I am proud to have participated as a research assistant and co-author with my friend and former UNM climbing team member, Mike Deyhle, in pursuit of his University of New Mexico Exercise Physiology Masters Thesis paperaI am proud to have participated as a research assistant and co-author with my friend and former UNM climbing team member, Mike Deyhle, in pursuit of his University of New Mexico Exercise Physiology Masters Thesis study paper titled: ‘RELATIVE IMPORTANCE OF FOUR MUSCLE GROUPS FOR INDOOR ROCK CLIMBING PERFORMANCE’, published in The Journal Of Strength And Conditioning Research – VOLUME 29 | NUMBER 7 | JULY 2015 | titled: ‘RELATIVE IMPORTANCE OF FOUR MUSCLE GROUPS FOR INDOOR ROCK CLIMBING PERFORMANCE’, published in The Journal Of Strength And Conditioning Research – VOLUME 29 | NUMBER 7 | JULY 2015 |Read More
After battling high expectations and pressures over the past 2 emotionally charged weeks at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics during which he won multiple Downhill and Super-Combined (downhill) training runs only to miss the podium in the medal runs, Bode Miller showed us who he really is by fighting for the Bronze medal in the Men’s Super-G. Over the past several days he has demonstrated that he owns that downhill course more than anyone in these Olympic Games and that he deserves an Olympic medal (or medals) more than anyone else in the men’s speed events. His accomplishment is by no means what he wanted, expected or what he rightfully deserves. However, under such tenuous circumstances, to ultimately prevail with any medal must have been more difficult mentally and emotionally than winning a Gold medal straight away without such vexing frustrations. This drama was one of the most spectacular and inspiring internal competition battles that I have ever witnessed an athlete overcome – what a great example of personal triumph.
Thank you, Bode, for reminding us how to regain focus, how much more to want it, how much harder to try and how much more persistent we need to be in the face of adversity and self-doubt to express our true nature through an unwavering commitment to our passion. That was a damn strong effort!
In our hearts…………… you’re Gold!
This is Casey from the clinic you put on at Focus Climbing Center recently. I was trying to put together my workout plan for the week but I couldn’t think of a lot of good finger exercises other than hanging on the finger board and good posture exercises. I was hopin you could give me a few ideas for these.Read More
“Your heart is very much connected to your mind.” – Mikhail Baryshnikov
It was a pleasure to have Mad Rock sponsored athletes Timy Fairfield
and Brandi Proffitt support this event and make it a great learning
experience for our community. Timy and Brandi are great people and
professional athletes and it was an honor working with them and learning from them during this league!
Thank you again for making this event special for our members and I look forward to working with you all more in the future.
KAFB Adventure Programmer
KAFB, Albuquerque, NM
NEW! TF Signature Rock Candy System Training Tiles
Many people who are interested in purchasing my newly released signature Rock Candy Systems Training Tiles have inquired about the recommended configuration for their systems wall. The wall depicted in the above image has the following specs:Read More
Created by: Darcy Forrest – Victoria, BC Canada
I have been looking for ways to increase my power and one arm strength in climbing. As soon as I attempt climbs on steep walls I find it impossible to pull off the ground. This was apparent during a recent trip to Margalef in Spain where I found the starts of the steepest routes impossible despite climbing the grade on vertical stone. A few people have expressed that ring training might be a solution to my greatest weakness but I am having trouble finding resources on ring training for climbing. I was wondering if you had any insight in using rings to increase climbing performance on steep rock.
Great question. This is something that many people struggle with when traveling to new climbing areas that require a different movement style than their local areas. Ring training can help you become stronger on steep rock which is why many climbers have implemented some ring exercises into their training.
The whole family of mid-ring body row exercises can help you with this issue: 2-arm rows, archer rows, 1-arm rows. Hi-Ring exercises that can help you include: archer pull-ups, wide grip pull-ups + L-seat and The low-ring exercises that will increase your body tension and shoulder strength are archer push-ups, flys and jacknives, crescent push ups. Once you are comfortable with the above exercises you can progress to working muscle-ups and front levers.
Ringtraining.com offers suspension training devices as well as training videos.
The Freestyle Trainer Pro is a new suspension training device that also enables you to perform lower body and abdominal exercises with your feet in the stirrups. This product can be purchased bundled with my training video.
You would also benefit from the following forms of training to increase your performance on steep routes on rock:
Train on a steeper artificial climbing wall
Systems Training: which integrates new techniques and strength
Remember, that any increase in strength needs to be accompanied by a higher level of skills acquisition so that you are able to access the necessary technical transfer which translates into the desired increase in performance on the rock.
