• Coming Back From Injury
  • Get Trip-Fit Fast
  • Systems Wall and Symmetrical Training
  • Coaching Climbing - How To Train Juniors with Care and Caution
  • Grip Trainers - Gimmicks, or Worth the Money?
  • Hangboarding for Endurance: Not Just for Power
  • Simulation Training: How to Do a Move You Can't Do
  • Planning a Year's Climbing
  • Portable Training Rigs - How to Stay Fit on the Go
  • How to Keep Your Job and Family and Still Climb at Your Limit
  • Suspension Training for Rock Climbing
  • Eat Fat, Climb Harder - The Ketogenic Diet
  • Witness the Mental Fitness: Set Thought Aside to Improve Performance
  • Mental Training Made Simple
  • Counterintuitive Climbing Tips to Change Your Game - Part 2
  • Endurance Training Tips for Winter
  • Five Counterintuitive Climbing Tips to Change Your Game - Part 1
  • Staying Power - How to Last All Day at the Crag
  • Attack and Defend - Tips for Effective Resting
  • Change Up - Plug the Gaps In Your Strength Training This Winter
  • Training While Injured
  • The Hard Way, Easier: How to Cope with Redpoint Nerves
  • Climbing Literacy - Get Better Instantly by Reading Routes
  • The Numbers Game - How to Use Your Age to Your Advantage
  • Injury-Free Bouldering: 15 Tips to Keep You Healthy and Strong
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  • The Truth About Caffeine and Climbing
  • Pushing Past Your Training Plateau
  • Five Strategies to Sharpen Concentration and Climb Better
  • Five Ways to Get Better Without Training
  • Beat the Burnout: Only Ondra Should Train Like Ondra
  • Effective Gym Training Strategies (for Route Climbing)
  • Should You Add Weight or Use Smaller Holds on a Hangboard?
  • Map Out a Plan with the Radar System
  • Managing the Fear of Falling
  • Projecting 101 – 6 Tips For Sending
  • Slowing the Pump Clock - Three Strategies to Prevent the Pump
  • Training on the Go
  • How to Train for Compression
  • Nutrition: Eating Your Way to Better Climbing
  • How to Dyno
  • General Conditioning for Climbers
  • Transitioning from Gym to Crag
  • Staying Strong to Perform Your Best All Season
  • How to Lose Weight for Climbing
  • Building a Better Climber: Final Phase - Peaking
  • Building a Better Climber: Phase 7 - Power Endurance Training
  • Building a Better Climber: Phase 6 - Endurance II
  • Building a Better Climber: Phase 5 - Strength and Power II
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  • Building a Better Climber: Phase 3 - Strength Training
  • Building a Better Climber: Phase 2 - Low-Intensity Endurance
  • Building a Better Climber: Phase 1 - Conditioning Phase
  • Gain Confidence by Learning Not to Fear Falling
  • Get Better When You Are Scared and Pumped
  • Never Get Pumped Again
  • Gutbusters - Core Exercises for Rock Climbing
  • Rest ... or Else
  • The Intuitive Approach to Training
  • Free Climbing Tips: Why Get Stronger When You Can Get Better?
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  • How to Mentally Train
  • Boost Power With Eccentric Training
  • Tips for Better Onsighting
  • Should You Lose Weight or Get Stronger?
  • Is Protein Important?
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  • Does Running or Biking Improve Your Climbing?
  • Training While Hungry
  • How To Use Microcycles
  • How to Improve Slab Technique
  • How to Unlock a Crux
  • How to Use a Hangboard
  • Using a Weight Belt For Training
  • Training During Pregnancy
  • Maximizing a Small Home Wall
  • How to Stay Psyched
  • How to Prevent Bonking
  • Best Ratio of Resting to Bouldering
  • The Importance of Finger Strength
  • Regaining Confidence After a Fall
  • Overcome Anxiety and Send!
  • Maximum Training in Minimum Time
  • Dynamic vs. Static Stretching
  • Do Forearm Trainers Work?
  • Ultimate Strength
  • The Secrets of Warming Up
  • Periodized Training For the Year-round Approach
  • Resting the Perfect Amount
  • How To Recover On Route
  • Does Creatine Work?
  • Recovery Supplement Truths
  • Euro Training Secrets
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  • Beating the Lactic Acid Pump
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    Staying Power - How to Last All Day at the Crag

    By Neil Gresham

    Simon Longacre chills between burns. Coach says resting one minute per hand move is optimal.<br />Photo: Leon Legot. You know how climbing is: less about how hard you pull than how long you can last. The climber having the most fun is the one still cranking at sunset, yet the formula for sustaining energy levels during a prolonged day can be elusive. It’s common to find yourself flagging, especially if you are on a trip and climbing several days in a row. Yet you can maximize productivity for a long day’s bouldering or sport climbing.



