Aerobic Endurance on the Hangboard


You’ve just passed the crux. The rest of the route should be easy for you. Everything looks like you're sending the route. But one thing isn't right. The pump in your forearms doesn’t want to go! After a minute on the jug of the rest, you start climbing again and the tiredness kicks in instantly. At the last dynamic movement before the anchors, your fingers reach the hold and doesn’t close. You take the big fall and get caught by the rope. 

The hangboard is a great tool to gain endurance and avoid the pump.

Picture from Yves Gravelle.

Yves Gravelle's Forearm

Blood flow

Getting most out of rests, climbing long easy sections and recovering in between tries all require a good blood flow in the forearms. Aerobic endurance is a capacity that is seldom trained by climbers and yet has a massive impact in climbing.

Endurance on the wall

Traditionally, climbers train endurance on the wall doing long sessions or specific exercises. I would suggest 3 exercises on a climbing wall: climbing 4 routes without rests 4 times, doing 10 boulders one after the other and climbing circuits on a training wall. For each exercise, we try to reach an intensity as continuous as possible. The goal is to link as many movements’ way bellow your limit without having to take a rest.

Endurance on the Hangboard

Working endurance on the hangboard has multiple benefits; it is fast, has controllable intensity and is mostly physical. To work on aerobic endurance, we aim for intermittent partial hangs with a load less than 35% of your maximal strength. A good tempo is 10 seconds of exercise followed by 5 seconds rest.

When to start?

Endurance will get you tired. It is not recommended to train it before a training session or a strength training. A focus on it during training can be beneficial to prepare a strength training cycle, before a climbing trip or an event. It can also be trained without a focus, one day a week.