Tag Archives: overtraining

Climbing & Training Helpful Hints and Suggestions: DOMS Prevention and Attenuation Tactics (IYC Series), Part 5

Reducing DOMS makes for more productive training sessions and climbing days -- not to mention a better quality of life overall.

Reducing DOMS makes for more productive and enjoyable training sessions and climbing days — not to mention a better quality of life overall.

My DOMS reduction list continues below with the final items, items 8 to 10, now added to the interventions discussed already in previous entries as potentially contributing to my lessened post-exercise soreness: resting enough, sleeping enough, reducing stress, engaging in light physical activity, getting stronger, hot tub (or bath), and massage/self-massage. To these, I add the following:

8. Eat right. How’s your diet before, during and after your workouts? Do you make a point of eating and drinking regularly throughout every climbing day? Are you obsessing over every pound you lose or gain? Are you starving yourself or severely restricting your food intake while simultaneously working out hard to make climbing/training gains? Engaging in sound, sustainable nutrition practices can go a long way to help promote faster recovery from difficult workouts or climbing days – and food deprivation is not part of that equation. Check out the 10-part Improve Your Climbing Series on nutrition for details on shaping up your diet for climbing and training .

9. Ingest natural anti-inflammatories regularly. Tying into eating right, including foods in my diet that have known anti-inflammatory properties is kind of a no-brainer. If I like them anyway, and they might help alleviate DOMS, why not? Numerous natural anti-inflammatories/pain reducers are readily available that for the majority of us carry little or no risk by adding them judiciously to our diets. These include (to name a few) tart cherry juicefish oil/omega-3s, turmeric/curcumin and caffeine, which you might consider taking in via green tea for additional benefits. What about protein supplementation for lessening post-exercise soreness, you might ask? Well – check out this review for more on the relationship of protein intake and DOMS reduction.

10. Curtail vitamin I usage. In my non-medical opinion, taking ibuprofen regularly as part of your pre-, during or post-training routine may do you more harm than good. I don’t regularly use any over-the-counter (or prescription!) painkillers. In the event of an acute injury, I might consider using an NSAID (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory) to help reduce acute pain and swelling. But the potentially negative effects of regularly using vitamin I or other NSAIDS – including gastrointestinal problems, masking pain signals that would otherwise alert you to potential overuse injuries in the making, and possibly interfering with muscle repair post-exercise – keep me from using them routinely. For more on this check out “For Athletes, Risks From Ibuprofen Use” and “Ibuprofen Before Exercise?

This concludes my top-10 list of interventions that I feel may have contributed to the gradual lessening of my DOMS intensity. Know, too, that there are other interventions out there that may work for you or that you may wish to test out to help with DOMS – such as kinesio taping, vibration therapy, and contrast baths, to name a few. The key is really in finding the combination of ingredients that works best for your body and your being – which may or may not include some or all of the components of my DOMS-busting recipe, plus some of your own.

As with all things training-related, what works perfectly (or at least, fairly well) for one person may have a very limited or zero impact on another. But if you’re struggling with debilitating post-exercise pain regularly, I encourage you to not just accept the pain and think you have to live with that level of discomfort regularly in order to see gains. It’s worth looking into some interventions that, at worst, will have no impact (positive or negative), but that at best, may leave you in a little (or a lot) less après-climbing/training pain than you have been enduring.

Up Next Week: Move of the Month 6: Straight-Arming Moves

This multipart series of articles starts here, in case you have to catch up – you’ll also find a full table of contents, complete with links, in that entry. This information and advice is based on my 20+ years of climbing along with observations I’ve made as a climbing coach/certified personal trainer. You might not agree with me or my take on things. That’s fine – feel free to take it or leave it as you wish! Also, remember that the information I provide here is purely offered as advice and that no exercises or training program should be undertaken without receiving medical clearance from a healthcare professional.

One other caveat: As will be true for all of the entries and articles in this series, if you’ve already mastered or maxed out the topic at hand to the best of your ability level, you’ll reap far fewer benefits or none at all from my suggestions – good for you that you figured it out, but sorry I couldn’t help you out more. Happy climbing and training!

Climbing & Training Helpful Hints and Suggestions: DOMS Prevention and Attenuation Tactics (IYC Series), Part 2

Taking an extra day or two off can make a world of difference.

Taking an extra day or two off can make a world of difference.

Today, I’ll discuss the first of what I personally consider to be the contributing factors that have helped me experience much less DOMS recently (in the past year) than I have in the past (two decades of climbing). Realize again that none of these interventions rest on strong scientific proof (from what I’ve seen, anyhow) save for the first one on my list – but that I offer up my DOMS attenuation recipe list in the hopes that some of these interventions, alone or together, might help others seeking to lessen the severity of their post-exercise pain just like I have. I’ve ordered them as logically as I can through the next few entries, grouping interventions together that seem to play into one another — aside from this first one, which gets its very own entry.

DOMS Attenuation Tactic #1: Rest. I intend to write way more about rest in another IYC entry here at some point soon. And I’ve written about it before. I believe rest to be one of the most underused and undervalued training methods for climbers (and probably for lots of athletes). Not resting enough to allow your body to repair and recover between workouts undermines your ability to work out at a high enough intensity to make the most gains possible, or to be ready to undergo another high-intensity workout/effort – a vicious cycle that can land you squarely on a plateau because you are never recovered enough to push hard enough to make real gains or to reach your personal peak potential. Even if you can climb harder than everyone else for multiple days in a row, you are still most definitely not reaching your personal potential if you don’t allow your body the rest days it needs to recover, thereby preventing yourself from ever climbing/training at a truly high intensity for your body.

