It’s like the past 15 years of my climbing life are flashing before my eyes each time I re-read this post on the Rock Climber’s Training Manual blog:
For many climbers, the unrestrained desire to climb all the time will be their undoing. This becomes particularly apparent when injuries and rehabilitation are involved, but rehabbing from an injury and improving are really just different ends of the same spectrum.
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Imagine “Jake” has a minor ligament strain in his ring finger. Jake also has a road trip scheduled for early fall.
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Laying out his training schedule it becomes clear that he won’t be in shape for his fall road trip unless he compresses his re-hab and skips all the extra rest days his Physical Therapist recommended. So that’s what he does, and three weeks in his “minor” ligament strain is now a minor tear, and a major bummer.
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It will take Jake 6 months to get healthy again, assuming he’s ever able to find the patience he couldn’t muster a few weeks ago.
Ugh. They might as well have replaced the fictional name “Jake” with my own.
Feeding into exactly what the post is about though, I’ve been slowly picking my way through the Rock Climber’s Training Manual training book. The book is full of really great, actionable ideas, and I plan on devoting some time to following one of their training plans…just as soon as I battle through this minor finger injury in an attempt to climb a project I’m probably not really strong enough to actually do1.
- Sadly, not a joke ↩
You know, a finger injury helped my climbing tremendously by treating climbing simply as practice. I incapacitated my finger so that I could no longer use it, and then tried to climb lower grades. I got to a point of climbing just below my onsight limit from before, and I focused on doing it perfectly, with minimal finger use on either hand. Then, by the time I went on my road trip to the Red, I completed my personal best onsight on a 5.11d. Taking a step back can help you improve technique, and forces you to not rely on power or strength. This may not help stronger climbers (or me at this point), but who knows? You’re a smart guy (maybe?), get it done!
I injured a pulley in my finger last year. Like Winston I stepped down the grades. I avoided difficult crimps and dedicated myself to only using an open hand grip while crimping. It was pretty tough to commit to the open hand grip especially knowing that I could probably climb the moves with a closed hand. There were many climbs that I just avoided due to excessive crimping. In the end it made me really confident with the open hand grip and forced me to work on other aspects of climbing like steep endurance climbs where the holds are good but the grades are still stiff. Finger injuries are also a great opportunity to become better at slopers and compression problems.
I take it none of ya”ll heard a “pop” because you wouldn’t be sharing stories of your hardness if that were the case.
I’m in the loud pop group and the hardest thing I did with that hand for months was wipe my ass and that was pretty hard. 5 months later climbing jug hauls still sucks and working on technique is for people who aren’t strong (I’m strong). I’ve been focusing on drinking and have seen some nice progress on that front despite the injury. Climbing is overrated. Just take a break. I’m sure all the chicks at the red were stoked on that dude’s footwork though.
Technique can always be improved upon no matter how “strong” you arr