There are many different ways to improve your strength-endurance, and each method comes with its pros and cons. Strength-endurance is often grouped together with power endurance, but it specifically characterizes the ability to grip hard over and over again. Power endurance more broadly is the ability to pull hard, dead center, and throw to hold continuously.
When designed correctly, bouldering 4x4s and freeway laps—two classic power endurance exercises—are great for building finger and forearm strength-endurance while simultaneously providing mental training by forcing you to stay calm. and technical under an extreme pump.
Depending on your local climbing gym setup, however, it can be difficult to customize these exercises on the wall for strength-endurance in the fingers and forearms. For example, if you are training for an open, edgy and crimpy outdoor project, it can be difficult to replicate this if your gym does not have appropriate locks or routes.
This is where hangboard repeaters come in They’re simple, they’re quick and efficient to make, and you can do them from the comfort of your home, assuming you have a hangboard or board to use.
With hangboard repeaters, you do a series of hangboards, each one separated by a very short rest. The time you hang, the time you rest, the number of repetitions, the number of sets, and the rest period between sets are all customizable. So is the size of the board you choose and how much weight you add or remove while doing the exercise. For example, you can perform repetitions at body weight, with an extra weight added to your equipment, or with the weight offset with a pulley system.
Lower resistance protocol
In the context of strength-endurance building, a classic repeater protocol is seven seconds followed by three seconds off. When starting your power resistance training phase, it may be a good idea to first do a couple of weeks of lower weight reps to build up to harder rep sessions. If you’re just starting your strength resistance training phase, or if you’re new to rep training in general, try this protocol:
- 7 seconds on, 3 seconds off
- 10 to 12 reps
- 6 sets
- Rest 4 minutes between sets
- The resistance should be 50% of the maximum strength (see more about this below)
You should feel a high degree of pump during this workout. The last reps should be difficult, but not impossible.
Highest resistance protocol
If you are at a more advanced level and have been performing lower resistance repetitions for a couple of weeks, you can move on to heavier weights. Here’s a good protocol for building endurance for crux sections of 60 seconds or longer:
- 7 seconds on, 3 seconds off
- 5 to 6 reps
- 6 sets
- Rest 3 minutes between sets
- The resistance should be 70% of the maximum strength (see more about this below)
The last two reps should be difficult to complete in sets, but should not fail. You should feel moderately pumped after the workout and quite fueled.
Important notes for both protocols
- Warm up well before doing rep training.
- You can do repeater training twice a week.
- Try to have a day of rest before and after the training of repeaters, since the exercise is quite taxing on the fingers and forearms.
- If you find that you complete all the repetitions easily, especially in your final sets, increase the weight in your next session.
- If you find failure before the seven seconds are up, or if the form is starting to slip, reduce the resistance.
- You can perform the training of repeaters on different types of catch – large edges, smaller edges, bags, pinches, slopers – depending on your goals. Start with low resistance when training a new type of grip.
- You can train different types of grip (half crimp, open hand, three finger drag) but make sure you stick to one type of grip for the entire six sets.
- Advanced climbers can also try increasing the resistance to 80%. Reduce the number of repetitions to 5 if using this high weight. This is a good protocol for targeting the tougher but shorter endurance crux sections.
- If you are new to climbing, it is probably better to perform strength and resistance training on the wall rather than hangboard repeaters. In this way, you will work on the development of the technique and also build fitness.
Determine your strength base
To discover your 50% or 70% endurance levels, you first need to determine your maximum strength base. Make sure you rest at least a day before doing your maximum strength test.
A typical finger strength testing method is to perform seven or eight repetitions of seven seconds of increasing weight on a hangboard grip of your choice (eg 20mm board) using a specific grip type (eg half crimp). Your maximum strength score is determined by the heaviest weight you can successfully perform for the full seven seconds with good technique.
For example, if you weigh 150 lbs and can complete a deadlift at 50 lbs, but fail or lose form at five seconds when you add 55 lbs, then your maximum strength score is 200 lbs (150 lbs + 50 lbs), or 133 % of body weight. If you are going to perform the lower resistance repeater protocol at 50% of maximum strength, you want 100 lbs of resistance (50% of 200 lbs). In this case, being 150 lbs, you need to compensate 50 lbs with a pulley system.
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