/ Trad climbing endurance

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Mike Nolan - on 03 Jul 2012
I've always struggled quite a lot with my endurance, specifically on steeper trad routes when I'm hanging around placing gear, but also on indoor routes where I eventually can't hold on any longer, my forearm/grip strength just runs out - I seem to get pumped quite easily.

I've read about loads of different methods to improve anaerobic and aerobic endurance, but I'd appreciate suggestions from others, specifically things I can do on my own on bouldering and traversing walls. However, I'd still like to hear suggestions for things I can do with a partner.

Many thanks
Mike
Jon Stewart - on 03 Jul 2012
In reply to Mike Nolan: As a start - and I think you'll have already heard of this, a coach recommended to me 2 types of session at the wall (on routes, with belayer):

10 minutes on, 10 minutes off: climbing at low intensity (not getting pumped) as it says. For a couple of hours probably. Mostly done on top rope, fairly quickly - so about 7 laps on a route you might warm up on.

4x4s: 4 sets of repeating a route 4 times that is a few notches below your leading limit. I mainly did this leading, but sometimes leading the first time and then toproping 3x after.

I did a fair bit of both of these kinds of session over the winter, and I think it has improved my endurance on trad routes, especially the kind that are like indoor climbing (e.g. Lower Sharpnose)!

I guess that on a bouldering wall, you'd want to mimic these kinds of sessions in terms of intensity and rest/climbing pattern.

I like climbing - on 03 Jul 2012
In reply to Mike Nolan:
I like the reply from Jon Stewart which makes a lot of sense. I would also ask if you have a tendency to over grip when you are on steeper routes ? If so try and do them with less grip....
GrahamD - on 04 Jul 2012
In reply to Mike Nolan:

I know what my problem is in similar situations - its provarication ! How long do you contemplate a move for before getting on with it ?
Stone Muppet - on 04 Jul 2012
Self Coached Climber has quite an extensive discussion of different types of endurance, complete with exercises.

I'd say one of the main things is variety - endurance exercises can get boring so doing as many as possible to mix it up a bit means you are more likely to actually do the training you planned.

One of my favourite in an indoor wall is to pick a route of whatever level (below your limit), climb to the first clip (on lead), then back to the starting holds, then to the 2nd clip, back to the start, 3rd clip... etc... until you either reach the top and downclimb to the ground, or just fall off. Best to pick a line with a few harder/easier options so you can start hard but drop an intensity level or two if you get pumped too quick; the point is to keep going a long time before failure. Best also to pick a belayer who is psyched for doing the same thing so they put up with the boredom!

Another thing I like is low-ish intensity traverses of a boulder wall for about 45 minutes - take some headphones and some good tunes! Again vary the intensity - do some hard sequences so you're really pumped - then switch to easier sequences so you learn to recover while still climbing rather than sat on the floor.

Best of all, get outdoors and climb lots of trad - nothing like lacing a steep route with lots of gear to build endurance ;-)
nniff - on 04 Jul 2012
In reply to GrahamD:

Not long - on the basis that it's not going to change if I look at it longer and at my grade there's unlikely to be some ridiculous sequence.

Anyway, there's a self-fulfilling prophecy (or self-licking lollipop, if you prefer) that says 'If you can't see the moves, you're going to fall off, but if you hang around for ages working out the moves, you'll fall off because you're too tired to do the moves you've worked out'.

Best to crack on IMHO, unless there's a really good and convenient lurking spot, in which case loiter away.

Now if I were stronger, I might hold a different opinion, but playing with the cards I have. Perhaps that's one reason why I don't much care for this red point malarkey - on sight or bust for me (bar the odd fall and submission).

_MJC_ - on 04 Jul 2012
In reply to Stone Muppet:
> One of my favourite in an indoor wall is to pick a route of whatever level (below your limit), climb to the first clip (on lead), then back to the starting holds, then to the 2nd clip, back to the start, 3rd clip... etc... until you either reach the top and downclimb to the ground, or just fall off.

