The Biggest Risk for Climbers Isn’t What You’d Expect

Man rock climbing, Buck Rock, California, America, USA
Man rock climbing, Buck Rock, California, America, USA kylewolfe / Getty Images

You’d think that most rock climbing injuries are one-offs, resulting from a fall. In fact, a study of almost 700 male climbers by BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine found that two-thirds of participants experienced a chronic injury, usually to the shoulders, elbows, or fingers. The number is lower for indoor climbers, who work in more controlled environments, but all are susceptible.

 

 

“Climbing focuses on minor muscles you usually do not train, and the force on these muscles is not always obvious until an injury occurs,” says study author and climbing coach Gudmund Grønhaug.

The fix is strength training. Use TRX or resistance bands to bolster the joints in the upper body. You don’t need to do heavy lifting, since climbing is about carrying your own body weight. Then climb on.

Try our best workout to build strength for rock climbing.