Thoughts on Training
For the last two months I've been trying to overcome this nagging neck/shoulder injury using a two-fold approach: climbing less (and less hard), and training in the gym more (as in the YMCA, not the bouldering cave). The training has really been helping me out; my back and shoulders have really opened up and feel more flexible than they have in years. There really is no substitute for working out and keeping your muscles balanced with an intelligent routine.
In fact, I had a realization tonight while working out that I wish I had come to years ago. If you rely on climbing as your only training for climbing and your sole source of muscle building, it is akin to going to the YMCA a few times per week and only doing ONE exercise the whole time you are there. No one in their right minds would do this! It would be painfully obvious that this was going to lead to a massive imbalance and problems. Yet, us climbers never think about climbing this way. And unfortunately, I've had to learn the hard way that it pays off to do the maintenance.
With the help of the book Climbing: Training for Peak Performance, I've been able to put together a really good workout plan along with a few things from my PT. I can't recommend the book enough; it covers everything from nutrition and stretching to specific workouts and schedules for peaking during the height of the climbing season. You can get it online for like $10 from Amazon and it's well worth it. The author, Clyde Soles, talks in really plain language about stuff that works and he smacks around all of the gimmicky trends in nutrition and fitness out there. It's clear the guy really knows this stuff.
The best part of working out? I'm actually enjoying it. I'm able to get the intense physical workout that I can't get from climbing anymore. And it feels really good to see improvement in mobility and strength in my shoulder where I've been injured. I'm a firm believer in blessings in disguise, and maybe this injury had to happen to get me to finally start being more aware of finding a healthy balance.
Oh, and a last note. Of all the research on injuries I do, the #1 top advice is to really, really warm up before any climbing. Something we can probably all do more of. The day I got this injury i warmed up on a 5.11+. Hmmmm....
The biggest mistake I've made over the last 15 years is not stretching, and I'm paying for that now in injuries.
Check here for some more quotes about being a busted climber. And then get thee to a gym.
Posted by Matt P.