1) I'm crap at dowwnclimbing and need to work on this (would be a useful trad skill too), (2) Don't have a forearm pump today but certainly feel it in my hands - sign that usually I don't climb long or hard enough since usually I have no after effects. So I'm planning to continue this - it's making me work harder than when I normally come down to the wall and 'do a few routes'. Thursday's session is going to be a first attempt at 4x4's, with at least one clip-drop thrown in as I want to do those every time i climb.
RockSteady on 09 Oct 2012
In reply to Stone_donkey:

I thought these articles by Robbie Phillips gave a good sketch of how to get better at lots of different levels, including at around 6a-6b+.


At the bottom he gives a detailed training plan. Worth checking out.
Stone_donkey - on 09 Oct 2012
In reply to RockSteady: Yup, that's the post I referred to above (about 1/2 way up the thread). But it's 2 weeks of endurance then 2 weeks of strength/power and I'm not sure if that's long enough for me as I can only get 2 sessions in per week. But that's where I got the up-down-up idea from.

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