Muscle cramp when heel hooking?


Original Post
aikibujin · Feb 2, 2016 · Castle Rock, CO · Joined Oct 2014 · Points: 135
Denver is getting totally blasted by a snowstorm right now. But I really don't want to go shovel my driveway, so instead I'm going to ask this question I've been wondering for a while: does anyone else get muscle cramps when pulling really hard on a heel hook? For me, my calf muscle tend to cramp up when I pull hard on a heel hook, especially if I point my toes. It doesn't happen when I'm pushing on a heel hook (like a low heel hook, on a face, mantling), but happens quite often when I'm pulling on a heel hook (on an arete, hand-foot-match heel hook, really high heel hook). Anyone else experience this? Is it because I have weak "pulling" muscle in my legs?

grog m aka Greg McKee · Feb 2, 2016 · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 0
Yes fairly common. Yes, weak pulling muscles in your leg.

Be careful, pull too hard and adios knee

Ted Pinson · Feb 10, 2016 · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 40
I usually feel it in my hamstrings, and have experienced soreness the next day from heel-heavy bouldering. I think it uses different muscle groups than we normally use/train in climbing, and can be quite strenuous if you're doing it right (more pull from hammies/calves = less from arms/back!).

Aleks Zebastian · Feb 10, 2016 · Boulder, CO · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 0
aikibujin wrote:Denver is getting totally blasted by a snowstorm right now. But I really don't want to go shovel my driveway, so instead I'm going to ask this question I've been wondering for a while: does anyone else get muscle cramps when pulling really hard on a heel hook? For me, my calf muscle tend to cramp up when I pull hard on a heel hook, especially if I point my toes. It doesn't happen when I'm pushing on a heel hook (like a low heel hook, on a face, mantling), but happens quite often when I'm pulling on a heel hook (on an arete, hand-foot-match heel hook, really high heel hook). Anyone else experience this? Is it because I have weak "pulling" muscle in my legs?
climbing friend,

toughen yourself up

aikibujin · Feb 10, 2016 · Castle Rock, CO · Joined Oct 2014 · Points: 135
The question is how do I toughen myself up? I'm too soft to eat cheesesteaks (but I do like cheesecake...), I'm too scared to look at fishheads, and my neck is definitely not meaty enough to enjoy shirtless bald flash in the plastic cave.

matt c. · Feb 10, 2016 · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 10
aikibujin wrote:The question is how do I toughen myself up? I'm too soft to eat cheesesteaks (but I do like cheesecake...), I'm too scared to look at fishheads, and my neck is definitely not meaty enough to enjoy shirtless bald flash in the plastic cave.
Some suggestions:


In all seriousness, I am also curious about answers to this question. I pulled my hamstring a few weeks ago and still have not had full recovery. I have tried stretching but am not really sure how to strengthen this muscle.

Joshua1979 · Feb 10, 2016 · Colorado Springs, CO · Joined Apr 2010 · Points: 5
I find hamstring curls on a physio ball help me keep the stabilizer muscles strong and I don't seem to have as many knee probs when I do those from time to time as part of a pre-hab routine. Start with two legs on physio ball (kind of in a reverse plank position) and curl the ball towards you. Once comfortable with that you can quickly move to just one leg on. I will sometimes rotate the toes and knee out to make the motion more like a heel hook in climbing as well but be careful not to stress the knee too much.

aikibujin · Feb 11, 2016 · Castle Rock, CO · Joined Oct 2014 · Points: 135
Joshua1979 wrote:I find hamstring curls on a physio ball help me keep the stabilizer muscles strong and I don't seem to have as many knee probs when I do those from time to time as part of a pre-hab routine.
I’ve done this hamstring curls on a swiss ball from time to time. In addition to work the hamstrings, I think it’s also a great core workout. I need to try that one-legged version when I get a chance. However, I feel this workout more in my hamstring (I guess that’s why it’s called “hamstring curl”). When I’m heelhooking, I’ve never felt that my hamstrings are too weak to pull, but I get the muscle cramps in my calves. Should I just slap my calves with frozen fish while doing the hamstring curls?

Aleks Zebastian · Feb 11, 2016 · Boulder, CO · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 0
aikibujin wrote:The question is how do I toughen myself up? I'm too soft to eat cheesesteaks (but I do like cheesecake...), I'm too scared to look at fishheads, and my neck is definitely not meaty enough to enjoy shirtless bald flash in the plastic cave.
climbing friend,

Find short person or small animal whom you find most undesirable, and practice your heel hooking with foot in their face. Or perhaps you may repeat heel hooking mantling boulder problem many time, and do the trail running, myah?

aikibujin · Feb 11, 2016 · Castle Rock, CO · Joined Oct 2014 · Points: 135
Climbing friend Aleks,

Thank you for your wisdom and guidance. But I'm pretty short to start with, so it's hard to find someone shorter than me. And I'm scared of small animals, even baby pandas and newborn penguins. And trail running hurts my knees. *waaa waaa waaa* Is there anything I can do that involves eating cheesecakes? Preferably while looking at yoga pants?

Aleks Zebastian · Feb 12, 2016 · Boulder, CO · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 0
aikibujin wrote:Climbing friend Aleks, Thank you for your wisdom and guidance. But I'm pretty short to start with, so it's hard to find someone shorter than me. And I'm scared of small animals, even baby pandas and newborn penguins. And trail running hurts my knees. *waaa waaa waaa* Is there anything I can do that involves eating cheesecakes? Preferably while looking at yoga pants?
climbing friend,

you may do this, but i would not expect your hamstring to turning from limp dangling hunk of flesh into rock hard beef jerky strong for heel hooking.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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