Also, ample rest is the number-one way to get rid of DOMS. If you rest enough, the soreness will dissipate (so long as it is DOMS and not an injury – most injuries take much longer to recover from, as does overtraining). If you don’t rest enough, but instead insist upon climbing hard and/or training hard on sore, under-recovered muscles (and ligaments and tendons), you are interfering with your body’s repair process and therefore sabotaging the gains you are hoping to make. Who wants that? Tell your anxious brain that another day of rest is money in the bank, and that training when you’re not sore and worked is far more profitable in the big picture than pushing through the pain you built up from yesterday’s workout today.

Again, always remember that I write this from the perspective of a recovered volume-trainer-aholic who used to beat the living sh#$ out of my body as often as possible for as many hours as possible a day. I get that it’s hard to stop doing that, but if you can retrain your brain to understand that rest is good, and that paying attention to and carefully manipulating your training intensity along with your rest days is more important than a daily grinding volume workout, the results might surprise you!

Up Next Week: Climbing & Training Helpful Hints and Suggestions: DOMS Prevention and Attenuation Tactics (IYC Series), Part 3

This multipart series of articles starts here, in case you have to catch up – you’ll also find a full table of contents, complete with links, in that entry. This information and advice is based on my 20+ years of climbing along with observations I’ve made as a climbing coach/certified personal trainer. You might not agree with me or my take on things. That’s fine – feel free to take it or leave it as you wish! Also, remember that the information I provide here is purely offered as advice and that no exercises or training program should be undertaken without receiving medical clearance from a healthcare professional.

One other caveat: As will be true for all of the entries and articles in this series, if you’ve already mastered or maxed out the topic at hand to the best of your ability level, you’ll reap far fewer benefits or none at all from my suggestions – good for you that you figured it out, but sorry I couldn’t help you out more. Happy climbing and training!

Climbing & Training Helpful Hints and Suggestions: DOMS Prevention and Attenuation Tactics (IYC Series), Part 1

Severe DOMS can make your life miserable while learning how to lessen DOMS can improve the quality of your life, not to mention climbing and training! (Image courtesy of sixninepixels at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Severe DOMS can make your life miserable. Learning how to lessen DOMS can improve the quality of your life, not to mention your enjoyment and quality of climbing and training! (Image courtesy of sixninepixels at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

The previous couple of entries introduced the topic of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), covering the causes of and common misconceptions about this well-known phenomenon, as well as constructive ways to use DOMS to help understand your recovery status. The next few entries will discuss various ways to lessen the severity of DOMS, starting with why you’d want to do this at all. In the end, whatever interventions you choose to use should be the ones that are most effective for you as an individual, so long as they don’t have the potential to cause your body harm, regardless of whether or not there’s a study backing it up. In other works, if it works for you, do it!

Why should I want to prevent or lessen DOMS at all?

Good question. From my perspective, after spending the majority of my life as a climber (so far) experiencing relatively severe DOMS pretty regularly, I’d say it’s because being in almost constant pain after climbing or working out pretty much sucks. This makes it hard to be positive or psyched or to have good energy to put into productive rest-day activities (like writing climbing-training articles, for example!). Lessening the intensity of my DOMS has always been a major goal of mine, but it wasn’t until very recently – like this past year! – that I can say that I really have found a way to still train hard and climb hard (for me, of course, all things being relative!), but to not have severe post-exercise pain be the result after practically every high-intensity effort. Having found a combination of methods that seem to have helped alleviate my previously much-more-severe DOMS has helped improve the quality of my climbing, training and rest days – or in other words, pretty much my whole life.

This is not to say that I don’t still get sore after a hard workout, but rather, that I don’t feel so actively in pain that I can barely function or that it affects my mood. The intensity of the pain has decreased a lot. As I discuss various interventions, I’ll note the ones that seem to have helped me – and I say seem to, because I’m honestly not sure if there’s any one intervention that should get all the credit, or if it’s the combination of interventions working together. Nor can I endorse any of these methods – those I use or those I don’t – for anyone else to use. Maybe one or more of these will work for you, or maybe something else entirely. Try at your own risk, understanding that as of right now, there is no resounding scientific proof or endorsement backing any particular method of DOMS attenuation or prevention as working wonders for everyone who tries it – save resting until it dissipates.

How can I prevent DOMS?

The only way you could virtually make sure that you never, ever experience DOMS again in your life would be to avoid trying any unfamiliar, difficult, or challenging physical activity ever again in your life. This course of action is not recommended, of course – and especially not if you’re interested in improving at climbing or pushing your current level of fitness up.

Up Next Week: Climbing & Training Helpful Hints and Suggestions: DOMS Prevention and Attenuation Tactics (IYC Series), Part 2

This multipart series of articles starts here, in case you have to catch up – you’ll also find a full table of contents, complete with links, in that entry. This information and advice is based on my 20+ years of climbing along with observations I’ve made as a climbing coach/certified personal trainer. You might not agree with me or my take on things. That’s fine – feel free to take it or leave it as you wish! Also, remember that the information I provide here is purely offered as advice and that no exercises or training program should be undertaken without receiving medical clearance from a healthcare professional.

One other caveat: As will be true for all of the entries and articles in this series, if you’ve already mastered or maxed out the topic at hand to the best of your ability level, you’ll reap far fewer benefits or none at all from my suggestions – good for you that you figured it out, but sorry I couldn’t help you out more. Happy climbing and training!