/ Strength/power endurance and stamina?

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mrchewy - on 26 Mar 2013
Back putting the effort in after tearing my medial ligament and a couple of finger pulleys. I'm having to wear a knee brace now, so I've not been pushing grades or anything daft until this last week. Mostly been bouldering V0 to keep ticking along and last Wednesday did 5 x V1, all in no more than two goes and a roof V2 first go. On Sunday I got on a top rope and had a good stab at 6b, better than ever to be honest but I'm utterly mullered by 9/10m high. Fine to there, no rests but I'm climbing at my limit and then it's all over. (I could work a V3 eventually last year.)

So today, I thought I'd just test my stamina, if that's the right climbing word. I did -

4 x 15 V0 problems. 12min for first set, rest 12, 11min rest 11min, 13min rest 13min and then 10min for the final set of 15. So 82 minutes to do 60 problems. Allowing for my feet to climb at least 2m up and 2m back down that makes 60m of continuous climbing per set.

I was really happy with this, as the idea is to get solid at HVS this year and tick E1 too BUT... I'm not too sure what this tells me and where do I go from here? Am I right in thinking this is strength training? And if I want to get to the top of the routes wall on a 6b (12/14m), then I need to be training power, as I'm obviously okay at strength? And if so, how do I now go about that?

Sorry if the answers staring me in the face but I've read loads and am still a little confused by the whole power/strength thing, let alone aerobic/anaerobic thing. I'm assuming I was training aerobicly today.

Cheers in advance, any help will be massively appreciated.

pork pie girl - on 26 Mar 2013
In reply to mrchewy: hiya mcchewy.. i'm no climbing training expert (at all) but from what you're describing it sounds like endurance training.. and i'm not that into the ins and outs of training for climbing.. i think mixing things up and trying really hard every time you go out is important. as well as enjoying it

i know for my grade to improve i need to make myself do problems/routes that give me opportunities to work on my power so i can manage harder (for me) individual moves .. so i climb stuff that i get spanked on ... i seem happy with failure though.. so suits me :oD

ali smith from fit club gave me some good advice re building power endurance... at first i was doing 4x4 and getting pumped towards the end of each set, but this felt very aerobic.. i was doing it wrong through... needed to do 4x4 or 3x3 on harder problems .. which didn't alllow me to get pumped as i was powered out..i only did it for a couple of weeks though (as went to spain, the came back and have been climbing at malham alot since) so no time to see any benefits.. but i enjoyed the process.. since then i've been on rock a lot and have been top roping harder routes to try and build power as well as endurance .. just started to convert this to leading .. i went back to the bouldering wall last friday and felt pretty strong in comparison to abut 4 weeks ago.. was quite surprised .. but still need to invest time on a regular basis to working problems to improve power.

ali smith and alot of the others on ukc explains training really well.. i'm sure they'll give you some sound advice

sounds like you're putting ij the mileage and time though.. and also enjoying it.. which is the main thing 8-D
Cake on 26 Mar 2013
In reply to mrchewy:
You are right that you are confused, but so am I and I reckon most people who have advice don't really understand what they are talking about. I think this is true:

Power and strength are pretty much the same thing. Power is a strength force moved through a distance (in this case a small distance).

Power-endurance is what is required for any vaguely pumpy route - sport or trad. It is anaerobic, hence the build-up of lactic acid (pump). It is a bit of power sustained over a lot of moves.

Real endurance is not really much of an inhibitor in rock-climbing (not sure inhibitor's a word). It could be needed on really long routes away from these shores.

This much I know, a lot of people get spat off routes because they are pumped (like me). If you string along a lot of boulder problems together, it can be good training for power-endurance. As you have got a lot of problems done one after the other, you probably were not at your strength limit.

However, if you are not finding you are getting pumped, my advice is to find a way to get pumped so that your power-endurance is improved.

Feel free to shout me down UKC collective
Cake on 26 Mar 2013
In reply to Cake:
Alternatively, and more simply, climb loads of HVSs of all types and you will son be able to climb an E1
mrchewy - on 26 Mar 2013
In reply to pork pie girl: You're right about enjoying it firstly - no point otherwise! Thanks.

"Just climb more" is often said but that's not been getting me to far to be honest, especially with the injuries and ops since I've been climbing. I just feel like I need some structure at the gym.
mrchewy - on 26 Mar 2013
In reply to Cake: The way I understand it is - you need power for dynamic moves and strength for static moves, maybe I've got that wrong tho and you're right that they're the same thing.

