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.
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