Critique my routine. How would you train power/fingers with a lower body injury?
I'll try to keep this quick (I failed) but feel free to skip sections or ask questions, thanks in advance. I'm mostly looking for suggestions of my (non-climbing) gym "pulling" routine, feel free to skip to that section in the box below.
Goals: Come back from my injury with stronger fingers and more powerful pulling muscles.
I have a chronic hip condition (FAI + Labral tears) that I've been ignoring for years, that led to a stress fracture in my femoral head, crutches, no climbing etc.I have now healed from the fracture (walking around but no climbing, running, jumping) but in a 11 days I will be getting relatively minor surgery to resolve the underlying issue in my hip and will be recovering (no climbing) for another 3 months.
My climbing history:
Obsessed with climbing for the past 6 years or so. Essentially only climb outdoors, never trained (before my injury), never really bouldered (power is a definite weakness), but have ton's of mileage on a variety of terrain. Onsights up to 12a sport and 11c trad (not really a project-er) mostly on techy/balancy/endurance type of routes (NOT POWER).
My routine so far (past couple months):
Day 1: Hangoard Routine (Anderson Bro's beginner routine)
Day 2: Push or Pull day at the gym (alternating)
Day 3: Rest.
In more detail:
Hangboarding: I'm honestly pretty happy with my routine here, I'm seeing steady gains so I don't feel the need to make changes. Skip if you want.
Warmup: Shoulder shrugs/circles 10-15 each way around, some band stuff opening up shoulders, "dislocates" with a broom handle, some simple finger movements. I then "hang" for 7 minutes on mostly the jug subtracting 32lbs with a pulley and putting toes down often, shaking out etc. This is my pretend traversing warmup.
Workout: It's 10s on 5s off for 6 reps on 8 holds, 3 min rest between. Again, pretty happy with this as I've been improving. I am taking a slow approach to increasing the resistance since I'm new to training, have plenty of time, and don't want to add a finger injury to the mix. I won't increase resistance until l could have kept hanging on that hold for 2 workouts in a row (if that makes sense).
Recover: Stretch, massage, icing forearm/elbow.
PUSH DAY: perhaps too much pushing for a climber?
Dumbbell Bench Press 3x8
Overhead Dumbbell Shoulder Press 3x8
Tricep extension/pull down thing 3x8
Forearm supported leg raises 3x15ish
Well that got long. I have a lot of time on my hands... Thanks for any advice and enjoy climbing for me!
Hope you heal up quickly! You're gonna have steel rock-crushing talons by the time you're ready to get on rock again! I'm no expert on training but I'll offer some advice based on what's worked for me over the past year and a half of taking training seriously (after dismissing it for the first 17 years of my climbing career).
On hangboarding, I started with the Anderson bros beginner routine and when I moved to the intermediate, I found that going from 10 on 5 off to 7 on 3 I felt stronger and improved quickly. With 10 and 5 I'd struggle to get through single sets on each hold, but with 7 and 3 I could do multiple sets per hold and steadily increase resistance. For whatever reason the 10 second duration just sapped my strength so quickly and made for a lot of shortened workouts, which was no longer the case when I switched to 7. Not sure the shorter duration is objectively better, but it's probably a better simulation of real climbing.
On your pull routine... It seems like a lot. Hangboarding is hugely stressful and your body needs to invest a lot of energy to recover, even though the pull routine stresses different muscle groups. Consider scaling back to a single pull exercise, a single push exercise, and a single core exercise immediately after hangboarding (same day), then start the recovery process. I'd recommend resting at least 48 hours after each hangboard workout, 72 is even better. Then you can really focus on the quality of those hangboard workouts - the push/pull core exercises are supplemental. The bicep curls are not very climbing specific - consider dropping those.
For core, leg raises are my favorite/the only core exercise I do. Well, pushups, if you count those. Leg raises are just so specific to climbing. If that's working for you I see no reason to switch.
Sounds like you are hip to the importance of stretching. Stretching your forearms is huge! I highly recommend Dave Macleod's book Make or Break. In particular, the shoulder stretches in that book have made a huge difference for me in getting rid of shoulder pain that I assume was due to rotator cuff impingement. The pull muscle training you're doing is going to shorten your lats and other shoulder stabilizers, which pulls them out of alignment. I especially started noticing it after doing sets of one-arm inverted rows after each hangboard workout. These stretches really helped me get back to healthy alignment and be shoulder pain-free.
Are you going to do a power phase? Campusing? Bouldering?
Hope that helps. Good luck! Let me know how it goes!
I lost my more thorough response to bad internet connection!
Thanks a lot I really appreciate the insights!
I've been having success with 10on/5off hangs so I'll probably stick with it even if the improvement is a bit slower. I was tempted to step up to Intermediate but if it ain't broke don't fix it I suppose.
I think I'll trim down my supplemental exercises. I have been having some trouble with my shoulder and will definitely check out Macleod's book, thanks!
I won't be able to do a traditional power phase because I am so far from a gym/rock while I am recovering and as soon as I'm healthy enough to climb I think I'll get back on the road and ditch training haha. Any suggestions for a weight-gym based power phase? Maybe cut out hangboarding and do more gym exercises with lower reps/higher weight? It's definitely my biggest weakness so it would be silly to avoid... although you cant go wrong with more finger strength.
I myself just got off of a lower extremity injury but still made climbing strength gains throughout the 6 weeks. Hope you heal up quickly.
First, I will second Rich's comment on 7/3 over 10/5. If you're beginning hangboarding for the first time ever, 10/5 isn't a bad place to start. Within several seasons, I'd recommend switching to 7/3. You'll find your max weight will be much higher.
For my injury, I was still able to use hips, just not my ankle. Here's what a typical week looked like for me:
Now that I've healed, generally, Friday and Sunday are rest days and Saturday is full-on climb hard mode.
I found that having one day of "push" or "pull" doesn't work super great. For instance, if I do the shoulder press before benching, the bench workout is pretty pathetic and I'd argue not productive based on lack of strength gains.
You'll also note that apart from scapular pullups or bent-over rows, there aren't many pulling exercises. Some people swear by weighted pullups, but I haven't experimented with it. Bicep curls were a waste of time. Heavy bent-over rows help develop power in my back and arm muscles, not necessarily the fingers.
So as far as your routine is concerned, it looks good, but I would add some designated core workouts.
Sounds good. I can't think of any suggestions for training climbing power without a climbing gym, home wall, or campus board. I guess you could do some explosive pulling exercises, but that won't help train contact strength. Maybe when you get back on the road, make your first stop an area with powerful boulder problems or routes to work.
Thanks for the reply. Arm bike sounds awful haha!
Two people recommending 7/3 timing on my hangs... I guess I should give it a crack!
Yeah I'm surprised by the lack of pulling. Do you already have a solid base of pulling strength? I could see not focusing on it if you already have 15+ pullups or something. I'll probably emphasize it a bit more.
I'd like to add some core, thanks for the suggestions, we'll see what kind of mobility I have after surgery.
Maybe I'll build a little two/three rung campus board and just go up and down. Seem's like at my strength level that would help and work contact strength a bit. Bouldering as a first stop is also a great idea.