Round 168

Hi Eric, I wanted to first say that I appreciate all you do for the world of climbing training. Thanks! Secondly, I have a question on how to best schedule mid-week training for outdoor climbing on Friday and Sunday. Almost every training plan I see assumes for Weekend Warrior status — climbing on Saturday and Sunday — which actually makes it possible to get at least 2 mid-week sessions with a rest day in between, and a rest day before the weekend. For me to rest on Thursday, it requires putting hard sessions within 24 hours mid-week. I don’t really have an off-season here in Denver, CO, although I do shift focus throughout the year between bouldering and sport climbing. Basically, at least in an off-season setting, do you think it’s advisable to train tired, but still be rested for the weekend? Obviously, when I’m in redpoint mode I reduce the training to just one mid-week session. –Evan

Evan, I think you have a good handle on things. The key is to distinguish between outside climbing for performance days (send days when the weather is ideal) and outdoor climbing days when you’re climbing for fun/training, but don’t care if you’re not 100%. By trying to plan things a week in advance, you can commit to doing hard mid-week (gains) training when outdoor climbing isn’t for pure performance…but then cut back training (extra rest) on weeks you know you’re going for a weekend redpoint. I use a similar approach even as a weekend warrior (Saturday/Sunday climbing). Final comment: If you really want to be fresh for a near-limit send on a Friday…then I suggest two rests beforehand. Hope this helps!

Hi Eric, I stumbled across a post on Instagram where you were commenting about bloodflow occlusion training. I’m currently doing my masters in high performance sport and doing some rehab testing with one of my elite athletes via a blood flow occlusion protocol. I was wondering what your take is on this and if you have much experience in the matter. –Pat

Hi Pat, Yes, it’s an interesting development…and I’ve read most every piece of research published on BFR in the past 5 years. For a healthy climber (able to train hard), I think it’s of minimal use; however, for an injured climber (finger, elbow, shoulder) I do think it’s a very useful training modality for imparting oxidative stress on the climbing muscles with low-load training that doesn’t hinder recovery from the injury. Of course, much of the research on occlusion training centers this kind of rehabilitation usage and on it as a possible method to trigger hypertrophy, say, among bodybuilding types (bigger muscles, of course, aren’t something a climber wants).

Coach Horst, I am currently in a two week forced rest due to a few injuries that have seemed to pile up on others. I did not want to take time off because I’ve been in the best shape of my life (sending 5.12c for the first time!). My injuries started with a slight case of climber’s elbow that has persisted for about a year. Following that in November, I believe, I strained a ligament in my forearm and got a cyst in my palm near my ring finger. And then about a month ago I started having minor pain in my wrist. This is all in my left arm (right arm being in perfect health). I recently began using the theraband flexbar and I have quickly found that my left forearm/wrist is very weak. Do you have any advice for strengthening my arm back to full health? –Billy

Billy, Sorry to hear about you’re issues. Since they are all in one arm it’s a lot to sort out and give quality, specific advice on. The brain will reduce neural drive to muscles of injured joints, so correcting the main problems will bring some return of local strength. Of course some specific training is important, but a physiotherapist would be a better person to consult. The antagonist forearm exercises in my books will be perfect once you’re mainly healed up. Good luck, and let me know how it goes!

Hi! I visited a physiotherapist do to a wrist injury, and he said I should rest from climbing for three weeks. My question to you is: On recovery, can I continue from where I left of in my hangboard progression or should I dial it down and work my way back. –Nils

Hi Nile, Tough to give solid advice without knowing more about the injury; however, 3 weeks is a short layoff…and I’d bet you are back to your top strength by your second workout! Assuming the wrist doesn’t cause pain…or decrease in neural drive. I would expect a more significant drop in endurance, so you’ll need a few weeks to train that back to your old level. The bottom line: do one “ice breaker” workout that’s half of normal to see where you’re at. If that goes well, then you can go back to you old program. Train smart!