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Five Tips to be a better Endurance Climber
The biggest reason I see people falling on their project is because of that inevitable pump building in their forearms. When your arms feel like a heavy noodle, and your fingers open up on even the biggest holds. I grew up in the Red River Gorge, a place synonyms for PUMP. People joke about how you’ll fall off the biggest holds of your life there. Because I basically went through puberty while climbing in the Madness Cave, I’ve learned a lot of methods for keeping the pump and fatigue at bay. Here are 5 tips on how to be a better Endurance climber.
- Memorization and Tactics
Remember what you are doing and be tactical! To me this is one of the most effective tools for sending harder rock climbs. One of the biggest mistakes I see is when people fall and then lower to the ground. By doing this you miss the opportunity to learn the moves above you. Always go to the top, even if it means going bolt to bolt. Take your time up the route for the first time and learn everything about it. Just because you CAN climb a section doesn’t mean it’s the best way. Learn the best positions for clipping or resting. Once you’ve been up the route, REMEMBER what you did. This is massive. Memorizing the moves will only make them easier and more efficient when you are trying to redpoint the route.
- Green Light, Yellow Light, Red Light
Green Light = You’re fresh, climbing well, with little to no pump.
Yellow Light = You’re moving, you can feel it, but you could continue at the difficulty for a little while.
Red Light= You’re REDLINING! You’re pumped out of your mind, you don’t have much time.
The goal is to stay in the green and yellow zones. Once you go into the red, it’s really hard to recover, even on the biggest jug possible. I find that you go into the red zone when you have a foot slip or fumble a clip, that can send you into immediate stress and instant pump.
Staying in the green and yellow zones means staying relaxed while moving and breathing well.
When you get to a clipping jug or a good rest position its really important to relax. Calm the heart rate and the nerves and just try to breathe. Some tricks for me are to close my eyes or sing a little song, this calms everything down and allows your arms to recover some. I often find that my mind is ready to leave a rest before my body is, so my trick for that is to wait another minute when I feel like I’m ready.
- Practice, we talkin bout practice? Not a game, not a game. Practice.
Go climbing. Do mileage. Climb things that are easy for you. This will teach you patience and give you the skill sets that are necessary for climbing harder routes. Building a good base will teach you valuable techniques that you will use when you are on your project. Also when you are tired and able to push through it will teach your forearms and your mind that YOU CAN KEEP GOING. Challenge yourself to climb steeper and longer routes that put more strain on your arms.
The best way to get better at endurance is by doing it. Climbing in the gym is an excellent way to build that fitness. All of my gym fitness training is done by either amount of moves, or by time. So sometimes i’ll do 40-60 move circuits on a slightly overhanging wall. Or set a stopwatch and just see how long you can spend moving on the wall.
This can become monotonous so I’ve decided to help!
I’ve put together three Spotify Playlists to help you get through your endurance workouts.
I like to spend 5, 10, and 15 minutes on the wall. So these playlists are those lengths, finish the playlist means you finish that workout. If you make it through the playlist, next time try to make the climbing a little bit harder!