I really like the sound of that.
shark - on 04 Jul 2012
In reply to Mike Nolan:
> I've always struggled quite a lot with my endurance, specifically on steeper trad routes when I'm hanging around placing gear, but also on indoor routes where I eventually can't hold on any longer, my forearm/grip strength just runs out - I seem to get pumped quite easily.
>
> I've read about loads of different methods to improve anaerobic and aerobic endurance, but I'd appreciate suggestions from others, specifically things I can do on my own on bouldering and traversing walls. However, I'd still like to hear suggestions for things I can do with a partner.
>

Personally given that I have been climbing a long time I favour bouldering circuits for training endurance over routes as apart from not being dependent on a partner you have far more control over the intensity, number of moves and timing on bouldering circuits. These variables can be adjusted to train whatever type of endurance you seeking to train and given that you say you have read loads about anaerobic and aerobic endurance you will know what I mean.

There are a couple of practical points to bear in mind with circuits. Firstly if you get a partcular circuit dialled then you will start to move too fast on it. To slow yourself down count to three on each hold. Ideally get someone else to set the circuit so you dont end up setting something that already suits your strengths. Try to ensure the circuit has moves of similar difficulty without "stopper" moves.

With respect to routes 4x4's are usually pretty effective. This where you lead 4 routes in succession a level or two below where you would normally get pumped to form a set. Do 4 sets for a session usually alternating with partner who is doing the same thing. A short rope is handy as you can pull it through from the top quickly and so not have to untie between "reps".

Although old skool if you have any fingery local outside traversing walls (railway bridge walls, quarries) they are great way of getting stamina and its far nicer to be outside.


Stone Muppet - on 04 Jul 2012
In reply to _MJC_: Forgot to say, given how hard downclimbing is, it usually pays to downclimb an easier line to the one you climb on the way up, to keep a more consistent level.
jezb1 - on 04 Jul 2012
In reply to Mike Nolan: Just get out climbing bud!
Tomar - on 06 Jul 2012
In reply to jezb1: Get strong first. Boulder lots, once or twice a week top up endurance by getting pumped doing lots of routes outside, inside, circuits repeaters on a fingerboard etc. The point in getting strong is that when you're strong moves feel easier and you don't get pumped. Simples
quiffhanger - on 06 Jul 2012
In reply to Vertigo1:
> (In reply to jezb1) The point in getting strong is that when you're strong moves feel easier and you don't get pumped. Simples

To a point. I followed this advice for ages (years) and still regularly found myself bolloxed on easy trad (say, pumped on e1 when bouldering v7).

I switched my focus a lot to enduro (whilst still trying to maintain strength, admittedly), learnt how to relax & recover on hard ground (helped by having confidence I wasn't going to pump out on massive jugs) and my routes grades have shot up over the past couple of years.

It also depends on what type of climber you are - I'm naturally stronger than I am fit so focusing on that weakness has paid dividends.

To the OP: just get as much volume in as you can, try to replicating your goals (so if long steep trad, try and do long steep indoor too) and concentrate on getting as pumped-out as you can as often as you can. I dont think it's that hard until you're really trying to squeeze out the last little bit of performance. Time is the real killer: you've got to climb a lot.
AJM - on 06 Jul 2012
In reply to quiffhanger:

There's a difference in how you get strong though which makes a big difference - if you gain a grade by making improvements in maximum strength then it translates better I think than if you get stronger by simply learning to get your "achievable strength" nearer to your maximum - recruitment style training to lower golgi inhibition or whatever it is, or those fast gains you make at the start of a boulder/fingerboard/campus phase of training improves your max bouldering grade, but you'll still get pumped on much the same moves because you haven't done anything except teach your brain it can pull harder than it thought, which won't help fight pump.
shark - on 06 Jul 2012
In reply to AJM:

Put another way the key difference in terms of the cross over to endurance is whether the strength gains are recruitment (neural) or from increasing muscle mass (hypertrophy). Hypertrophy helps more provided it is accompanied by commensurate cappillarity gains which you get from endurance training.

All explained here:

http://www.theclimbingdepot.co.uk/blogs/training/blog-5-endurance-part-2

ads.ukclimbing.com
AJM - on 06 Jul 2012
In reply to shark:

Exactly it, yes.

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