Tag Archives: weightlifting

Climbing & Training Helpful Hints and Suggestions: DOMS Prevention and Attenuation Tactics (IYC Series), Part 4

Items 5 to 7 of my DOMS reduction tactics are detailed below, adding to the following interventions discussed already in previous entries as potentially contributing to my lessened post-exercises soreness: resting enough, sleeping enough, reducing stress, and engaging in light, recovery-oriented physical activity.

Developing more strength appears to have lessened the intensity and duration of my DOMS. (Image courtesy of digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net).

Developing more strength appears to have lessened the intensity and duration of my DOMS. (Image courtesy of digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net).

5. Get stronger. Gaining strength through a more committed and sustained approach to resistance training – including working on  my less-used muscles (the ones that tend to not get overused in climbing) – seems to have had a tremendous impact on my ability to recover from hard climbing days that used to leave me hurting, as well as my capacity to recover more quickly from hard resistance-training workouts, too.

In previous years, I’ve consistently fallen into the seductive cycle of letting go of strength work virtually entirely for months on end during my outdoor climbing season, and I think this has been detrimental to both my body and my climbing in the end. Gradually detraining from my peak strength levels throughout the season while often simultaneously climbing too much and not resting enough, I would also build up muscle imbalances and accrue minor tweaks and pains. However, by working to more conscientiously stay true to my intention to keep some resistance training in my life throughout outdoor climbing seasons, combined with resting enough to allow for recovery, I am finding that I feel less sore; appear to lose less strength (detraining); seem to incur fewer minor aches, injuries and pains; and overall have more energy and recover faster.

6. Hot tub (or hot bath). Maybe it’s just me, or just some of us, but nothing feels better (except maybe a massage) the day after a hard workout on my sore muscles than a hot bath or hot tub. But that’s just me. The scientific jury is still out on if any form of hydrotherapy (hot, cold, thermo-neutral or alternating hot and cold baths) can be proven effective at ameliorating post-exercise pain or enhancing recovery.  As with all things DOMS-related, my take on this is to do what feels best to you and seems to work for your body, until or unless clearly proven information comes down from the powers that be showing that what you’re doing in the name of recovery is definitely, without a doubt, causing more harm than good.

7. Self massage/massage. Another still-somewhat controversial treatment for DOMS, massage (or self-massage/self-myofascial release) seems to have staunch supporters on both sides, with some folks claiming it does nothing, and others dying to crawl onto the next massage table they find in their path. I fall into the latter camp. I love a good deep-tissue massage, and if I can’t get one from another person, that’s what the foam roller and Thera Cane Massager are for, right?

Recent studies on massage and DOMS seem to support my long-held love of massages for alleviating post-exercise pain, such as “Manual therapy ameliorates delayed-onset muscle soreness and alters muscle metabolites in rats,”  and “Foam rolling for delayed-onset muscle soreness and recovery of dynamic performance measures,” and  “Effects of therapeutic massage on gait and pain after delayed onset muscle soreness.”

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

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!

Weight Training Using Deadlifts: Ultimate Core Exercise for Rock Climbers & Improved Fitness Overall

Training Advice to Improve Your Climbing Weaknesses for Better Climbing Performance (Climbing Training Talk 12 by Pro Climber/Climbing Coach Alli Rainey)

If you’re going to do one single weight-training exercise or one core exercise, I urge you to choose the deadlift. Learn to do it properly, and this exercise can help improve not only your climbing performance but also, your life in general.

These days, I love deadlifts. That’s because I seek out the most efficient and effective means to work on weaknesses to improve my climbing ability, and deadlifts fit in with this approach perfectly.

What do deadlifts have to do with rock climbing, you ask?

Climbers often make the mistake of equating core with abs, but they’re not the same thing. Abs are a part of your core, sure. Strong abs can help you get your feet back on if they come off on a steep climb. But what if you could make it so your feet didn’t pop off – so they only ever came off when you truly needed to dyno? That’s where deadlifts come into play.

As explained by David Robson in his article Deadlifts: The King of Mass-Builders?, “deadlifting will strengthen the entire back and its surrounding muscles, making this lift great for rehabilitative, and preventative, purposes. In fact, the deadlift is the most effective exercise for building the core strength that supports all other major muscle groups.”

What climber wouldn’t want that?

Deadlifts can enhance and improve your climbing ability by building up your core strength. You’ll notice this particularly on steeper rock, since deadlifts engage the same muscle groups you use to help keep your feet on the rock. In other words, they’ll improve your ability to hold core tension from the tips of your toes through the tips of your fingers. (Adding in some front shoulder raises will help out with this as well). If you don’t use grip wraps, deadlifts will also eventually challenge your grip strength. And, as I mentioned earlier, adding deadlifts to your climbing training routine will increase your core strength and stability not only for climbing but also, for real-life applications, by improving your ability to lift heavy objects without injury.

People get scared by deadlifts because they think deadlifts will injure them, but my guess is that a life without deadlifting stands a greater chance of injuring you if you ever have to lift and carry objects – because if your body isn’t trained to do so with proper form and strong enough to handle the weight of daily living tasks, you can get injured just from picking something up. However, if you’ve trained proper lifting form regularly in the gym and strengthened your body with deadlifts gradually, you’ll be less likely to sustain an injury from life challenges that involve lifting. Couple this with the fact that deadlifting stands to improve your climbing ability, and most climbers should be running to the gym to learn how to deadlift safely and smartly from a trained professional.

As is true with all new exercises, start slowly, get a professional to observe and modify your form until you know how to lift properly, and move the weight up slowly, always paying attention to form, since it’s true that you can get injured if you deadlift with bad form. BodyBuilding.com and StrongLifts.com provide helpful illustrations and pointers about how to safely perform deadlifts (as does the Dave Robson article linked above). StrongLifts.com also provides 5 Reasons Why Deadlifts Are Killing Your Lower Back, which can help you figure out and correct any technical errors you may encounter when deadlifting. And finally, as I mentioned in yesterday’s blog as well, ExRx.net provides deadlift standards to help you establish some goals for your deadlift training.