Breathing techniques for sport climbing?


Original Post
msmanski · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 0

Plenty of blog posts talk about breathing while climbing, but they mostly focus on staying relaxed, calm, etc. There is some literature that intentional hyperventilation during rests between repeated sprints can slow the power loss in successive sprints. Seems like this might translate well to steep sport climbing with periodic rests. Apparently hyperventilation increases blood pH, which can help buffer the lactic acid produced during anaerobic work. The effect was small, but significant with 30s of HV, but insignificant with 15s or 45s of HV. 

http://journals.lww.com/nsca-jscr/Abstract/publishahead/Effects_of_hyperventilation_on_repeated_pedaling.96157.aspx

Has anybody tried this? @Anderson brothers? Exercise physiologists?

On a related (but less scientific) note, there was an Art of Manliness podcast a few months ago, where the interviewee talked about intentionally hyperventilating before doing push-ups to dramatically increase the number he could complete. Real or BS?

Aleks Zebastian · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 0

climbing friend,

you have your mountain gorilla warrior breath at  power crux, yes, praying mantis breath for the balance move, myah, prancing pony breath for intricate foot sequence, yes, and lunging eye of the tiger breath for dyno, myah. hmmyah myah myah ha myahhhhhhhhhhhh.

Ken Graf · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2016 · Points: 0

Sounds a bit like the Wim Hof method. He is "The Iceman"; famous for doing half-marathons in his underwear north of the artic circle, immersing himself in ice baths for hours on end, etc. His program also focuses on cold exposure/immersion. 

https://www.wimhofmethod.com/

Looks like there are a few videos specifically for climbers on the "Vertical Addiction" channel if you search "Wim Hof Method Rock Climber""

I dunno, I tried the breathing stuff a few times out of curiosity after I heard Wim Hof on Joe Rogan. Even took a couple cold showers. At the end of the day I didn't keep any of it up. Would be interested in hearing any others' results though!



IanKBlock · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2016 · Points: 0

Ken - I've been doing cold showers and breathe work for little over a year now. Now I do only cold showers in the morning to boost energy and after I workout or climb I'll do about 30 seconds really hot 30 seconds really cold for 3 - 5 cycles to boost recovery. I mostly follow Brian Mackenzie for this stuff and the XPT guys. I've noticed a lot of payoff in exercising and climbing. He talks a lot about the diaphragm and being able to really utilize nose breathing as opposed to mouth breathing. Once proficient its a game changer. I've never heard of the hyperventilation and that sounds wild. I'm sure there's some truth to it and definitely going to check it out.

Jon Nelson · · Bellingham, WA · Joined Sep 2011 · Points: 4,425
msmanski wrote:

Plenty of blog posts talk about breathing while climbing, but they mostly focus on staying relaxed, calm, etc. There is some literature that intentional hyperventilation during rests between repeated sprints can slow the power loss in successive sprints. Seems like this might translate well to steep sport climbing with periodic rests. Apparently hyperventilation increases blood pH, which can help buffer the lactic acid produced during anaerobic work. The effect was small, but significant with 30s of HV, but insignificant with 15s or 45s of HV. 

http://journals.lww.com/nsca-jscr/Abstract/publishahead/Effects_of_hyperventilation_on_repeated_pedaling.96157.aspx

Has anybody tried this? @Anderson brothers? Exercise physiologists?

On a related (but less scientific) note, there was an Art of Manliness podcast a few months ago, where the interviewee talked about intentionally hyperventilating before doing push-ups to dramatically increase the number he could complete. Real or BS?

Yes. I've got into the habit for taking fast, deep breaths before starting up a route with moves near my limit, or doing this just before a hard section. 

Several years ago I found that it helped me on some routes, and I've kept at it. It could be psychological (reminds me that this is serious, and to expect some pain) or it could be a more physical effect on the body. I don't know.

I've also heard from people and read blog posts about doing the opposite - slow, "calming" breathing. Perhaps both techniques are mainly placebo?

kenr · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 9,632

msmanski wrote:
> Apparently hyperventilation increases blood pH,
> which can help buffer the lactic acid produced during anaerobic work.

Hadn't heard that. If true, I'll guess it's because exhaled air (esp during exercise) has higher CO2 pressure than normal atmosphere. So hyperventilating might tend to suck CO2 out of lungs -- and so out of the blood.