*heads spins
pork pie girl - on 26 Mar 2013
In reply to mrchewy: maybe try harder bouldering problems, sounds like you're managing the ones oyu're doing absolutely fine..

also maybe get on a 6b+ and dog it, you'll find you'll be able to start to link moves between the bolts, then get on that 6b you've been trying and moves should start to feel a bit easier.

climb more but get used to getting spanked by getting on harder stuff .. not to the point of flaring up old injuries though... and also get on stuff that youll succeed on to to help keep your mojo going. this might not work for you though.. some people need to see regular small improvements to be able to stay motivated.. depends on how you define improvement though
AJM - on 26 Mar 2013
In reply to mrchewy:

you're exactly right, strength is static whereas power is about movement. They're not the same thing.
mrchewy - on 26 Mar 2013
In reply to pork pie girl: Lately I've only been top roping and bouldering stuff I can do as I'm still a little nervous of jarring or twisting the knee badly if I take a fall/whipper.
'Try harder' does need to be my motto this year.
mrchewy - on 26 Mar 2013
In reply to AJM: A question - when I'm on a finger board doing hangs, then I'm training strength but today doing the 4x15s, I was training power? So that was a power endurance session?
pork pie girl - on 26 Mar 2013
In reply to mrchewy: yeah, can understand that.. you'll also want to be boudering stuff you that you have a really good chnace of getting up and down climbing.. rather than lobbing off left, right and centre.

laps on top rope with down climbing is good too
mrchewy - on 26 Mar 2013
In reply to pork pie girl: Yeh, I down climbed everything today, even if I had to traverse a little or rainbow down but a few more sessions and maybe a fall or too and I'll trust the new brace eventually. That was why I had a stab at the 7a on Sunday, I could push it and not worry too much as I was on a top rope.

I'm not so keen on laps on a top rope, if the belayer's a bit measley with the rope when you're down climbing, you can loose the fluidity you need to feel comfortable. I'd sooner do what I did today to get mileage.

Just been reading about 3x3s - maybe I need to do them on the V1s I can manage that aren't on a slab.
davo on 26 Mar 2013 -
In reply to mrchewy:
> (In reply to AJM) A question - when I'm on a finger board doing hangs, then I'm training strength but today doing the 4x15s, I was training power? So that was a power endurance session?

The session you describe above is definitely not a power training session.

As someone said earlier strength (in climbing terms) is the ability to make a hard move statically (okay this is not entirely correct and a sports scientist won't like my definition) and power is the ability to move quickly between holds.

I personally think of strength as being about hard static moves between holds, and I think of power as being big dynamic moves between holds (not simply dynoing though).

Your session above looks like an endurance/stamina session to me.
AJM - on 26 Mar 2013
In reply to mrchewy:

Fingerboard hangs are static strength.
Bouldering. (ie working hard stuff, rest times lots more than climbing time) hits strength and power depending on exactly what sort of problem and how you climb it.
Next along the spectrum is power endurance. P end power endurance you should be falling off because you're powered out, just can't make another move but not because your forearms are solid just because you can't do the move. E end power endurance is forearms like concrete falling off because your fingers uncurl sort of thing. Rest time maybe 2x climbing time at P end and 1x at the other?
Aerobic capacity next - rest times less than climbing time probably. "pumped but in control" is the best description I've heard for it, you can keep on going but a few hard moves and you would be in trouble, flushed, forearms feeling the puml but not solid.
Then the pure aerobic stuff where you can keep going for half hour or more on the rock, building basic aerobic base.

So, you tell me, where were your 4x15s? ;)

For trad I find aerobic capacity and E end pe most relevant. Usually it's about hanging on not doing mega hard moves. And when you're bouldering pick the stuff that's relevant for trad, poor footholds, little holds and stuff.

you wanted basic periodisation, over Winter say, hit bboth ends of the spectrum and then maybe 6 weeks before you want to peak start to move in towards the middle - longer boulder problems with shorter rests at one side and shorter pumpier circuits at the other.
mrchewy - on 26 Mar 2013
In reply to davo: Thanks for the reply.

I think I'm getting somewhere with that description, it makes some sense to me. Especially as I can't get to the top of routes I'm just too weak to hold onto.
mrchewy - on 26 Mar 2013
In reply to AJM: I'm gonna ignore the last paragraph as that's for next winter hopefully. It's just a matter of catching up with what I can now.

As regards the 4 x 15s - I rested for maybe 15 minutes after and tried to do just one pullup, no chance. Finished them out of breath, sweaty as Betty and I reckon 4 x 16 or maybe 17s would have seen me fail. So I reckon I got it about right in terms of what I could repeat. Going off your (splendid) explanation above, I'd have said 'aerobic capacity' as I could have shortened the rest times somewhat and still managed I think.

