Training power endurance

It’s Tuesday already? Oh yes it is!

Times flying by when you’ve got a lot on your plate.

Nevermind, I promised a longer post last week and I am not one to disappoint my dear readers.

I would like to start of with some good news on the injured finger front: It hasn’t returned to full strength yet but it feels really f*cking good! I can climb relatively hard, hang from relatively small edges and don’t feel any pain in most grip positions. At times it still feels a bit insecure but I guess that’s just the name of the game.

I was able to prove how good my finger is when I was able to onsight 6c (5.11a) last Friday! This is my first onsight of the grade and I almost topped it with a redpoint of a nice 7a+ (5.12a) but botched a delicate sequence right before the top after breezing through the lower crux. I hope I will return soon and finally get my first 5.12-route.

Ok, so that’s about it on the climbing side of things. Time to talk some training!


Power endurance

I’m heading to Céüse in about 6 weeks and I know from experience that I will get incredibly pumped on those long, immaculate limestone routes. Thus, it is time for some power endurance (or strength endurance) training.

My approach towards this quality includes two components. The first component is frequent outdoor climbing, trying to get flashes or quick redpoints. This works power endurance and specific rock-skills (footwork, reading rock, clipping, lead-head…) at the same time and will hopefully shorten the time that I need to reacquaint myself with the climbing in Céüse.

The second component is some serious training on the steep board at my local climbing wall. You should always train specifically for your objectives in order to get optimal results. So at the start of my thought process, I figured out what type of routes I want to climb in Céüse. I came to the conclusion that I will climb routes in the 25 to 35 metre range which will be slightly overhanging, very pocketed and generally quite pumpy and sustained.

This would mean you should climb on similar terrain and on problems of similar length in order to have the perfect preparation.

I admit that a 45°-board might be a bit steeper than the walls in Céüse but that is the only option I have. Regarding grip type, I am somewhat limited because I can’t really use 2-finger pockets with my injured finger, so I decided to go for large open-hand holds instead and hope that I’ll be able to use pockets soon. I also train the index/middle-finger combo on the hangboard. An advantage of this approach is that the bigger jugs are not as friction dependend as smaller holds. At my wall, it has become unbearably hot again and I tend to grease off every hold that needs at least some amount of friction.

On the board, I set a 20 move circuit which is consistently difficult and has no distinct crux sections. If you want to get your power endurance up, it is important that you complete a certain number of moves rather than falling at some arbitrary point because a crux move was too difficult for you. The plan is to do that 20 move circuit 3 times with a certain amount of rest in between tries. This constitutes one series. After the series you take a longer rest of 10 to 15 minutes and do another series afterwards.

Initially, I will start with a 2 minute rest between sets and then gradually decrease rest times every week until I can hopefully link the circuit 3 times with no rest, making it a 60-move pump fest.

The reasoning behind eventually doing a 60 move circuit is that routes in Céüse tend to be longer climbs (from 25 metres all the way up to 60 metre monster pitches) and 60 moves roughly falls into the length of 25-35 metres.

If you want to do similar training, I’d advise you to set a very good circuit first. Spend some time on this, as it will greatly influence how effective your training will be. I took about 2 sessions to finalize my circuit and I chased multiple dead-ends in the process. Actually, I wanted to have 3 different circuits but made 2 circuits which were too hard and ended up deciding to use only the one circuit.

Another trick is to use small screw-on foot-jibs only, as this will slow down your climbing and make your pace more similar to outdoor climbing. Small footholds on a steep board also train core strength and are, in my opinion, the best way to replicate insecure foot placements outdoors.

During your sessions, pay attention to where you fall on your circuit. If you fall after only a few moves, you shouldn’t consider this attempt as a proper repetition. Take a small rest instead and try to link the circuit again. You don’t have to ‘send’ the circuit every time but you should get far enough to feel a burning pump in your forearms. If you’re sending every time, your circuit may have become too easy and you should decrease rest times. If you can link your circuit 3 times back-to-back, you should change it to make it harder.

You can increase the number of series you do in a session as you get better. This will increase work capacity and give you more quality attempts when it comes to actual outdoor climbing. My goal is to eventually do 6 series in a session, so that I can have 4 to 5 good goes on my outdoor projects in a day.

That’s everything I have to say about training power endurance for climbing right now and I’m excited to see how my plan will work out.


Wish me luck, have a great week and feel the pump!




2 thoughts on “Training power endurance

  1. Enjoy the power endurance!

    At least you have a 45 available to you! Have you memorised the circuit? Or are they allowing you to put some numbers up on it etc.?

    Consider that increasing the number of moves in each circuit attempt, is probably a better option than reducing rest times. At least from my experience. I think you will be surprised how quickly you see gains on that circuit.

    Glad your finger is feeling better!


    1. Thanks for your comment!

      I took a photo of the wall and mark the holds with a small red circle on my smartphone. Works great for all type of problems (I record my limit bouldering problems the same way). Then I look at it before the attempt and memorize the holds (by now I have it wired anyway).

      Have read in a few places that decreasing rest-times is good. In reality, I’m now increasing moves as I can’t redpoint the circuit every go. My first series yesterday went something like this:
      20 moves
      2 min rest
      16 moves
      2 min rest
      12 moves

      15 min rest


      Will think about adding moves when my endurance improves.

      How’s your climbing going?


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