Injury prevention for climbers after a break
- Don’t expect to just jump back in where you were
If you've had an extended rest period from climbing, it’s perfectly natural for you to have lost some conditioning in that time and technique may have diminished somewhat as you haven’t been moving on a climbing wall for a long time. It's ok to think about where you were before and have that as a goal. But be sensible about the timescale.
- Rest as hard as you train
We don’t necessarily get better at climbing or movement while we are doing it. Adaptation of our body occurs when we are resting so it’s important that we build that in. I know you are excited to be back, and we love to see you but make sure you get plenty of rest in between your sessions.
- Concentrate on your technique
Have you developed any bad habits? Is there a particular aspect of your climbing that you struggle with or would like to improve? Now is the time to focus on your movement. If you climb on easier blocs (where the climbing is well within your capabilities) you can concentrate on each movement and how it feels. Are you in balance? Are you using your feet efficiently? Are you trying to instigate movement from your feet first? This could be the right time for a technique MOT! (Hangar coaching in a 1-2-1 setting may well be the perfect start for you.)
- Think about your diet
Undertaking a greater amount of physical activity needs fuelling. Consider eating a bit more protein in your meals. Good sources are lean meat, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts & seeds beans/legumes, milk, yoghurt and glorious cheese. Remember you have a 20 min ‘window’ post-exercise when your muscles are hungry for the resources it has used. Try to get in some protein at this time to maximise muscle recovery and growth.
- If it hurts, STOP!
If you feel any pain (beyond that lovely warm achy feeling of muscle soreness), stop immediately. Pushing yourself if it hurts doesn’t make you tough, it makes you injured and you will have to take considerably more time off. Ask a staff member if you need assistance or help with recovery.
- Be kind to yourself
You may feel a little bit down about your current level of climbing. That is normal but remember, you didn’t start climbing at your pre-break level. You worked hard to get there. You did get there. And you can get back to and beyond that level. It may take a bit of time, but most likely not as long as before. You have a better technique now and have the confidence that perhaps was lacking when you first started. Keep track of your return progress (the Vertical Life app can assist with this if you log your climbs. You will then have a record of what you have done and can chart your progress). Take every little victory, celebrate those victories and be glad you are moving again.
Welcome to the way back!