TF.com visitors are eligible to receive a discount. Visit: Hylete
Visit Hylete if you are a climbing coach, personal trainer or fitness professional interested in registering to receive a discount on Hylete hybrid training clothing.
So, every time I do a strength workout I am fucking wrecked for 2 days afterward…the next day I feel really, really tired, sore, low energy, and grumpy.Read More
This is all you need to stay in shape if you are in an Antarctica scientific research field station for 4 months. The rest is all about the internal motivation!
Following are some photos of my friend, Mike Richardson’s, recent surgical procedure to reattach his A2 pulley. Stay tuned for his injury and rehab report.Read More
In my last report, I detailed the poorly planned training that led up to my injury and the subsequent diagnosis of a strained A2 pulley in my middle finger. As a result of my overzealousness I was ordered to stop pulling down for 6-8 weeks and although I tried hard to convince my Doctor that “lightly” gripping big holds didn’t even count as climbing, his – “I’m not having it, now get out” look – was all the answer I needed as to how much climbing I would be doing in the next month or two. Zero.Read More
Recently, or at least within the last three months, I strained a pulley in my middle finger, on my right hand. While living in California over the summer I had the luxury of being able to climb almost every single day, so I did. Unfortunately, a large volume of hard climbing combined with intense training served as the perfect conditions to create a chronic injury.Read More
I recently injured an A2 pulley in my middle finger. The injury is not debilitating but it is getting worse and does inhibit me from gripping maximally.
I have read an enormous amount of advice on the internet from fairly credible sources that advocates some climbing in the recovery period to help strengthen the tendon. The problem is these articles don’t elaborate on how much easy climbing is necessary or what kind of other exercises can be done to return to climbing strong. For instance, would it be possible to do a period of large volume “jug” climbing in order to build a base and retain climbing specific movements before your finger heals at which point you could focus on intensity?
Anyway, I’m blabbing here but I would appreciate any help you could give. I have quite a few competition and real rock goals coming up and I would hate to waste time with bad decisions.
Thanks a lot,
Thank you for your inquiry. This is a very common injury and presents a particularly stressful dilemma for a serious climber moving into the prime Fall climbing season. I have personal experience with this type of injury and have seen many of my close friends and training partners confront this type of injury with varying results. Having tried and seen different tactics to treat this injury, I would recommend the following process to address your situation:
Immediately cease all finger-related training (rock climbing, fingerboard, campus board)
Obtain a proper diagnosis from a hand specialist/medical professional (get a second opinion if the diagnosis seems off base)
Explore treatment options (contrast therapy, laser therapy, acupuncture, prolo-therapy, meso-therapy, platelet rich plasma therapy, surgery, splinting)
Undergo appropriate treatment protocol (this may consist of a combination of the above mentioned forms of treatment)
Visit an occupational therapist/hand specialist to assess proper rehab protocols and timeframes associated with your injury
Obey recommended abstinence from rock climbing and finger related sport specific training modalities following the treatment period
Gradually re-introduce rock climbing as an extension of physical therapy
Future injury prevention: use proper warm-up techniques and maintain physical therapy as pre-hab on an ongoing basis.
Based on the limited information that you provided it seems that you may be skipping most of the aforementioned crucial steps to the process that I would personally obey. Some of the proposed steps may not take very much time or could overlap. I’ve seen too many instances where climbers prolong their injuries, re-injure the soft tissue or develop a chronic problem that requires more invasive measures at a later point in time. I’m sure that I am not telling you what you want to hear. But you must consider the long term consequences to your climbing ability verses your short term desire to climb this Fall. Statistically, you won’t beat the odds. I have witnessed many 2-3 month treatment and recovery time scenarios become 6-8 month sagas due to the reluctance of the climber (myself included) to follow the proper protocol. Worse yet, I have seen many of my friends on the bouldering world cup circuit ruin their fingers and careers due to their reluctance to properly address these types of issues.
Without knowing the severity of your injury, your ability level and the amount of time you have been injured I am not able to accurately asses your situation and make a credible recommendation as to which course of action to take. Besides, I am not a medical professional. Although I have extensive first hand experience with many alternative and modern therapies for these types of injuries, I always seek professional treatment. Even if I have more direct experience with the myriad of treatment modalities than many healthcare professionals (which is often the case), I choose to subject myself to their care for the sole reason that I recognize that whenever I have encountered a sports injury I have become too emotionally entwined with the injury and the potential loss to my performance. This emotional attachment renders me incapable of making rational decisions pertaining to my treatment/therapy without proper counseling and advice from an informed 3rd party. This is a crucial point of understanding that we must all reach within ourselves to increase our odds of overcoming injuries. In my experience, stronger climbers/athletes are horrible at this aspect of managing their destiny – myself included!
