• 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
  • Injury-Free Boarding: 14 Training Tips to Save Your Fingers
  • 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
  • The Training Effect - Steve House and Scott Johnston
  • Training for Climbing: Injured? Train Your Core!
  • Building a Better Climber: Phase 4 - Power Endurance
  • 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?
  • Crank Like a Russian - How to Power Train for Climbing
  • How to Mentally Train
  • Boost Power With Eccentric Training
  • Tips for Better Onsighting
  • Should You Lose Weight or Get Stronger?
  • Is Protein Important?
  • Getting Strong After a Layoff
  • 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
  • Can Old Guys Get Stronger?
  • Training With an Injury
  • How to Beat Fear
  • How Often Should You Rest?
  • Warming Up Without Warm-Ups
  • How to Develop Sloper Strength
  • Beating the Lactic Acid Pump
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    Hangboarding for Endurance: Not Just for Power


    For training endurance, climbing gyms are the default setting. The standard procedures of lapping routes or circuits will always deliver the pump, increasing your stamina.

    But what if you can’t get to a gym and need to up your endurance for a trip or project? If you’ve been in this situation and dismissed hangboards as only useful for training power, think again! It is possible to show up at Rodellar or Kalymnos with killer endurance, despite not having worn your rock shoes in weeks or months. The only question, since this type of training is not common, is how.

    The best and simplest approach for intermediate climbers is to start by splitting endurance into two categories: strength-endurance and long-endurance. Elites can benefit from parsing endurance into four categories (anaerobic power, anaerobic capacity, aerobic power, and aerobic capacity), but we will go with the majority rule.



    Leah Crane of the U.K. trains endurance using a hangboard and sling. Photo: Liam Lonsdale.Strength-endurance is the type of fitness required for sustained sequences of approximately 15 to 40 moves, as are typical on sport climbs. The priority is on the fingers, but you can also work the arms and core in isolation.



    This is the main exercise for targeting the fingers, and consists of sets of deadhangs performed in blocks and in close succession, with strict rest times. A popular method to help hard project climbing is to do six to seven seconds on, with two to three seconds off. For onsight climbing, go eight to 12 seconds on, with four to five seconds off.

    Perform these sequences for blocks of anything between 45 seconds and three minutes of continuous work, then rest an equal amount of time (e.g. 45 seconds on, 45 seconds off; three minutes on, three minutes off). Rest times may be slightly longer than work times if the work is set at a harder level. Most routines would involve a minimum of four and a maximum of 10 rounds, depending on whether you’re performing a dedicated session or adding a session after climbing.



    Calibrating the difficulty of the exercise is key. Work with a pair of holds/edges large enough to enable you to complete the session. Aim to complete the first two or three rounds fairly comfortably, to struggle on the next two or three, and to hit failure toward the end of the last two or three.

    You can either stick with the same grip (the half-crimp is the default, with fingers bent at 90 degrees), or vary the grip by doing some sets with an open-hand grip. For example, you could do the first half of the session with the half-crimp and the second with an open-grip, or you could alternate between grips, either between each hang, or between each set. The first option attacks the same muscle groups without respite, meaning that you will tire out faster. The second allows you to push longer by spreading the load between muscle groups.



    You have many valid options. You can either increase the length of each block, or reduce the rest time between blocks, or do another block, or use slightly smaller holds over time. Using a smaller hold will train strength better, while increasing the number or length of blocks will be more endurance oriented.

    To work the fingers and arms in combination for strength- endurance, do sets of fingertip pull-ups grouped into blocks, again with a strict rest time in between. For example, start your timer, and do a fixed number of pull-ups every time the minute comes around. Intermediates, start off with two or three. High intermediates or elites, do as many as eight to 12. Do this for three to eight minutes without stopping, then take a three- to six-minute rest and repeat between three and eight times.

    To work the arms for strength- endurance without taxing the fingers, do the same thing using the jugs on the hangboard.

    To train the core, do hanging leg raises, either with the legs straight or bent, subject to your level. The most logical method of progression is to increase the number of reps in each set over time.



    Long-endurance is the type of fitness you need for most sport onsights, long redpoints or trad climbs, with sustained climbing in excess of approximately five minutes. Long-endurance work is done on a hangboard by using footholds on the edge of a doorframe, or placing a foot on a chair for partial assistance. “Climb” randomly around the board, moving your hands from hold to
    hold. Increase the pump by using finger holds, then switch to the jugs periodically to shake out and recover.

    If you’re fit enough, cut loose intermittently and perform a few footless pull-ups, deadhangs or leg raises, then replace the foot
    and continue. Typical combinations would include four to 10 minutes of work, followed by approximately four to 10 minutes of rest, for a total of three to six blocks. These sessions are especially tough and require much discipline, but the results can be impressive.


    Britain’s NEIL GRESHAM has been training and coaching for two decades. In 2001, he made the second ascent of Equilibrium (E10 7a/5.14X) on Peak District gritstone, and last year established Freakshow (8c/5.14b) at Kilnsey, also in the U.K. On October 13, 2016 he made the first ascent of Sabotage—an 8c+ (5.14c) extension to Predator (8b/5.13d) at Malham Cave, North Yorkshire, England. Sabotage is Gresham’s first climb of the grade.


    This article originally appeared in Rock and Ice issue 238 (November 2016).

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