Why training with a heart rate monitor?

Why training with a heart rate monitor?

The missing link in sport climbing.

Highly motivated you are climbing to the crux boulder. Moving up with tiny crimpers or big slopers but everytime it goes wrong. You are losing the precision of your footwork, your arms chickenwing and your hands just simply fail. Again and again you fall and have to start all-over again.

Have you ever thought about the role of your heart in this? The key behind a successful sports performance is your heart. The power to operate on an optimal level when your heart is loaded, with a high intensity performance makes the difference between succeeding and failing, or between climbing and falling.

There is a direct link between your heart rate intensity and success factors such as mental resilience, focus, fitness and your ability to recover. The ability to let your heart function optimally when it’s loaded with high intensity (which it is with climbing) makes the difference between success or failure. No surprise than that training with a heart rate zone monitor is of great value and can be hugely beneficial for climbing.

So to make your training efficient and to climb harder, better and longer you have to train at the optimal intensity. Training at a low intensity won’t get you fit, training to hard will causes overtraining. Using an heart rate monitor helps you find and maintain this level. And should be part of a balanced training program like strength, mental and technique training.

So how to train with a heart rate monitor and make progression?

In advance we want to point out something important. Always determine before a climbing session if you want to perform or if you want to train. This article is about  training not about performance. For example rests should be done as briefly as possible. This is different than a session in which you want to deliver maximum performance.

Training with the right intensity? How do you measure that?

First find your maximum heart rate by climbing a route or boulder you already know and is at your max. Climb the route/boulder again and again, without any rests, in a consistent tempo until you fail at your absolute max. The heart rate the monitors shows at the highest is your maximum heart rate. Your optimal training zone is between 10 and 15 beats per minute below your max. So, for example, if your maximum heart rate for climbing is 182 b/m, then your optimal training zone is between 167 (75%) and 172 (90%) b/m.

Training in the zone.

The best to train in the zone is to use a workout schedule. The schedule describes how long you have to climb, how hard, with which intensity and how long you have to rest in between. Meanwhile you use a heart rate monitor to measure your heartbeat during training.

We have tested several training programs with beginners and advanced climbers, made literature studies and used the 25 years of expertise in training, physiology and internet technology of Polar. Our conclusion is that High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is the most beneficial for climbing.

Using a heart rate tracker shows you in what training zone(s) you have trained. Guideline is to be 40% in your optimal training zone to develop local anaerobic fitness and maximum performance. To achieve the right intensity to trigger muscle and vessel growth. After your training you can see if you have met the required 40% in zone 4 – 5, if your training was hard enough. Or, if your training maybe was too hard, and you have ended up more than 20% in zone 5.

Regular boulder session

Boulder training with HIIT Boulder Workout.

Our H(F)IITclimbing workouts are developed to meet that intensity. You can train with this workouts without heart rate monitor but if you want to train more advanced than work with a heart rate monitor to measure your intensity and to adjust your training program for an optimal result.

You can also start FITclimbing HIIT workouts without a heart rate monitor. If you fail more than 3 times during a training session choose 1 grade easier than the workout indicates. Complete the session as good as you can! The next training you choose 1 or more workouts lower than the workout you did last.