• Building a Better Climber: Final Part
  • Building a Better Climber: Part 7
  • Building a Better Climber: Part 6
  • Building a Better Climber: Part 5
  • The Training Effect: Methods by Steve House
  • Building a Better Climber: Part 4
  • Building a Better Climber: Part 3
  • Building a Better Climber: Part 2
  • Building a Better Climber: Part 1
  • Catch of the Day
  • The Unnatural Way to Climb
  • Too Hard for a Caveman
  • Never Get Pumped Again
  • Should You Add Weight or Use Smaller Holds on a Hangboard
  • Training for Climbing: Injured? Train Your Core!
  • Cheap Tricks
  • How to Mentally Train
  • How to Power Train for Climbing
  • Boost Power With Eccentric Training
  • Tips for Better Onsighting
  • Should You Lose Weight or Get Stronger?
  • Does Running or Biking Improve Your Climbing?
  • Is Protein Important?
  • Getting Strong After a Layoff
  • Training While Hungry
  • HowTo Use Microcycles
  • Improving Slab Technique
  • How to Unlock a Crux
  • Best Ratio of Resting to Bouldering
  • Training During Pregnancy
  • Using Your Hangboard the Right Way
  • Maximizing a Small Home Wall
  • How to Stay Psyched
  • How to Prevent Bonking
  • Using a Weight Belt For Training
  • Regaining Confidence After a Fall
  • Dynamic vs. Static Stretching
  • Overcome Anxiety and Send!
  • The Importance of Finger Strength
  • Do Forearm Trainers Work?
  • Maximum Training in Minimum Time
  • Dialing in Crampon Technique
  • Ultimate Strength
  • Periodized Training For the Year-round Approach
  • The Secrets of Warming Up
  • Beat the Ice-Climbing Pump
  • Resting the Perfect Amount
  • How To Recover On Route
  • Does Creatine Work?
  • Can Old Guys Get Stronger?
  • Recovery Supplement Truths
  • Euro Training Secrets
  • How to Beat Fear
  • How Often Should You Rest?
  • Training With an Injury
  • Avoiding the Gear-Placement Pump
  • How to Develop Sloper Strength
  • Warming Up Without Warm-Ups
  • Beating the Lactic Acid Pump
  • Video Spotlight
    Sport Climbing Basics
    Sport Climbing Basics

    How To Recover On Route


    Does the G-Tox method for shaking out on routes work? Any other advice for getting the best recovery in a strenuous position, without waving your arms around like a nut?  —Jim Fletcher | Sydney, Australia


    In general there is very little direct research into climbing—however, this is one area that has been investigated. For those who aren’t acquainted, G-Tox is the term that has been coined to describe the technique of shaking your arm above your head for a second or two before lowering it. It is thought that the effect of gravity helps blood circulate through the forearm and clear lactate (the pump) more rapidly from the muscles. Luke Roberts, a friend of mine who was studying sports science in the U.K., carried out a survey on this subject in 2001. His study involved a group of climbers who were asked to shake first with the G-Tox method on one climb, and then without it on another equivalent climb. He measured blood lactate levels immediately post-exercise. The G-Tox method was measured to be slightly more effective in lowering blood lactate levels than shaking with the arm held down. However, he also noted certain limitations to the study and he felt that further research would be beneficial.

    I first witnessed the G-Tox method being used by the French competition team back in the early 1990s. There was much hype about it then, but if it really was significantly better, you would think it would be practiced universally by now. You will hear mixed opinions on the effectiveness of this method among experienced climbers, and I’m not convinced it makes any difference. It undoubtedly makes sense to experiment with the G-tox method, but if you’ve already done that and you’re still not convinced, blow it off.

    Here are some conventional tips for making the best use of rests. First, spot them—the best rests aren’t always in sequence with the climbing. For example, you may need to shift half a move to the side to rest off the holds. Similarly, on complex 3-D rock such as tufa or stalactite-infested limestone, there may be a hidden knee-bar or body-brace that won’t actually appear during the climbing sequence. You need sensitive visual radar to spot these rests. When you find one, quickly assess how good it is and decide whether it’s going to be just a quick flick of each arm or a half-hour shake-athon. On a steep wall, even if you have a jug for your hands, if the footholds are bad you may exhaust yourself by staying there too long. Monitor your breathing rate as well. When your breathing rate is no longer falling, press on. Keep your arms as straight as possible. You may need to twist-in with your hips on overhangs, but on vertical routes, simply bend your legs. Relax your body as much as possible and try to settle your weight on your feet. If your calves cramp, try using your heel on larger footholds to reduce the strain. Breathe slowly and deeply from your chest cavity rather than with rapid, thin gasps through your mouth. As you change arms, you will probably need to swap feet and reposition your hips to maintain optimal position for poise and balance. If the resting hold is positive, then try to hook your fingers over it and use friction to hang as passively as possible. If the hold projects outwards, cup your wrist around the side. A final tip is to look out for jams, which often save the day.

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