Dave MacLeod On The Issue Of Injury Lay-offs

Dave MacLeod touches on a topic I unfortunately have way too much experience with:  figuring out how much of a lay-off is necessary to recover from injury

The basic rationale for lay-off is to allow the tissue some rest and a chance to recover from it’s severely compromised state. There are quite a few assumptions built into the decision to completely rest the tissue. First, that the tissue will really benefit from complete withdrawal from the sport. Unfortunately, this isn’t strictly true.

Finish your book on injuries soon, Dave, before it’s too late for me!

Posted In: Asides, Climbing
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14 Responses to Dave MacLeod On The Issue Of Injury Lay-offs

  1. patience grasshoppers March 8, 2012 at 10:33 am #

    simply put when you think it’s time to get back to training wait another month and then ease back into it. use that time to play much. catch up on whatever ya need to do, etc

    May not be fun but it’s a great way to let things truly heal then get back to doing what we love.

    Really the best thing to do is to is not jump on hard boulders until your ready, which is a very difficult thing to do since it is good to push your self and learn new movement.

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    • Wait a Second... March 8, 2012 at 11:05 am #

      I think the author of the book is actually leaning the other way though. He’s saying that there are assumptions about completely resting the tissue that aren’t true (like complete rest being the best thing). It has to be a compromise between rest and activity. I know doctors and PTs like to get people with bone/ligament injuries into walking boots and soft casts earlier than in previous years, because it allows muscles to build, ligaments to remain flexible, and bone to build (bone growth is stimulated by impact). So while rest is definitely important, I think the point that MacLeod is making is that it isn’t necessarily better, evan that it might be detrimental, to take too long of a break from activity.

      But I could be totally wrong

      Cheers!

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      • David March 8, 2012 at 12:13 pm #

        I believe both of you are commenting on the same idea in different ways: some complete rest, active recovery/rehab work and when you start feeling great do another month of the active recovery/rehab so you’re rock solid when you start real training again.

        Although, Narc has mentioned “working” through injuries by continuing to climb at a lower level (still mobilizing the injured issue in the way you’d like it to function but far below it’s max which led to the injury)…

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  2. Scott Strong March 8, 2012 at 12:43 pm #

    Dave is the man.

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  3. colin March 8, 2012 at 1:16 pm #

    Dave is indeed the man. Best “pro climber blog” out there, by far.

    I think what Dave wrote in the second to last paragraph is where most people go wrong, and then end up thinking they came back too soon. It takes serious discipline to climb at a level lower than the one you’re accustomed to.

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    • Narc March 8, 2012 at 1:18 pm #

      Bingo

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  4. Big chris March 9, 2012 at 1:37 pm #

    Just hit the ropes if youre hurting.. Great way to build your strength endurance while still climbing at a hard lvl.. Besides sport climbing is hella fun too!

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    • Narc March 9, 2012 at 1:39 pm #

      True, but indoor sport climbing is much less fun than indoor bouldering. Don’t you think?

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      • brianh March 9, 2012 at 4:16 pm #

        This is the dilemma of a climber in a poor location.

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  5. Guy P March 10, 2012 at 11:55 am #

    first of all, bouldering is too short. and isn’t has fun has sport climbing.
    second, it gives you time to work on stamina and mind control, which are far more important
    then having strong fingers. my experience in the sport, is when I get better at sport climbing I usually get better at bouldering too, but the opposite isn’t true. anyway, lay off the crimps and embrace the jugs, and use this time to work on balance, breathing, focus, and stamina.

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    • Aaron S March 10, 2012 at 2:03 pm #

      As a counter argument, I enjoy climbing because of movement, and particularly in the gym, movement is more interesting and variant when bouldering, across the grade range. Being stronger (stronger fingers, stronger core, stronger upper body) is a vehicle to explore even more varied movement on a wider range of boulders which is automatically accounted for when you can climb higher grades. I don’t want to climb the Shield because it’s V12 but because it’s considered to be one of the best problems aesthetically and movement wise in the country . . . BUT I do need to climb V12 to climb the problem.

      Routes, for the most part, have less expressive movement and over and over for many feet. I’d rather do a few, really cool moves than 50 less interesting ones. There are definite exceptions, but for the most part I find route climbing indoors boring and uninspiring. Routes outside are more exciting, though partly because of the novelty of the climb. I don’t like a lot of routes at the Red because the movement is repetitive and uninteresting.

      It takes ‘mind control’ or as I would call it, focus, to nail a boulder at your max just as it does a route, it’s just a different variety of focus.

      To each his own.

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    • sp March 10, 2012 at 2:14 pm #

      Absolutely use down time for improving other aspects of climbing, but to be clear: Finger strength, more specifically contact strength, is the single biggest limiting factor in 100% of climbers.

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  6. Guy P March 10, 2012 at 2:22 pm #

    I enjoy bouldering too, but I think in order to be a better climber, even a better boulderer you have to train your stamina, and your focus on longer routes.
    and I don’t think that the biggest limiting factor is contact strength.

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  7. Narc March 13, 2012 at 4:57 am #

    The problem with indoor sport climbing is that, at least at my gym, you have to stop to clip every other move. Thus, as the routes get harder the crux becomes being able to figure out a way to stop to clip.

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