Round 87

Q: Hi, I have an HIT wall at my house and am going to start doing the anaerobic endurance training on it and am wondering how many off days should be taken when doing these workouts. –Brett (Oklahoma)

A: Hey Brett, Amount of rest depends on many things….intensity/volume of training, age, nutrition, genetics, etc. Typically I take 2 rest days after a HIT workout. You might consider bouldering one day, doing HIT the next day, and then taking two days off from climbing training (although you can do aerobics and push exercises). So this way you’d be doing 2 days ON and 2 days OFF with regard to climbing specific training. Hope this helps!

Q: Eric, great website and thanks for your books as well. I was lead climbing about 13 months, before I took a fall and wrecked my shoulder. I had reconstructive surgery, and screws put in. I went back into the gym a week ago, and it went well, although my skills have dwindled a bit. Question: What exercises/training method do you recommend as I get back into climbing to minimize another injury. Also, have you seen other climbers come back from this injury with success? –Matt (Kentucky)

A: Hey Matt, Sorry to hear about your injury. Did the doctor give you a rehab program? Most important are Internal and External Rotation of the shoulder. Here’s link to a good video on shoulder rehab/training. Do these exercises religiously, a few days per week, and your shoulders will better withstand the rigors of climbing. Until then, avoid steep bouldery moves/routes (hard on the shoulder) and any other moves that cause discomfort. Good luck!

Q: I’m 50 years old (I only began climbing at 48)–no greater passion, now, in all my life! I’ve had elbow tendonitis (lateral epicondylitis) that’s resulted in much down time. I’ve tried many rehab methods including rest, ice, stretching, and even PRP injections. Do you know of any sources that can help me get past this problem and then get into a consistent training routine to prevent this from happening again? –Brian (Wisconsin)

A: Hi Brian, Great to hear about you getting into climbing; but it’s a bummer about your elbow. Sounds like you’re doing everything right, with regard to treating the elbow. If the pain is significant/severe, you might consider a cortisone injection (since you have tried everything else first) and take 3 months off from climbing (immediately after injection) to do just stretching and rehab. After that, slowly work back into climbing, but avoid crimp grips since they often put your elbow into the position that contributes to this injury.

If pain is mild to moderate, then cut back on climbing (once per week) and begin daily stretching of the forearm extensors, 3 days per week of reverse wrist curls (with a 10 lb dumbbell focus on the eccentric/lowering phase of the wrist curl) 2 sets each side, and begin daily triggerpoint therapy on the forearm muscles just below the painful elbow tendon. Google trigger point therapy and look around for the techniques to apply direct pressure and length-wise rubbing to the “trigger points” in the muscles that connect to the injured tendon. “Releasing” these muscular triggerpoints will reduce strain on the tendon and help speed recovery. The bottomline, though, is that these are pesky injures and not easily overcome and requite a patient approach. Good luck, and let me know how it goes.

Q: Hi Eric, First, let me say that I really enjoy all that you contribute to the community with your web sites and books. I’ve recently returned to climbing after a layoff of several years, and I’ve been stuck at the 5.9 level, despite the fact I used to climb 5.10. What should I focus on as I attempt to break through this 5.9 plateau? –John (North Carolina)

A: Hey John, It’s hard for me to give specific advice without seeing you climb and evaluating your strengths/weaknesses. That said, many climbers that stall around 5.9/5.10 can break through with a good dose of strength training—so you might benefit by focusing on bouldering (as hard as possible) one day per week…and finish that session with a few sets of pull-ups and other strength exercises. Of course, technique and the mind are always important; although it can be hard to sort things out yourself. Perhaps employ a climbing coach (check with local gym) to work with you once or twice. Also, you could benefit in many ways (long term) by reading my new book, Maximum Climbing, which offers an indepth look at mental training and performance. But again, I think the most significant first thing to do is to make a focused effort to boulder some V2 and V3 routes in the gym each week. Once these become doable for you, getting up 5.10 on the cliff will seem easy! Good luck, and let me know how it goes!

Q: I’ve been climbing three years and I’ve always experienced steady improvement as a boulderer. Lately, I’ve not improved and I’m wondering what I need to do to climb harder. My goal is V10! –Russell (California)

A: Hi Russell, Plateaus are a natural part of the process, and they often seem to last frustratingly long, especially if you do the same kinds of climbing all the time. Therefore, the best thing to trigger renewed progress is to change up your training program and to take a bit different approach to climbing. Adding in some endurance-climbing sessions (interval bouldering or laps on roped routes) is a good place to start, however, I suggest you also experiment with some hypergravity training (handboard, bouldering, or HIT system with a 10-pound weight belt on). Outside, you should consider doing some short sport climbs—-putting on a rope will give you some new challenges. After a few months of doing the above, I bet you’ll return to bouldering and soon achieve the next grade. Good luck, and let me know how it goes!