If you get a professional diagnosis I would be happy to share my experience with the various treatment options that may be recommended to you. Good luck,
I first met Martin at a World Cup Bouldering Competition in Chamonix, France. I was on the US Competition Climbing Team and he was on the Junior National Swiss Competition Climbing Team participating in his first senior world cup climbing event.Read More
I initially ordered this book because I wanted to support the author, Amanda Beard, an athlete who I have come to respect over the years. Honestly, my expectations were very low because based on how this book has been promoted, I was sure that it would be another sappy melodramatic “Chick Book”. I was wrong! I read the book in a single day – during a heavy 4 hour training load day nonetheless.Read More
TF Designed Signature Rock Candy System Training Tiles
Available October 2012
Visit Rock Candy
I wanted to say thanks for teaching a rad technique course here at The Bloc in Tucson, AZ. It was super helpful. I wanted to let you know that it sort of spurred wanting more. I was wondering if you do coaching in ABQ? I’d like to learn more from you. If this sounds okay, let me know and maybe we can arrange something. I’d be happy to come up and spend a few days or a week learning new things. If you could let me know your fees for something like this I’d appreciate it as well.
Also, thanks for the Hylete gear!
Momentum Indoor Climbing Facility Staff
Polar Heart Rate Monitor Prize Winner, Dane!
What has been your experience with prolotherapy on pulley injuries?
I have had extensive personal experience with many emerging modalities of injury treatment including acupuncture, meso-therapy, prolo-therapy and PRP for the past 20 years. Overall, I have had positive results with this type of treatment and I am an advocate of such methods. I have been fortunate enough to have chosen the right practitioners and my body seems to be very receptive to these treatments. I have also recommended this type of therapy to many friends and athletes for whom I have provided private coaching. For ethical reasons, I have not overtly advocated such treatments for youth athletes without the deliberate request of their parents.
I was first introduced to meso and prolo while I was living and training in France during my participation on the world cup circuit ’95. To the best of my knowledge, I may have been the first US climber to receive some of these treatments. I was treated by a French sports Kinesiologist who serviced the French Olympic Judo, Tae Kwan Do, fencing, gymnastics and track and field teams. Apparently, this French sports doctor was formally trained in the US (NYC), but due to medical practice regulations in North America at the time these modalities (like so many other medical advancements) were first proliferated in more progressive European countries like France, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Spain, Slovenia (go figure!). The fighting sports and gymnasts were the first ones to explore the benefits of these types of treatments. Then Ski Racing, professional cycling (of course). Now it seems that all major league sports teams in the US are using some form of prolo for not only injury treatment, but career prolongation as well.
Depending upon the severity of the injury, strained pulleys generally require 3 rounds of injections spaced 10-15 days apart (anyone who is willing to inject at a higher frequency is not to be trusted). Also, remember that although this type of treatment will speed up the healing process, it is by no means a free meal pass to continue business as usual. The patient must still accept that a reasonable recovery period, decrease in training intensity and rehab program following each round of injections must be observed. A partially torn pulley will require at least twice as much time. A fully separated pulley will not usually respond to injection therapy and will most likely require complete immobility or surgery to re-attach. In some rare cases, I have seen it help what were believed to be full separations, but any such benefit is inconclusive as the diagnosis may have been incorrect. However, in this extreme case a re-attached pulley can be more effectively and quickly rehabilitated to full strength with prolotherapy. This is why an accurate diagnosis is crucial before seeking any type of treatment.
Meso and Prolotherapy are simply methods of delivery – their effectiveness are highly dependent upon the specific cocktail of substances being administered (and the accuracy of the needle technique). I have responded more favorably to certain substances better than others. And likewise, I have responded more favorably to certain needle techniques than others. Certain individuals have not experienced a noticeable gain from this type of therapy because they make the common mistake of either pushing themselves too hard to soon (because the immediate sense of relief is mistaken for a full return to strength which is totally irrational) or not completing multiple successive rounds of treatments. Unlike many other forms of soft tissue treatment, it is actually preferable to engage in some type of low-level activity approximately 72 hours after treatment to facilitate proper healing by moving the injected substances through the treated tissue. This also aids in avoiding loss of range of motion. The most commonly encountered problem is that most rock climbers tend to lack the self-discipline to maintain the appropriate level of rehab intensity without succumbing to the temptation to over test the capacity of the newly relieved injury area.
