As someone from a general sporting background and who enjoys the opportunity to try really dam hard, I've always been fascinated by the challenges of climbing. Whether it's training in the gym or topping out that proj, climbing requires a unique combination of strength, skill, and endurance. But what makes some climbers more successful than others?
It shouldn't surprise many but one key factor is the body's ability to generate and sustain high-intensity efforts over a short period of time, known as anaerobic power and anaerobic capacity.
Anaerobic power is the maximum amount of energy that can be produced by the body's anaerobic energy systems over a short period of time. In climbing, this type of energy production is critical for short, intense movements, such as going for a difficult hold or making a quick move to avoid a fall. To improve anaerobic power, climbers often engage in high-intensity training that involves short bursts of maximal effort, such as short boulder problems or campus board training. By pushing their bodies to the limit in short bursts, climbers can increase their ability to produce the explosive power needed for difficult moves.
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But climbing also requires strength endurance, and that's where anaerobic capacity comes in. Anaerobic Capacity refers to the body's ability to sustain high-intensity exercise for a longer period of time. In climbing, this type of energy production is critical for sustained
efforts, such as completing a long crux section or making multiple sub-maximal moves in a row. To improve anaerobic capacity, climbers often engage in some sort of high-intensity training that involves repeated bouts of high effort with medium length periods of rest in between (2-3 mins typically). This type of training helps to improve the body's ability to produce high intensity levels of output, allowing climbers to perform at a high level for longer periods of time.
So how can climbers put this knowledge into practice?
By focusing on both anaerobic power and anaerobic capacity in their training, climbers can
improve their ability to tackle difficult routes and push their limits. This might involve incorporating structure bouldering sessions or campus board training into their regular workouts to improve anaerobic power, as well as engaging in the following workouts to improve anaerobic capacity. Additionally, climbers can benefit from a well-rounded training program that includes strength training, flexibility & mobility work, and aerobic exercise to support their overall fitness and climbing performance.
In the end, climbing is a complex and challenging sport that requires a combination of skills and fitness. But by understanding the role of anaerobic power and anaerobic capacity in climbing performance, climbers can better prepare themselves for the unique demands of this exciting sport. Whether you're a seasoned pro or a beginner just starting out, there's always room to improve your climbing performance through smart training and a focus on anaerobic power and anaerobic capacity. So grab your kit, hit the gym, and get back climbing!
Max Effort 'No' Hangs
Using a simple 'no' hang board, work through reps of high effort, 3s pulls from the ground in the style of a 1 arm Deadlift. Ensure your should has been set back and fully engaged and runs in the centre (front) of your body, as a straight line from the hand to the shoulder.
Life the weight and maintain for 2-3 seconds, before returning to the ground.
Complete 3-5 reps x 4-5 sets, resting around 1.5 minutes before completing the same thing on the other side. This should give each hand around 3 minutes rest between sets.
An optimal sport specific way to enhance your Anaerobic Power. Select 3 boulders which are 3-5 moves in length and are limit boulders. Climb each one, resting 3 minutes between each boulder; this is one set. Complete 3-5 sets to complete the exercise. It's important to note that these are maximum effort boulders and using boulders you know well is likely to result in an optimal physical adaptation.
Choose one boulder and compete 2/3 laps (doubles/triples) depending on the length of the chosen climb and the level of adaptation you are looking for. Ideally, you will be completing around 12-16 moves total, taking around 1-2 minutes to complete. It's important to not rest much between laps, only taking time to swiftly chalk up if required.
On the Minute Hangs
A fingerboard exercise which requires a chosen hand position; open hand, 3 finger drag, half crimp or in some cases, full (non-closed) crimp.
Hang with optimal engagement for 7-10 seconds, resting for 50-53 seconds (rounding off the minute). Complete 6 hangs to begin with, aiming to add 2 additional hangs per set over the training phase up to 10 per set. Complete 1-2 sets. Each effort/rep should feel challenging at around 8-9/10 on the Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) scale (10/10 being failure during the final few reps).
It should go without saying, but ensure an appropriate warm up and preparation prior to the start of all of these exercises.
If you're unsure of how to perform any of these exercises, get in touch and we would be happy to provide further details on our socials:
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