feeling spry near the summit of Komo Kulshan, February 2015 cr. Joe Hoch

By Mercedes Pollmeier

Do you ever find yourself climbing up a route and you reach the crux, you make a few difficult moves and you start to huff and puff, and ultimately your heavy breathing leaves you falling off the route? Do you find yourself huffing and puffing on the approach to your climb, and feel a bit taxed before you even start climbing?

Those who climb mountains already know the importance of cardio and how it’s a major part of their training, however, for a rock climber, cardio is often forgotten.

There are several benefits for rock climbers to do aerobic training; it can increase work capacity, shorten recovery time between training sessions, teach you how to regulate your breathing, and control heart rate during training.

Just like strength training, cardio done right will increase your capacity to do more work, which means being able to do more difficult things over a longer period of time. Aerobic training increases the working capacity of the muscle by providing quick and sufficient energy to allow the muscles to contract over and over again. There are several adaptations that occur in the muscle from aerobic training, all which increases performance for a rock climber.

Low intensity running after climbing can increase recovery from a tough session. Running for about thirty minutes will consistently pump blood to muscles and tendons, repairing tissue damage as well as decreasing soreness.

Aerobic training also teaches you how to breathe rhythmically, and to control your heart rate and breathing rate during spikes in intensity, especially if you train with a heart rate monitor. However, this type of training needs to be intentional and done on a regular basis.

Finally, humans were first and foremost an endurance based species, hunting for food and constantly moving from one location to the next, so tapping into what is genetically engrained will undoubtedly unlock athletic potential.

Next week Mercedes will show you what kind of running to add into your week and when to do it.

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