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By Zane Dordai
Oct 14, 2011

I've been climbing since last October and have been mostly bouldering, doing lots of crimping and powerful climbing. I haven't had any tendon related issues that have required me to take off more than a week or so. Despite my hard crimping, my fingers tend to feel the least tweaky of all my joints. My wrists, specifically my FCU tendons (in the joint between my hand and wrist, palms up the tendons are on the inside of the forearm), are the most prone to hurting, but they go in and out and tend to hurt less than about a 3 on a pain scale of 1-10. Right now, I am injury free.

I want to be bouldering for a long time. I plan on taking three weeks off, starting in the last week of November through the second week of December. For reference, I'm 5'11 and maybe 135lbs (probably 130) and I am taking this time to rebuild the psyche and let my tendons fully recover. When i return in December, I'll be climbing in a gym to get myself back into it, will be open handing everything (literally everything) and then will start crimping again in Bishop (will be there from Jan 5th to 22nd).

Is this a long enough period of time? Does anyone else have experience starting climbing and moving in to hard bouldering within a year? I don't want to injure myself, so I'm looking for any personal tips or stories.

Thanks!


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By William Domhart
From Ventucky, CA
Oct 14, 2011
Traverse by HWY 41 Cave

I'm going through the same issue myself and was getting ready to post something about what people are doing for rehab/rest for this issue. I've been having the same tendon pain for about 6-8 weeks and it usually flairs up on crimps or pinches. I climb practically everyday in either an indoor bouldering gym or out at the local crag doing TR and sport. I'm 6'-4", 200 lbs, and climb in the v3-v4/5.10c-d range. I've tried taking 3-4 day breaks to give it a break, but it always flairs back up.

I have taken longer periods of time off, 3-4 months, but as I regain my strength, the pain returns. Any tips and recommendations would be awesome.


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By JesseT
From Portland, OR
Oct 15, 2011
25' drop...wheeeeee!

Are y'all exercising your antagonist muscle groups too (extensors, etc.)? A lot of times tendon issues are the result of unbalanced muscle pairs.


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By Benjamin Chapman
From Small Town, USA
Oct 15, 2011
old 1/4" bolt.

Contact Eric Horst at www.nicros.com He's the training guru and has more knowledge and experience with this than anyone. At www.nicros.com look for the Training Center link and you can post questions directly to Eric (ask Eric) and he'll respond. Better to ask the expert don't you think.


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By Josh Kornish
Oct 15, 2011
The Roach

Ben, thanks for the link! There are some great articles on the site!


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By Mike Anderson
From Dayton, OH
Oct 16, 2011

Zane Dordai wrote:
I've been climbing since last October and have been mostly bouldering, doing lots of crimping and powerful climbing. I haven't had any tendon related issues that have required me to take off more than a week or so. Despite my hard crimping, my fingers tend to feel the least tweaky of all my joints. My wrists, specifically my FCU tendons (in the joint between my hand and wrist, palms up the tendons are on the inside of the forearm), are the most prone to hurting, but they go in and out and tend to hurt less than about a 3 on a pain scale of 1-10. Right now, I am injury free. I want to be bouldering for a long time. I plan on taking three weeks off, starting in the last week of November through the second week of December. For reference, I'm 5'11 and maybe 135lbs (probably 130) and I am taking this time to rebuild the psyche and let my tendons fully recover. When i return in December, I'll be climbing in a gym to get myself back into it, will be open handing everything (literally everything) and then will start crimping again in Bishop (will be there from Jan 5th to 22nd). Is this a long enough period of time? Does anyone else have experience starting climbing and moving in to hard bouldering within a year? I don't want to injure myself, so I'm looking for any personal tips or stories. Thanks!


A three week break is about right. I work in a 3-4 week break once a year, and 1-2 weeks between each season, for a total of 3 breaks a year. I've been climbing and training hard for a long time...going on 13 years or so. I've had aches and pains here and there but no long-term debilitating injuries as a result of the training.

As for your question about getting into hard bouldering within a year...lots of people do it, and no body has a crystal ball. You might be fine, but I can think of a few I know personally who were bouldering really hard within a year and they eventually developed overuse injuries. One reason is that the ligaments and supporting tissue in your hands and fingers take up to six years to respond to training, while muscle tissue is on the order of 10 days, so your muscle strength will outpace the capacity of your supporting tissue very quickly. Another factor may be that it's unlikely that you'll develop perfect technique that quickly, and almost certainly not as quickly as strength, so you may perform moves in ways that put excessive and unnecessary stress on the weaker parts of your body.

