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Any advice on training/exercising to help the pain when tensed and pulling for a move?
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By Codyleehanson
Oct 23, 2012

So I've been climbing about 5-6 months now and am a V3-easy V4 climber. I'm trying to work on harder problems but I'm always limited by the pain when I'm tensed and pulling up. It's usually in my elbows as soon as I release, and it almost burns. It is only on certain moves though, and generally my elbows don't bother me much at all. Sometimes it's in the wrist when I'm pinching and slip.

Is this a matter of muscle imbalance in the forearm and having to workout the top of the arm? Or is t just tendon weakness?

Also, would doing lock-off pull-ups at varying angles help?

Thanks in advanced. This is my first post in here, so take it easy on me


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By Jeff Ludwig
From phoenix, Az
Oct 23, 2012

One thing is certain, if pain is preventing you from climbing a hard route, STOP!

Being a V4 climber after only six months leads me to believe you may be going to fast ( who can blame you, climbing is fun! ).

Slow down and work on antagonist muscle training like reverse wist curls to prevent imbalances.

So yes, it could be due to muscle imbalances and repetitive motions.

Pay attention to your pain. Train and climb smart.


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By Codyleehanson
Oct 23, 2012

I tried it a few times and then called it quits for the night so I wouldn't do something stupid and get hurt.

And I agree, it's way too fun to slow down haha. I'm climbing 3-4 days a week for a couple hours at a time.

I'm investing in quite a few pieces of training gear so I can focus on more work outs to help prevent injuries. But ultimately, I should probably take it easy and work on those opposing muscles as you suggested.


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By Will S
From Joshua Tree
Oct 23, 2012

Codyleehanson wrote:
Also, would doing lock-off pull-ups at varying angles help?



Pullups, and lockoffs in particular are likely to CAUSE, not solve, elbow issues.

How old are you, how many rest days do you take between sessions, and what is your typical sessions like (how long, how many routes/problems, etc)

Edit: 4 days a week, especially if bouldering at/near your limit is too much, in my experience. If you are young, day on/day off/day on/two days off might be a good schedule, for me at 40yo it's usually day on/two off if climbing anywhere near my limit unless on a trip where I will occasionally do two on/one off.


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By Codyleehanson
Oct 23, 2012

I'm 23 and usually climb at or near my limit whenever I go. I climb for two hours Monday nights, Wednesday nights, and Friday mornings. I'll add a fourth day at random and take it a little easier. During the two hours ill warm up on some 1s and 0s 3-4 times. And then work my way up to my limit. I may very well be jumping to my limit too quickly and not warming up enough.


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By Daryl Allan
From Sierra Vista, AZ
Oct 23, 2012
Me and my Fetish I guess.. ;)

Connecting tissues don't typically grow, in strength, at the same rate as muscle groups do in an anabolic sense. Take your time working through high reps/lower weigh (or lesser angle) of the same harder movements you're experiencing pain on. Six months is a typical recovery time for a pulley injury and sometimes longer for larger medium tissue injuries. It's very much worth the extra time spent on high reps to allow the connecting tissue to keep up with your strength increase.


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By Brent Apgar
From Out of the Loop
Oct 24, 2012
Me and Spearhead

Agree w/ the consensus of too much too quickly. There are a lot of small soft tissue structures in the forearms/hands that take awhile to acclimate to the stresses of pulling at your limit. And even then as Will points out you still need to be vigilant w/ rest since your limit is by definition the point where things can go sproing.

Definitely do NOT do any sort of lock drills if you're elbows are feeling dodgey.
The first thing I'd throw in even before specific opposition work on the forearms would be doing some regular self massage to help get some good circulation to help out w/ the healing process.
An easy way is to put your forearm, palm up on the floor and then kneel down on it and just sort of grind away. (to tolerance, of course)


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By Jake Jones
From Richmond, VA
Oct 24, 2012
Me and the offspring walking back to the car after a day of cragging.

Brent Apgar wrote:
The first thing I'd throw in even before specific opposition work on the forearms would be doing some regular self massage to help get some good circulation to help out w/ the healing process.


+1. I have one of these:

Why would you use this for baking?
Why would you use this for baking?


If you have a wife or girlfriend, this beauty will likely belong to her, and not for the purposes of forearm massage. However, the thing is awesome. I'm not sure what other use it serves. Good advice in this thread. If I were you, I'd take heed. Some time to settle into your level or some time off will pay large dividends with regard to the longevity of your climbing. You don't have to crush it every night.


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By AndyMac
From Center, CO
Oct 24, 2012

I swear by pushups. I don't know much about physiology, but it works the counter muscle groups. It's fixed my tendonitis (sounds like about what you have, ok when pulling but HURTS right after) and various shoulder pains. I add the "pushup +" to every rep, once your arms are straight continue to rise using your shoulders.
Starting climbing so recently and moving fast has risks. As was said, muscles develop fast but tenons, pulleys and those other things takes years to become able to deal with the extreme stresses climbing, especially bouldering, causes. I've read it takes 10 years climbing before your body is truly able to deal.
Just food for thought, injuries suck so bad.