PRP (platelette rich plasma) therapy, a newly emerging subset of prolotherapy, is currently replacing conventional prolotherapy injection substances. PRP is being widely implemented by orthopedic surgeons to help speed recovery. My experience with PRP has been convincing. It generally requires only 1 round to achieve what conventional prolotherapy could achieve. It is more expensive, time consuming and uncomfortable/painful to undergo. It also seems to be more difficult to access as there seems to be fewer practitioners nationwide and the patient access to this type of therapy varies greatly depending upon state law and the licensure of the practitioner due to the fact that blood must be drawn from the patient during this process.
I recommend that you read the following (out of print) book regarding climbing injuries:
One Move Too Many…How to understand the injuries and overuse syndroms of rock climbing (2003)
by Thomas Hochholzer & Volker Schoeffl
You may also want to read the following article for which I was interviewed along with one of my sports doctors, Harry Adelson, founder of Docere Clinics:
Rock & Ice Issue #132
Muscle Training Section By Matt Samet
Sugar Methods: Are prolo therapy and meso therapy alternative miracle cures for busted tendons?
This is a very interesting and potentially useful topic of discussion in an area of medicine that is rapidly evolving that needs to be more thoroughly explored for our sport. I hope that this information helps you.
KAFB Route Setting Workshop Participants (from L – R): Nick Coddou, Tim “Minor Threat” Fuller, Bryce Eldridge, Alex Maccini, TF, Nate Iverson, Dan Isaac (Host/Organizer) & Jesse Sprague
KAFB Event Polar Heart Rate Monitor Winner, Jesse Sprague.
I just wanted to thank you again for putting together the routesetting clinic and making it such a special event. It was an honor to have you teach at the ODR climbing gym and I hope we can do more events in the gym while I am here at Kirtland AFB.
I also wanted to thank you again for all the help and advice you have given me personally as I try and progress on my own career path in the climbing world. Your wisdom and shared knowledge has been much appreciated and I look forward to learning more from the “Paw Paw”!
Take care and see you soon!
Kirtland AFB Outdoor Adventure Programmer
My name is Joel Zerr. You may remember me from the Mad Rock team back when you used to be the team captain. You actually came to my home gym in Reno, NV and I got in a quick session with you. I may have climbed with you in Hueco as well.
Anyway, I was wondering if you’d be able to offer some training advice? I feel that I have been performing at the same level for longer than I’d like. I mainly focus on bouldering but definitely get psyched to sport climb as well. I have climbed some harder things over the last five years but nothing harder than V12 bouldering and 5.14a sport. I still have a great time each and every day I get out climbing, but I know I am capable of performing at a much higher level. Basically I have many projects I want to do, and I’m not getting any younger!
I feel that I have a lot of experience with training, but a lot of it has been very experimental. I never really had a good coach when I started climbing. The most successful results I’ve seen was when I was training on the rings and running twice per week plus gym climbing and or bouldering outside twice per week. I have tried other methods of training such as interval training with weights. I think overall everything I have tried has definitely helped but I’m at a point where I feel I need something more focused. Is there anything you could share with me? I’m really just looking for new way to train that will help me to break though a seemingly endless barrier.
Any advice would be much appreciated!
Of course I remember you Joel. I commend you on achieving such a high level in both bouldering and route climbing – something that is very rare. Most climbers have a significant discrepancy between their bouldering level and their sport climbing level, but you seem very balanced.
I would definitely return to what you feel has worked in the past as far as following a similar rhythm and general approach for your base moving forward. I would then expand on your training approach by integrating more integrated exercises into your sport-specific strength and conditioning training as well as targeting weaknesses (hand positions and movement types).
At your stage of development and with your current ability it is going to be crucial that you adhere to the following basic training parameters if you want to improve. Without programming the specifics of your training program, here are some ideas upon which you may wish to build your new training methodology:
Follow a more disciplined weekly and monthly training schedule.
Document your training.
Improve the quality of your nutrition.
Improve the quality of your sleep.
Refine the quality and specification of cross-training activities.
Adopt rehab-oriented exercises that address old injuries and injury prevention.
Introduce multiple sessions and contrasted types of workouts in a given day.
Emphasize the execution of more well programmed and organized training sessions.
Higher intensity combined with higher technical quality of execution will yield higher performance.
Incrementally increase and track your training volume.
Focus on your consistent performance level rather than your absolute limit.
Seek to qualify rather than only quantifying your performances.
Vary the training emphasis to avoid over-training and plateaus.
Re-asses your goals, reorganize the proposed chronology in which you feel you would most likely be able to get completion.
Enlist the right training partners who can help motivate you and push you in your deficient areas.
Continue to develop new climbing areas since this has proven to be a source of inspiration to you in the past.
I will be sure to continually add to this list as I remember more training wisdom from my coaches and trainers.
