/ Training regime wanted

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Heike - on 25 Apr 2012
Ok, so I need some suggestions and incentives for training. I have had an injury (elbow tendonitis) over the winter and hence haven't been quite as active as usual, still managed a couple of rock trips and a dozen winter climbs, but that is very little for me. So, hence, instead I have piled on the pounds. My aim this summer is to get back into rock climbing in a big way and need to shed about 5 kilo which I have amassed over the winter - aaargh.

Want to climb quite hard again, but not overstrain my elbow. Has anyone got any training tips for me?

edinburgh_man on 25 Apr 2012
In reply to Heike:

Hi Heike, I've got bags of training advice to share if your interested, based on both personal experience and research over the years.

But I need to ask the following:
a.) Do you have a specific goal in mind? It's much easier to design a programme that is goal specific. Your goal needs to be timely, ie I want to do x by y.

b.) Which kind of elbow tendonitis did you have? Where was the pain? One arm or both? Is it completely recovered and if so for how long?

c.) Do you have any other injuries?

d.) Are there any aerobic exercises you like or especially dislike?

e.) What access to training equipment and climbing walls do you have? ie do you have a local wall, fingerboard, etc?

f.) How much time do you have per week? How many sessions can you fit in?



Heike - on 25 Apr 2012
In reply to Ross Mathers:
1) no real goal - just to get as fit as possible again- both aerobically and for climbing, particularly the latter. Let's say to climb as hard as possible for my alpine holiday mid July
2) one arm, it's pretty recovered now with the odd twinge here and there. It is tennis elbow.
3) no
4) I like running and biking, no swimming please
5) I have a garagewall
6) Quite a few - say 4-5?

Cheers for your interest
edinburgh_man on 25 Apr 2012
In reply to Heike:

Hi Heike,

I will put together some useful info and suggestions for you tonight / tomorrow (when not at work).

I'd be really interested to see how you progress if you do decide to use any of the info.

Can I also ask - do yo know what if anything specific brought on your tendonitis? Did you undertake a program of rehab (if so what) or just rest until no longer a problem?


Heike - on 25 Apr 2012
In reply to Ross Mathers:

Yes, it was specific! I took my wee boy sledging and dragged him up the quite long hill several times on his sledge. Felt a bit of a niggle in the evening and was in pain the next day! Went to see physio after a while and got treatment (massages, etc) and exercises which I did religiously in addition to lots of icing.
edinburgh_man on 25 Apr 2012
In reply to Heike:

Ah, your information about the days sledging would make sense:

Tennis elbow occurs when there is a problem with the tendons that attach the forearm muscles to the outside of the elbow bone (specifically the “extensor carpi radialis brevis” muscle to the “lateral epicondyle” bone). Put (very) simply overuse of these tendons causes microscopic tears which lead to degeneration of the tissue and in your case pain.

These tendons are the attachment of the muscle(s) that function to cock the wrist back. If you imagine dragging a sledge behind you, your wrist would be in the cocked back position – so you can see what the problem was.
One thing you should be very aware of in future is that gripping in the “full crimp” position also requires the wrist to “cock back” slightly and places strain on exactly the same tendons – and will very likely causes re-occurrence.

Since you are prone to this injury I would strongly suggest that you do not grip (especially fingerboard) in the “full crimp” position. Instead you should use the “half crimp” (no thumb) or “open hand” grip as these positions do not place strain on the tendon – and are also much safer for your fingers (the “full crimp” grip also places strain on your A2 fingers pulleys).

I would also re-start the eccentric exercises when you begin to train again - this time round in for prevention in anticipation of increased load.

Staying injury free is one of the biggest challenges in finding a training programme that works - for me anyway.

I'll be in touch with training info.

Heike - on 25 Apr 2012
In reply to Ross Mathers:
That sounds about right! I have noticed that crimping is the worst! Sandstone sloper action is no problem....

Look forward to your tips!!

edinburgh_man on 27 Apr 2012
In reply to Heike:

Heike, I've been snowed under at work the last few days and so haven't had time to pull together your stuff - but don't worry I haven't forgotten and will send asap.

