Mountain Project Logo

Forearm fatigue


Original Post
Fehim Hasecic · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jun 2013 · Points: 130

I started training for the first time this winter since I started climbing. Did ARC for a month and then started hangboard. One week in and my forearms feel tired throughout the day. They’re basically tense and I generally feel like after coming down from pump on a climb. I stopped hangboarding because I don’t want to mess myself up. I’m 6’1” and weight 190 now. I started hangboard with 35lb counter weight. Anyone had a similar issue? Is this a normal part of the process and my forearms will go back to normal?

kenr · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 15,356

There's like a 0.01% chance that you've hit some wierd physiology / biochemistry in your unique body.
But more likely this is just your own reaction to first time serious training of this type. Likely partly mental.

Most likely just got back into it, rest a 2 or 3 days between sessions, try lighter intensity af first, until your mental perceptions get accustomed to it.

Ken

Jon W · · Longmont Colorado · Joined Jun 2010 · Points: 75

^^^ This. Even try once a week, Less is more.....

You're just getting use to it. I had the same reaction the first HB cycle I did. That said and at your level, I would boulder and stay on lead routes until I broke into .12s. Once on .12s, start HB.

Lena chita · · OH · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 1,030

What do you mean by “one week in” for hangboard? That is, basically, TWO workouts?

I hope you aren’t hangboarding more than that!

There is a rare (but serious) condition called compartment syndrome. But you say that both of your arms feel this way, and that makes it unlikely. I also find it hard to believe that you would develop an acute case of compartment syndrome from hangboarding just a couple of times. Most likely you are just adjusting to a new-for-you workout. But, if the pain gets worse, if you get pins and needles, weakness, numbness, etc, go to the dr. 
Your weight and how much weight you subtract don’t actually tell us anything. I’m 110, but there are holds that I can barely hang on, with 35 lb subtraction, and there are holds on which adding 35 pounds doesn’t even feel like a warmup.

A better indicator is how you felt hanging with 35 lb off. Did you fail on your hangs? Did it feel like max effort that you barely managed? There are many different hangboard protocols out there, some of them stipulate weights/holds well below max effort, where you should never fail to complete your hangs,  others go for max or 90% max. 

But all protocols usually have “do this if you are a beginner” version. And a lot of guys read this, and decide that it doesn’t apply to them, because they are not beginners, so they should jump in with a more advanced protocol, to get better results. If this is you, go back to the beginner protocol. As a first-time hangboarder you would get very good gains from the simplest protocol, and you’d have harder versions in reserve for ehrnnthe easy version stops giving you good gains. Don’t shortchange yourself and go for the harder protocol now. 

Mike Knight · · Canton, Mi · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 50

During the cycle its going to feel harder and you will feel more fatigued. It is after you stop the hangboarding and taper down a bit before a trip that you will feel the benefits. Its normal.

p.s I waited 6 years before I started hangboarding and I am doing the 369 protocol. 

Fehim Hasecic · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jun 2013 · Points: 130
Lena chita wrote: What do you mean by “one week in” for hangboard? That is, basically, TWO workouts?

I hope you aren’t hangboarding more than that!

There is a rare (but serious) condition called compartment syndrome. But you say that both of your arms feel this way, and that makes it unlikely. I also find it hard to believe that you would develop an acute case of compartment syndrome from hangboarding just a couple of times. Most likely you are just adjusting to a new-for-you workout. But, if the pain gets worse, if you get pins and needles, weakness, numbness, etc, go to the dr. 
Your weight and how much weight you subtract don’t actually tell us anything. I’m 110, but there are holds that I can barely hang on, with 35 lb subtraction, and there are holds on which adding 35 pounds doesn’t even feel like a warmup.

A better indicator is how you felt hanging with 35 lb off. Did you fail on your hangs? Did it feel like max effort that you barely managed? There are many different hangboard protocols out there, some of them stipulate weights/holds well below max effort, where you should never fail to complete your hangs,  others go for max or 90% max. 

But all protocols usually have “do this if you are a beginner” version. And a lot of guys read this, and decide that it doesn’t apply to them, because they are not beginners, so they should jump in with a more advanced protocol, to get better results. If this is you, go back to the beginner protocol. As a first-time hangboarder you would get very good gains from the simplest protocol, and you’d have harder versions in reserve for ehrnnthe easy version stops giving you good gains. Don’t shortchange yourself and go for the harder protocol now. 

