Climbing Tips for Staying Motivated and Injury Free
As gyms and crags reopen, make sure your return to climbing is safe and fun.
Most of us have had to adapt our climbing routines this year, whether it was taking a break, building a home gym or training space, or choosing climbing areas based on the likelihood of avoiding crowds.
Now, as gyms and crags reopen, we want to help you to stay motivated and injury free as you get back to the wall.
1. Make sure you warm up
Climbing is a stressful activity for the body. It's important to raise your heart rate, add in some mobility exercises, and start easy. Many climbing training programs recommend at least 20 minutes of easy climbing before moving on to more challenging workouts like limit bouldering or hangboarding.
2. Re-build strength to protect your joints
We've heard from many climbers that the forced rest of quarantine allowed them to find relief from pain and injuries. However, before you jump right back in, it's important to build strength around those joints that are most susceptible to injury.
Fingers - start on grades even below your previous warm ups
Wrists - embed your fist in a bucket of rice, rotate your fist in both directions
Knees - work on pistol squats
Elbows - practice elbows-back pushups and dips to counter the pulling actions of climbing
Shoulders - Prone I's, Y's, and T's are a simple, effective exercise you can do to strengthen the lower trapezius muscle and prevent front-loading the in the shoulders
3. Focus on Technique
Before you attempt limit bouldering or project climbing, spend some time working on movement drills and technique. Practice your backsteps, flags, drop knees, etc so it will be easier to find a state of flow mid-route.
4. Rest frequently
If you've been cooped up for a while, you might be tempted to want to climb until you drop. Don't underestimate the power of rest - on the route, between climbs, and between sessions. While you rest, try focusing on deep, controlled breathing or visualize moves on a climb.
5. Climb for Fun and Enjoy the Process
Few things kill morale faster than holding yourself to expectations of climbing at your previous level. Be patient with yourself and remember to climb for fun. In an article for Trainingbeta.com, pro climber Emily Harrington recommends reminding yourself of why you love climbing before you focus on the specifics of training. She writes, "Why not go climb all the classic 5.9s you’ve never bothered with before? Approach each route with a beginner’s mindset, enjoy the simplicity of just climbing; that is why you do it after all, right?"
We want to know - how is your climbing training going this summer? What are your favorite tips to come back stronger than ever?
Don't forget to check out our Training and Recovery tools in the shop.