Resting the Perfect Amount

How long should I rest between burns?

By Rock and Ice | December 15th, 2009

How long should I rest between burns?  —Tim Stitch | Santa Fe, NM

There is a big difference between resting for routes or boulder problems at the crag and resting between bursts during training. Often in training you will deliberately work on reduced recovery times, but at the crag you need to strike a balance between allowing maximum recovery and preventing yourself from cooling down. It’s difficult to generalize, as recovery rates vary according to fitness levels, however, there is a very general formula that you can adapt to your needs: For routes, rest one minute for every move you complete successfully, and for boulder problems, two minutes. If you are not feeling fit then you can lengthen this to one-and-a-half minutes per move for routes and two-and-a-half minutes for bouldering. Note that for routes, no matter how tall, it is inadvisable to rest for any longer than an hour. For rest stints of between 45 minutes and an hour, you should do an easy route to warm-up again before your next attempt. On the same theme, it is highly recommended to do some easy climbing shortly after a failed attempt on a route to help flush out lactic acid. A few reps on a light squeeze ball provide an alternative. Drink plenty of fluids during the break, and stay clear of heavy foods. An energy bar or piece of fruit will do the trick. For bouldering, I recommend a 15-minute break after every 20 minutes of hard climbing, as this will enable you to sustain your power for as long as possible.

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