Home > Indoor Climbing

Indoor Weekly: Endurance and the Art of Down Climbing

If you want to get good at down climbing, clip into the auto-belays and start training endurance.

Utilizing the auto-belays to continuously go up and down can quickly build long-lasting pump-fighting strength.

Toprope and lead climbing involves two people, the climber and the belayer. But the new-ish addition of auto-belay machines at climbing gyms have eliminated the need for a partner.

There’s no longer a need to have someone standing below you, craning their neck or peering through belay glasses with one hand on the brake rope.

The auto-belay takes up the slack as a climber ascends and controls the descent when the climber reaches the top or in the event of a fall.

But many climbers only use the auto-belays as back-ups in case they pump out while doing laps.

If you’ve never trained endurance on an auto-belay, it’s highly recommended. It’s also a great way to warm up.

Auto-belay endurance training is best to do in intervals. Select a route that is strenuous but not technically too difficult that you can’t do five complete laps up and down.

Alternate climbing burns with rest intervals, which are about the same length. If you climb for five minutes, rest for five minutes.

It’s best to avoid routes with moves that could injure you if climbed in a state of fatigue, such as routes with tweaky holds.

When you down-climb, go down slow enough to avoid resistance from the auto-belay. With enough practice you’ll perfect the art of down-climbing and hopefully build some good endurance along the way.