Climbing is hard on the finger flexor tendons and annular pulleys (A2 and such). If you climb and/or train frequently at a rigorous level, then there’s a good chance you’ve experienced finger pain and perhaps even an overuse and acute injury.
So, what can you do to reduce your risk of these pesky finger injuries?
New research has revealed a coupled training-nutritional intervention that can increase tendon strength and health. Based on this research, I have developed a simple 6-minute “protective” finger training protocol that will nourish and strengthen your finger flexor tendons and annular pulleys. Think of this brief training session as “prehab”—because it will enhance collagen synthesis in your tendons and ligaments…and, thus, improve the health and strength of these important structures.
Best of all, this is one climbing exercise that you can do almost daily! Of course, intensive hangboard training protocols must be limited to just a few days per week—they are hard on the muscles, nervous system, and connective tissues and, if you do too much, there’s a good chance you’ll end up injured. But this brief moderate-intensity protective protocol can be utilized daily, either as a rest day “prehab” session or as part of your warm-up routine before your main climbing/training of the day.
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Six-Minute Protective Protocol Details
- 30 seconds of finger rolls (or squeeze donut) with a moderate load.
- 30 seconds of finger extensions with a Powerfingers (or similar)
- 1 minute of 10″/5″ Repeaters (i.e. four 10-second hangs) on large to medium-sized holds using open hand, open crimp, or half-crimp (if uninjured) grip positions.
- Repeat Steps #1 through #3 two more times–this makes for an effective 6-minutes of non-fatiguing loading. (Do not let your finger exercise escalate into anything more stressful or voluminous than what’s described here.)
Want to Learn More About Climbing Injuries, Including Common Causes, Rehab, and Prevention?
Listen to this Training For Climbing Podcast for an up-to-date, research-based look at climbing injuries. This 1 hour and 20-minute podcast will make clear to you, once and for all, the top three factors that contribute to the high incidence of overuse injuries in the fingers, arms, and shoulders of enthusiastic, hard-training climbers. You’ll also learn six things you can do to reduce your injury risk. Listen Now >>
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