Peter, Slovakia

13th Aug 2009

Question:

I’m climbing from 1991, my best climbs are three 8b+ PP and 7c+ OS. Our generation trained on fingerboard and did some bar work. With new possibilities (lot of good climbing walls) I start to train on them. I know, how I can prepare with bouldering (lot of little bit easier boulders per two hours), I know, how I can prepare to have a good endurance (about 10 routes with 30-50 moves). But power endurance is a problem. Could you help me with some idea?

Answer:

Great to hear from you Peter, I feel I should probably be asking you for advice! But I’ll try…the level you’re climbing at, improvements come down to very small changes and they don’t come easily. It would be helpful to know why you feel power endurance is an issue, as it sounds like from your bouldering sessions that that is essentially what you are working on.

But the essence of power endurance is being able to do a substantial amount of hard moves near your power limit; this is my weakness too. I found working hard routes is very effective for helping power endurance. Indoor walls can be better for this because the routes tend to be designed so as not to incorporate rests, whereas outside a rest is sometimes more possible. So it is a good idea to find a route that you can’t do and work it. The hardest section should be about 10-20 moves long (a hard circuit in a bouldering wall can work just as well) and at the angle you will be climbing on outside. If you are purely training, then maybe find a route/circuit that is possible (near your power limit) and try to do some laps on it. EG. 3-5 with 3-5 minute rests in between, the last 1-2 should be getting very close to failure, if not failing. If this isn’t happening, the circuit is too easy. Build up to 3-4 sets with about 10 mins rest in between sets.

The other thing that helps your power endurance is to have more power. You could use your bouldering differently…IE. Trying 1-3 moves that are completely at your limit rather than slightly easier ones as you wrote. If you increase your power levels by trying incredibly hard moves, as long as you are still doing other types of climbing, your power endurance will increase because moves on routes just won’t feel as hard and therefore won’t take as much energy out of you.

Lastly, I would suggest really trying to analyse your climbing weaknesses. This won’t be easy, as you are obviously climbing at a high standard but try to break down where your climbing is limited and spend a focussed period trying to improve on whatever this weakness (or weaknesses) turn out to be. Weights can work well for this, maybe some flexibility work or even core body strength session.

Good luck with your climbing and I hope you see some improvements.