Training for Endurance at Home

Original Post
Nick Votto · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2008 · Points: 320

Hey all,
So the last 6 month I've been crushed with work, climbing has been down. This Fall I want to get back to climbing 5.10 and up well.
In my entire 18 years of climbing I've certainly done some longer pitches but have never had particularly good endurance (partly due to lack of partners and lots of bouldering/ easier rope soloing).

Having said this I've always been strong and good at power moves. In the last couple years it's not uncommon for me to send V6 one day and then completely pump out and fall on sustained 5.10.

This Summer I've found myself a place with a sweet home wall (9'high, 7'wide, 30 degrees overhung), an assortment of holds, a TRX system, and a good hangboard.

The moral of this discourse is: Does anyone have any good training tips/ a regimen for building endurance with what I've got available in my place?

Notes- I will still be climbing/hiking outside all Summer, but would like to train 3-4 days a week here.
-Not looking for something super complicated, just some basic guidelines/ work outs.

Thanks MP community

Dana Bartlett · · CT · Joined Nov 2003 · Points: 890

I've had a similar size wall for about 20 years and using it to train endurance requires a high tolerance for boredom - and I'm not being sarcastic at all. You need a lot of motivation to stay on a little wall for a long time and there is no way around it that repetition is the name of the game when training endurance. That makes it sound grim but all endurance athletes in every sport have come up with ways to make it all go by pleasantly enough and be fun.

Specific drills to use would depend on what your objectives are. I am not an expert in terms of what period of time would qualify as an endurance session, but I've had good success using a mix of 2 minute intervals, 5 minute intervals, and 15 minute and longer ones. You can either take a free form approach and just hang on (and you will gain endurance) or you can get as detailed as you like. I've got some drills I use that take the latter approach; they are nice because you can track and measure your progress but they are really regimented, somewhat tedious, and require a fair number of holds that are all the same - I use the Atomic measured system holds. Email if you would like details.

Nick Votto · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2008 · Points: 320

Thanks Dana. Haha I certainly expect a level of boredom and feel I may finally be mentally ready for it. I've always disliked gyms as I've never considered climbing a social activity for myself.
Again I do have access to a number of crags within 45 mins and will be climbing routes still, just searching for some supplemental training.

Any other suggestions here??

Rui Ferreira · · Longmont, CO · Joined Jul 2003 · Points: 869

Eva Lopez did a whole series of blog posts regarding training "Capacity".

Here is the link to the last post in the series

and at the bottom of the page are the links to all the earlier posts. In the series she presents what is Training Capacity, when and how to incorporate it into the training cycle, etc.

There are also details in her blog series on how to customize it to a small bouldering wall.

This is one of the views for training endurance (Level 1 or 2 in stress range of 1 to 5). There are other views, including that you should train at or near your Threshold level (I guess level 3/4 range) (termed Maximum Steady State in the Andersons' book).

Most of the scientific studies (not necessarily with climbers) indicate that training at 90 to 105% of Threshold level is far more effective than training at 30%, so spend some time reading up and decide what might work best for you.

Nick Votto · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2008 · Points: 320

Thanks Rui, I will look into this blog a bit.

Eric8 · · Maynard, MA · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 245

In some ways training endurance on home walls is ideal, never have to wait for anyone.

I like the traditional 4x4's. 4 problems in a row, 4 minutes rest repeat for a total of 4 times. When once you can complete it make the problems harder.

If you like traversing my friend has had good success with an evolving route on his home wall. It is a 30 move traverse and once he completes it he makes the best hold on the route worse.

Rui Ferreira · · Longmont, CO · Joined Jul 2003 · Points: 869

Following-up on this post and realizing the small size of your home wall, I would also recommend short interval training, such as the 4x4's suggested by Eric.

Ideally set-up the wall with holds similar to what you encounter outside. Increase the intensity as you progress with your training: including increasing the number of boulder problems (5x4's, 6X4's), and/or decreasing the rest time between sets from 1:2, to 1:1.5 or 1:1, or changing the problems to make them harder. I wear a heart rate monitor when doing 4x4's and get a sense how difficult the sessions are over a period of weeks.

Also when setting up your problems, do not have a stopper move, instead look for consistency in difficulty as this will target your specific needs to improve in sustained 5.10 and harder climbing.

In case you do not want to deal with specific problems, set up random holds similar to what you find outside and stay on the wall for 2 minute intervals to start out and increase the climbing time over the training cycle adjusting the rest intervals as above. Make these sets sufficiently hard so as to get close to your threshold level (good if you have a cycling or running reference for this).

JCM · · Seattle, WA · Joined Jun 2008 · Points: 95

Another option:

Boring but effective. And time efficient.

evan h · · Denver, CO · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 310

I think it depends where on the power endurance spectrum you'd like to be. 4x4's and bouldering circuits are great for training for hard cruxes in the 8-25 move range, but may not be as suitable for training for long sustained routes. Tom Randall et al have laid out a protocol (outlined in a forum post somewhere on here) that emphasizes a lot of endurance based training. Basically I add a bit of this, which is essentially 30 secs on/30 secs off for reasonable hard bouldering for 20 minutes. It's not quite as intense as PE, but emphasizes more power than ARCing. You don't pump off the wall, but you'll be quite powered down after 20 minutes. I add this into my ARCing mix early in a season to break up the monotony and add a bit of stress testing to movements I'm rehearsing while ARCing. So yeah, figure out where on the spectrum you'd like to focus and go from there. ARCing will be hard to impossible on a short and steep home wall.

Mark E Dixon · · Sprezzatura, Someday · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 549
evan h wrote:Tom Randall et al have laid out a protocol (outlined in a forum post somewhere on here) that emphasizes a lot of endurance based training.

You can also access the pdf from Alex Barrows' blog site, posted in 2014.

Dana has a spectacular amount of endurance. You should take him up on his "email me" offer.
Houston S. · · Baton Rouge, LA · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 20

I have a home wall as well and one of my favorite "feel the burn" and endurance training exercises is the 1-2-3-2-1 minute constant (as much as possible) movement. Simple and tiring, you simple hop on the wall and stay moving for a whole minute (if you can scrape three people together its fun to do it non-stop with the rests being the other two going next) or making your own rest time qualifications. It was and still is difficult for me to hit the three minute or second two minute period without stopping mid-wall and shaking and stalling but its progress not perfection!

Nick Votto · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2008 · Points: 320

Thanks Houston, I like that type of workout. Simple works well, as I don't have a whole lot of patience to do a tedious type training regimen.

John L · · Fort Collins, CO · Joined Aug 2013 · Points: 173

I have a home wall w/ similar dimensions and degrees overhung. I typically do 3 min on/3min off and try to keep constantly climbing. I repeat these 3-4x then do a full hangboard workout. Just doing the wall isn't really too bad but including the hangboard workout seems to help.

Will S · · Joshua Tree · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 1,053

Just close your eyes and think of baseball.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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