So I need to train E end pe next? Which would feel a little like I do after a session on the beastmaker - unable to hold on to anything at all and forearms like lead? Would the 3x3 suggestion of Pork Pie Girl be the right way forward? I'm gonna do some sport this year maybe but trad is my focus.

Thanks Andy
mrchewy - on 26 Mar 2013
In reply to mrchewy: Off to work now - will check by later. Cheers.
Pagan - on 26 Mar 2013
In reply to mrchewy:

It sounds from what you're saying that you might benefit more from a day with a coach, rather than some generic advice from folk on here. I've no doubt that the stuff that AJM et al are saying is sound but they haven't seen you climb (or have they?) and at the moment it sounds like you don't really know where your problems lie yourself - so it's going to be pretty difficult for anyone to give you any meaningful advice.

The advice to 'just climb more' is probably the best thing for you at your current standard but for it to work, you need to be brutally honest with yourself about why you're not making progress and address those issues. A decent coach will help you identify them if you're struggling (which wouldn't be unreasonable; it's not always easy). It sounds like you've had a number of set backs so have you really given it a chance?

Of course, there's nothing to stop you getting bogged down in the complexities of the different forms of stamina training if that's what you want to do and it may well give you better results but if there are underlying fundamental problems (technique? head?) or you get it wrong and train the wrong aspects then you'll just end up strong and crap rather than just crap.
AJM - on 26 Mar 2013
In reply to Pagan:

Wouldn't disagree at all that it's got to be relevant to be useful, whether you've got friends (who are able to see your weaknesses for what they are) or a coach or your own insight or whatever. My post was more about helping him identify the sorts of things different sorts of training might feel like, tools so to speak so that when you do know where you need to train you can do it properly.

TEchunique and head critical, definitely, although I find I can only tackle head issues outdoors really, for me the crossover between lobbing off comfortably indoors and doing the same outdoors isn't quite enough to make it Work. That's just me though.
mrchewy - on 26 Mar 2013
In reply to Pagan: Thanks - the reply is much appreciated. A bit of coaching is something I've thought about and wanted to do this spring but the injuries at the end of January made that pointless.

Personally, I feel I just need to get more mileage in for a start, as it's been stop/start for one reason or another. I lose strength quite quickly, my right forearm/wrist has been through the mangler so to speak and I know I need to get a decent year of just climbing in - I get distracted too by other stuff, last year it was an Ultra but I've realised I need to focus on one thing.
So strength is an issue for me, if I have doubts in my head, it's always about whether I can hold on or not.
I need to get leading more, I'm told this often and I think some mates think I'm bothered about being above gear but that's really not an issue - I can either do a move or I can't if that makes sense. Whether I'm above gear or or on a top rope makes no difference, in my head it's all about the move, if I can do it or not. I've just been lazy about leading as I'm happy to go with the flow and let other people do what they want.
My footwork is quiet, my shoes wear nicely but I was told by one of the better trad climbers on the planet that my footwork was crap - I didn't get what he meant at the time but I now know he meant that I was using my feet too passively.
Which gets me back to the ability to hold on. I can nearly always see the moves and don't mind getting my feet high but I just can't hold on. Hence the asking.

You've given me plenty to think about there tho, cheers.
mrchewy - on 26 Mar 2013
In reply to AJM: The answer you gave earlier's explained a lot - I had all the info but just couldn't get it ordered in my head. Just didn't want to be doing the wrong thing and wasting a load of energy on something that isn't a weakness, so I've got a sort of new plan knocking around in my head now as far as such goes now that outdoor season is here! Roll on Thursday evening and an escape from the south east.
seankenny - on 27 Mar 2013
In reply to mrchewy:

It sounds to me like you're over-analysing this a bit. Having seen plenty of folk struggle at about the grades you're climbing, I'd say plenty of mileage and some good technique would go a long, long way. Remember climbing is quite subtle, there may be lots of little things inhibiting your performance, improving all of them a little bit might make the difference between getting pumped at 10m and getting that extra 4m to the top.

Proviso: I'm not a coach, I've never seen you climb and there are folks out there that know way more about this stuff than I do. But, y'know, just throwing in my tuppence worth.
mrchewy - on 27 Mar 2013
In reply to seankenny: Aye - more mileage first and then do what Pagan suggests and spend an hour or two with a coach.
That and try harder.
lx on 03 Apr 2013
In reply to mrchewy:
Hi Kelvin

Glad you're still climbing, hope the knee gets better soon. From quickly reading your post, you are training strength and stamina/endurance. You're not doing any power endurance training which is why you get boxed at 9/10m. Power and strength are different but linked. In climbing even in power, (dynamic moves), the fingers remain static on the holds, whilst the arms move through a range of motion, so strictly speaking the power is in the arms, and the fingers are still working strength. Accelerating will put more force through the fingers though so a higher level of finger strength is required. Contact strength is also a really important factor as you are liekly to be latching the next hold dynamically.

