What's the difference between power to climb fast and power to climb hard moves

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  • #38160

    And what’s the difference between training for these different modalities? Will one or the other have better transfer?

Posted In: Climbing

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    Scott Semple on #38195

    Better transfer to what?

    Brute power will be good for short, hard boulder problems or longer routes with short, hard cruxes.

    “Power to climb fast” seems like more of a power endurance level of intensity? So good for onsighting, I think?

    DominicProvost on #38212

    I’m sorry if my question was not clear. I’m wondering about something that may be a little abstract. The objectives I have in mind is a stout full value 5.hard pitch (I dabble in bouldering but I find it’s a ton of effort for very little actual climbing, I’ll boulder inside for training) vs moving as fast as you can on easy-for-the-climber technical terrain. Obviously both efforts require some power endurance and the aerobic base to support it. I also understand that a redpoint will be done near lactate threshold while a long speed burn on a long climb would be under aerobic threshold. However both events require a certain amount of power to endure. My question is more about training the power base that is endured than comparing two energy systems.

    I’m basically wondering whether climbing really fast will be effective if I want to be faster below my limit on long climbs but also climb harder stuff at the crag. Would it be worthwhile to do climbing speed work to increase limit power if I want to increase my speed on alpine rock climbs for example, or would there be the risk of reinforcing poor form by climbing in a maybe insecure manner (it could be avoided by taking the time to climb in a secure way, but then I’d be climbing slower), in which case I’d be better off doing something such as pulling moves near my limit on a training board to train power (which could then have transfer in increasing speed without reinforcing bad technique). I’m also wondering if training to climb fast would have a worthwhile training effect from a physiological standpoint when it comes to climbing harder moves, it’s obviously not as specific but does something to your muscles. Thinking further my question may be dumb because limit climbing is already done as fast as we can go, it just feels slow because it’s really hard not to fall off.

    My questioning stems from the data I’ve seen and things I felt from ARCing on my friend’s treadwall (it’s addicting trying to go faster for longer, I get crazy pumped without doing very hard moves when I try to go as fast I can, my movement efficiency does suffer when I try that), the ultrarunners I know who do speedwork, a much stronger sport climber than me running up a project I’d just redpointed last summer and then seeing reel rock 13’s speed climbing film during a showing at the banff mountain film festival tour.

    Your mention of onsighting is also interesting, because there’s clearly a visual aspect that can probably be trained when it comes to climbing fast as well as climbing hard. If you could suggest drills specifically for that I would be all ears, although I’m not opposed to being reminded that gaining experience is all I can do, climbing is fun and I do it a lot.

    I apologize for being all over the place with my thoughts (I’m also coming off a 10 hour evening shift in a restaurant so my brain isn’t at it’s best) and thank you for your time. I’d be happy with whatever general insight my questioning yields because I don’t expect a clear cut answer.

    Scott Semple on #38227

    From what I understand, you want to climb faster on long routes. That type of speed is going to come from movement skills, not really from fitness. You need a base level of fitness for the grade, but being smooth and confident (climbing without hesitation) will be a much bigger factor.

    To improve that, I would focus on technique with drills.

    For example, I was at a mixed climbing speed comp many years ago. On a friend’s attempt, he looked very fast because his movement was quick and jagged. Following his run, Stephane Husson went. He looked calm and appeared to be climbing slowly. I assumed my friend was faster, but Stephane beat him by ~30 seconds.

    For speed in general, “slow is fast and fast is slow”.

    Scott Semple on #38228

    Also, just to clarify terminology, “power endurance” is a specific intensity. Neither hard bouldering or easy-for-the-climber terrain are power endurance. Typical power endurance intensities would be an onsight attempt or low-end redpoint. It’s the intensity where a burning pump is created.

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