Is it Better for climbers to Rest or Actively Recover?

Is it Better for climbers to Rest or Actively Recover?

It seems obvious that you should take breaks between climbs, yet the question comes up - what should you do to maximize that time off?

The answer surprised me and it has to do specifically for hard sport routes, but there’s also a tip for boulderers.

This advice comes from coach Steve Bechtel who cites a fascinating study on elite athletes including climbers. They looked at two groups of athletes with a two hour break after an intensively hard effort.

The first group did nothing, just sitting and resting passively.

In the second group, some people walked on a treadmill and others did low intensity climbing. Overall the first group performed worst, but surprisingly the low-intensity climbers did even better than the walkers.

But a caveat is this - for short intense effort, like bouldering, the research shows little improvement with active recovery on your activity day.

For boulderers, the important lesson is to implement active recovery on your days off, placing emphasis on low-intensity effort, so for instance a run where you can still carry a conversation.

And of course good nutrition and sleep carry the majority of impact for maximizing your rest days.

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