Training for Climbing: Blog 2
Today, we will start with some definitions:
- Aerobic Endurance
- Anaerobic Endurance
Climbers often use "strength" and "power" to mean the same thing, but they are, infact, distinctly different.
Strength is the force a muscle generates.
Power is strength and speed, or explosive force. For example, moving slowly on small crimps requires strength. Moving quickly to a hold, latching it and holding on requires power.
Aerobic Endurance occurs when your body has a sufficient amount of oxygen to perform. An example of this would be climbing efficiently over easy to moderate terrain. The waste products of this are Carbon Dioxide and Water, both of which are easily expelled when breathing. A high Aerobic threshold is what people commonly refer to as "fitness."
Anaerobic Endurance refers to when there is not enough oxygen present. In this scenario, your body is demanding more oxygen to produce energy than you can provide. An example pf this os when you are sprinting for the top, or desperately pumped. Waste product of this is lactate, better known as "the pump!"
Today, we will look at training your aerobic system.
Training your aerobic energy system is important as it raises your "aerobic threshold." This is the most intense level of performance that can be sustained by the aerobic process. Essentially, training the aerobic system means that you can go for longer, and ultimately on harder ground, before getting pumped.
The most practical method for training this is climbing for long, sustained periods as close as possible to the aerobic threshold. Training regularly in this way will increase the aerobic zone, or help to prolong the pump. It will also help with grip control (over gripping gets you pumped faster!) and will aid recovery time on route.
Sustained climbing at the aerobic threshold. This means climbing at an intensity that is "just before the pump" or at a level where you can sustain a mild pump.
One set of the above consists of continuous climbing for 25-35 minutes. This can be on a bouldering wall, or on a rope. If on a rope, you will need o keep lowering off during the set. This is ok, as long as you get straight back on!
One training session of this should consist of three or four sets of 25-35 minutes of continuous climbing. Try to do this twice a week.
Some things to consider:
You will probably have to vary the difficulty to stay "below the pump."
You need to judge this by feel; not too hard and not too easy. Getting pumped? Too hard. Feeling comfortable? Too easy. You should be breathing heavily after about 10 minutes.
Don't think that you need to stick to routes. Use any holds you want! This is training!
In summary, in order to get fitter for climbing and to prolong the climbing time before the pump sets in, we need to train with prolonged periods of climbing as described above. BUT don't forget to enjoy your climbing! Make sure you go climbing for climbing's sake, and not just for training.
Welcome to our new series on Training for Climbing. In this series of blog posts we will aim to de-mystify the seemingly complicated world of training for climbing. Contrary to popular belief, "just going climbing lots" is not the most effective way to train for, and improve your climbing performance.
Of course, we have all read the complicated books and articles on training, and for the vast majority, that is where the process ends, as it never seems to be written in a way that is easy to understand.
By the end of this series, you will understand how to train, and how to write and follow your own training programme.
The first post of this series is about Training Principles. In order to understand how to train, it is important to grasp what works, and why it works.
Specificity: Your training needs to match the needs of the goal for which you are training. You will mostly gain physical adaptations in the systems that are stimulated by training. For example, there is little point in doing a lot of endurance training if your goal is a short, powerful bouldering problem.
Overload: You need to push your body's current capabilities in order to provide a catalyst for physical adaptation.
Essentially, you need to step out of your "comfort zone" and move beyond your routine. For example, if you can perform five pull ups, just doing this will not promote change. You need to increase the training stress by either increasing the number of pull ups, or the resistance.
Recovery: Recovery is an absolutely essential component of any training programme. It is whilst resting that the muscles repair and our energy supplies are topped up.
It is during this recovery period that our body will adapt to the stimulus provided by training.
Conversely, overtraining and under-recovery can lead to injury and a long time off climbing!
Reversibility: Physical adaptations achieved through training are reversible. Essentially, they can be lost if you stop training. As a general rule, the harder they are to get, the longer it takes for them to go. Regular training is required for progression.
Regularity: Training isn't much use it you only do it once or twice and expect dramatic results. Regular training sessions (at least twice a week) are required for progression.
Progression: As you adapt and improve, the overload should increase. This will ensure consistant and ongoing improvement.
Variation: Your training must be constantly varied. Your body will adapt to a new load relatively quickly, and therefore progression will halt. Changing up your training routine regularly "keeps your body guessing" and forces it to keep adapting to new training loads.
Individualisation: Everybody is different and will respond differently to training. Therefore, your training programme should be specific to you. Personalising a training programme can be challenging, and requires observation as to what is working and what is not.
Transfer: Transfer refers to transferring the new found skills and performance to the goal-focused arena. For example, if your project is somewhere very hot, it would make sense to conduct so,e of your training in hot temperatures, so as to prepare yourself to perform in this environment.
Any good progressive training programme should be put together with the above principles in mind. It is incredibly important to understand the underlying principles before embarking on a training phase, in order to ensure that the maximum progression can be achieved.
Next Post Soon!!
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