There are always injuries when climbing and bouldering. Physio and climber Simon Deussen explains which are the most common injuries, when it becomes particularly dangerous and what you can do about it. After the interview you will find the right video for each recommended exercise.
Simon, what are the most common injuries when climbing and bouldering?
The range of injuries when climbing and bouldering is very large. Of course, we have a lot of problems on the upper extremities, especially on the fingers, elbows and shoulders.
When bouldering there are injuries to the lower extremities that result from frequent hooking and jumping off. In addition, boulderers and climbers often have complaints of the neck, thoracic spine and lower back. But these are not climbing-specific injuries.
"The higher the level of difficulty, the greater the chance of injury."Simon Deussen
Basically, the higher the level of difficulty, the greater the chance of an injury - apart from injuries caused by unusual stress for beginners, of course. Project planning is particularly tricky. We try a certain movement over and over again, which tires a specific muscle area. This increases the risk of injury enormously.
What are the ways to prevent injuries?
I have worked in many different sports. Boulderers and climbers tackle comparatively often and go beyond the pain threshold. If we ignore our body's alarm signals, injuries happen quickly. I therefore recommend listening to the body more and not exceeding your own limits too much.
Balance training is of course also very important, but nobody wants to hear that (laughs). Athletes are specifically trained. This not only creates strengths, but also instabilities and bad postures.
It is therefore very important to do balance exercises in the opposite direction. However, this is very individual. I test my patients thoroughly in a roughly one-hour check in order to be able to put together specific exercises for them.
“The crawl and surfing are an ideal balance to climbing.”Simon Deussen
In general, I recommend doing other sports besides climbing and bouldering. People who have been trained in various ways injure themselves less frequently and regenerate faster. When climbing and bouldering, for example, crawling and surfing is particularly recommended.
What do you need to pay special attention to for beginners?
Our shoulders, arms and hands are not designed for high loads. The joints, ligaments, tendons and muscles must therefore get used to it first. If you go climbing or bouldering two to three times a week, it takes about two years.
You should keep your fingers open during this time, otherwise the risk of injury is significantly increased. You should also wait two years for training on the fingerboard and have a level of about 6a.
Simon Deussen is a physical and manual therapist with numerous additional training courses, such as musculoskeletal ultrasound diagnostics, EPTE therapy, shock wave therapy, fascia therapy and dry needling. His Practice Physio Vision is located in Zurich Altstetten, right next to the minimum bouldering hall.
These are the best balancing exercises for climbing and bouldering
Inside of the elbow
When climbing and especially during finger training, there is often inflammation on the inside of the elbow. Simon explains how you can prevent this with these two stretching and strengthening exercises:
Outside of the elbow
Climbers also often have complaints on the outside of the elbow. You can easily prevent this with the following two exercises for stretching and strengthening:
Shoulders (rotator cuffs)
The rotator cuffs on the shoulders are heavily loaded when climbing and bouldering. Use these two stretching and strengthening exercises to prevent injuries. Click here you can find the one used in the video Body band from Roc'Terra.
Hamstring muscles (hamstrings)
The rear thigh muscles, in English hamstrings, are often shortened for climbers. These two exercises will help you stretch and strengthen them:
You can find everything else for balance training at Bächli mountain sports.
About Bächli mountain sports
Bächli mountain sports is the leading Swiss specialist shop for climbing, mountaineering, expeditions, hiking, ski touring and snowshoeing. At currently 13 locations in Switzerland, Bächli Bergsport offers its customers expert advice and high-quality service. Published on LACRUX Bächli mountain sports periodically exciting contributions to the topics climbing, bouldering and mountaineering.
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Credits: Cover picture Physio vision