Dec 28, 2017 12:00 AM

Author: Morgan Sjoblom


If you have been rock climbing and working towards getting stronger and having more endurance it is hard to miss the appeal of starting hangboard and campusing workouts. Hangboard and campusing tools are iconic in every rock climbing gym and for good reason. They both allow climbers to focus in on finger and tendon strength, which are key skills to have when climbing at your top level. However, without a proper foundation of strength climbers can easily injure themselves. 

“I see a lot of climbers who started a new hangboard or campusing workout and got injured,” said Katey Blumenthal, DPT, a physical therapist with the University of Utah Orthopaedic Center. “Their injuries are a result of poor mechanics and insufficient integration of the neck, trunk, shoulders, elbows, and wrists.”

Blumenthal has created a 6-week program to help climbers get ready to tackle these climbing tools without injury.  Her progression of exercises is designed to be done before starting hangboard or campusing workouts, giving climbers time to focus on optimizing body mechanics to reduce the risk of injury.

“Climbing requires a lot of ‘isometric’ or ‘stabilizing’ strength at the shoulder girdle, the posterior rotator cuff muscles, and at the wrist,” she said. “Going into a climbing season without a strong base of this stabilizing type strength can lead to injuries in areas that are ‘weaker links,’ the areas that aren’t anatomically designed to be stressed as hard.”

Six Week Program Exercises

Perform all exercises 3-4 days per week

Week 1

External Rotation with Band  |  3 sets of 8 repetitions

I and T Holds  |  3 sets of 20 Second Holds

Week 2

External Rotation Wide with Band  |  3 sets of 8 repetitions

I and T Holds  |  3 sets of 20 Second Holds

Week 3

External Rotation Wide with Band  |  3 sets of 8 repetitions

I and T Holds with Flutter Kicks  |  3 sets of 20 Second Holds

External Rotation Lifts  |  3 sets of 5 repetitions

Rhomboid Pushups  |  3 sets of 10 repetitions

Week 4

Y Lift with Chin Tuck  |  3 sets of 20 second Holds

External Rotation Lifts with Hips and Knees at 90°  |  3 sets of 5 repetitions

Plank Rhomboid Pushups  |  3 sets of 10 repetitions

Week 5

Y Lift with Flutter Kicks  |  3 sets of 10 kicks per leg

External Rotation Lifts with Hips and Knees at 60°  |  3 sets of 5 repetitions

Plank Hip Extensions  |  3 sets of 5 kicks per leg

Week 6

Y Lift with Band  |  3 sets of 20 second holds

External Rotation Lifts with Hips and Knees at 45°  |  3 sets of 5 repetitions

Planks with Rotation  |  3 sets of 5 repetitions

rock climbing orthopaedics injury physical therapy

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