You need to be fit to negotiate increasingly more challenging climbs and whilst there are different kinds of training methods you can adopt to get you into peak physical condition, the main emphasis will be focused on training which is related to strength and endurance.
Strength training is aimed at maximising the capability of your muscles to resistance placed upon them. You need strength in your arms, legs and upper body in order to be able to tackle things like overhangs and to make other long reaching moves, for example. Training for this is about increasing the level of resistance which your body can cope with in order to increase your strength. In a gym situation, for example, this will be about progressively lifting increasingly greater weights, for example.
Endurance training, on the other hand, is not about strength. It’s about the ability to climb for longer periods of time. Its aim is to steadily improve your body’s capabilities to tolerate strenuous levels of activity over a greater period of time. In a gym setting for example, this would mean you lifting lots of lower weights and repeating the reps over and over. The longer you train, the more your endurance will improve.
Endurance Training Sports
Running and swimming over increasing distances will also improve your capacity for endurance. Running is actually a good example in which the difference between strength and endurance training can be best explained.
As an example, if you look at the physiological make up of, say, a 100m sprint runner with that of a marathon runner or other long distance athlete, you’ll notice that sprinters tend to have far more defined muscles and are often ‘bulkier’ in relation to their long-distance counterparts. This is because the sprinters rely on power and strength far more than long-distance athletes who need to concentrate on building up their endurance.
Endurance Training Indoors
If your endurance training takes place inside a gym for example where there’s a climbing wall, your aim should be to climb easy routes with large handholds where the technical difficulty is low. The goal is to keep the muscle tissue continuously pumping over a longer period of time by the amount of times you climb the route in a set period and not how difficult the route is.
Climbing Related Activities
Bouldering is also a good method of building up your endurance training without getting too bored with repetitious exercises. You can climb up, down, left or right traversing and linking different walls for half an hour or so without any rest.
Easy climbing itself can also provide you with a good endurance workout which you can make more competitive by thinking in terms of how many ‘laps’ you might complete in a given time scale. Here, you should choose a climb which is well within your limit and which is not technically difficult.
For example, on a top rope, you could climb to the top, have the belayer lowering you back down then without allowing yourself to touch the ground, start climbing back up again and repeat until you’ve completely a set number of ‘laps’ and your muscles feel pumped.
Climbing is often about strength and endurance and it’s often the endurance training which can often determine your ability to succeed in any particular climb, especially one in which you may encounter difficulties related to the length of time you’re out on the climb as well as the level of difficulty you’re facing.