Anaerobic Training

Anaerobic training is a form of exercise that doesn’t rely on using extra oxygen as it uses energy from other sources. It’s a shorter process than aerobic training and is a type of training where you don’t normally work to a level where you’d noticeably get out of breath. However, it’s not meant as a replacement to aerobic training but is something which is done in conjunction with it as it serves a different purpose entirely.

The Purpose Of Anaerobic Training

Anaerobic exercise is aimed at strength training and producing more muscle. It’s basically for building up muscle mass to create more power. In the respect of climbing, it’s aligned with strength training as opposed to endurance training which is more aerobics based.

How It Works

Anaerobic training works by gaining its energy sources through the production of lactic acid and phosphates which build up in the muscles as you carry out short but intense exercises designed to test your muscles to their utmost resistance. The most common form of anaerobic exercise is, undoubtedly, weight lifting in which you’re focusing on lifting increased weights as opposed to working with lower weights with more reps.

Anaerobic exercise should, therefore, only last between 30 seconds and 2 minutes. The shorter of the two – less than 30 seconds – relies on the phospagen system whereas intense strength training of up to 2 minutes will rely on the production of lactic acid in the muscles and blood.

Phospagen- based exercises improves the body’s ability to recharge creatine phosphate in the body so these should be kept very short – around 15 to 30 seconds maximum – whereby you work flat out for 15 seconds then rest for 4 to 5 minutes. Light jogging can be a substitute for resting.

Anaerobic exercise relating to the production of lactic acid increases your strength which is fundamental to some of the main principles of rock climbing. For example, if you need to traverse an overhang on a cliff face where your strength and grip will be tested to the max, then anaerobic training will help in that regard. Here, there are two main types of anaerobic exercises you want to focus on.

If you want to increase your body’s ability to dispose of lactic acid from your muscles, you should concentrate on working flat out for 1 minute followed by a period of rest for 4 or 5 minutes. Not only will this help to dispose of lactic acid but it will also increase the levels of myoglobin and haemoglobin which are both essential for carrying oxygen around the body.

However, if you want to increase your body’s tolerance to high levels of lactic acid in your blood and muscles, you should be working flat out for 2 minutes then resting for 2 minutes.

Why Is Anaerobic Training Important In Climbing?

Strength is going to play a crucial part in your ability to perform as a rock climber or mountaineer. And, as anaerobic training is concerned with building up muscle mass, it becomes especially important for rock climbers and even more so if you are an active participant in rock sports as you get older as your muscles tend to become weaker as you hit middle age so it’s important that you don’t allow them to atrophise.

It is, however, important to remember that good nutrition also plays a part in maintaining healthy muscles and that, although anaerobic exercise is beneficial in rock climbing, your overall training programme needs to begin with a solid aerobic fitness base. This is why most climbers will incorporate some anaerobic exercise into the middle or the latter stages of their preseason training programme.