When you go to train are you dissatisfied until you leave the gym completely pumped and totally wrecked?  While it is definitely fun to push ourselves really hard when climbing, going to the point of exhaustion and then past it isn’t the most efficient training.

To help you train more efficiently, here’s an article by climbing trainer Eric Hörst in which he discusses energy system training and how the new scientific understanding of our energy systems is better informing us on how we should train.

“The subject of energy system training is cutting edge stuff, and it’s certainly far from being settled science. There’s some ongoing research and, I believe, a few interesting/significant breakthroughs are on the way when it comes to elevating the effectiveness of forearm muscle training.” – Eric Hörst

What is Energy Systems Training:

To start of, Hörst defines exactly what energy systems are by outlining the three main metabolic pathways that produce ATP for muscle contraction and when they are used.  The three metabolic pathways are:

  • Anaerobic Alactic
  • Anaerobic Lactic
  • Aerobic

While training each of these pathways is definitely pretty advanced, effectively targeting each of these energy systems individually allows you to limit your total fatigue.  This means you will get an effective workout, but you will recover faster and be ready for you next session much sooner.

In other words, if you go too hard in your training and deplete your reserves across all of these systems it is going to take you longer to recover.  However, if you effectively work these systems individually, it makes for more efficient training as your body will take less time to recover allowing you to have a greater number of productive sessions overall.

More On Energy System Training:

This article is comprised of five of Hörst’s slides from his keynote address to The International Rock Climbing Researchers Association (IRCRA).  Using them, Hörst does an excellent job outlining the correct and incorrect approaches to energy system training, giving you a chart to quantify what level of climbing intensity corresponds to what energy system, and fitting energy system training into the great picture of training for climbing.

Click through below to check out the complete article and learn more.  Effectively incorporating an understanding of energy system training into your workout programing might just be the missing link to helping you squeeze out some more gains.

Full Article: Energy System Training

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(photo courtesy of trainingforclimbing.com)

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TrainingBeta is a site dedicated to training for rock climbing. We provide resources and information about training for routes, bouldering, finger strength, mental training, nutrition for climbers, and everything in between. We offer climbing training programs, a blog, interviews on the TrainingBeta Podcast, personal training for climbing, and nutrition for climbers.


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