Endurance training is an important part of any training program if you are looking to climb routes.  However, simply doing lap after lap on routes at your local gym probably won’t produce the kind of gains you are looking for.

To help make those gains, here’s an article by trainer and coach Steve Bechtel in which he outlines the goals of endurance training and then explains how to progressively increase endurance training difficulty so that you continue to make gains as your body adapts.

“The problem for most of us is we don’t know what the session is actually doing for us, or how to keep getting better. The first time you do a set of 4x4s, you’re probably going to be sore and fatigued for a few days. Repeat the effort and your soreness and fatigue will be less. A few more sessions, and you’ve fully adapted: now your body is capable of that kind of work. You can imagine there are many ways to again make it hard for yourself, but the fitness you gain can be greatly diverse, depending on the method you choose.” – Steve Bechtel

Goals of Endurance Training

As Steve points out, the main goal of endurance training should be energy system development.  Because the goal is to target specific energy systems, effective endurance training must have a thought out and progressive structure.  In other words, your training will only effectively translate to climbing outside if you are building the correct energy systems.

To effectively do this for route climbing, Bechtel believes interval training is the most effective tool.  Whether your training consists of long duration ARC training, 4x4s, or circuits, you are doing some kind of interval training.  The key is training in a way that is specific to your individual goals and then effectively increasing the difficulty in a measurable way.

The Four Ways of Progressing Interval Endurance Training

As Steve explains in his article, no matter what kind of interval training you are doing these are the four ways in which you can progressively increase the difficulty as your body adapts to the training:

  1. Increasing the difficulty of the climbing
  2. Increasing the distance or duration of the intervals
  3. Duration and type of rest period
  4. Number of repetitions

Click through below to read about each of these four methods of progression in more detail.  No matter which method you end up following, taking Steve’s advice and progressively increasing your training workload in this thought out and consistent way will definitely help you take you endurance climbing to the next level.

Full Article: Progressing Endurance Training with Steve Bechtel

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(Photo Credit: Matt Pincus; @mpincus87; Climber: Jonathan Siegrist)

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