Aside from all the fun, autobelays are also effective training tools to take your workout to the next level. Here are different ways to use autobelays for training.
Ever find yourself out of breath when climbing? You might benefit from aerobic workouts. Autobelays can be a good way to add aerobic training, which is also known as cardio. Climbing easy to medium routes with moderate rest will elevate the heart rate and improve cardiovascular health while building up endurance at the same time.
Main benefits: Cardiovascular health and increased fitness.
Example workout: Climb continuously for 10-15 minutes at a comfortable grade, around 1 or 2 number grade below the highest grade you can climb (ex. 5.11a becomes 5.10a). You shouldn’t get exhausted from forearm pump. Try to increase your speed while practicing regular breathing patterns.
Having good technique is essential to any type of climbing, and practicing on autobelays will effectively level up your skills. On roped climbing, setters intentionally set with intricate footwork sequences and hidden rest positions, making roped climbing the playground for practicing technique.
On autobelays, climbers can try medium to hard climbs with intentional movement. Keeping in mind the goal of mastering technique, try making every movement graceful, rhythmic and calculated.
Main benefits: Improve technique, route-reading skills, and mindfulness.
Example workout: Choose a climb 1-2 letter grade below maximum (ex. 5.10c becomes 5.10a). Paying attention to your entire body, slowly move through the climb as gracefully as possible.
Have you ever felt your forearms burning with soreness after several moves? Your grip just gives up and you find yourself falling from the top? That feeling in the forearm is colloquially named “pump,” where the lactic acids build up in the bloodstream causing you to fail on a climb.
Luckily, there are ways to get better endurance, and climbing autobelays is one of them. The goal here is to pick hard, physical climbs. You should pick a hard climb you can repeat more than one time.
Main benefits: Increased power endurance and strength.
Example workout: Repeat this route until your forearms have given up on you, then rest actively for up to 5 minutes. During your rest, you can walk around, shake out the arms, or stretch. When time is up, get back on the wall and repeat this process 2-3 times.
Focus on your breathing
So many of us climb and workout but never really pay attention to our breathing. I’ve caught myself holding my breath while working out, which is a very very bad practice and 100% not recommended by trainers across all sports.
We often neglect this aspect of climbing, but practicing breathing is essential to performance. Breathing correctly helps you avoid injury, optimize oxygen supply, and ultimately improves performance. Breathing incorrectly can put stress on your blood vessels and strain the muscles as well. To practice breathing properly, we first need to pay mindful attention to our breathing pattern.
Main benefits: Injury prevention and increased performance.
Example workout: Pick 1-2 climbs that are moderately challenging. Climb with an increased focus on your breath. Look out for poor breathing patterns such as holding your breath or uneven breathing. Incorporate good breathing techniques such as
Great! Now that I’m starting to fall in love with autobelays, show me how to incorporate it into my sessions.
Hub Markham has 22 autobelays and Hub Mississauga has 32 units. Hub Mississauga is the biggest rock climbing gym in the entire GTA!
Hub’s autobelay orientation for new climbers
We’re a beginner-friendly gym with large areas dedicated to new climbers. Hub expert staff will orient you to how to put on your harness, how to build the safety habits around using the autobelay.
Guest Contributor, Dec 2020