Scarpa North America Blog

How to Prevent Injuries When Climbing

Sep. 10th 2014

It’s still summer and we’re still out there climbing before the snow falls (which it already has in a few places). Alli Rainey, a SCARPA climber and coach, gives us a couple quick tips on how crucial muscle balance is for injury prevention.

Climbers get injured all the time, and it generally happens when you’re not strong enough. Although you may hit the climbing gym regularly, do you train your opposing muscle groups? These are the muscle groups that get far less attention from climbers.

First and foremost, these muscles involve your primary “pushing” and “pressing” muscles in your upper body. If you don’t include exercises to specifically work the opposing muscles in your climbing or strength program, you run a higher risk of an overuse injury. “Strength training is the best prevention of muscle imbalance and overuse injuries,” explains orthopedic surgeon Scott Bissell, M.D., in his excellent article “Muscle Imbalance and Common Overuse Injuries.”

Here are two important tips I recommend when working on muscle balance:

  1. Choose exercises with motions opposite to the most common repetitive motions of climbing—such as bench presses, pushups, dips, shoulder presses, lateral raises and reverse wrist curls, to name a few. Perform two to four sets of eight to 12 repetitions of each exercise to fatigue per session, as recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine, resting at least two days between sessions.
  2. Regular practice of yoga poses like Chaturanga Dandasana (often repeated many times throughout a yoga class) can also provide a solid opposing muscle workout. Work toward incorporating strength training for opposing muscles into your routine at least once a week, if not twice.

Read more tips on climbing on Alli Rainey’s blog.

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