Periodization to prevent finger tendon injuries

  • Creator
  • #3218
    Colin Simon

    New Alpinism states aerobic activities should be in ascending order, with weeks 4/5/6 each including 10% more volume than prior weeks:
    week1: easy
    week2: medium
    week3: hard
    week4: easy
    week5: medium
    week6: hard
    week7: …etc

    For rock climbing, the only guidelines I have to go on are from a 5.14 sport climber friend telling me that workouts AND work weeks should revolve around decreasing stress. Instead of easy/medium/hard, you go hard/medium/easy.

    For example, climbing gym activities would fall in this order, with all of them being optional except the warmup:
    1 warmup(~30 mins)
    2 campusing(if any), system boarding, or hangboarding
    3 bouldering
    4 vertical routes (more likely to be crimpy)
    5 overhanging routes (juggier)

    He also argued that weeks should fall into a similar manner, so that you are more rested before campusing or bouldering, and more worn out before doing endurance routes.
    mon: campusing
    tues: rest
    weds: bouldering
    thurs: rest
    fri: endurance sport routes
    sat: rest
    sun: rest

    Are three or four week cycles of loading and unloading similarly good guidelines for avoiding finger injuries?

Posted In: Climbing

  • Participant
    Mariner_9 on #3223

    I can’t answer directly but I’ll try to help as best I can.

    When I was training for bouldering, I used the book “Performance Rock Climbing” as a guide. I understand that some of the sports science cited in the book is now out of date which is perhaps not surprising given it’s 23-years old. Still, you might find it useful and it’s available at very low cost on Amazon.

    Dave Mcleod’s books or blog, and Tom Randall’s blog might have some ideas about structuring training. I believe both Dave and Tom are pretty good at responding to comments so that might also be worth a shot.

    Finally, when I used to campus (around three times per week), I would warm up for about an hour before hand. 30-minutes seems quite short to me but perhaps I was just paranoid about finger injuries.

    HTH. Apologies if I told you what you already know!

    Anonymous on #3275

    Training primarily for strength will require a different approach to periodization than training for endurance. A great reference book for rock climbers is the Anderson brothers’ “The Rock Climber’s Training Manual”. In my humble opinion it deals with the subject in the same manner that Steve and I chose to approach training for alpinism in our book. It has an extensive section on periodization as well as on injury prevention. My friend Tony Yaniro who was a prodigious trainer and innovator once told me that he had never had an injury of any kind. After witnessing his and Scott Franklin’s 5 hour strength training sessions on a few occasions this fact was even more remarkable. One of his cautions was that muscles gain strength MUCH faster than do the connective tissues like tendons and ligaments. This is not such a big deal when strength training the major muscle groups of the arms, shoulders and legs but becomes especially critical to be aware of when dealing with the tiny tendons/ligaments of the delicate finger joints. If the muscles of the forearms and hands increase in strength rapidly, as is possible with a focused program, double digit gains in strength can occur over the course of a week or two for the relatively untrained climber. But, it may take several months for the connective tissue to gain similar strength. Bear this in mind when ramping up the strength load on you fingers so that you can be like Tony and never get injured. Gradualness and Consistency are important in any form of physical training.
    Scott Johnston

    Colin Simon on #3290

    Thanks Scott, I’ll check it out.

    Frantik on #3328

    Just chiming in to suggest another great book for rock climbing training:
    Eric Hörst’s ‘Training for climbing’

    It uses a lot of the principles that are mentioned in TftNA.

    Since it is only about climbing, periodisation happens in week blocks, not changing focus within a week. For example 4 weeks of general stamina with low grade routes (4 times a week) is followed by 2-3 weeks of strenth training but less sessions per week i.e 2 or 3 since the sessions are harder and you need the recovery much more.

    I guess one has to adapt and blend gym climbing training and aerobic depending on goals. Like it is mentioned in TftNA if you add more climbing , sth else has to give way

    Mariner_9 on #3473

    I chanced upon a couple of interviews with the Anderson brothers which might be of use/interest:

    TBP 009 :: Mike and Mark Anderson on Their Book, J-Star, and How Less Is More

    TBP 063 :: The Anderson Brothers’ Evolving Training Philosophies and New Research

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