We all experience those climbing sessions when we visit the gym alone and push to take training to the next level. Whether you prefer an auto-belay or challenging yourself on a boulder spray wall, when you combine the ARC training method with a Clift Interactive Wall, you have everything you need to elevate your endurance skills to new heights.
What is ARC Training?
ARC Training is a type of endurance training designed for climbers. Its main objective is to enhance the number of capillaries in the forearms, thereby increasing your maximum steady-state (MSS) when climbing. Improving your MSS means you can climb for an extended period on more challenging routes without quickly experiencing muscle fatigue.
For climbing, the most practical method for raising the MSS is “aerobic respiration and capillarity” (ARC) training. The primary concept of ARC training is to sustain a mild pump for 20-45 minutes, which is achieved by staying on the wall for that duration. This consists of climbing for long, sustained periods as close as possible to the MSS. This is best performed by climbing on vertical to slightly overhanging walls that places a steady load on the forearms so that a moderate, but sustainable pump ensues for upwards of 30 minutes.
Benefits of ARC trainings:
Developing a foundation of muscular fitness to prepare for more intense training
Improving local forearm capillarity for improved aerobic energy metabolism
Improving grip control and pump-management skills
Aiding recovery from intense training and performance efforts
Acquiring and practicing new movement skills and techniques
How to ARC Train with Clift on Auto-Belay and Boulder walls
There are two main ways to have ARC training with Clift. Both are implementing the use of Clift Interactive Wall. Bouldering provides a more intensive training experience for a shorter duration. Auto-belay training is a bit easier and doable for longer durations. Luckily at Clift we have locations for both. You can use the Clift Locations finder to find the nearest Clift Location.
Auto-belays are a very productive method for ARC training. Set or find a route typically 1-2 grades below your onsight (climb the route from the ground up, without falling or resting on your rope) limit, commonly speaking, your comfortable difficulty, anything slightly overhanging is ideal. Start with an easier climb and then progress to a more difficult route (but still under your onsight limit) at around the 5-minute mark to get a good pump going. Continue to climb up and down for 20-30 minutes. When you are next to the Clift Console, after the first route, you can select a different one, without coming off the auto-belay. This way you can diversify what you climb, and improve your technique as well as your endurance.
To avoid disrupting other climbers, keep an eye out for someone waiting to use the auto-belay or inform others that you'll be on the Clift wall for 20+ minutes and let them go ahead of you. Before leaving, climb something challenging to keep the pump going for as long as you can.
Clift Interactive Wall helps with your ARC training in bouldering as well. Select a chosen route, its difficulty should be 2 grades lower than your highest climbed boulder grade. Climb up and down on this route, till you hit the slight pump. From this point onwards, you can either swap routes while still being on the wall, or just traverse around the holds, but utilize the Clift Console to keep track of your time spent on the wall.
The timer should be the same as in Auto-belay, but by slightly increasing boulder difficulties, and with that, the pump’s intensity, your time spent on the wall can shorten down to 10-15 minutes. But the point is still to keep the pump and stay on the wall, for as long as you feel comfortable.
Overall, with Clift Interactive Wall, it is easy to track your progress and time spent on the wall, during your ARC training.