Training Around Injuries a Case Study by Ella Russell

Earlier this month my partner (@barrows_alex) managed to snag a first ascent of a new sport climb (8c+/9a) at Kilnsey in the UK. Due to a number of ongoing issues with two of his fingers his winter training in preparation for the route was significantly limited.

Continuing to train whilst injured is not always the right thing to do, but here are some things we learnt along the way:

1. IS CONTINUING TO TRAIN FOR A SPECIFIC PROJECT APPROPRIATE? – Luckily Alex was able to just about train for his project because the route itself didn’t aggravate his fingers, but this was a finely balanced decision which may change. It’s always worth seeking out the opinion of an experienced climbing specialist physio and your coach to help make an informed decision.

2. THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX – Ever tried ARC level aerobic capacity work with a combination of juggling, powerball, and high reps of very lightweight curls and front/lateral raises and shoulder press? As Alex’s route required a decent base level of aerobic capacity, he needed a solution which didn’t tax the fingers but did work his arms, forearms and shoulders. Did it work? It’s hard to be 100% sure as Alex has done a lot of aerobic capacity training in the past, but we can say that the absence of his normal base training didn’t prevent him from sending his route!

3. BE FLEXIBLE – If a session was too much for Alex’s fingers it was important for him to recognise this and adjust or drop the session. It can be really hard to adapt and change once you’ve set a plan in motion, but injuries don’t care about this, so it’s important to be very in tune with your body and check-in daily.

4. FOCUS ON WHAT YOU CAN DO – It’s very easy to stress about the training you’re not able to do and worry about whether the training you are able to do is enough. Alex struggled with this and had to work hard on focusing on what he could do – this was probably the most challenging aspect of continuing to train for him.

Main article 📸 credit : @stuartlittlefair

ella

~ Ella Russell