There was a huge change in my training program a couple months ago. Physiotherapist Will Bateman has started to take part in my training program. He is a physiotherapist in Squamish, BC, who is a keen climber and also does many mountain sports. It is amazing to have a physiotherapist who understands the sport specific moves.
Since he has been involved in my training program, he has performed assessments, especially on my injured shoulder, and has been working with my trainer to design the best training program considering my current condition and goals. Since my injured muscles has healed (according to Will, strained muscles, not torn muscles, would heal within 6-8 weeks depending on severity), he has given me exercises to gradually build strength on weakened muscle, as well as muscle stabilizing exercises to prevent injuries. Since I started these exercises, my injury recovery has been significantly improved. I still use lacrosse ball and do shoulder rehab exercises before every climbing session or work, but as long as I do my exercises, I won’t feel any pain or stiffness in my shoulder. You can check out some of these exercises on his blog Project Physio under 2 Key Shoulder Exercises for Climbers. His blog has so much helpful information. There’re Cafe Physio forums for Mountain Athletes where you can find injury preventing exercises for climbers, Professionals for healthcare professionals, and Everyone where he talks about things that can apply to anyone. Will is currently working at Highland Sport & Spine Physiotherapy.
With my updated training schedule, my recent weeks look like this: training/rehab at weight training gym 3 times a week, uphill hike with weights once a week, climbing (mostly outdoor) 3-4 times a week, and the shoulder rehab exercises before every climbing session and work shift. Since I have to squeeze all these in between my work schedules, I sometimes do the hike and training at the weight gym, or climbing and training on the same day.
It has been extremely busy, and is difficult to balance climbing, training, and resting. During winter, which was off season for climbing in Squamish (except for occasional sunny days), I focused on training to build strength. My focus during summer, however, is climbing. During climbing season, I train to be able to sustain the strength, and it shouldn’t be exhausting that I can’t perform at my limit when I go climbing. Scheduling rest days are important when I want to perform at my limit. I definitely feel the difference when I’m working on my projects. Since I started weight training, I’ve been learning much more about fatigue and my body’s capability. Depending on the level of fatigue I have, the amount of weights I can lift varies. It shows in numbers so it’s easy to know how much I can perform with conditions I’m in. I tend to climb/train without enough rest days, but now I understand more about my capability, I definitely will be scheduling more rests.
Squamish’s weather has been so nice this year. Even climbs that normally seep until mid-summer are dried and ready to climb. I have some projects picked out, as well as alpine climbs including climbs in Bugaboos. I’m stoked for the long summer season!