Something to think about before getting into the nitty gritty is whether you want to follow:

a.) A strength program to improve your climbing strength and endurance (which you'll need to combine with aerobic work for your fitness).


b.) A periodised programme to improve your strength, recruitment, endurance for climbing aimed for you to peak at a specific time.
(again you'll need to combine with aerobic work for your fitness).

To be honest, if you want maximum fitness for a certain time (e.g. July Alps trip) I'd probably go for (B) but if you are thinking more long term the I would go for (A).

You can see option (A) as being a more long term investment and option (B) as getting the best fitness you can by a specific date.

Once you decide which you want to do, you can build a program from there.

A couple of things will be the same which ever choice you make:

Train finger strength year round: real muscular strength gains (as opposed to neuro-muscular) take ages to get and trying to shortcut them gives you injuries.

Endurance responds VERY quickly (almost immediately) BUT goes just as quickly, so it must be done in a timely manner close to when you need it. e.g. 4 weeks prior to your trip get on the laps and work yourself hard, several times a week.

Cheers for now.
edinburgh_man on 02 May 2012
In reply to Heike:


I will include links to various resources below over the next few days. I will also send you an example program if you can PM an email address to send it to.

Let’s look at a 12 week programme designed to get you in the best shape for mid July.

Aims are:
1.) Optimise your power to weight ratio.
2.) Increase general aerobic capacity.
3.) Increase finger strength and endurance.
4.) Increase core strength and flexibility.

To achieve all of the above you will have to work hard, there is no two ways about it, but if like me you enjoy the process that shouldn’t put you off.

Looking at each factor individually:

1.) Optimise your power to weight ratio:

The aim should be to reduce dead weight not weight per se. Getting “lean” is possible for everyone; you already know the rules (which are simple) but depending on your will power they can be hard to stick to.

In the most basic form you must eat a healthy diet and exercise to remove excess calories.

Eat fruit and vegetables, healthy protein, and some fat in good quantity. Avoid alcohol, refined sugar, carbohydrates and eating lots of red meat.
Have a look at this: I try and follow this as it makes sense and leaves me feeling full of energy and feeling good. Also it should reduce your weight as a knock on effect.

Also see here for more interesting but accurate information:

Avoid alcohol if possible, I find it really reduces my capacity for recovery, leaves me dehydrated and tired, and all those empty calories are just a waste.

Aerobic exercise:
I’m sure you will have your own take on what you like to do to keep aerobically fit / and manage your weight so I don’t want to dwell on it for too long.

For me my preferred activity is hill running, and I find it REALLY helps for long alpine days – a lot of good alpinists I know swear by it. If you choose to use running (of any kind) as your aerobic activity then try:
- Minimum of 45 minute run (steady pace e.g. 11 kph) 3 x per week
- Try to run on your rest days as an active rest to promote recovery.
- If possible run first thing in the morning to increase your metabolism.
- If you have to run on the same day as you do strength work then do the running after the strength work (preferably a few hours after).

Next the more interesting stuff...
DJonsight - on 02 May 2012
In reply to Heike:


You can have my training regime, for free. I do four pull ups about once a month. Occasionally I go climbing.

It's always worked well for me.
Heike - on 02 May 2012
In reply to Ross Mathers: Thanks so much!! That's really helpful. I'll email you my adress.

I have got say, I already eat lots of fruit and veg, but with regards to the alcohol....there might be some gains to be made there!

edinburgh_man on 02 May 2012
Heike - on 02 May 2012
In reply to Ross Mathers: Thanks and no worries, I am really grateful you are taking the time at all...

Heike - on 02 May 2012
In reply to DJonsight:
> (In reply to Heike)
> Heike
> You can have my training regime, for free. I do four pull ups about once a month. Occasionally I go climbing.
> It's always worked well for me.

Good for you!! You must be gifted, don't think this will do it for me....;-) I climb all the time and am still rubbish, but hey, I still enjoy it!


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