Blood Flow Restriction (BFR) Training for Rock Climbing - Introduction

Blood Flow Restriction is one of the most recent innovations in climbing training. I first encountered this finger strength training method in the 2021 Nugget Climbing interview with Tyler Nelson [nugget]. I tried it, and I was amazed with the results. After one training cycle of about 6 - 8 weeks, my 7-second finger strength (MVC-7) measured on a 20 mm edge hit an all-time peak of 124 kg! Moreover, I could repeat this result in 2022 with another BFR cycle.

At that point, I started focusing more on endurance training, and my finger strength declined to 109.5 kg in August 2023. But now, I did another quick BFR cycle to see if I could quickly boost my finger strength. Read on if you're curious to find out what the results were!

Sport climbing level calculator for Tindeq Progressor

Below you'll find a simple calculator that makes estimating your current redpoint level possible based on the Peak Load and Critical Force measurements done with the Tindeq Progressor. The calculator also lets you compare the result obtained with the model developed by Lattice Training and the model I’ve created for this post. Still, at this early development stage, I believe the calculations based on the earlier 4-trial method are more reliable, although the tests are more time-consuming. To get a detailed automatic sport climbing performance analysis based on the 4-trial method, please try my Sport Climbing Level Calculator.


Endurance Repeaters Pyramids - Introduction

So far, in my articles, I've been explaining how to perform finger strength and forearm endurance tests for rock climbing [1][2]. Having reliable test results is great for identifying your weak spots and benchmarking your climbing progress.

However, the main power of performing finger strength and finger endurance measurements is that they allow you to design your targetted rock climbing training plans. In my future posts, I'll explain planning finger strength and endurance training cycles in detail. But before you can design a complete training cycle, you need to know the training drills that are the building blocks of your training sessions.

I covered many basic protocols in my early articles, like the MaxHangs, IntHangs, Bechtel's Ladders, and Endurance Repeaters [3][4][5][6]. However, over the years, as I gained experience in coaching climbers, I've developed my versions of the protocols, which I've found to be even more effective and time-efficient. I want to share this knowledge with you, and in this post, I'll start by explaining my version of Endurance Repeaters, which I call Endurance Repeaters Pyramids.

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Endurance Repeaters Pyramids - Summary

The Endurance Repeaters Pyramids is a very flexible exercise for building aerobic and anaerobic endurance required for high-level sport and trad climbing.

By appropriately controlling the training load and training volume, we can target the following:

  • Lactic capacity
  • Anaerobic threshold
  • Maximum oxygen consumption
  • Aerobic threshold

I've been successfully using the Endurance Repeaters Pyramids training method with my clients for years, obtaining significant improvements in Critical Force, which translated directly to sport climbing performance. Please try this technique and let me know your results!

  1. J. Banaszczyk, StrengthClimbing – Finger Strength Measurements For Rock Climbers Made Easy!, Feb. 17, 2023. (link)
  2. J. Banaszczyk, StrengthClimbing – How To Test Rock Climbing Finger Endurance – Simple Guide, Feb. 17, 2023. (link)
  3. J. Banaszczyk, StrengthClimbing – Eva López MaxHangs Hangboard Routine For Finger Strength, Apr. 29, 2019. (link)
  4. J. Banaszczyk, StrengthClimbing – Eva López IntHangs Strength Endurance Fingerboard Protocol , Apr. 24, 2019. (link)
  5. J. Banaszczyk, StrengthClimbing - Steve Bechtel’s 3-6-9 Ladders hangboard finger strength training, May 18, 2019. (link)
  6. J. Banaszczyk, StrengthClimbing – Endurance Repeaters – Forearm Aerobic Endurance Hangboard Routine, May 2, 2019.(link)

Rock climbing endurance measurements - Introduction

While in bouldering, the most critical determinant of athletic level is finger and upper body strength, in lead climbing, endurance, or how long we can generate a given level of force with our fingers, plays an equally important role.

Although endurance measurements are common in other sports, such as cycling, in climbing, endurance has remained elusive and difficult to measure until recently. In 2019, David Giles, in collaboration with Lattice training, published an article proposing applying the concept of Critical Force to determine finger strength in climbing [1]. Since then, Critical Force determined on a 20 mm edge has become the gold standard for estimating sport climbing level.

Interestingly, determining the Critical Force is relatively easy, and anyone can do it on their own using a fingerboard and a set of weights and pulleys. In this article, I would like to explain how to effectively carry out such a measurement, which will later serve as a reference point and help you evaluate your sport climbing level progression.

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Forearm endurance measurements for rock climbers - summary

In this article, I've explained how to perform endurance measurements with the traditional two-handed method on a fingerboard. In addition, endurance and CF measurements may be performed using load cell dynamometers, such as the Tindeq Progressor or the Exsurgo gStrength. I will cover alternative measurement methods at length in separate articles.


  1. Giles, D., Chidley, J.B., Taylor, N., Torr, O., Hadley, J., Randall, T., Fryer, S., 2019. The Determination of Finger-Flexor Critical Force in Rock Climbers. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance 1–8. (link)
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