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10 Top Tips to Injury-Free Climbing
By Courtenay Schurman, MS, CSCS
- FEET: Use duct tape to prevent blisters. Test out a small piece on skin first to be sure you don�t have an allergy; for more on this, see www.bodyresults.com/qaskbr.asp?id=223&cat=13
- STRENGTH: Develop more strength than you think you�ll ever need, so when you need more than you ever dreamed, you�ll have a reserve available to you in emergencies
- BALANCE: Improve your balance by including single-limb free-weight leg exercises. See
www.bodyresults.com/e21-legsquat.asp for a sample exercise
- SKILL: Wean yourself off trekking poles before the first climb of the season involving glacier travel so you have both hands free for self-arrest. See
- GYM CLIMBING FREQUENCY: Do not gym climb more than 4 days a week (just as any other strength training) unless you are very disciplined about changing your focus on a daily basis and including �rest/technique� climbing days.
- TRIPS: Know your climbing partners well and study your group�s strengths and weaknesses. By identifying potential weaknesses you can prevent a situation from developing in which someone, for example, might get too tired and slip, fall, and not be able to self-arrest in time to prevent an accident.
- SAFETY: Check, double check and triple check all links to Anchor, Belay, and Climber. Read up on Accidents in North American Mountaineering.
- PREPARATION: Train with a weighted backpack on a weekly basis in early spring to be appropriately fit for your alpine outings. See www.bodyresults.com/e2intervals.asp
- GEAR: Learn how to properly load your backpack, cinch it to your body, and adjust to fit well, in order to prevent upper back and shoulder spasms and hip/lower back discomfort. See www.ProMountainSports.com or www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/ for more.
- FINGERS: Use tape if the finger tendons have been strained, but don�t ever completely rely on the tape and try to wean yourself of the habit as quickly as possible in order to strengthen the tendons enough to prevent further injury. See www.bodyresults.com/e2fingertraining.asp