I've found that lots of stretching of the muscle tissue and icing the critical joints (from your elbows down) can help prevent overuse injuries. I recommend starting that BEFORE you get injured.


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By William Domhart
From Ventucky, CA
Oct 17, 2011
Traverse by HWY 41 Cave

Thanks Ben and Mike.

@iamjester, haven't looked into that either. I'm switching my climbing from everyday to 3 days a week until I can get hold of one of the sports trainers at school.

Best of luck Zane


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By Brent Apgar
From Out of the Loop
Oct 18, 2011
Me and Spearhead

If you've had a good run and are injury free I'd say that doing a taper through the first few weeks of Dec would serve you better.

3 full weeks off is a great way to clean house and get ready for a brand new training cycle that you're coming into... but it may not be the best way to prep for a hard bouldering trip. It's a little too much time to allow for detraining, I was assuming that when you said three weeks off, that you'd be doing no climbing at all. If that's not the case and you'll be doing a minimal amount of climbing to maintain the gains you've made then ignore this.

Either way, hope that the weather is great for the trip,
BA


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By Zane Dordai
Oct 19, 2011

Thanks for all the advice fellas. The nicros website was great.

To be clear, I plan on taking the time completely off, purely for my tendons/psyche. I can't see myself wanting to take all the time off, but I know I'll want to climb a lot when i"m done...


I know I'll probably lose a good amount of physical gain. That isn't an issue; I'll have two weeks of gym climbing before I head to Bishop and start trying to crimp/crush/pull hard on small holds again.

I also refuse to train for climbing at this point. My training has been purely climbing. I do not use the campus board or try to develop strength in my arms; in my opinion (key word), my muscles will develop faster than my tendons if I do so and I'll risk injury. If I just keep climbing, my muscles and tendons will develop more evenly...I'd love to be able to crush double digits, but I'd love even more to be bouldering for a long time.

Antagonistic muscle group exercises seem logical as well. In your experiences, what are the most effective ways to train these? Reverse dumbbell curls? Push ups? Gymnastic rings? I'm in college, so availability of these resources is an issue but dumbbells and pushups are obviously pretty easy.


I do want to be climbing very strong/injury free in Bishop. Does anyone think that three weeks off, two weeks of gym "training" or preparing won't be sufficient? Thanks for the tips on the taper; I think the time off is needed for me though...anyone else want to weigh in on taper/time off?


Again, thanks for the tips. Threads like these give me lots of hope for the helpfulness of MP!


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By Philip Lutz
From Akron/Oberlin, Ohio
Oct 19, 2011
Fun jump move to start Reckless Abandon, Summersville Lake.

I think if you cut down the amount of difficult climbing right now, climb everything open-handed, and introduce antagonist training that it would be better than taking 3 weeks completely off.

If you did this you would still keep you technical skills consistent (and maybe even improve if you focused some real attention to anything that you are having problems with ie. climbing open-handed)and your tendons would probably recover fast/better because you are increasing the circulation to them by climbing but not beating them up by crimping.

After a while of not doing antagonist training I feel that I develop some achy/prone to injury areas on my body, and overall, you are stronger and more balanced (healthy) when you consistently train them.


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By ben jammin
From Moab, UT
Dec 14, 2012
MLB

I'd like to resurrect this thread to ask a similar question based on my own circumstance. First of all, I'd like to know if training my antagonist's during time off is a good idea, or just do nothing and let my tendons heal.

Here's a little about my scenario. I've had issues in the past with elbow tendinitis but have had an incredibly successful year treating this once I discovered negatives on the hangboard and I've been pain free for over a year. I had a small (like i could sense it was there 2 days ago when I climbed and now it feels great, after rest) soreness in my ring finger after a month or so of bouldering consistently.

So, I usually take a month off in the winter but I'm thinking 2 weeks should suffice since I've been relatively injury free but I'm really looking to crank come spring and this is the best time to rest. Should I just rest and do nothing or throw some antagonists in there during my rest period? Oh, and I plan on starting a campus routine for the first time starting in the new year so that is weighing in on my rest decision as well. Whew, sorry for the long post.


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