Power endurance/anaeorobiuc endurance can be broken down into different parts but at its most basic should involve either being very very pumped, as opposed to stamina, very low level pump. For a very basic training idea, in your boulder circuits, reduce the number of laps, up the grade and reduce the rest time.

Contrary to what has been mentioned previously in the thread, stamina is definitely a limitign fsactor and is important to be trained, especially for the type of climbing you are into. Improved stamina has many benefits, one of which is improving your ability to recover on/between routes. You however have loads of stamina as 99% of the outdoor climbing you do is stamina based.

I will be over at the wall hopefully in a couple of weeks doing some setting if you want to chat any of it through. Alternatively drop me an email.

Take care

jkarran - on 03 Apr 2013
In reply to mrchewy:

Your 4x15 V0s sounds a lot like climbing a couple of pitches of ledge strewn 5a/b so VS HVS ish. It's probably not improving much beyond stamina and if you're climbing well, your general fluidity.

If you're burning out at 10m but need to go 14 the quickest (and a very worthwhile) gain will almost certainly come from improving your tactics. All the usual stuff: Planning moves, clips, rests and chalk dips then coping when the plan goes awry. Pre-clipping the low bolts (whichever way your ethics allow). Resting properly between routes. Maintaining focus on the moves/route rather than fear of falling or failing. Building total trust in your belayer.

After that another fairly easy gain comes from learning to control your pace and accuracy, climbing fast without rushing, no wasted moves, no mistakes. This is easier to do on redpoint but if onsight is your thing it can be worked using easier routes. Quickly lowering to try a second or third will teach you to keep it together, smooth fast and accurate while pumped. The bonus in all this is you're doing a lot of climbing at a grade unlikely to injure you which is good for your stamina and if you minimise the floor/rope rests your on-route endurance. You can also build a little fall de-sensitisation into this by dropping from the chain between goes.

Bouldering is good for strength when it's really challenging you physically but it'll do your injuries no good. Also you don't actually get much climbing per session like this so I'd stick with the easier circuits approach at least until your fingers are 99% again.

mrchewy - on 03 Apr 2013
In reply to jkarran: All sensible stuff there, thanks James. All stuff I'll try and take on board now the fingers are sorted. I don't really have a regular belay partner but climb with a few people intermittently, hence the bouldering often.
"Maintaining focus on the moves" is certainly something I need to work on.
mrchewy - on 03 Apr 2013
In reply to lx: Hi Alex - hope the Font trip lived up to expectations?

Been carefully watching what's been happening whilst climbing and I'm definitely powering out first, then after a few more sits and efforts, I'm pumped. Went to Penmaen Head on Monday, had my butt whupped which was to be expected but came back with a few positives.

I was gonna get in touch to sort a session or two out once I was happy the fingers and knee were sorted - catch up soon.


Dizz - on 03 Apr 2013
In reply to mrchewy:
Go climbing Get some mileage especially trad ... I've tested a lot of gear and had many best leader fall prizes along the way There are loads of brilliant HS and VS routes to climb along the way too! Still look me about 250 routes to have led a 'proper' E1 clean, with much alternate leading and seconding harder stuff along the way. After 550 routes and 4 years I hope to get more solid at E1 this year and lead more clean E2s ... but I said that last year too Most importantly climbing is fun and there is so much to learn, and I know that I am one of the safer climbers around by way of gear and knowing what to do 'if' even if I don't climb as hard as many ... that helps make it fun!
mrchewy - on 03 Apr 2013
In reply to Dizz: I'm having fun tho Liz! We just have a very different attitude to falling and sitting on the rope - and I know I have nothing like your finger strength, there's no way I can hold on like you do. Less gear means less chance of pumping out!
I got a nice pic or two of you on that route at Penmaen Head too.
Dizz - on 03 Apr 2013
In reply to mrchewy:
I didn't have the finger strength 450 routes ago I've decked out once (unhurt) and helped rescue someone who ripped gear on a multi-pitch and was quite hurt ... in my world gear is good I hate falling off so am more likely to sit on the rope when I know I am on my limit and work the move out ... so is now probably time I got bolder, but I also hate being run out and soloing, so I pick my routes accordingly ... Horses for courses! Grades are stiff at Penmaen!

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