BTW: we should all follow such guidelines since none of us are getting any younger!
Expedition leader, Dr. Dave “Enemy-D” Van Horn (PhD), has officially become the first known boulderer in the world to operate a Hilti hammer drill on the most coveted and least accessible boulder field on the continent of Antarctica. The incident occurred at an undisclosed location (for security purposes) in late November 2011 during a rock reconnaissance mission coined, “Operation Enduring Friction”, which fulfills the imperatives set forth by the G-20’s No Continent Left Behind Global Initiative Manifesto. The research project is jointly funded from grants provided by the National Science Foundation and the Foundation of Antarctic Research and the US-DOD.
The purpose of the 8 week expedition is to survey unmapped sites, inventory route potential and collect rock core samples from prospective boulder fields to determine the viability of future rock climbing area exploration on the planet’s 7th continent. It is believed that if enough suitable rock conducive to offering world class gymnastic test-pieces in ideal sending conditions is located on the Earth’s coldest and most vastly unexplored region, that the sport of bouldering will continue to prosper despite recent global warming trends which have proven to increasingly pose complications to the successful completion of difficult climbs worldwide. Dr. Van Horn has openly stated his contention that “Antarctica truly represents the final frontier of bouldering first ascents on this planet”.
The final report will be published in Spring 2012 after lab analysis of all core samples has been conducted and photo documentation and site maps have been reviewed by the technical advisory board headed by project manager and spokesperson, Timy Fairfield. The study was commissioned by co-sponsor, Futurist Climbing Consultants, Inc.
Recently I have been hearing about this antihydral ointment that some climbers use on their fingertips to dry them out and create good, strong calluses. Have you used this stuff before? I am sure this is not a new thing in the climbing world but it seems that a lot of good climbers out there swear by this stuff and it is a great “trade secret” . just wanted your opinion if this works or if it will just fuck up my fingers. Thanks man! Hope you all are doing well!
I love how you are always seeking the performance enhancing edge. Such was the way of the Soviet sports programs of the cold war. Antihydral creams can be helpful short term. Long term they can contribute to compromising the integrity of the skin. A certain amount of moisture is necessary for the skin to remain supple so that it does not split, peel or slide off of holds. It is also necessary to recover from the superficial tissue damage of the abrasion, pitting, tearing, etc encountered through rock climbing. Too much callus causes cracking.
Many chalks profess to actually dry the skin in addition to neutralizing moisture. This is the problem that many people experience with certain types of commercially produced powdered chalks that are “proprietary blends” fortified with an antihydral agent. Although these chalks can be highly effective, they can also serve to compromise your skin depending upon the natural Ph level of your body (determined by genetic factors, diet and hydration). When I have over utilized such substances on a regular basis it has lead to peeling, scaling and especially splitting in between the creases of my pads which has lead to a long series of frustrating efforts to restore the structural integrity of my skin. This is especially pervasive in a high elevation, dry climate encountered in the Western US. I had far fewer skin related issues when I was living in Europe. Our region is particularly hard on the skin.
The real issue is the toughness of the skin and the degree to which you sweat. Personally, I do not naturally have thick skin nor do I inherently sweat very heavily unless my skin is worn thin from a high volume of climbing or as a result of climbing on very abrasive surfaces. My strategy is to maintain tough, but thin and supple skin. This helps prevent excess sweating which can also be a function of the sweat glands being closer to the surface due to worn down layers of superficial dermis.
Note: Dehydration of the dermis resulting from poor habits such as drinking excessive alcohol, smoking and laziness actually helps most climbers sweat less. However, this can lead to other health, performance and sports injury complications – especially soft tissue damage.
My advice would be to first address the type of chalk that yields the best result for the least damage. There are some types of chalk additives and drying compounds for the skin that are not antihydral. These substances dry on a superficial level but do not compromise the ability for your skin to recover. I find that hemp oil offers the right balance for my skin – yielding toughness and suppleness to avoid splitting. Using a hand cream at night helps restore tissue hydration so the depleted tissue can repair itself. Danny Andrada claims that fresh raw garlic smeared directly onto the skin before going to bed helps speed skin recovery. He definitely pushed this technique on me while we were training and traveling to comps together. I don’t know how well it works, but certainly smells good and helps the immune system – not to speak of the sex drive!
You could also test an antihydral cream in very limited dosage with a few days between using the product. The prudent way of testing an antihydral cream would be to use it on a non-climbing day so that if you are hyper sensitive to the compound you avoid obliterating your skin in a single day of climbing. I would also be inclined to cycle the use of such products, only utilizing them when absolutely necessary, not every time you climb.