    As a trip approaches, try to extend your training sessions so you acclimatize to climbing for longer periods. If you lack the time for long workouts, haul yourself out of bed for a quick early morning hangboard hit, and train again at lunchtime or in the evening. This effort will help your body adjust to the rhythm of longer days and also to warming up after long breaks. Both options are effective, so a good approach is to alternate, starting at least three weeks before a trip. Gear your sessions toward the type of climbing you’ll encounter. Train strength on pockets before the Frankenjura, and endurance on steep walls with jugs before Rodellar or the Red.



    The classic error is to rush your warm-up at the crag because you’re so psyched to get on harder stuff. If anything, take longer than usual. Do some loosening-up exercises even if you feel more self-conscious out at the crag than in the gym. Also rest longer between each warm-up than you would in the gym. For sport climbing, make sure the pump fully clears between each warm-up route. We may only rest five or six minutes between warm-up routes at the gym, but should rest three times longer at the crag. For bouldering, take your shoes off for five minutes after every third or fourth warm-up problem.



    Rest much longer between attempts at hard routes or boulder problems on rock than indoors. Active rest such as toproping or re-leading your warm-up is better than passive rest, as easy climbing will clear a solid pump faster than sitting around and letting it stagnate. This is also a good strategy to cope with cooling down after an enforced stretch of belaying. Similarly, after a long rest while bouldering, re-climb a warm-up, then pull one or two hard moves from a harder problem for strength recruitment. For rest stints longer than 45 minutes, especially on cold days, jog around for a cardio warm-up before redoing the warm-up.



    Views on nutrition vary dramatically; experiment with different strategies to find out what works best for you. Most climbers will be familiar with conventional regimes that rely predominantly on carbohydrates as a fuel source; however, there are alternatives, the most significant being “ketogenic” diets, which minimize carb consumption and utilize healthy fats as a fuel source.

    > Before the Crag / Eat an average-sized amount for your meal the night before and for breakfast. Before a big day at the crag we may be tempted to load up excessively, but that would only make you feel heavy and sluggish.

    > At the Crag / The well-documented approach is to use energy/recovery gels with carbs and protein in a ratio of 4:1, combined with water.

    The alternative ketogenic approach is to rely on quality omega fats in combination with small quantities of carbs with a low glycemic index, to control cravings and prevent highs and lows. Such fats would include avocado, nuts or oily fish such as mackerel, and carbs would include quinoa or sweet potato or legumes such as chickpeas. I like grazing all day on small quantities of a homemade “super salad” containing these ingredients. I have conducted this experiment enough times to know that I climb two or three grades harder when I cut down massively on simple sugars and refined carbs.

    > Boosters / Caffeine and sugar hits should be seen as last-resort tactics to bail you out of low spots. If you’re relying on either as a continuous energy source, you will never last the distance.



    The importance of hydration goes without saying. There are a lot of factors to consider here—the temperature, your climbing volume, the length of the approach and so on. In a recent article on rockandice. com, Robert Portman Ph.D advised: “Our GI tract can only absorb about 36 ounces of fluid per hour. If you are fully hydrated before you start your climb(s), top off by drinking 16-20 ounces.” He advised that water be consumed with a carb/protein energy drink mix: “As a general guideline, consume 100 to 120 calories of a carbohydrate/protein sports drink in the priming stage.” However, if you wish to reduce carb consumption, drink only salt and electrolyte replacements on very hot days. And forget the nonsense that water makes you heavy. If you drink immediately after each climb, you should need a pee just before the next one!



    Consuming a meal, snack or recovery drink containing both carbohydrates and protein (in a ratio of approximately 4:1) within 45 minutes of warming down is one of the best things you can do to ensure your chances of climbing well the following day. In addition, try using a nearby stream as an “ice bath” for your forearms, followed by a hot shower and then a session on a foam roller.


    This article was published in Rock and Ice issue 231 (January 2016)

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