I’m trying to follow Anderson brothers routine. I was doing the novice routine for hangboard with 35lb off. First session I was able to complete, albeit worked at the end of it. Second one, after two days, I kind of botched by resting a minute instead of 3 in between the sets, and by the end of it I was sort of toast. Third I tried and barely made it through half , I just wasn’t able to hold on to the holds anymore. 

Could the fact that my work is sort of physical (I’ve been cleaning a lot of snow lately which coincidentally occurred at the same time I started hangboard) and my body not having enough time to recover play any role in it? 
Mike Knight · · Canton, Mi · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 50
Fehim Hasecic wrote:

I’m trying to follow Anderson brothers routine. I was doing the novice routine for hangboard with 35lb off. First session I was able to complete, albeit worked at the end of it. Second one, after two days, I kind of botched by resting a minute instead of 3 in between the sets, and by the end of it I was sort of toast. Third I tried and barely made it through half , I just wasn’t able to hold on to the holds anymore. 

Could the fact that my work is sort of physical (I’ve been cleaning a lot of snow lately which coincidentally occurred at the same time I started hangboard) and my body not having enough time to recover play any role in it? 

If the novice is intermediate level I would shoot for the beginner level. You should be resting the full three minutes as well even if you feel good after a minute. 

John Byrnes · · Fort Collins, CO · Joined Dec 2007 · Points: 582
Fehim Hasecic wrote:

I’m trying to follow Anderson brothers routine. I was doing the novice routine for hangboard with 35lb off. First session I was able to complete, albeit worked at the end of it. Second one, after two days, I kind of botched by resting a minute instead of 3 in between the sets, and by the end of it I was sort of toast. Third I tried and barely made it through half , I just wasn’t able to hold on to the holds anymore. 

Could the fact that my work is sort of physical (I’ve been cleaning a lot of snow lately which coincidentally occurred at the same time I started hangboard) and my body not having enough time to recover play any role in it? 

Sounds like you're not giving yourself enough rest, either between reps/sets or between workouts.    You said "a week" and three workouts, that's one too many.  

Mike Knight · · Canton, Mi · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 50

Also how is your warm up? Are you warming up the forearms for at least a minimum of 30 minutes beforehand? I do about 35-40 minutes of traversing back and forth on board with a 3 step stool for my feet. I just do step through's back and forth and up and down while cycling through the biggest holds. Its boring but it gets a good warm up pump. I do 4 sets of 7 minute traverses with a plank and 25 pushups in between the 7 minutes. If I feel I have a hard time warming up that day I with throw 100 jumping jacks in between the 4 sets.

I can only make it to the gym 2 times a week so I hangboard the other and I have to warm up this way cause of the lack of a wall at home. If you hangboard at the gym and have an actual bouldering wall to warm up on that is preferred.

Fehim Hasecic · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jun 2013 · Points: 130
Mike Knight wrote: Also how is your warm up? Are you warming up the forearms for at least a minimum of 30 minutes beforehand? I do about 35-40 minutes of traversing back and forth on board with a 3 step stool for my feet. I just do step through's back and forth and up and down while cycling through the biggest holds. Its boring but it gets a good warm up pump. I do 4 sets of 7 minute traverses with a plank and 25 pushups in between the 7 minutes. If I feel I have a hard time warming up that day I with throw 100 jumping jacks in between the 4 sets.

I can only make it to the gym 2 times a week so I hangboard the other and I have to warm up this way cause of the lack of a wall at home. If you hangboard at the gym and have an actual bouldering wall to warm up on that is preferred.

I wasn’t warming up at all, I would just jump on the hangboard. Afterward I was doing supplemental exercises which in hindsight would have been good warm up routine.

Fehim Hasecic · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jun 2013 · Points: 130
Jon W wrote: ^^^ This. Even try once a week, Less is more.....

You're just getting use to it. I had the same reaction the first HB cycle I did. That said and at your level, I would boulder and stay on lead routes until I broke into .12s. Once on .12s, start HB.

I’m trying to break into 11s trad and I’d rather do bouldering than regimented exercises. But, whatever it might be I know it’s not going to happen on it’s own.