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By Nrmill261
Oct 24, 2012

I always tell people never to climb on sore muscles. At least not hard stuff. If im sore ill either just do some light traversing, or jump rope/ jog. The increased blood flow from jogging or whatever will increase circulation and help you recoup from the previous days workout.


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By Locker
From Yucca Valley, CA
Oct 25, 2012
...

"I'm 23 and usually climb at or near my limit whenever I go. I climb for two hours Monday nights, Wednesday nights, and Friday mornings"


Gym climbing?


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By Yo Momma'99
Oct 25, 2012

Dude u probably have bad elbows. Its a congenital condition. Nothing you can do about it. My advice : stop bouldering and start real climbing. If the pain continues stop climbing and go fishing. Some of us are just not built to be climbers. My 2 .


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By Howrad McGreehan
Oct 25, 2012

Yo Momma'99 wrote:
Dude u probably have bad elbows. Its a congenital condition. Nothing you can do about it. My advice : stop bouldering and start real climbing. If the pain continues stop climbing and go fishing. Some of us are just not built to be climbers. My 2 .


Oh, such good advice, tell me more.


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By Dustin Drake
Oct 25, 2012

Sounds like tendonitis. I had the same issue when I first started climbing. I'd take a week off and see how things feel. Pushups wouldn't hurt imo.

Doing lock offs would definitely make it worse.


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By Jon Zucco
From Denver, CO
Oct 25, 2012
yaak crack Red Rock Canyon, NV

I think everyone is generally on the right track. I would agree: get some more rest days in. Do some opposition training like push ups and reverse curls with light weight and high reps. Regularly stretching and massaging sore areas promotes blood flow and healthy alignment.

Also, consider taking cod liver oil or fish oil supplements and some joint smoother like chondroitin and glucosamine. These helped me out a lot when I first started training for climbing.

I understand wanting to push your limits but a tendon or ligament injury will take you completely out of the sport for longer than you've even been in it. Do you want that?

Priorities mantra: is potentially sending this v__ now worth potentially not being able to climb at all tomorrow and months to follow? Up to you. Generally, your intuition will tell you when to stop. It's your choice whether you listen or not.

I screwed my wrist up on the Pearl in red rocks this March (largely by over training prior to the trip and developing minor tendonitis that blew up and tweaked my entire left forearm in one move). Really messed up the rest of the season for projects. In retrospect, it wasn't worth it. At all.

Welcome to climbing :)


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By Codyleehanson
Oct 25, 2012

Dustin Drake wrote:
Sounds like tendonitis. I had the same issue when I first started climbing. I'd take a week off and see how things feel. Pushups wouldn't hurt imo. Doing lock offs would definitely make it worse.


I've figured that's what it was for the most part. Anytime my elbows would burn a bit I'd take it easier or quit depending on the severity. Every climber in my group (they've all been climbing far longer that I have) said it happened to them in the beginning too. They said it was just me getting stronger and to keep climbing, but don't be stupid. Sure enough it's gone away a lot.

I think I lead you guys to think that it's a constant pain when climbing. I haven't had issues in weeks, but the other day when trying certain moves on the V4 it was bothering me. Idk why that move and any others. The move is right hand in clamshell start, left 1.5 ft above on small crimp. Then I have to pull up another 1.5 feet above with right to crimp. As I'm pull up my right arm just kills me. Something about the tension release.

I'll definitely take the advice I've been given and take it easier and rest. I'm unable to climb for the next week, so I'm gonna just rest and do some opposing muscle work. I'll start doing some push-ups too (never thought of that helping so much).

Are lock-offs just a bad idea when elbows are iffy, or just in general?


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By Senior Hernandez
Oct 25, 2012
on the trip

Codyleehanson wrote:
Are lock-offs just a bad idea when elbows are iffy, or just in general?



For you, yes, they seem to not be working. Pretty much anyone but a mutant is going to get hurt if they keep doing what you are doing after only a few month of climbing. Perhaps just try climbing, and try climbing outside if you can.

If you don't antagonist train as much as you strength train, that could be the problem too. Most climbers drop out because they progress to a point and then plateau. If you push it extra hard on your first plateau, you get another first in a long line of climbing extras: your first real injury.


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By Will S
From Joshua Tree
Oct 25, 2012

Codyleehanson wrote:
Are lock-offs just a bad idea when elbows are iffy, or just in general?


In general...and not just for you, but really for almost everybody. They might be useful for a few people, in small doses, but I think you get plenty of pulling and locking off in the course of your normal bouldering and climbing, no need to supplement that IMO.

The positioning in lock offs is just hard on the body, puts a lot of stress or irritation on the tendons.


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