Bouldering Circuits, Stamina Training, and Technical Training

I love getting a circuit together. Having sent a good group of problems or routes in an area, it is possible to then use those problems and routes to put together a circuit for the purpose of training stamina as well as technique. The famous boulderer John Gill used to not do a problem just to get to the top, but would do problems until he had their moves mastered. In this way he refined his technique until the moves could not be done more gracefully or efficiently. This approach to climbing helps to build patterns, or engrams, for future movement, and this helps when on new problems and onsight climbing. The refined techniques and grooved movement will help the climber to produce a refined and efficient move on the first go on a new problem or route. So when I'm doing a circuit, I'm not simply getting up the problems, I'm attempting to master them.

I'm trying to do each move in as much a controlled and refined way as possible. Climbing this way is more intense and demands more of the core. Not only that, but this is a very effective way to internalize climbing moves. It is very difficult to refine one's technique when climbing at the limit, technique is much better improved on easier moves and indeed on moves which have been done by the climber.

From a purely physical perspective, training the body to give moderately high efforts many times in one workout is great preparation for projecting one hard problem. The body gets used to giving many hard efforts, with adequate rest between. This is why stamina training is great preparation for projecting, and pushing new grades.

As anybody who has climbed both in a gym and outside any significant amount knows, climbing on real rock is just not the same as climbing on plastic. This is why I like to do stamina training both in the gym and on real rock.

Another article on stamina training: Stamina Training for Climbing.