Lena chita · · OH · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 1,030
Fehim Hasecic wrote:

I’m trying to follow Anderson brothers routine. I was doing the novice routine for hangboard with 35lb off. First session I was able to complete, albeit worked at the end of it. Second one, after two days, I kind of botched by resting a minute instead of 3 in between the sets, and by the end of it I was sort of toast. Third I tried and barely made it through half , I just wasn’t able to hold on to the holds anymore. 

Could the fact that my work is sort of physical (I’ve been cleaning a lot of snow lately which coincidentally occurred at the same time I started hangboard) and my body not having enough time to recover play any role in it? 

Are you increasing weights from workout to workout? I’m confused about 35 lb, because with the Andersons brothers you increase the weights from one workout to the next, if you finish the set, so did you? By how much? 


If you are increasing the weights, then maybe your increased from one session to the next is too big, and you should slow down. 
If you are staying at the same weight and feeling worse in later workouts, then yeah, your snow-clearing met be working you harder than you thought. And maybe you need longer break in between workouts, or after another firearm-heavy activity. 
Also, everyone has a shitty day once in a while, where the workout feels impossible. The next one is usually better. 
Finally, if you are prone to large weight swings, weigh yourself right before workout and adjust the weights accordingly. Your weight+clothes could easily make more than 5 lb difference 
Mike Knight · · Canton, Mi · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 50
Fehim Hasecic wrote:

I wasn’t warming up at all, I would just jump on the hangboard. Afterward I was doing supplemental exercises which in hindsight would have been good warm up routine.

That’s the problem. No warm up on the hangboard is a recipe for disaster as far as injuries and feeling fatigued. It’s the same as route climbing you won’t feel good till a few climbs in the same goes for the hangboard. 30 minute forearm warm up minimum with other exercises to get a good sweat going then when you start the actual program for the day use the whole time for rest that is recommended.  I have read articles were they say 1 hour or for more warm up is preferred but I think 30min climbing muscle specific and 15-20min other exercises is fine. 

Jon W · · Longmont Colorado · Joined Jun 2010 · Points: 75
Fehim Hasecic wrote:

I’m trying to break into 11s trad and I’d rather do bouldering than regimented exercises. But, whatever it might be I know it’s not going to happen on it’s own.

If .11s trad on local terrain is what you mean, I would just boulder up on flagstaff and sanitas. There are a lot of great traverses there.  

In the boulder area, it is more about footwork than strength, at that grade. It never hurts to have more strength, but having your technique dialed will pay greater dividends in these areas. 

Also, I've seen/heard of really rapid gains is strength from HB, that led to really rapid increase in injuries like tendonitis and pulley problems. So be careful. If I were you ( I went through the same grades as you're working through),  I'd spend the spring doing as much at shelf and bocan, dream canyon, table mtn, etc. as I could. In my experience, .12s on bolts in these areas are equivalent to .11s on gear in eldo and surrounding areas.

I guess I'm saying, just climb what you're going to climb...and climb a lot. If inside, find routes that are the same. Doing steep jug hauls isn't going to do shit to get you up the Naked Edge or Pony Express or Wide Country. But trusting you foot not to pop off of a smear while you fiddle in a small stopper 10 feet above another small stopper will.

And do a warm up!
Mike Knight · · Canton, Mi · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 50
Jon W wrote:

If .11s trad on local terrain is what you mean, I would just boulder up on flagstaff and sanitas. There are a lot of great traverses there.  

In the boulder area, it is more about footwork than strength, at that grade. It never hurts to have more strength, but having your technique dialed will pay greater dividends in these areas. 

Also, I've seen/heard of really rapid gains is strength from HB, that led to really rapid increase in injuries like tendonitis and pulley problems. So be careful. If I were you ( I went through the same grades as you're working through),  I'd spend the spring doing as much at shelf and bocan, dream canyon, table mtn, etc. as I could. In my experience, .12s on bolts in these areas are equivalent to .11s on gear in eldo and surrounding areas.

I guess I'm saying, just climb what you're going to climb...and climb a lot. If inside, find routes that are the same. Doing steep jug hauls isn't going to do shit to get you up the Naked Edge or Pony Express or Wide Country. But trusting you foot not to pop off of a smear while you fiddle in a small stopper 10 feet above another small stopper will.

And do a warm up!

I would agree. I climb in the RRG on the regular but took a trip to boulder 2 years ago. Its definitely more footwork and technique than finger strength out there from the small sample size I experienced. 

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Training Forum
Post a Reply to "Forearm fatigue "

Log In to Reply