CO2 dissolved in blood is mainly Carbonic acid. So if concentration is lower, than blood becomes less acidic -- higher pH.

Interesting that during intense exercise (without hyperventilating), it's not only Lactic acid which lowers pH, but also build-up of Carbon Dioxide CO2 which further lowers pH (increases acidity).

Ken

Aleks Zebastian · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 0

climbing friend,

the ice bath it does really limpen your half-erection and give to you the shrinking balls, no? perhaps this is not so excellent for your leading boldness?

rafael · · Berkeley, CA · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 30
Aleks Zebastian wrote:

climbing friend,

you have your mountain gorilla warrior breath at  power crux, yes, praying mantis breath for the balance move, myah, prancing pony breath for intricate foot sequence, yes, and lunging eye of the tiger breath for dyno, myah. hmmyah myah myah ha myahhhhhhhhhhhh.

Aleks, you are forgetting the most important breathing technique, the loud shouting at the crux to bring attention to ones copious meat muscles

Healyje · · PDX · Joined Jan 2006 · Points: 100

Thank god trad climbers only breathe in between pitches...

John Barritt · · OKC · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 888
Healyje wrote:

Thank god trad climbers only breathe in between pitches...

Sometimes I cheat and take a breath on long run-outs, not cause I'm weak, cause I'm old.

;)

Nick Drake · · Newcastle, WA · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 438
Healyje wrote:

Thank god trad climbers only breathe in between pitches...

You haven't been to Index lately. 

a.blair · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 15
msmanski wrote:

Plenty of blog posts talk about breathing while climbing, but they mostly focus on staying relaxed, calm, etc. There is some literature that intentional hyperventilation during rests between repeated sprints can slow the power loss in successive sprints. Seems like this might translate well to steep sport climbing with periodic rests. Apparently hyperventilation increases blood pH, which can help buffer the lactic acid produced during anaerobic work. The effect was small, but significant with 30s of HV, but insignificant with 15s or 45s of HV. 

http://journals.lww.com/nsca-jscr/Abstract/publishahead/Effects_of_hyperventilation_on_repeated_pedaling.96157.aspx

Has anybody tried this? @Anderson brothers? Exercise physiologists?

On a related (but less scientific) note, there was an Art of Manliness podcast a few months ago, where the interviewee talked about intentionally hyperventilating before doing push-ups to dramatically increase the number he could complete. Real or BS?

Critical care nurse here. Yes you can hyperventilate but then you replace the lost carbon dioxide with oxygen in the lungs and the overall effect is a respiratory alkalosis (increased blood pH). However, this is only for a short period of time. The other thing is if you are climbing and accidentally hold your breath (after blowing off your Carbon dioxide), you can black out and seriously hurt yourself (This is what happens at scuba school for the military and "shallow water blackouts"). Just don't do it. The best thing you can do mid climb is a 3 or 4 second square breathing pattern: breath in for 3 seconds, hold for 3 seconds, exhale 3 seconds, hold 3 seconds. This is what we teach for intubations in the ER. Hope this helps.

Nivel Egres · · New York, NY · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 50

While we are on the topic (and Alex is here), how do people feel about exhaling/screaming on limit moves? I know it's annoying to onlookers but does it actually help?

Aleks Zebastian · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 0
Nivel Egres wrote:

While we are on the topic (and Alex is here), how do people feel about exhaling/screaming on limit moves? I know it's annoying to onlookers but does it actually help?

climbing friend,

you are screaming for power and glory, most helpful, and also to attract the attention from climber of opposite sexual type. just you are attempting scream of wild animal unleashed, not small timid child nor old man groaning while getting out of bed style.

a.blair · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 15
Nivel Egres wrote:

While we are on the topic (and Alex is here), how do people feel about exhaling/screaming on limit moves? I know it's annoying to onlookers but does it actually help?

Definitely helps.

Kedron Silsbee · · Princeton, NJ · Joined Aug 2013 · Points: 0
John Barritt wrote:

Sometimes I cheat and take a breath on long run-outs, not cause I'm weak, cause I'm old.

;)

Well it's not really trad climbing then, is it...

Nick Drake · · Newcastle, WA · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 438
a.blair wrote:

Definitely helps.

Especially if it's a sharp crimp that hurts or painful tips jam. Somehow those painful holds don't hurt if I let out blood curdling expletives.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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